Introduction. I did not expect to recall this nap dream. I got busy with other things and completely lost consciousness of it's details. I realized I could do nothing but be available should it return. While I was eating a veggie burger at Burger King it popped back up with all the details I had remembered earlier. I immediately wrote what follows. Placing this kind of material on this public blog is a significant step in my allowing others to more fully 'know' my deeper heart regarding personal history. I pray that it may some day serve as a positive and reconciling purpose.
Dream: I was with a large gathering of the United Church of Christ. One of my older brothers sat by me. During announcements his wife ( I will call Jane*) very warmly reminded everyone of various dining opportunities they had following the service. Astonished I turned to my brother and asked, " Jane is comfortable partaking in a program with the UCC?"
The scene then shows a very large modern conservative Church of Christ building. Brent and I are eating together but I let myself get lured away from him into some of the activities taking place. I finally begin walking across the campus to find him and realize that I am naked. I was very bothered and irritated at myself for allowing this. But as in a previous dreams no one seems to notice in any negative way. As I get back into the main COC building I greet my Dad and Jane's father. They had served as elders together in my home childhood church.
The final scene is Brent and I reaching a very fine restaurant where others who have been in the dream are also gathering. At first we are asked to order from the menu but then food is brought to Brent and me. We are told that Jane had ordered and paid for our meals. She was sure we would like her choice. And we did.
|Former Poplar Street Church Of Christ- Florence, AL|
REFLECTION: My dreams seem to go back for more detailed images on issues and people I have considered over and completed in my life story. I have a tendency to not place much ongoing importance on 'where I have come from' and how it continues to shape my consciousness. It seems like something that was 'long ago' and could easily become nearly lost for me. I can fail to realize how these early experiences still serve as personal foundation in very concrete ways. The dream source makes it clear that I had best always see the importance of my childhood religious and family formation. That I must take time to recognize that my past, and those in it, are Sanctified. Sanctification is indicated by all the scenes being in a church environment.
I think my dreams as a whole demonstrate just how practical and conservative the teaching methods of the Unconscious can be. Patiently the dream source selects areas from my past experience and persistently in slightly different ways and symbols reminds me of the importance of what I could consciously so easily dismiss and forget. Is this not what we would expect of a genuinely wise teacher and counselor? When my experiences of the Collective Unconscious first came they were like thunder, overwhelming, frightening and awe inspiring. But now the need for the storm is past and the same source becomes a serious persistent teacher of fundamentals. The Collective Unconscious can be close to boring in this respect. It nearly makes one ask, 'Where are the thunder bolts and shocking visions like at Point Park in Houston?' ** But life can't be all on the mountaintop, full of fresh dominating dazzling emotion and vision. There must also be a settling down and settling in time, time to absorb and fully integrate what the thunder proclaimed. Life sometimes has to teach with a jolt but it also then needs to be lived in a thoroughly human and intentional fashion. It seems to stress that times of 'ordinary' life which were highly formative are ones that need to be returned to, worked with and never forgotten. This applies to the negative emotional experiences and the positive. For the completed life involves a bringing together and connecting these seemingly opposed happenings..
Jane Hibbett's father was on the opposite side of a church split from my Dad. Before that the families had been good social Christian friends. Jane's family and another of my brother's families left with others to form a new Church of Christ. I was in high school when all this happened. Church became a divisive issue in the family life of these two brothers, who initially agreed with their Dad on the 'issues.' Jane was very firm in the belief that our family was seriously wrong doctrinally and felt it was wrong for her to even visit our church much less attend it with her husband. My Dad was on the 'liberal' side of the debate so was more able to give his sons his blessing for them being members of the 'other' church. Jane I think struggled to be happy about my decision to become what from her viewpoint was a dangerously 'liberal' Church of Christ preacher.
|I Was A UCC Preacher Here for 20 Years|
I no doubt, more than I was conscious, found out the hard way that religion can be very hideous. Just as hideous as any witch presentation of the anima personality in a dream. Such a frightening anima figure though, if stuck with, turns out to be a most trusted and needed friend in ones inner life. There are parts and moments, I have found, of all religions which contain some element which seems to care little about the ugliness and harm it sometimes brings to human life, as long as one can maintain the conviction that , 'I am theologically or Biblically right.' In the dream Jane(along with my childhood religious experience) represents to me the sadness of religious division as well as the seeming irrationality of it. At one point during my 'creative illness' and while staying at my brother and Jane's home who graciously gave me room and board, I shared with Jane, 'Some of our religious heritage on both sides is a lot of B.S.' She did not react favorably to my comment. It was not considerate of me to be so blunt.
Here Jane appears to be fully involved in a UCC event. The UCC represents the other and most 'liberal' end of the protestant spectrum, so Jane's behavior was a totally unpredicted harmony of two 'opposites.' It was so pleasing to me to see her using her attractiveness and natural charm to be friends with a far greater range of Christians than her, or my, previous theology would have allowed.
|Modern Southern Church of Christ- similar to the dream image|
But the dream then switches to a COC environment. It is now 'modern' in its facilities but the dream does not say whether or not the theology has developed further. It does show that I am able to participate with them and to enjoy the fellowship. So the dream is bringing my 'opposing' church experiences together in an attempt to picture a 'union' of these opposites within my own psyche at least; if not pointing to the hope of some future outer communion between the two. I see little evidence of that in the outer world at this time. The dream also includes the adult men, Daddy and Jane's father, who were on opposite sides of the church conflict. Both were considered good and upright men in their hometown and by their respective churches and families. It seems an ugly joke of the unconscious that some opposing religious archetypes( such as liberal and conservative) could take over their friendship and turn them into serious religious opponents. This is just one occurrence of where this has happened to individuals and groups throughout religious history and in every religion.
