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Past Updates

Jan 17, 2006
Frankl's virture

I was walking through Waldenbooks last week and came upon John McCain’s newest book, filled with stories for our children (and for us). What a great read. It is well written with examples of men and women who have lived life at the fullest. Many of those people have also suffered extensively. The section on “Virtue” caught my eye and noticed the person highlighted in this section is Viktor Frankl, the Jewish psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps.

In Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (1946), he makes the observation that a person can live through any “what” if that person has a “why” to live for. The lack of purpose and the corresponding lack of hope are deadly. Perhaps this is why the writer of Proverbs said, “without a vision the people perish”. It is a death to live without hope. Frankel found that this “why” was also something that no one could take from him. They took his life, his reputations, his possession, his family, his wife, even his life’s work. They took it all from him. Cruelly treated, starved, beaten, disease, lice, little food, without much chance of escape, back breaking labor day in and day out, watching many friends die and still he had one thing no one could take away.

As a pastor you face things each day that attempt to strip you of purpose, hope, you “why”. As a pastor you face many people who have already been stripped of all things. The “whats” have been so hard, that they have destroyed the person, reducing the person to a materialistic and mechanistic pile of goo. These people aren’t fun to deal with. No purpose, no life, no fairness—just the threat of power (but really what power—they can’t take from you the one thing.)

At times when I am lucid, when I am clear I know my “why”. I know that there is nothing that anyone can do to me or against me that can take away my why. There are times when I am so clear about this. Unlike Frankl I don’t wake each day in Auswich with no food, no freedom, no heat, no loved ones…If he could have hope there, you and I can have hope here.