A Look Behind the Books, A New Christian Inspirational Trilogy, Catholic, Christian inspirational Fiction, Riding Out the Wreckage

Can Jordan Peterson Be a Good Example to Catholics? Bishop Barron Helps Me Decide

12 Rules Cover

The positive effect Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos are having on the youth of today, especially young men, is undeniable. Though a big fan of his, I was still concerned that his views may be at odds with Catholic teaching.

I am currently writing the third book in The Father Michael Trilogy and looking for a realistic way to bring hope to Joe Harper and those who suffer like him with ulcerative colitis or other IBDs.

Joe comes from a Catholic family, so is Dr. Peterson a good spiritual father for him?


Peterson Portrait Photo
Photo By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70242230

Dr. Peterson Attacks Nihilism

Life is difficult and Dr. Peterson doesn’t sugarcoat the fact.  His is not a ‘feel-good’ book, which makes a refreshing change.

But he stresses that throwing our hands up in despair is irresponsible and the easy way out. ‘Everything is horrible, there’s nothing I can (want) to do about it, so what is the point of existence? I’ll just feel sorry for myself and make everyone else around me more miserable, too.’

Instead Dr. Peterson urges us to stand up and voluntarily accept ‘the burden of Being’ and ‘the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open.’ ‘There is evil to overcome, suffering to ameliorate, and yourself to better.’ We must make whatever sacrifices are needed in order to ‘generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language.)’

Christ ‘outlines … the proper aim of mankind’ in the Sermon on the Mount. We must ‘aim at the highest good’ which puts us on a heavenward trajectory and ‘makes (us) hopeful.’

The psychologist urges us not to make the world a worse place but a better place. Either we are advancing the world towards Hell or towards Heaven. Which do we want to inhabit?

He points to history, warning us of the extremes to which people will go when they don’t take on the burden for improving life but instead seek scapegoats for their unhappiness. They become bitter, resentful, vengeful and ultimately murderous. He reminds us of the excesses of Hitler, Stalin, and the Communist Party in China and Russia in the 20th Century. Extreme right and extreme left ideologies are equally dangerous.

In Our Lord’s prayer we ask that “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” and Dr. Peterson states clearly, ‘To place the alleviation of unnecessary pain and suffering at the pinnacle of your hierarchy of value is to work to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth.’ This viewpoint does not conflict with Catholicism or Christianity in general.

He tells us to meet suffering head on and be heroes – a great message for the lost young men of today. What a worthy challenge! Be the hero who reduces the suffering of others.

That is, after all, is Who Christ was.

Peterson Portrait Lecturing
Photo by Adam Jacobs – Peterson Lecture, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57264962

Renewing Interest in the Bible

Dr. Peterson explains why the Bible is profoundly meaningful and, as Bishop Barron says in his podcast The Word on Fire Show WOF117: Who Is Jordan Peterson?  is ‘uncovering a dimension of these texts which is very life-giving and illuminating.’

He says that the clinical psychologist has brought to light once more why Scripture matters and is ‘recovering the power of those texts’. They are not dead myths, which prominent atheists would have us believe, otherwise they couldn’t have lasted so long and had such influence.

As a direct result of Dr. Peterson’s work, it has become ‘cool’ to read the Bible. I found two very encouraging comments posted on Bishop Robert Barron’s podcast on Dr. Peterson:

“Jordan Peterson and Bishop Barron are the two biggest reasons why I’m getting confirmed Catholic tomorrow 😀. God bless you both”

“…I was a cradle catholic and left the church when I was 18….I went to my first confession in 20 years last month and have gone to every service since Ash Wednesday thanks to Dr Peterson’s work. I’ve even picked up the Bible.. it is like a switch has been flipped.”

What a resounding endorsement!

Bishop Barron states that Dr. Peterson believes deeply in the texts of the Bible and is spreading the message that faith in them is a matter of life and death. This is most definitely the Christian viewpoint!

Where Peterson’s Views Diverge from Catholicism


Bishop Barron
Bishop Robert Barron
By Frank Licorice [CC BY-SA 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
On the topic of whether Dr. Peterson’s views are Christian, Bishop Barron is scrupulously fair. He stresses that the author doesn’t claim to be a Christian theologian nor a Christian – he’s looking at the Bible from a purely psychological viewpoint.


