Pamela Ebstyne King, Rebecca Ann Baer
In this article, we aim to explain how Miroslav Volf’s theology of flourishing provides a new vision for psychologists. As the Henry B. Wright Professor and Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Volf is recognized as one of the most influential living theologians. His recent work offers a theology of human flourishing based in an eschatological vision of God’s homecoming, the unification of the Creator with His created. For Volf, the end provides a telos, a purpose, and direction, for current human life. He asserts that although proleptic, flourishing occurs simultaneously within the two eschatological “already” and “not yet” realities through the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit in the context of love. The true life is a life led well, going well, and feeling as God intends and is characterized by love, peace, and joy. In this article, we summarize Volf’s theology of the homecoming of God and human flourishing and bridge the disciplines of theology and psychology, by discussing how the psychology of thriving toward the telos of the Reciprocating Self provides a heuristic for psychologists. The heuristic offers psychologists a guide for research and clinical work that is aligned with Volf’s eschatological vision.
Neurodiversity and Thriving: A Case Study in Theology-Informed Psychology
Author: Leidenhag, J. & King, P. E. Abstract: The concept of ‘neurodiversity’ to speak of conditions such as autism, dyslexia, and others as differences, not disorders or pathologies, relies on a robust account of human flourishing that can incorporate these conditions. Conceptions of illness and well-being are always partially theological, whilst also having to be grounded in the empirical realities of the present time. Therefore, positive developmental psychology is a particularly apt field for developing a theology-informed psychology. This article argues that recent work in theology-engaged psychology of thriving, as opposed to subjective flourishing, is the best approach…
Hindsight in the 2020’s: Looking back and forward to positive youth development and thriving
Author: King, P. E., & Mangan, S. Abstract: Positive youth development (PYD) started as a field of practice before it became a field of study. With a heightened awareness of the necessity of a framework for the thriving of all youth and all societies, the chapter considers the purpose of PYD and consequently revisits the concept of teleology, offering a revised understanding of telos, or the ultimate goal of a given construct—in this case, of PYD. It refines and updates the current notion of thriving to not only emphasize adaptivity and relationality as central to thriving but also…
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