The Questions We Seek and the Answers That Choose Us

            Before I accepted the call to ministry, my adult life had largely been spent devoted to psychology.  Not the touchy-feely kind, but the research kind.  I’ve trained a rat to press a button to receive food, I’ve learned how certain medications change the way neurotransmitters act in the human brain, and I’ve learned—and forgotten—reams of information about running statistical analyses (like two-factor t tests and ANOVAs) by hand.  But my biggest contribution to science is that I spent a few years working in a lab that studied the effects of certain medications on human behavior.  The lab’s goal was to find a medicine that could be used to treat the abuse of specific recreational drugs.

            When I was a kid, I never really had an answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I assumed a role that would fit me was out there somewhere, and I further assumed that, as a child, I had not found it yet.  I didn’t know much about what scientists did all day, but I knew they wore white coats and goggles, and that they worked in labs, and I thought all of that was very cool!  What I did know for sure was that I wanted to gain a better understanding about why people act the way(s) we do.  Why do some people always seem aggressive?  Why are some so competitive?  How can some maintain hope and a positive outlook no matter what life throws at them?  These were the questions that kept me up at night when I was in kindergarten—and beyond.

            You’re probably already thinking that both psychology and religion are ways to find answers to these questions.  I think you’re right!  It’s likely no coincidence that these are the two fields I have given my life to, given the questions that have preoccupied me for so long.

Let’s interact: 

Do you have questions that have driven you your whole life?  I would love to hear about them! 

Do you think professions choose people, or people choose professions?

Why do you think people act the way(s) we do?

Derek Roe

Assistant Minister for Children & Youth Faith Formation –