ABOUT THIS BOOK
First things are spiritually and theologically important. Before Belief explores the precognitive human experience of transcendence, illuminating how such foundational experiences are formative of attachment relationships with people and ultimately with God. The book proposes an implicit learning model rather than rely on Freud’s or Jung’s understanding of the unconscious, with a goal of recovering unconscious spiritual learning. Once discovered and put into language, early learning needs to be tested and integrated into life experience and expressed in committed living. The theories examined and advanced in the work are also carried through in practical case studies that demonstrate the pastoral and clinical salience of understanding and connecting people to those grounding experiences.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bruce A. Stevens is the Wicking Professor of aging and practical theology at Charles Sturt University. His latest book is The Storied Self.
“A practical approach to the intriguing topic of early spiritual learning, Before Belief: Discovering First Spiritual Awareness draws the reader into an experience of self-exploration and discovery. Its narrative format invites and equips pastors, spiritual directors and others to translate these ideas and exercises for people at any and all stages of life. I look forward to making use of it at church, in the university classroom, for retreats, and in aged care settings.” — Jane Kuepfer, Conrad Grebel University College
“Bruce A. Stevens offers us a fascinating and important perspective on the dynamics of what he terms ‘unconscious spiritual learning.’ He does this by combining the best insights of his professional work as a psychologist and clinician together with his many decades of practical experience and theological reflection as an minister of religion. The result is an extremely accessible and stimulating account of the emergence of the spiritual senses before belief.” — Hannah Brenner, California Western School of Law
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