bring our hearts to You, warm them with Your love.
our wills to You, consecrate them to do Your work.
In the name of Christ, our Lord, we pray. Amen.
few years ago, I received a Fathers Day card from my son
Tim. On the front of it was a picture of a little boy sitting
up in bed. Terror was written on his face. His hair was standing
straight up, and the card said, "Dad, I want to thank you."
I wondered, a Fathers Day card with this boy terrorized,
had I done that to my son? I opened the card up and it said, "I
want to thank you for helping me kill all the dragons of my
mind so I could go out and fight the real ones."
know, we all have our dragons of the mind. My old professor,
Conrad Sommers, the psychiatrist whom I trained under in St.
Louis, said, "There are five drivers that get in the saddle
and drive us. Theyve got spurs on their boots and they
kick us, and all of our emotional miseries come from being dominated
by one of those drivers."
are the drivers he listed:
you got any of those driving you? At one time, I had them all.
dragons of the mind keep us from going and fighting the real
ones. They keep us from living in our humanity or experiencing
Gods grace, and they certainly keep us from the joy of
cant take time to grow. We have to do it now.
Were driven by pleasing everybody and doing everything
perfect. These are dragons of the mind.
a greater dragon though, the dragon that Jesus faced when he
went back home--the dragon of unbelief, the dragon of devaluing
Jesus went back home, he could do no mighty works among
them because they said, "Is not this the carpenter?
Do we not know his family? Are not his brothers and sisters among
us? Who is this man that claims to do mighty works? He is really
just one of us."
devalued Christ. They made him less than he really was. The real
demon that we have to face is the demon that takes away from us
the power to be who we are--those ideologies and philosophies and
political views and social and cultural views that reduce us to
less than being children of God. These demons tear us down.
Jung, the psychoanalyst, said, "The goal of therapy is
to move persons from the nothing buts of life to the more thans
has stuck in my mind. As a counselor, I have been dominated
by that desire to move persons from the nothing
but to the more than. You are nothing but a housewife, a businessman.
Youre nothing but a consumer. Youre nothing but this
put a label on you and you become simply a pawn on the
chessboard of life, you become dominated by the system. You let other people control who you are and what you think
yourself, and so to move beyond the nothing but to the more
than is a movement of grace. Thats what God is always doing,
moving us from what we are to what we can be.
me, some of the most thrilling words in the New Testament are
found in those words that Jesus addressed to Simon Peter when
he first met him. Simon Peter was just an ordinary fisherman,
probably roughhewn, profane. He reverted back in his moment of
temptation to his profanity and denied Christ with an oath.
ordinary man, this fisherman--Jesus looked at him and
are Simon. You will become Peter. [Peter is the Greek word
for rock.] You are an ordinary person, but you will become
I will make you that."
commitment of Christ is always to see what our possibility is. He never looked at an individual that he didnt see potential
there, because he knew that through Gods grace that person
could become less of what they had been and more of what God
would have them be.
was an old minister in the past generations, a country minister,
who preached a sermon with three points. His sermon was very
simple; it was based on the text, "By the grace of God I
am what I am." His three points were: Im not what
I ought to be. (All of us should accept that point.) Im
not what I used to be. (Thats hopeful, isnt it?) Im
not what I expect to be. No, Im not what I ought to be,
Im not what I used to be, thank God, but Im not what
I expect to be.
Frankl in his writings constantly used this expression: "If
we treat a person as he is, we make him worse. But, if we treat
him as though he is what he ought to be, we help him to become
all that he can be." Thats great advice for all of
us. If we treat our little kids as they are, theyll drive
us crazy. Well make them worse. If we look at them and
see the potential and see them for what they ought to be and
treat them that way, we help them to become all that they can
know that so many people fail because they do not get that affirmation
early in their life. Theyre not looked upon as persons
who can be, theyre looked upon as someone whos limited.
They are devalued even as the people of Christs hometown
devalued him nothing but a carpenter.
