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Some of My Thoughts on Religion or Theology

For many, the subject of religion brings up some kind of discomfort. Please keep in mind that my background has been informed by insights of both theology and psychology. I have made a lifetime study of both of these subjects. Moreover, I am someone who works with people that give consideration to religious beliefs, i.e. priests, pastors, ministers and the like. In contrast, I work with people for whom God or religious matters are unimportant. Unless religion or spiritual matters are of import to a client, I make no comment about my theology or make any attempt to convince them of my personal beliefs. I work with people from their sense of faith or lack thereof. However, please note, religion or the lack of it always leads to theology.

Whether a person knows it or not, she/he has a theology. There is no way to avoid this. It is a part of the human experience. When one says something like, “I am spiritual but not religious,” that is a theological statement. When another says something like, "I have no interest in God or anything having to do with religious stuff” that, too, is a theological statement. Finally, if someone says, “I do not believe in God. All of that stuff is a fairytale or a myth to bring comfort to those who need someone or something to rely on.” That, also, is theology.

What is a theology? The word, “theology” is a compound word made up from the joining of two Greek words, the first translated into English is “theos” meaning G0d; the second is “logos” which means word or reason. Thus, theology is to study or reason about God.

Despite being a strong believer, and being involved in religious community, in my therapeutic work I do not promote a particular religion or spirituality. As a Christian, I believe that Christianity along with other great world religious traditions have incredible wisdom to offer anyone. Personally, I do declare that Jesus Christ is the revelation of the everlasting God and is the "way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). For me, all religions are not the same, but all are filled with wonderful people who are loved by God and who demonstrate that love in inestimable ways.

Truth is truth no matter from what source it comes. In every subject, one can find much more information, and perhaps better information than from me. I do not intend to communicate the truth about anything. Instead, my knowledge comes from a life of prayer, service, to people from all walks of relgious life, from clients, my mentors, from friends, and formal education.

Again, my formal training includes theology and psy chology. I primarily derive from these sources matters that I view to be important snippets of wisdom for all of us. Thus, in knowing me, please do not assume that I have some sort of agenda, theological or otherwise. When I make biblical reference or provide other spiritual reflection, I am saying that such provides a universal truth that may be of use to you or others around you; no matter what you believe or don’t believe. I may have ideas with which you strongly disagree. That is good, and I am pleased that you are thinking about an important subject.

Life is a difficult journey. In response to that journey, we may follow only our own experience or sense of things, or examine them in light of the wisdom offered in Scripture, tradition, spiritual thought and from many other sources. Ultimately, we need to select what we believe to be our best for others as well as for ourselves. One thing I can say to you, wherever you are is: God loves you and me--no matter who we are or where we have been--rest and take comfort in that love. --Jeff