Dr. Peterson is an avid follower of Jung, who said that the first great psychologists were the early Church Fathers. Yet in his video Bishop Barron on the Jordan Peterson Phenomenon  the bishop cautions that the psychologist’s ideas verge on Gnosticism – the idea that only a few cognoscenti can know Christianity. Wikipedia describes one of the Gnostic core teachings as ‘To achieve salvation, one needs to get in touch with secret knowledge.’

Bishop Barron’s other concern with Gnostics is that they tend to ‘bracket the historical references in these biblical texts,’ thereby ignoring the reality of events in the Bible. The bishop reminds us that, rather than being philosophical or psychological, ‘Christianity is stubbornly historical.’ It matters that God really did become man, that He really did rise from the dead. Those are historical facts.

Christ is not an archetype, as Dr. Peterson describes Him – He is not a myth. The ‘myth’ of Christ is firmly grounded in history.

Myths are not rooted in a specific time or place: they happened ‘once upon a time’ and ‘in a faraway galaxy.’ Jesus Christ was ‘crucified under Pontius Pilate.’ We know who Pilate was, where he lived and when. The New Testament may contain mythical elements but is also historical: the Church stubbornly insists on that.

Bishop Barron says the problem with liberal theology is that it sees God ‘as the deep background music of life.’ Biblical theology says that God ‘is a Person who acts in history and has purposes and it is the primacy of God’s Grace that breaks into my life and changes me.’

Bishop Barron endorses Dr. Peterson’s book but cautions us against the Gnostic tendencies in it.

Is Dr. Peterson a Christian?

He makes frequent statements that suggest a belief in God. For example, ‘you have a spark of the divine in you, which belongs not to you, but to God.’ Yet when asked in interviews he declines to come down on one side or the other.

About the Resurrection, he says that the literal (historical) and metaphysical (archetypal) sometimes touch – and that is a miracle. He is not excluding the possibility that the Resurrection truly happened. He is simply unsure about its historical truth and needs another three years to go into it.

Bishop Barron has no problem with that. He suggests we look at St. Paul, who after his encounter with the Risen Christ went to Arabia for three years to sort himself out before coming back to preach the Gospel.  Dr. Peterson is in good company.


The bishop regards Dr. Peterson as a spiritual father for young men, whom the psychologist says are starving for direction. Spiritual masters who give spiritual instruction are what they need, according to Bishop Barron, who adds that priests would do well to talk in the same manner as the author of the 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Therefore I feel confident that Dr. Jordan Peterson will be a good influence on Joe. He will encourage the teenager to read the Bible. He will urge him to overcome his suffering by being the hero who takes responsibility for his actions and makes the world a better place.

Using him as a spiritual adviser to Joe is not a bad place to start.

Where do you stand on Dr. Jordan Peterson? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!


12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

The Word on Fire Show WOF117: Who Is Jordan Peterson?

Bishop Barron on the Jordan Peterson Phenomenon



A Father Michael Book, A New Christian Inspirational Trilogy, Catholic, Equine therapy, Veterans with PTSD

The Story of a Wounded Horse & His Soldier

Father Michael’s brother-in-law has an impossible house guest – Justin, an army veteran suffering from PTSD – and the man is making life miserable for his host family.

But the priest has no practical assistance to offer, until an incident in church gives him an idea. Naturally, his plan involves the ever-reluctant and newly-wed trainer Jack Harper. It will also require the help of Isaac, a very special but damaged horse on his farm.

And a wager.

Meanwhile Father Michael gives a podcast interview to a local atheist hoping to trip him up on Catholic matters. As soon as the podcast is aired, church attendance plummets and the priest is under intense pressure from his bishop to rectify the situation.

Justin is no closer to coming back to the faith and the podcaster is rejoicing in his victory over the Church.

Will God makes good come out of evil for those who love Him, as Father Michael desperately wants to believe?

A New Christian Inspirational Trilogy

How the Soft Eyes of a Rescued Horse Ignited a Book

In February my husband’s sweet gelding succumbed to cancer and had to be put down.

We cried for hours: Callow Double Clover aka CD had been with us for 21 years. We’d bought him from a farmer in Ireland when he was 5 years old.

