A Mature Faith
A Mature Faith is an attempt to develop an anthropology for pastoral care and counseling which deals with both Christian perspective and important data from the human sciences, such as psychology. This book presents an integrative approach which views spirituality and our human quest for meaning as central to a psycho-pastoral approach. A doctrine of persons is designed which deals with both the dimension of creation (image of God) and of salvation (the new being in Christ). This book argues for an understanding of human beings in terms of their human identity before God (Coram Deo) as well as the empowerment of persons by the gift and fruit of the Spirit. Hence the importance of a pneumatological perspective on maturity and adulthood. The interplay between God-images and our human selfunderstanding is discussed. In this regard the question about diagnosis in pastoral counseling and the technique of storytelling receive attention. A pastoral hermeneutics which tries to understand our human predicament in terms of both the social and cultural context as well as our relationship with God is fundamental to the models presented in this book. In spiritual direction, the basic assumption is that God-images and the implication of different perceptions of God on life issues should play a decisive role. In terms of our human quest for meaning within a secularized society, the following metaphor for God is proposed: God as our "Soul Friend". The book is written for priests, ministers and pastoral caregivers involved in counseling and spiritual direction. Its main focus is on professional training within an academic setting. It will also be useful for the training of lay members within a congregational setting.