Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DREAM: 'AND GOD REPENTED..' Exodus 32:14 or 'A HUMBLE GOD'..april 3, 2011(edited sept. 7, 2011)

This dream pictures God in ways that most post-modern people find strange at first. It originally struck me that way also and continues to be a challenge to my conscious processes. The reader should keep in mind that any 'God image' we  humans have is an internal reality far more than any  statement of any God that is outside of creation. This is what we should also realize about the God images in the Bible even though traditionally they have been viewed as literal descriptions of a God 'out there.'  In my reflection I speak of God in the same objective way that we are accustomed to speaking.  But in my mind  I am seeing the dream presenting a more evolved inner image of God than our culture or Christianity has experienced in any general way.  Notice this image of God is far more imminent and incarnated as a  human(similar to the original incarnation of God in Jesus) and that Human and Sacred are seen involved far more cooperatively. This contrasts with  the orthodox images which show  God and Human very much separated. This is showing the 'newer'  God image(which can be tied to evolving out of  the Bible images and ones of other religions) that is forming and drastically needed as we enter a new Millennium.  And as we move from the ancient astrological (not the same as our newspaper horoscopes) Pisces (fish) symbol to the Aquarian(water carrier) one. Such periods of time are  believed from ancient times  to last about 2000 years. The principal God image of Christianity has existed for the 2000 years of Pisces. This is seen in the gospels with much fish imagery  and we know the early Christians used the fish or 'two fishes' shaped like a cross as a primary symbol of the meaning of Christ. Note: Any reader must keep in mind that this dream, I believe, claims to be a statement to me  of God about God's developing self. It uses me as a god image to make its points. Nowhere here obviously  is there any suggestion that Jim Hibbett is god except as we are all carriers of God's image.

The Dream: I was a teacher yet was sitting with a class of students, not in front formally instructing them. There may have been another teacher in charge of this particular class. A bright female student had come to me concerned that another generally 'A' student had failed an important test in my class. I was very moved and concerned also. I looked up the girl's grade score in question and suggested I would look it over again to see if there was room for a higher grade. I told this girl what was likely the highest grade her friend would get. After she left I realized I had shared way more information with this friend than was ethical. I ran after her to explain this mistake and to ask for her to not reveal anything we had discussed to anyone else. When I found her she was already talking to another teacher and I knew my poor judgment was likely to be known. I knew that meant I would need to expand my apology to this colleague.
A Human At His/Her Spiritual Best..asking the right question.

In the same setting a young man was asking me if I recalled taking a payment from him for school supplies. He said he had done so but I failed to give him a receipt. I told him I was not recalling the transaction but that did not mean it never happened. " I often forget such things" when I am doing several things at once, I explained. Again, I felt very bad about the situation but I was not finding any documentation of his payment. I asked another teacher to look through the receipts and he found my signature initials, jth, by this boy's name on the date the boy had reported. I was relieved for the boy. While talking to students informally in this same class, I asked what class this was. They said, " Third year algebra." I confessed to them, " I made a D in this class when I was a senior." (which is true). I immediately wondered if I should be so honest with them? Would they use this against me?

REFLECTION: I must emphasize again. When having and recounting this dream I felt, " there is simply not anything here worth reflecting on. It is just so nothing to me. I recall during the night thinking, " I hope a dream of more significance than this one will still come." And no other dream came. Some five hours later and after attending a worship service and receiving communion I am pushed to see this as very significant in the overall layout of my dream life. Again, this dream fits all those scripture images of that which is seen as worthless yet becomes the essential. Such as David, the least and last expected son of Jesse being made king and Jesus, the stone once rejected that is actually the chief corner stone. This phenomenon of images and ideas and words coming that initially make no valued sense I have gradually become aware is the nature of what is historically called 'revelation.' I am so aware as I reflect on this dream and as I begin to let myself write words regarding it, that something well beyond my ego self is the controlling factor. This is my personal experience of being 'in the Spirit' and this on the Christian Lord's Day.

I have come to see my 'frustrated teacher' dreams actually as 'confessions of God.' ( Please know when I speak of God like this I am speaking  symbolically, not literally. Any way a human 'imagines' God to be is necessarily symbolic is my view and understanding. Any literal view of  how God is  must of necessity be far less than the  fullness or complete God. Much of  Western religion has forgotten this timeless reality and limitation of human reason but it is very important if we are to seriously talk of 'God.')They give a picture of the chaos and lack of controlling power that the Sacred experiences and that grew as humans became more conscious and able to intellectually question. A turning point in scripture story was when the writer of Job pictures Job being far more conscious, sincere and moral than the raging , out of control, self absorbed god figure. Jung felt this represents when it became clear to God that God would have to become human so that God could gain from humanity's developing consciousness what God needed. This in order to further overcome the internal shadow and moral imperfection in the Godhead. Jesus of Nazareth then became where in history that co-suffering and co-creativity of God and Human was made more conscious. It should be obvious to us that beginning and grand step in Sacred/human consciousness development was not an end but a beginning of a very long journey for humankind. Now the world faces more moral lapse, spiritual blindness and potential self destruction than in Jesus' day. Jesus' spiritual prayer of 'oneness' and things 'on earth being as it is in heaven' are less answered practically now than  when Jesus prayed them. That is why the authenticity of the Bible and the Jesus story are increasingly questioned by an advancing human sincere intellect. So a new quantum step is long past due and sorely needed by God, Humans and the groaning creation.

