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About

Let me introduce myself — Howard Pepper. While my “being” is more important than labels on what I do, I might call myself an author, teacher, and spiritual coach. I’ve done many things, but most relevant from my past would be pastor, marriage, family and individual therapist, and business/life coach.

I grew up in a conservative Protestant home and church and didn’t depart from that viewpoint, and active ministry within it, until I was 45, about 21 years ago, as of 2016. That is a later age than for most to make a radical change. It did come very gradually. Because I was well studied (formal degrees, etc.) for many years and searched widely in constructing a new way of viewing reality, I understand the issues at an unusual depth. I want to use my insights here and in my published writing  toward building entirely new perspectives on religion and spirituality. (See Kindle ebooks: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EYUC1A, US store https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004EYUC1A, UK store.)  The world is ready for this, despite the fearful hanging-on we see among fundamentalists of various religions.

Perhaps key to the creation of new paradigms is the realization that the “knowledge dispensing” institutions of society, primarily religions and science, both react publicly to one another more than to what they observe.

Even their key focal points, “revelation” for religion, and “nature” for science, tend to get posed as opposites–supernatural and natural. So a few-hundred-year feud has been on. Only very recently are more and more people seeing through the distortion of setting up rigid opposites and shooting down the opponent’s straw men that each side constructs.

While my formal higher education is in the human sciences (psychology/counseling) and theology, I have always had a knack for and interest in the “hard” sciences. This, with my naturally analytical nature, means I approach this blog with perspectives and methods drawn from both science and spirituality. I believe the two can blend well in us all, despite the gulf between them largely fixed by our culture and the media. Many seem to agree with this and long for insights and places for personal expression in this direction. So I intend that this blog be a place of learning and expression, and of finding connecting points and common ground with our “opponents.” This can lead to action toward important ends that both “sides” agree on.

Please post a response to my intentions and comments or just introduce yourself and your interests in this subject.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Dombek permalink
    March 25, 2010 4:14 pm

    Greetings Howard,

    You seem a kindred spirit. I, too, was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, but was taught to always examine Truth for myself by my father. I’m not sure he was willing to accept all the destinations that my journey has taken me, but he always supported his sons the their respective journeys.

    My journey has take me through two degrees (History and Theology) and given me an insatiable interest in the History and Philosophy of Science. After a divorce I began to question, not necessarily what God was up to, but ,more so, what I had been taught, realizing that much of what one learns comes from someone, who is just passing along what they heard from someone, ad infinitum.

    A couple of years ago, I went through quite an epistemological crisis while journeying through Postmodernism (Derrida, et al) and was brought back to the possibility of knowledge (through the writings of Jacob Bronowski: cf. knowledge as tolerance).

    I found your site while Googling ‘Natural Spiritually”, seeing if there was anything out there that could be the 21st century equivalent of 18th century “Natural Philosophy.” What I’ve read so far has been truly a pleasant surprise.

    Obsessed with an unquenchable analytic desire for clarity, and greatly dismayed by the recent political behavior of fundamentalist, right-wing Christians, my need to make new sense of these matters has been revitalized.

    I look forward to spending much time browsing your archives, and participating in future discussions.

    Thanks, and God bless.

    Daniel John Dombek

    PS. I hope you’re still out there. Your latest post was from November.
    Pleas feel free to check out my “Restless Pilgrim” blog at

    • naturalspirituality permalink*
      March 27, 2010 10:22 pm

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m sure glad you found me, despite my long inactivity as far as posting. I do tend to follow up with interested parties, sometimes via private emails, however. And I hope to return to the blog and/or similar activities when some other current projects get further along, and some time freed up. My intense interest in the area remains and I think will until I die.

      For now, I’ll mention I’ve found it quicker/easier to mostly follow and post occasionally on another blog or two. Lately my favorite is one you will also find stimulating and helpful, I think, by a man I’ve become friends with and enjoy dialoging with and supporting (I knew him some before his blogging time, also): Ken Pulliam. His is at http://www.formerfundy.blogspot.com. I just finished a post there (Sat., 3-27) with some researcher/author names you may want to pursue: Thomas Kuhn, introduced by Ken’s post, Ken Wilber (esp. his fairly recent “Integral Spirituality”), and James Fowler on stages of spiritual development.

      I’ll also mention another author, who has become my favorite for Christian Origins and understanding the religious and social dynamics as well as more technical biblical studies issues that pertain to the formation of the New Testament. That is Burton Mack. I have, a couple times at least, come back to re-read parts or all of 2 works I particularly find fascinating and important: “Who Wrote the New Testament?” and “The Christian Myth.” The latter is a kind of anthology of several separate smaller works of his, and thus not as “even” or unified as the first… parts may seem too technical or narrow in focus. But I think almost everyone can enjoy, understand and greatly benefit from chapters 4 and 5 at least… the real core of his main thesis about social formation/social experimentation. As to “Who Wrote…” when I first read it, although already sure of the major distortions in the “traditional” views of how the NT was created and selected out (as a “canon of Scripture”), I thought he must be doing a LOT of speculating and filling gaps with mere guesses, etc. That was at least 5 or 6 years ago, maybe nearly 10. Since then, as well as before, I’ve read numerous books on NT biblical studies and Christian origins, 1st to 4th century Church history, some Josephus, etc. Now, as I come back to Mack’s work in both those (or others, like his work on Q), I have little I believe he is off base on or likely to be wrong about. Yes, some requires a bit of speculation, but I find it to make better sense of the data than any other “theories” or written explanations of what probably went on, where authority patterns lie, how concepts developed, etc. And please note: he is not a part of the “Jesus Seminar” and tends to mostly avoid the rather pointless (in my view) speculations about just what Jesus may have said or not said, done or not done. He takes a whole different tack, and one I think much more insightful and helpful for ongoing study.