Many people in both the Richmond area and here in Southern Maryland where we currently live remember the gentle soul who helped so many riders gain back their confidence in the saddle.

Too Few

Not only did we miss our beloved Irish horse, but we were now down to two horses at the farm. If I took mine off the property my friend’s huge Clydesdale would go berserk and jump the gate to follow him – he’d done it once before.

If the Clydesdale were to leave, my gelding Cruz Bay would gallop around and break a leg.

We needed a companion horse.

Enter Noah

Lori Harrington, director of Freedom Hill Horse Rescue, had recently taken in four horses from a starvation situation. Their owner had abandoned them in a tiny paddock where there were originally five horses, but one had died the morning the rescue came to take them away.

With not enough to eat, competition for food had been fierce. Gentle Noah was a big loser in this fight: he was picked on by the other horses, kicked and bitten and prevented from eating anything at all.

The Thoroughbred was skin and bone and missing hair everywhere.


This is Noah in his tiny paddock with no grass. His expression tells you that he wasn’t interested in life anymore.

With the great care of the Freedom Hill staff he was already starting to fill out, and within a month of being fostered at my place I was able to take this photo of him:

Noah looking more filled out

He was a perfect gentleman, and great company for the massive Clydesdale whenever I needed to take Cruz anywhere. Thanks to him, I was once again free to go on trail rides, lessons and shows.

Not only that, but I loved stroking his head and losing myself in his dark brown eyes. Even after his bad experiences, he was still trusting and forgiving.

Interest in Noah Develops Fast

He has an enlarged left knee from an old racing injury that was never properly tended to, and although not lame, will probably not be a good candidate for riding.

I contacted a veteran in Special Forces, whose name had been given to me by Lyndi Caruso, a whiz in essential oil therapy. Kevin was immediately interested in coming to see Noah. A former PTSD sufferer himself, he wanted to start an equine therapy program for other veterans with the disorder.

After meeting with the Freedom Hill board to discuss his program, he arrived with his psychologist wife to see Noah at my barn.

The horse liked him immediately. Equally important, Kevin instantly liked Noah.

It didn’t matter to him that the horse may be unrideable. He needed a horse that veterans could bond with on the ground. That was the most important function Noah would have if he went into Kevin’s program.

Look Into My Eyes…



Kevin gave me some great insights into what it’s like to have PTSD and how horses help veterans heal from it – horses helped him get over it.

Jokingly I asked him to explain to me how these animals have such amazing healing powers ‘in three words or less.’

He said: “I can tell you in one word: connection.”

It’s hard to understand how that works unless you’ve looked into the luminous eyes of a loving soul like Noah and felt his soft acceptance of who you are.

Fueled by Noah’s gentleness and with Kevin’s assistance, I’ve attempted to convey the seemingly magical power of a horse to heal PTSD in Riding Out the Wager.

I’ll be sharing more about the book closer to its release date in August 2017.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in finding out more about equine therapy for veterans, here’s an excellent article: Reining In PTSD with Equestrian Therapy

P.S.  Kevin did adopt Noah. Here he is enjoying the company of his new BFF Bijoux.

The story doesn’t end there, but that’s for another day!

Noah with his new friend







A New Christian Inspirational Trilogy

Riding Out the Wager

 wager new book cover five

Riding Out the Wager will be available as an eBook in August 2017.

The first  in The Father Michael Trilogy, it features the Catholic priest who figured prominently in The Jack Harper Trilogy.

Father Michael has to help a man who is struggling with PTSD and, as usual, he will involve Jack!

The plot was prompted by the arrival of a sweet grey rescue horse on my farm and at the same time an introduction to a young veteran.

Want to be a beta reader for this book?

That would be awesome! 

How does it work?

I send you the as yet unpublished version of the book in your choice of format and you give me feedback on:

  • How you like it – the plot, the characters, the pacing of the story and anything else you want to tell me about
  • Any typos you find.

If you give me permission, your name will be included in the Acknowledgements. Once it’s published, I will send you the link to the free version of the ebook on Amazon – and hope you’ll give it a review. 🙂

Sound interesting?

Great! Fill out the Contact Form and I’ll be in touch.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you!