So this dream continues to be a Sacred confession, not anything about me. As an image of God what stands out different in this dream than most previous ones( I do recall one where I, as god image, joined the class and sat with them.) is that I am much more focused on the students, their needs, than I am on myself and my need to control. This is shown in that I am sitting with them, not over or in front of them. I am now taking their complaints about me and injustices they experience with sincere seriousness. I am not assuming if there is a problem it is all  their fault. I’m very aware that the error or failure to recall or unjust grading may be fully mine, not theirs at all. (If we think of God as omniscient, all knowing, it is as if God  in dealing with humans has often failed to consult that omniscience, similarly as humans often fail to use their own knowledge and inner resources. )   It shows me having begun to learn restraint( so unlike Jehovah in Job) in the things I am so quick to say and do. I am clearly becoming more ethical, and in the good meaning of the term 'professionally responsible' like God is often seen as  complaining that humans are not. I realize I have said more to the girlfriend than was ethical and I begin to take responsibility for my hasty actions. I am seeing the need for confidentiality and truly dealing with humans on a one by one basis, not stereotyping them to fit my own gigantic projections that are seen so clearly in Biblical story. I admit that my failure to recall does not mean it did not happen for the male student. I then take responsibility by asking a third party to investigate in hopes of finding information to help the boy. And I acknowledge to a whole class of students my own incompleteness by letting them know that I barely passed the course that most of them were doing quite well in.

All of this increased ethical attitude and behavior is in sharp contrast to the dark  egotistical side of Yahweh that is so consistently shown in the Old Testament narrative. It is true there are episodes of Yahweh that are worthy god images to be worshiped but along with that is the underlying shadow which shows Yahweh as the opposite of the praise worthy attributes this dream and this paragraph describe. Only with increased consciousness do humans 'see' this aspect of the O. T. god and become strong enough to question it. It is not dissimilar to a slave questioning the conduct of his slave master. But humans have grown in this capacity to legitimately and humbly question(Surely any virtue a human has must be traced back to God but so must our lack of virtue have come from the same source. This objective and rational thought.) and to 'see' the troublesome reality in front of them. Job seems rightly interpreted  as  a' first described in scripture' experience of such an awakening consciousness.This seems to be the very amazing and mind blowing  purpose of the ancient author of Job.

This comes to me as a kind of  update on the 'moral growth and development of God." In the dream, as bothered as I was by human problems I felt myself taking them with full earnest and wanting to find solutions and helps for this little part of the human family. I am not trying to prove myself or to have control over the students. I am not needing to make laws that attempt to coerce them to respect me and desires to be praised as God. And the students are now seen, not putting me on a pedestal as the all perfect God, to not be questioned, but as one whom they could take seriously and expect justice and fairness from. They do not seem to be asking me for instant answers and gifts but for a genuine open ear and open heart to help them face confidently the issues of life. This is a grand and wonderful change in the image of the Sacred than that which most humans of most religions are 'seeing' and claiming. Christians, and likely other faiths, have the stories that can help us accept this newer archetype arrangement of the Sacred. For the quality that shows God actually having  precisely what God in sacred story has always expected of humans is HUMILITY.

Here, like many a human teacher, God finds out and 'sees' that while He has been instructing humans on how to be, that He has also been, with significant unconsciousness, preaching to Himself as well. The dream says He has heard His own message and is about the process of repentance( perceiving differently) the mutual task of developing both the Human and Sacred consciousness. Thus it can be truly said that part of the Sacred process is always that 'God is repenting.' The end shows God taking the risk with humans of greater and more honest transparency. He is conscious that to do so gives humans a way to diminish(hurt or humiliate) Him and to not see His importance to them. But He is willing to take that risk. This is a picture of God that can call forth, from ones consciously carrying the divided image of God such as the O.T. Yahweh,  dancing and praising  God for God's fully developing  moral character showing itself. 

Miriam Dancing Before The Lord

I’m asking myself , "How does this shift my view and my image of God affect me?" How does it feel for God to come down from the pedestal He, with endorsement of most humans for millennia, placed Himself on? It feels honest and hopeful to me. However I'm sure that would not be the general initial reaction of many persons. Human inclination is to insist that our 'gods' stay on their pedestals. We do not like to hear Jesus asking the apostles to be  'his friends' rather than his servants. This confession of God challenges us to move away from such idolatry to what is more true. It provides a way for my empathy and desire to support the Sacred and for its plan to come to the forefront clarified and humanized. I know for sure that as God is being more open and honest I can afford to be more so with Him and with other humans. It makes me see that there can be a mutual creating, problem solving and suffering shared by God and Human. And it reinforces for me that my human suffering is of great creative value in the order of things, just as that of the Sacred is also. Our conscious suffering is so important for it has a positive effect on the life and development of God. In this confession God is revealing the truth of that and its concrete results.

I have stayed with the male pronouns for God in this reflection. I do that because it is fully the male image of God that we generally have embraced so solidly for millennia that is in need of the the change and repentance that God demonstrates having in this dream. In our human minds, to the extent we can accept the moral imperfection and incompleteness of God, it is generally the male aspect of God that we are imagining.

Any reader must keep in mind that this dream, I believe, claims to be a statement of God about God's developing self. It uses me as a god image to make its points. Nowhere here is there any suggestion that Jim Hibbett is god any more than  every other human.  When you stop and think about it how more appropriately could the Sacred make itself better known and understood by the human than through the felt experience of the the human him/her self. That is the unexpected way that the source of the 'revelation' has chosen to do its work within my psyche. And as much as all this seems to be speaking of an external God, the reader should keep in mind the humbling reality that this is all a natural part of our collective psyche. What can be more natural than a nightly dream?  From this we might learn more about the meaning of God being 'incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth' by seeing how the collective unconscious, the voice of God, works in and with a human to create a  sense of Sacred revelation.

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