The simple answer to my theology is this:

I love life!
I love nature!
I love people!
And I act in ways that show the depth of that love.

The more academic answer is this:

I’m a Religious Naturalist.

Religious Naturalism places ultimate value in life and in the beauty and creativity of the cosmos; it’s a way of life that brings up feelings of awe, reverence, love, and gratitude for life itself, for nature, and for the natural order of things in the universe.

What is Religious Naturalism?

“Religious naturalism is an approach to experiencing and appreciating nature with the awe, reverence, and respect that are usually associated with religion, but without the metaphysical paraphernalia of the latter.” -Loyal Rue. Nature is Enough

I also see the sacred as a constant process of creation. I believe in the creativity of the cosmos which creates through us too and gives us power to shape change in this world.

I’m inspired by life, beauty, nature, science, and the mystic traditions in most world religions.

I also have a deep inclination toward Daoism and earth-based spirituality.

I believe our tradition is enriched by our theological diversity. We draw from many sources because there’s wisdom in each of them to help give meaning and purpose to our lives and to live our values in the world.

“At the center of Mariela’s theology is an idea about beauty that comes out of the Whiteheadian process tradition. Beauty, as Whitehead understands it, is the telos or aim of the universe. Beauty is not merely a harmonization of contrasts (i.e. the classical Greco-Roman ideal) but is the creative deepening of experience through the integration of contrasts. Mariela’s personal theology works through this idea through the concepts of savoring and serving, awe and altruism. But I mention it here because it helps me to identify what I see in Mariela as a person. She is as fully and openly and beautifully human (in the Whiteheadian sense) as anyone I’ve ever met.”

Michael S. Hogue, Ph.D.

Professor of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion, Meadville Lombard Theological School