Monday, November 30, 2009

A Strange Dream + A Rant on Christianity

I’m sick.  I did my last mowing of the year on Saturday, had Thanksgiving with my family that afternoon, and have felt awful ever since.  I think it’s probably a mix of sinuses, allergies, and the chilled November morning air.  After church yesterday, I plopped on the couch and lay there for the rest of the day, watching STAR WARS in HD on Spike and playing Oblivion.  Keisha bought me some stuff to make me feel better (Reeses, Smarties, Trail Mix, Sonic Rt 44 drink) and made some great beef stroganoff for supper.  I went to bed around 9:00.  I read for an hour or so and then turned the light off and instantly fell asleep.

My dreams are often weird, but last night’s was quite strange.  I don’t know why or who was doing it, but I was being crucified.  It was my fourth crucifixion.  Apparently I was getting crucified every week for some reason, and it was time again for my agony.  I was laying horizontal on top of a cross.  Tight leather straps bound my wrists above my head and bound my feet against the cross.  Behind my thighs were several large, rusty spikes.  My legs were forced down and the spikes went into them.  I don’t know what happened afterwards.  I was frantic and scared and dying.  And then I either died or didn’t, but there was a lot of blood.  A LOT of blood.

I’ve never really been one to think that dreams have a meaning.  Sure, I believe God used Joseph to interpret dreams for the pharaoh, Jacob fought with an angel in his sleep, and many other instances of Biblical dreaming.  I even think God still speaks to us in dream, but I don’t look into all dreams as having a message.  The slope is too sticky to do that, so I make a point in not looking into dreams.  (I’m speaking personally.  For others, God’s plan is undoubtedly different.)

But the thing is, after Sunday School yesterday, or after reading the final chapter of the Interrupted study I mentioned a few weeks back, I’ve been thinking about how we know what God wants us to do.  I’ve been wondering what sort of practical, everyday things in my life can I change or work on for God.  I wonder how to hear God’s voice guiding me.  And so I prayed last night before I went to sleep for God to show me what He wants me to do.  I randomly opened my Bible, which happened to fall on Psalm 83.  The first verse reads: “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!”

This was the exact thing I was wanting.  And I wondered back to the Psalmist, Asaph, and how he was feeling God’s absence.  I closed my Bible and prayed again for the Lord to show me ways to be more like Him in my daily walk.  I am not one of those Christians that think they are better than everyone because I have Jesus.  I’m not one of those Christians that will scorn someone because of their sin.  No, I am no better than anyone.  I am a fellow traveler in this quagmire of filth, willing to be there for anyone in need.  I don’t care if our ideals are different.  I don’t care if our religion’s are different.  What I care about is showing a loving heart and lending loving hands to those in need.

It sickens me when I hear people—Christians—putting down other people.  Christians are no better than anyone else.  No, Christ tells us to be lowly and to serve, not to be haughty and above others.  I hear Christians making fun of homosexuals and it breaks my heart.  I hear Christians using derogatory words for other ethnicities and it breaks my heart.  And yet we wonder why the world is not coming to Christ.

Jesus did not make fun of others.  He did not hang out with the educated and higher-up Jews; He spent his time with sinners and tax collectors (the lowliest in the Jewish society).  He met peoples physical needs before He met their spiritual ones, and that is what I want to do.  I want to be sensitive to my environment, to have open eyes to see where people are hurting and what they are needing.  I want to be the eyes and hands and feet of Christ, helping my fellow sojourners.

And so, like last night, I still pray for God to show me what I can do.  I pray that my eyes are opened and my ears tuned.  Like the Brandon Heath song (see below, it’s a very catchy song with a sweet beat), my prayer is “Give me your eyes for just one second, give me your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing, give me your love for humanity.  Give me your arms for the broken hearted ones that are far beyond my reach.  Give me your heart for the ones forgotten, give me your eyes so I can see.”

I see no meaning in my dream.  Not yet, anyway.  What I see is a world that desperately needs Jesus.  But I see a world that desperately needs food, clothing, shelter, protection, and love, too.  I see Christians that are too busy seeing to themselves and their own that the rest of the world is suffering.  I don’t want to be on that boat.  As corny as it sounds, I want to be on the love boat.  I want to show the world that we’re not all bad, that we’re not all spiteful and hateful, that we’re not all disrespectful and proud.  I want to show the love.


David Wagner said...

Yeah, I've never been able to settle on exactly how to approach dreams... strange that we even dream at all to begin with, really...

Good thoughts today, thanks for sharing. I hope you feel better soon.

marky said...

We need REM sleep, or we'd go crazy. Have you ever had a long period when you don't dream? You become very moody.

Freud thought that dreams were wish fulfilments. So, let’s hope that you don’t secretly dream of getting crucified!

Mostly, it’s just the brain having a good clean out.

I’ve got a friend who suffers from sleep paralysis. Basically, when you enter REM sleep, your body goes into a state of paralysis. When a person suffers from sleep paralysis, they wake up when their body is in full dream mode. Which means that they are fully awake when their body has went into the state of paralysis!

All they can do is lay there and panic.

Of course, as you are not well, your dreams take on a new stage of weirdness. The dreams you get when you’re unwell are bizarre to say the least! As you have around five different states of REM sleep during the night, it means your dreams get cut up into segments. But, it’s only the most lucid of these dreams we remember.

I once dreamt I was eating a water melon, and when I woke up, my pillow was gone! (Ok, so it’s an old one…But still a good un!)

logankstewart said...

@David: Yep. The whole idea of dreaming is strange, but pretty cool (usually).

@Marky: Wow, sleep paralysis would be terrible. I've never heard of that before. I hope I never have to experience it, either. Let's hope my brain's being cleaned out.