      By the way, Daniel, since you own to “an unquenchable analytic desire for clarity…” I DO WANT TO BE SURE we stay connected, somehow… that is the kind of interest and drive I appreciate and want to join forces with… I know that people like Ken, who I’ve referred you to, and many others, and me, will increasingly cooperate and perhaps significantly coordinate efforts so that we all “get somewhere” faster and easier. I hope you’ll be among us; and I wish you all the best as you continue seeking/learning/growing.

      Howard Pepper

  2. May 31, 2012 3:24 am

    Hi Howard. Glad to see someone else out there on the spiritual road trip that has questions.

    I am a Baptist who was raised in a traditional Christian home. However I too have questions about my faith that sometimes just won’t take the pat answers the Church dishes out. Even now, I’m straddling between the evangelical and the mystical in my spiritual journey.

    Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to reading your blog. Peace!

    • May 31, 2012 2:42 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I like your phrasing “straddling between the evangelical and the mystical.” I’m working on just such a concept, among other in the book I’m writing about a “psychology” of both religion and spirituality. (Almost everyone agrees that the two often overlap, but definitely can and should be seen as distinct “things”). I believe everyone has varying degrees of spiritual or “mystical” perceptions and yearnings. The systems of theology we invent and which institutions then make into structures for faith tend to confine and confuse our pursuit of the truly spiritual.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    September 5, 2012 5:17 pm

    Hello Mr. Pepper,

    Well, I am a Natural Spiritualist and have been all my life. You have found what, like you said, many people are ready for in todays society. It is a way of life, thinking, communicating, sharing, a way of harmony and balance. It is hard for many people to understand and accept. You may think it’s not possible but it is where all religions originated. It has been here since the creation of time. It has been sleeping among us and just waiting to be awaken again. Now, it seems that as more people go green and more people revert back to nature, it is waking up. It will be amazing to see who will actually try and be a leader among the many because the teachings tell of no profit or bible to follow. That is what makes it natural. No design put in front of you by man but an amazing journey and adventure for you to pass down to the next generation. That is how we keep it alive. You have a lot of education to put a name or theory to what you have discovered and if that is what it takes for you to accept this way of life then so be it but be careful not to overdue what you still don’t understand. Welcome, to life my friend.

    Sincerely,
    Guardian

    • September 6, 2012 4:09 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Guardian. I tend to agree with what you are saying, including the no prophet or Bible to follow aspect. The number of people taking the more “natural” approach is certainly growing, at least in the West and North, but it’s not so clear re. the “Global South” and “developing” countries. Many in these areas seem to find the traditional forms of especially Islam and Christianity appealing, or are moved there by cultural or other pressures.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    September 6, 2012 4:51 pm

    Mr. Pepper,

    Trust me when I say that Natural Spirituality is all over the world. It is in the culture, ethics, and standard of living. You just have to find it, it’s there, just hidden. Take for instance Christianity. This is a little eye opener for your readers. I am going to demonstrate how to find Natural Spirituality in any religion. Natural Spirituality is the teachings that comes from nature where the Creator of all living things has put upon this Earth for us. Now, look at Christianity. Where was Adam born? In the wild, nature. Where was Eve born? In the garden, nature. It is said that the Creator reached down and grabbed a hand full of dirt “Earth”, took some water “Water” and mixed it with the dirt to form a man, set the form in the sun “Fire” and when the mold of man was formed, blew air “Air” into his lungs to bring life into man. That is why we are all a part of each other and nature.
    Now, Islam. Where did Muhammad meditate or pray? In a cave in the mountains, nature. Where did Moses, Abraham, and even Jesus pray? Out in the open, nature. It is there that you will find answers, nature. When you go hiking or on a road trip and you see the most amazing view of the Creators creation, what do you say? What do you start to feel? That connection of Natural Spirituality that no other religion can claim. That my friend is your quest. That is the journey of life.

  5. July 24, 2014 8:05 am

    Hello, Howard! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info

  6. March 31, 2017 10:11 am

    My interest in process as in process theology, process thought, process philosophy, etc. starts but does not end with this…

    Can you point me to any works by you and/or others per seeing any process xy in terms of a combination of both going away from x and coming towards y?

    Warmest regards, either way!

    Yale S.Y. Landsberg
    M. S. Operations Research

    Please reply via this address…
    yalelandsberg@gmail.com

  7. hoju1959 permalink
    April 24, 2017 3:06 pm

    Howard, I would like to get access to a set of short inspirational messages in the vein of process theology. I would like to make some memes for Facebook. Any ideas where I could find these?

    • April 25, 2017 11:11 am

      You know, I can’t think of something like that right off. But I DO imagine some things like that exist. I think the best way to find out might be to contact the Center for Process Studies at Claremont, either Leah (if she’s still there) or the director, Andrew Schwartz (www.ctr4process.org). Andrew may know or may direct you to someone who probably would.

      ALSO: please contact me at howiepep@cox.net, as I’d really like to discuss what you have in mind, some of my efforts, etc. I think we are on nearly the same track in more ways than one! Love to talk!

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