Friday, September 2, 2011


 I'll try to capture the  main images. It is having little meaning to me initially. All of it has my presence as an ordained but hesitant pastor. In each sequence I have the thought that all of this is a very strange world to me. I’m at a convention of church people, mostly clergy. We are in a large gymnasium type building. Most of the time I am sitting high at the top with others as spectators. The program  never got started. I was trying to hang a green and white religious banner on the wall behind me. It kept wrinkling and falling. Finally I sort of got it placed. At one point I was trying to get back up to this same place. Once I was hanging precariously from the wall which had iron cleats to hold and step on while climbing. I was aware of my thumbs condition and that this was very unsafe. For a short time I was embarrassed that I was only wearing underwear and a t-shirt as I made my way through the crowd.

Then while leaving with this large mass of people a blind man reached out and held on to the front of my coat for guidance. I recalled that the same man had done this before. He recognized me and took liberty to use me without asking. I mumbled something awkward like, ' needing a little guidance?” which I then felt was a crude thing to say. He was quickly done and at his destination. We both said a farewell.

Help Them To Bring Us A Genuine  'Word From The Lord."
Then I was with a small group of young clergy in a home. I felt I had been here once before (I think I've had a dream of this before). They were all quite human and dressed in their robes. Some male some female. I was aware and somewhat marveled that there are so many bright and normal people who want to be pastors. They really want to stand Sunday after Sunday and give sermons to a group of local people who still have a significant need and place a high value on them for such services. I was most positively impressed with one of the female pastors. She was very pretty in her designer robe. She was bright and confident and I could sense was genuinely caring. I thought, 'it would be good to have someone like her for a pastor. I bet she knows how to preach the gospel well'. One of the men was big on 'personal evangelism.' He was talking about us all going door to door. But I noticed he was all plan, paperwork and theory. But I never saw him leave to actually do it. But he was very pleased with himself.

A final image was a monstrous square empty warehouse. I or at least my eyes were in the upper corner looking out over the expansive hollow empty building. It must have been many stories high. It was empty and someone asked 'how many chicken and beef dinners could you put in here?'

REFLECTION: I’ve not the energy to try to make much sense of this. It elevates my conscious evaluation of the importance of pastors and the role they serve. It confirms that I am a reluctant clergy and am in strange waters as an ordained person. At least I occasionally am of some help to a fellow traveler , like the blind man. I show enough good sense to observe and not be always expressing myself in such settings. 
Reaching For Jesus' Cloak

Without my understanding of the nature of 'archetypes' I would be embarrassed at the references in recent dreams where I am pictured in a similar 'role' as Jesus in the gospel stories. For example the blind man(a frequent image with Jesus in the gospels) is  clinging to my coat. This is surely a spin of the archetype of  the bleeding woman who touched Jesus' cloak. It seems the dream source wants to make clear that archetypes of the Collective Unconscious are  always breaking into our dreams and outer reality and are potentially a part of every person's behavior. This awareness offers another way the  Christian theme of  'being like him' can be realized and understood. I felt a real strong liking for the one female pastor which made me know how important female presence is whether as clergy or not. I felt protected when in my underwear. It was like no one really saw me in my nakedness. They were focused on other things. It seems to say we need not be embarrassed of our weaknesses nor our wounds. We are sometimes 'covered' from unkind forces or people who would  use these as a way to attack. And we should do the same for others. We all need to have 'each others back'   as a strong value. The warehouse image seems  hopeful  that goods and services are being prepared, most likely for people in deep need for them. I think perhaps it is for such 'good works' that the churches are most needed in today’s world. But relying on 'private' programs should never be used as an excuse for not changing political policy and systems to insure that our country takes seriously the needs of the poor and marginalized.

There was nothing in the dream that seems to picture clergy in any full and total grasp of the message they are charged to bring, the gospel.  Surely  how the gospel message of any faith is to be translated into any given situation is something that clergy must search for on an ongoing basis. It can never become a task that  we can do it like our forebears did it.  For clergy it is also true that one  'must work out his/her own salvation with fear and trembling.'  Also, the banner I was hanging up had no clear words or understanding on it yet  indicating uncertainty about  the form of the gospel message seeking to unfold in me as well. There was an exception I noted, the one clergy woman I sensed  'knew how to preach the gospel'. I'll not try to say anything more about that but I am glad it is there. Overall the dream encourages, without over estimating, the role and purpose of the clergy and the churches, mosques, synagogues etc that sponsor them. As long as there is religion there will always be clergy to help as guides, visionaries and hands on ministry, that is  if religions are to stay alive and in touch with the archetypes needed for their own time.. And clergy are just as much at risk of getting lost from the needed  message as their hearers. But hopefully some  among them will be able to find and  speak a genuine 'word from the Lord'.

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