I’m affectionately known, to some, though not officially, as “Dr. Pepper”. Here is a very brief sketch of my life and self-understanding:
I did aspire to the formal “Doctor” designation, pursuing a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program at Claremont School of Theology involving psychology, theology and education. “Life happened” and I was unable to complete final stages of the degree in allotted time. That pursuit can tell you important things about me.
One of those is the breadth of my interests and pursuit of learning. Since youth, I’ve been interested in both the “physical” and the “social” sciences and in theology and spirituality. So I pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology. This was at Biola University, a Christian liberal arts college in the Los Angeles area. I came from a similarly Evangelical family and church upbringing. Also a very rural one on a large cattle ranch in San Diego County. (Yes, there is much more than the city, with the famous zoo and Safari Park in the county if you’ve not visited here… the backcountry is pretty rugged and beautiful).
From Biola, I went on to sister school, Talbot School of Theology, for a Master of Divinity. Then back to Biola for a Master’s in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. I’d married a bit before this, myself, and we later had and raised two children. For a good decade I served in community counseling centers, a college-level study center and local churches. Later I also spent seven years in business and life coaching in the corporate world.
Starting around age 40, I began PhD coursework, described above. This was the early stage of a gradual shift in my understanding of many religious things and of my worldview itself. I moved from a relatively conservative and orthodox Christian view of the Bible, God and the world to one that eventually became quite progressive yet still basically in the Jesus-following category. This happened over a span of about 8 or 10 years, though it has no real beginning or end point. Being an analytical and “love-the-details” kind of person, it was done with a lot of study and reflection, not mere disillusionment with Christian history or elements of theology, churches, etc.
My love of psychology continued, in both formal and self-directed studies. As begun many years earlier, I also studied cultures, sub-cultures and societies (sociology, anthropology, history). In this process I’ve seen the strength of the Western educational system in specialization, with the corresponding weakness it brings. Few academics or cultural/spiritual leaders (pastors and New Age teachers included) have the breadth to integrate knowledge from “disciplines” that are largely separate and seldom interact, at least in much depth.
This influences one key purpose for this website and its related activities: bring together key insights and processes from a variety of sources – distinct academic study areas, communities of faith and humanitarian efforts, social media, etc. We promote things that have the potential to stimulate personal growth and healing and to advance mutual understanding and respect toward a more inclusive, peaceful world.