Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dream a Little – No, A Big – Dream

The word “dream” has arisen several times over the last few weeks of my life. Dreaming can mean wishful thinking about what could be. Or fantasizing about what is unlikely but would be welcome. Or those strange movies that play in our minds while we sleep.

In ancient times people saw dreams as God’s messengers. Interpreters of dreams were held in high regard (at least as long as their interpretations proved true or matched the hopes and wishes of the dreamer).

The Bible tells the stories of dreams and dreamers – Joseph, Daniel, Joseph the father of Jesus, Paul. How did they know that God was speaking and not last night’s dinner?

In all of these stories, God intrudes. God invades the dreams and lives of people without warning. God uses dreams to get their attention or to leverage a change in course.

God’s dreams are grander of ours. We dream of an easier life – God dreams of a fulfilling life. We dream of more of what we love – God dreams of more love. We dream of no cares – God dreams of our caring as deeply as does the One in whose image we are made.

One of the ways to know where our dreams originate is to ask whom they resemble. If they are inflated versions of us, then we know they come from inside. If they look as big, as holy, as loving as God… they are something beyond and outside us. They are God’s dream.

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One Man’s Death

Much has been written this week about the death of Robin Williams. Sadly – and not surprisingly – not all of it kind or helpful or insightful. But much, especially among the community of faith, has been. If you struggle with depression  and especially with suicide (or know someone who does), please see the links below for information, thoughts, and resources.

At the same time there are bigger things happening than the death of a single beloved comedian: the unrest in Ferguson, MO… the Ebola epidemic in Africa… the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria… you get the picture. Terrible things. Unimaginable things. Perhaps that is now and always the point.

The death of a single person is something we can grasp. And the unfolding story of depression, illness, addiction overlaps with many of our own experiences. Our tendency to identify with lovable stars and to think we know them deepens the personal sense of loss.

I hope this also reminds us that we make a difference – most of us – with other individuals. We don’t have the influence to change the course of cultures or history. We lack the stature to have the President or our Senator take our calls (not that we should not speak out and speak up however!).

People around us need our love and understanding. They need to connect with people of faith who demonstrate in real-time and real situations the love of Christ. It is not a coincidence that God’s great plans came to fruition in real people – Abraham and his crazy extended family, David and his flawed descendents,  and ultimately in Jesus of Nazareth who lived in a particular place and at a particular time in human history.

Somewhere near you someone needs you. Somewhere near you may be the person you need. God works that way. And it works.

RESOURCES

In Which Depression Is Not Your Fault 

After The Laughter The Waves of Dread

NAMI What We Can Do About Depression

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Lessons from Wednesday – Learning to Forgive

This past Wednesday, something happened that left me in a storm of emotions -anger, hurt, regret, loss. A friend — someone in whom I confided and with whom I was very open about a subject on which we disagreed but whom I counseled about how to lead in a touchy situation at his request —  turned out to be a Judas. I learned in a very public way that my trust was misplaced and that this person not only was not my friend but lacked integrity and honor. I was – and am – devastated.

I hesitate to write such harsh words. And you would be right. But I share such a harsh tale to talk about the spiritual and personal issues is raises for me.

Today – on Friday – I am struggling a bit with forgiveness. It will be a long journey. This person will likely not be my friend ever again. I certainly won’t trust him. Nor, I think, does God or inner peace require that I do so.  But I have to come to a place of forgiveness. Today I want to be angry and self-righteous. But I need to move toward forgiveness and charity.

This is not the first time I have faced betrayal – probably not you either. And it won’t be the last. But I have learned at least that bitterness only takes root and grows. Regret becomes a sinkhole into which we fall if we are not careful. Unforgiveness poisons our spirits and shrivels our own experience of God’s grace and forgiveness.

After all these years I am still devastated when these things come. But I am learning better all the time how to live into and with that pain and move toward forgiveness and newness. If you struggle with this I am with you… but the struggle is worth it. Grow up with me into forgiveness and graciousness.

 

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Mmathew 5:18 The Message

 

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I Am A Sabbath-Breaker

I am. More accurately, I am a Sabbath-avoider which amounts to the same thing.

When Moses receives the Ten Commandments on Sinai, among the first is this —

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.”
(Exodus 20:8-11 NRSV)

I can’t remember the last time I took a real Sabbath… when I did no work, not even a little. When I stopped trying to manipulate and coerce my world into being what I want it to be. When I rested in the reminder of God’s work as opposed to my work.

I decided a few days ago to take a Sabbath from Facebook and Twitter – a kind of electronic Sabbath. How hard it has been! Much harder than I imagined. I have had to stop myself from opening a browser tab to see either of them. I have had people text me to tell me about something they thought I missed on Facebook. (The irony that some of you will read this from a link on my Facebook page or Twitter feed is not lost on me).

It is hard to rest. It is hard to let things lie that seem important or urgent. It is hard to admit by resting that the world continues to revolve without our active spinning it on its axis.

When did you last have a real Sabbath day – a day of rest, a day of real renewal, a day in which your Creator is proclaimed as Lord (and you are reminded that you are not)? And more to the point of the Scripture — how will you make it  necessary rhythm of your life?

I am working on it… I need to rest on it.

“I’m of the opinion that busyness is a deeper threat to the soul than pornography ever was.”

—Author and speaker Gordon MacDonald

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