It's an interesting idea...one that you may not have considered...that
they can be both conscious and unconscious.
However, a minister...by profession...is usually trying to convert a person to a new belief...or to the deepening and widening of an established belief.
And the minister usually operates at the conscious level.
However...the person the minister is trying to convert may agree at the conscious level...but hold unconscious thoughts...beliefs...and feelings that would undermine that agreement.
This is what happens with sin...isn't it?...
Unconsciously a person may want to do good to someone...but the conscious strategy they use may be irrelevant like reparenting techniques... or sinful like spiritual direction that counsels adultery...or both. People may want to spread knowledge of God...and commit genocide in the process.
If ministers don't know how internal...unconscious beliefs are organized in the people they minister to...and how those beliefs are played out at the conscious level...intervening in their lives through ministry will be difficult at best.
Conscious thoughts...beliefs and feelings ...are the ones we know about and can get to easily because...they are specific to daily situations.
For example...professionals have ethical codes that help them make decisions on how to intervene with people.
Corporations have organizational goals that reflect what the company wants to keep or to get.
Families have traditions they want to keep and family boundaries that define them either as the Hatfields or the McCoys.
Unconscious thoughts...beliefs and feelings ...are core values and they are not easy to get to and articulate because they operate automatically largely out of our awareness. And...they are not specific to any particular situation. They color what a person does or doesn't do in every situation.
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a young man...a thief...was sent by the court for
He arrived for his appointment wearing a T-shirt with this messge on it..."It's not illegal if you don't get caught".
And using a technique to assess core beliefs...thoughts...and feelings...
the examiner helped the young man uncover a deeply held appreciation of his "oneness with humanity."
At the conscious level...this sense of oneness with others translated into a sense of entitlement..."what belongs to you belongs to me".
Core beliefs...thoughts...and feelings...however noble while they are
buried deep in the psyche...can express themselves
in behavior through strategies that contradict them. They may be misaligned even thought they always represent the better angels of our nature.
Jesus pointed this out innumerable times in the scriptures as when he told the centurion (Mt 8:5ff) that his faith cured the servant...or when he told the woman with the hemmorhage that her own faith cured her (Mt 9:21ff).
And if ministers accept the whole person as they are...then they have to find and accept people's unconscious beliefs about the world...for that is where a person's spiritual life really exists.
The trouble people get into often occurs because their conscious actions do not reflect accurately their core values...the better angels of their nature.
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