Miller, who wrote that wonderful book The Drama of the Gifted
Child: The Search for the True Self, says the problem is
that when a child is little they get the message: "Your
opinions dont count, youre just a child. Your feelings
dont count, youre just a child." And so they
Satir, the great therapist, once spoke of the five unfreedoms
in a workshop I attended. She would put earmuffs on a person
and say, "You dont hear what you hear, well
tell you what you heard." She would then blindfold that
person and say, "You dont see what you see, well
tell you what you saw."
she would put a gag around their mouth and say, "You cant talk about what you
want to talk about, well tell you what you can talk about
and the words you can use." Then she would tie a rope around
their stomach real tight and say, "You cant feel what
you feel, well tell you what you can feel."
little girl comes in one day after school very angry and her
mother says, "Oh, youre not angry, youre just
hungry. Sit down and eat something." Have you ever done
that? Discount the feelings?
demonstrate the fifth unfreedom, Satir would put handcuffs on
the person and say, "You cant work for yourself, youve
got to depend upon us to do it."
heres a person who cant hear, cant see, cant
speak, has knots in her stomach, and is handcuffed. Virginia
Satir said to us in the
workshop, "Your job is to set her free."
all need to be set free. We need to be set free to say were
not limited, were not handcuffed, were not blindfolded,
and were not gagged. God wants us to become who we can
of the great experiences of my life was visiting the nation of
Panama. I spent a week in the Canal Zone, preaching on Sunday
and visiting missions the rest of the week.
there, I heard from my friend Weston Ware of a church and a community
been completely transformed. He said, "You must go out and
visit it. Its San Miguelito.
I came here in the Peace Corps, this community was the most
degraded community that you
can imagine. Every house was made of a burlap sack and
had mud floors. There were no medical clinics. There was no school.
was no church. There was nothing. But, in five years that
has been completely transformed. You must go out and see
it, and you must meet the priest and the nuns from Chicago who
made that possible."
went to San Miguelito and I saw a lovely community. The houses
were made out of concrete blocks, no mud floors. There was a
clinic, a school, and a lovely open-air church overlooking the
whole community a church in the round seating 3000 people,
and it was packed every Sunday for Mass.
met the head priest, Leo Mann, the one who had led the mission
down there, and I said, "Leo,
what did you do?" He said, "Oh, I didnt do it,
God did it." "But, what did God ask you to do?" I
said. "All we did was go out into the homes of these people
and read to them from the New Testament. We told them that they
were the sons and daughters of God, and as such, they were the
leaders of humanity."
were these poor, ignorant, starving people in the most degraded
part of Panama City who were told that they were the sons and
daughters of God, and the leaders of humanity. "You know
what? They believed us. They believed us and their lives were
transformed," said Father Mann.
demonic powers want to reduce us you are nothing but.
The power of Christ says you are sons and daughters of God, and
you will become more and more by the grace of God. Im glad
that I can claim all of who I am on the basis of the God who
sent His Son into the world to say, "Brooks, you are more
gratitude, oh God, we thank You that You have spoken to us
the word of hope. You break the powers of a domination
system that reduces us to nothing, and You liberate us
to become people men, women, and children of
the highest potential as Your sons and daughters. We thank
You for this in
the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
©2000 Calvary Episcopal Church
A homily delivered at Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, TN on July
left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed
him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many
who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man
get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What
deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter,
the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon,
and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense
at him. Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without
honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in
their own house." And he could do no deed of power there, except
that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And
he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went out among the villages
Revised Standard Version)
Description: Follow the lead of Jesus and treat everyone-- including
yourself--according to their potential as a child of God.
keywords; dragons of the mind, Conrad Summers, Carl Jung, Brooks
Ramsey, goal of therapy, Christ as carpenter, Mark 6: 1-6; believing
in self, children of God. Frankl, Victor Frankl, Simon Peter, the
link words: lessons of Jesus
The Nuts and Bolts of Jungian Psychology and Spirituality
A Prayer for Living with Purpose
How can God love us when we consistently fail to follow His Word?