Renewing Our Minds



"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."  (Romans 12:2)

--written by Rev. Shana Johnson

For the next few weeks I will sharing with you something I wrote a couple of years ago. As I contemplated some of the spiritual maladies we all face, I decided to write a sermon/study series I entitled "Renewing Our Minds" in which I named spiritual disorders and how you can identify them in yourselves and in the faith community.

I created a sort of fact sheet that you might find as a pamphlet in the waiting room of a doctor's office or as a page on WebMD. These are meant to be a tongue-in-cheek way of not only offering ourselves the grace and humor to be honest about our spiritual struggles, but also as a way to begin a wider conversation about those things that exist and we see in our personal lives and in the lives of our churches, yet rarely speak of openly.

My hope in sharing them with you is to spark some reflection and conversation.

SPIRITUAL AMNESIA: Forgetting Who and Whose We Are

Spiritual Amnesia derived from the word Greek Ἀμνησία which refers to memory.

Spiritual Amnesia is a condition in which our memory of who we are (children of God) and who we ultimately belong to (God alone) is disturbed.

Spiritual Amnesia is usually the result of a crisis situation or a defense mechanism in which one has justified certain beliefs or behaviors not in harmony with one's spiritual nature.

One of the most harmful effects of this type of amnesia is the inability to imagine the future.

What Are the Symptoms of Spiritual Amnesia?

The most common symptoms are:

Long periods of denial about the existence or presence of God

An inability to recall the presence of God in past events of one's own life or others

Self diagnosis

You may suffer from Spiritual Amnesia:

If you have convinced yourself that your life belongs to you and you alone.

If you believe that your destiny or your future is the result of your own doing alone.

If you avoid opportunities to explore or get in touch with the presence of the Divine in your life.


Unlike other forms of amnesia, spiritual amnesia can be resolved immediately through prayer or any spiritual discipline that facilitates a reconnection between yourself and God.

SPRITITUAL AMNESIA: Forgetting Who and Whose We Are

Step 1: Begin with the Big Questions

Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose?

  • In the Christian tradition, one of the ways we use to teach about our spiritual nature is through the catechisms.
  • In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the very first question that is asked is "What is the chief end (purpose) of humankind?"
  • The answer given is "Humankind's chief end (purpose) is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever."

Step 2: Remember who God calls you to be

Remember that God doesn't call us to be perfect, only faithful.
As Morton Kelsey once wrote, "The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners."

Step 3: Let go and let God

Learn to let God take the lead in your life

We do not always have to be in control, God has not asked us to be. All that God has asked of us is our sincere, honest devotion.

SPRITITUAL AMNESIA: Forgetting Who and Whose We Are

Food for thought

Mother Teresa in her writings and in her life's work would often reference a poem that she hung on the wall of the orphanage she founded in Calcutta. Its source is unknown.


People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends & some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

People may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It is never between you and them anyway.

Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, Conference Minister