The Self-Made Man?
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10,16-18; Romans 5:15b-19; Matthew 10:[16-23]24-33
20 June, 1999
Happy Fathers Day to all you fathers and especially to Rob Andrews who is the proud parent of Meredith Ashley Andrews - our soon to be baptized newest Christian. What two ideas can we bring together that better serve to complement each other so much as fatherhood and infant baptism?
First a story about fatherhood: While in seminary a few summers ago I served as a chaplain in a Boston area hospital. Six seminarians were assigned to various wings of the hospital where we listened, prayed, comforted and sometimes laughed or cried with our patients, their families and the staff. One of my wards had patients recovering from knee and hip surgery, so I only saw those patients a few times before they were discharged. The other ward served patients with cancer and other chronic diseases so I was able to develop longer term relationships with these patients.
One patient on that long-term care ward was named George. During our first visits I learned that George was a World War II infantryman and that after the war George started a metal parts manufacturing business before he married. Even in his late seventies George bore the signs of having been a rugged, muscular man, the kind you would naturally imagine when thinking of a self-reliant person who dealt with machinists, welders and hot metal parts. I enjoyed hearing how George had built up his business from nothing, but I suspected there was much more to his story. George had always enjoyed being in charge and in control, so the hospital environment made him uneasy as he found himself neither in charge and certainly not in control.
After a number of chatty visits I came into George's room one day to find him holding back his tears. Having just been trained in the psychological theories of Carl Rogers, I was eager to try the bold venture of a statement summarizing the situation. ...
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