Having some conscious way of understanding such dynamics of 'opposites' and how the unconscious in time is eventually aimed at reconciling all opposites was to become a central challenge of the second half of my life. This was a primary emphasis of the 'visions' I experienced beginning in August of '85. A primary power of early Christianity is that it claimed 'reconciling' ability, the power to bring into union the 'opposites.' It's actual history of fracturing and seeing other world faiths as 'the enemy' shows how it lost touch with that 'reconciliation' archetype. Scripture says ' God was reconciling the whole world to himself.' That archetype could still be a determining one were it elevated again to higher consciousness. Unity and inclusiveness would then become the more strongly felt need, rather than being 'right.' I have seen that archetype grow in importance in my development these last 2.5 decades. And this dream is a reminder to me of what I have leaned regarding such things; and the dream source obviously considers these as important matters, not ones to be forgotten with 'oh well.'
|St.Paul United Church Of Christ- Ohlman, IL|
I have another harmless 'naked' attack in this dream. By bringing this symbol up again I think I am being asked to 'face the fact' that I do live in some significant fear of 'being fully known' about what I believe and think regarding the dynamics of this dream. There are down sides and humiliations connected to any forward progress spiritually the dream is acknowledging. When I was first being affected by the contents of the unconscious in August '85 and many months to follow I wanted everyone to know just how 'free and liberal' I had managed to become. I cared little how anyone , especially the conservative background from which I came, thought or reacted to my new situation. I knew I had been propelled far from the orbit of my religious roots and it swelled my ego. I am sorry for that yet it seems to have been unavoidable in such a trans-formative experience which came upon me. I was dealing with surges of what Jung calls psychological 'inflation'. This is where one identifies too closely with the powerful archetypes and loses touch with their own humanity and the limits it imposes. In short , when one experiences the archetypal world directly s/he is at risk of practically thinking s/he is nearly God. Such inflation is certain to be balanced later with bouts of self defeating depression. I had that experience also.
But these extremes of 'high and low' emotional states has all but ended from those earlier days. I may not care so much as I fear(or am concerned) of 'being known',( the nakedness) for who and what I am. Simply becuase I know the 'newer me' is often no welcome in my former settings. And yes, it is people's reaction to me that I have concern about.( Placing this kind of material on this public blog is a significant step in my allowing others to more fully 'know' my deeper heart, much of what I think has come from what is our Collective Unconscious. I pray such information may some day serve a positive and reconciling purpose.)
This is not anything that shakes my hard-won and somewhat compelled changes in belief and values but I see how unlikely my viewpoint will effect or change those who believe as conservatively and sincerely as I once did. And I do not any longer enjoy the prospect of the 'opposites' confronting our culture being fully united in my life time. I sadly know from childhood experience that something far more valuable and precious can and usually is lost when individuals are (usually unconsciously) under the influence of 'opposing religious archetypes'. This is the foundation for the larger part of the wars of world history and a primary threat now to human survival not to mention the continual splitting of churches and religions from each other. So I will try to not kid myself that I do feel very 'naked' in the sight of the religious groups and family that formed me and were my youthful psychic foundation. I realize more than ever the gravity , danger and sadness of what it means to move significantly away from the religious beliefs with which one was first nurtured. But I also know this was a matter of essential fate for me. And I pray for good to come from this to myself and others, certainly including those persons and institutions of my past.
'Eating together' is an emphasis of the dream. Eating together symbolizes what we allow to nurture our inner selves as well as our physical bodies. The dream is saying the contents of my dreams are themselves the 'food' that I need to be eating. Also, when people or even ideas that seem very opposite 'eat together' and are nurtured by each other a union or 'sacred marriage' is potentially able to happen, truly a 'uniting of opposites.' Such is an answer to the central prayer of Jesus that , 'all be one.' Such oneness can never come by sheer will power and reason, it must be brought into reality by the Spirit of God and what I now understand to be the deep archetypal forces that connect all humans together.
The final part of the dream is a 'celebration' scene. It is one of fellowship and one where my conservative past is being just as generous to me now as it was in my youth. I cannot grasp this at a rational level for I have no reason to think that those minds and hearts represented by Jane have the freedom, even if at some level the desire, to treat me with such friendliness and genuine fellowship. But the dream gives me permission, and is likely insisting, to think of it being this way and thus to give such good will in return as I have any opportunity. I believe I had a dream several weeks ago where this same conclusion was reached but from a completely different symbolic direction.
*Note: I again emphasize that when an individual 'real' person appears in a dream it does not tell the dreamer anything specific about that person. That person is a symbol chosen by the dream source which is the best way to communicate to the dreamer certain important themes and values. I think usually a person should feel complemented , and not appearing without their approval, to be included in someone's dream. I know it always makes me have a renewed appreciation of a person who appears in my dream.