Hope you enjoy the blog; may it bless and encourage you!

Murphy Geer Toerner

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Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Scenery People

How do we survive family dysfunction?  We learn to: fly under the radar, be seen and not heard, pursue perfection, obey promptly, play quietly, deny feelings, suppress thoughts, keep secrets, and tell adults what they want to hear.  

In severely dysfunctional homes, we learn that dissociation, not dogs, is our best friend (even though it costs us huge portions of our memory).  In order to survive, we learn to "X" ourselves out as people.  Our joy, spontaneity, hope, and child-likeness is quashed and we intuitively know it is not safe to ask for what we want or need.  When carried to an extreme, these defense mechanisms unequivocally change us from "real" people to "scenery" people.  

What's so bad about "scenery" people?  I'll tell you.  "Scenery" people easily and effortlessly replicate and re-create themselves.  In no time at all, one "scenery" person rubs off onto scores of others transforming them into dull, lifeless, disingenuous, inauthentic, uncaring, unloving droids, i.e. "scenery" people.

God never designed human beings to be pieces of scenery.  We are created to be image bearers. We are made from muscle, bone, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and more. We have hearts and minds; personalities and temperaments. According to our original design, we are supposed to be open, honest, real, and transparent.  We have eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear.   Our hands and arms can touch, hold, and comfort.  God gives us the ability and desire to love others and help others.  We portray Him well when we fulfill His design.




  1. What a powerful post! Thanks, Murphy. I have never thought about this dynamic in terms of "scenery" and "real," and I think this is a powerful metaphor.

  2. Oh wow. I came by to say hello because I saw you at CPYU. But this... this! I'm going to bookmark it. So in line with all the things I've been thinking about as I work on my second book. (Family dysfunction is endlessly interesting. Well, to me anyway.)

  3. Okay, sometimes the editing process means things get excised. But for now I have to thank you again for this little post. I quoted you in my next book (hopefully the quote will survive editorial scrutiny! :)

  4. L.L. Barkat - I'd like to know more about you. Who are you (not just your bio on your blog?)

    Thanks for the comments. I am most grateful.

  5. Great summary of what I conceive to be a complex and confusing subject. Thanks.