Faith plays an important role in establishing a sense of meaning necessary for coping with life’s stressors and traumas. This is especially true for those events that lie beyond our expected and normal experiences. This paper asserts that the context of psychological and emotional development, which forms in concert with our faith, is necessary in understanding how faith develops as a coping strategy. Cited writings include those of C.S. Lewis, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, and James Marcia.
I was raised in a mainline evangelical church,1 but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I made a personal and strong commitment to God. The church of my childhood years was associated with a traditional and reserved Calvinistic heritage. However, the church of my young adult years, in the 1970’s, was strongly influenced by the more demonstrative and charismatic orientation of the Jesus People movement on the West Coast of the United States. Later, in my middle adult years, I found myself drawn to yet another church within a traditionally Wesleyan context. Even though the specific sequence of changes varies, friends and colleagues who have followed parallel paths usually agree that our respective theologies are much fuller and richer because of the spiritual journeys we have taken over our lifetimes.