Dean Schlecht, M.Div.
Dean Shclecht, M.Div.


Friday Evening
September 13, 2019,  7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Presentation: Jung, God and Suffering
Location: St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, Inwood at Mockingbird 
$20.00 non-members (includes a complimentary reception with hors d'oeuvres and wine)

The connection between suffering, evil, and God is a difficult and painful topic to broach. Our relationship with God is for most of us a fundamental source of comfort, meaning, and direction in our lives. If that relationship is threatened or feels broken, our world is shaken and we are at risk of an existential crisis. It could cause us to fall from what feels like a meaningful and supported life to one lacking ultimate purpose and at the mercy of an uncaring or even malevolent universe. Nevertheless, Jung felt compelled to face the inherent contradiction between the belief most of us have of a benign loving God and the pervasive fact of suffering and evil all around us. I believe that his insights in this matter are deep and true, but inevitably unsettling.
Jung wrote two books that explore the nature of God, suffering, and our relationship with ultimate reality. The first, The Seven Sermons to the Dead, written in 1916, is a meditation on the Pleroma and its manifestation in Abraxas, the Gnostic creator God. This brief work is the foundation for everything that came afterwards. Jung's understanding of God and his psychology cannot be separated. The second, Answer to Job, a book he felt compelled to write toward the end of his career, is a devastating critique of the Judeo/Christian image of God. Seven Sermons to the Dead offers an intellectually viable path for integrating suffering into a spiritually, psychologically healthy life. Answer to Job demonstrates the inherent contradictions in espousing a personal, monarch-like creator God and the psycho/spiritual burden this belief has been on Western culture.
Jung's reflections on God and suffering are not only a fundamental key to understanding his perspective, they are also an invaluable resource for broadening our own.                                


Saturday Morning
September 14, 2019,  9:30 a.m.– noon

Workshop:  Internal Resources for Alleviating Suffering
Location: St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, Inwood at Mockingbird
$40.00 non-members (includes a complimentary continental breakfast)

The morning will begin with an open discussion regarding Friday's presentation. The implications of considering God as an impersonal creative force flowing out of an unnamable, unimaginable no-thingness and the necessity of suffering as an integral part of the creative unfolding of the universe will be explored.
This will be followed by a disidentification exercise originally developed by Roberto Assagioli, M.D. Its intent is to help participants free their consciousness from its focus on the world of things to simple, unconditional awareness and connection with the source of consciousness, the Pleroma.
The third part of the morning will be an Active Imagination experience in which participants will be given an opportunity to engage with the Self, the loving wisdom that is both their own essence and the embodied ultimate reality within their own psyches. They will be encouraged to request of the Self whatever insights it might offer regarding suffering and their relationship with God.
The morning will conclude with an opportunity to write and share a personal statement of the place of suffering and God in the participant's life and how that applies to a particular loss or pain they are currently dealing with.

Dean Schlecht, M.Div., is a former Catholic priest and the retired manager of a nineteen-bed psychiatric crisis respite facility in Eugene, Oregon. Before moving to Eugene in 1999, he was an LMFT with practices in Oklahoma City and Irving, Texas. He currently maintains a private practice offering spiritual direction. He served as President of the Oklahoma City C.G. Jung Study Group from 1983 through 1988 and has given numerous workshops and retreats. Dean has also published several books. The title of his new book is Life Reexamined: The Distillation of 77 Years.  It should be available on Amazon in late August or September 2019.