Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Inbreaking Dream

Note: I got confused on my new schedule this week, so I'll do a post today, then "Quoting Theology" tomorrow. Next week I'll post on my intended schedule (Mon, Tue, Thurs)

The Inbreaking Dream
In some ways I think that being a Christian is like having this recurring dream. The dream is a vivid and exciting reality of joy and harmony. When you first began to have the dream, it was fleeting and consisted simply of brief glimpses and faint feelings. As time goes on and the dream recurs, it becomes more detailed and elaborate. Slowly, you become aware of the stark contrast between the dream and your waking reality, which begins to seem drab and meaningless by comparison. Honestly, this is a bit depressing at first, and sometimes you wish that you could stop having the dream, so that you wouldn't be so troubled by the disparity. But then, the craziest thing happens. You begin to catch glimpses of the dream in your waking reality. "What if..." you wonder, "What if, its true...or rather it can be true?"

At this point, you have a few choices:
a) You can choose despair. You can choose to focus on the disparity between this world and the world of the dream. You would then naturally long for escape from your waking reality into your dream reality through sleep and possibly even through death. You'd wish you could spend all of your time sleeping. You'd buy sleeping'd put dark curtains on all of your'd soundproof your'd try to avoid all outside distractions, in the pursuit of spending as much time sleeping as you could, basking in the joy and pleasure of the dream.
b) You could convince yourself that the dream is just a silly fantasy, and do everything in your power to rid yourself of it. You could try to domesticate the dream so that is down to earth and "sensible".
c) You can pursue the inbreaking of the dream into reality You can pour your time and energy into bringing the joy, the harmony, the colors and the LIFE into your waking world.

This metaphor is imperfect. For one thing it is far too individualistic. Further, the accusation can be made that I seem to be describing a type of mental illness (though I would further argue that true followers of the Way of Jesus will live in a way that is at odds with what is considered normal or even "sane" in the world). At the same time, I think it is quite appropriate and maybe even useful for illustrating the situation we find ourselves in...both as "Christians" and as churches. I am weary beyond my ability to describe, of choices A and B, or any combination of the two, popular though they may be. As for me, I choose C...I choose hope.


Phil said...

It kind of hearkens back to the Matrix metaphor for Christianity that was so popular back about 5-7 years ago.

Where it works a little better is that, we wake up and are no longer in the dream, but hopefully a piece of the dream remains with us and that's what we pursue.

Or maybe not. All metaphors break down eventually.

Jason said...

I choose C, too. Thanks for the thoughts today.

Dana said...

Ok, I'm not sure I remembered to tell you this story yet. So.. the other day, I was really tired because Chloe had woken up in the middle of the night and the after I fed her, I couldn't go back to sleep. So, I was changing her diaper and as I was about to fasten the second side, I thought to myself (or maybe even said to myself) "wait, was there already a diaper on her"? And sure enough, I was putting one diaper on top of the other (which actually might not be a bad idea considering the blow outs). Anyway, the point that I'm making here is that going crazy isn 't that bad. I'm okay if other people see me as crazy. I might as well do it for a good reason. I choose C also! I liked this post. I hope you have a great day! I love you!

Kenny Payne said...


Nice image of the dream breaking into reality. I think that is a great metaphor for what Jesus had in mind by his interesting phase "the renewal of all things." I have been reading a good book on spirituality and it called me to this same response of trying to see the dream breaking into reality rather than encouraging me to escape the world to persue my own spiritual dream. Thanks for the post.