Friday, September 2, 2011

DREAM: SHOE LACES ..march 21, 20109edited september 3, 2011)

I was at the Harding Graduate School Of Religion(Now named Harding School Of Theology.). I have never been there but always wondered if it is a stimulating and creative place to study the Biblical record. It is a Church of Christ  institution in Memphis. I've always been aware that it is on Cherry St. which is the street of my childhood address in Alabama. I was sitting with my brother Gene on the front seat. He was concerned about a bad rash on his feet and had his shoes off. I was suggesting some kind of home remedy for him to try. The man from the School stood up and was welcoming us. I kept wondering if I had met him years ago but was not sure. He seemed rather cold and aloof. Then, much to my surprise, he mentioned me by name as being present and he told a story that I felt was pure fabrication. He said, " When I first met Jimmy Hibbett I asked him if he was a Hibbett Sporting Goods person who sold converse shoes? Then Jimmy, seeming to not have understood me, exclaimed ' I'll tie your shoes.' "
 REFLECTION: I can't help but see a repetition of some archetypal gospel material.  John the baptist is pictured as saying, ' Im not worthy to even unloose his shoes.' So 'untying ones shoes' was an act of  humble service the dream has me saying I most eager to do for others.  The 'tying of shoelaces' is also  a sign of service bordering on 'washing one's feet.' I was attending to caring for my brother's weary feet. Also the kind of alarm shown by those Jesus congratulated for attending to the needs of 'the least of these' comes to mind. I am startled at hearing my name and without any thought suggest that I will be glad to ' tie a stranger's shoes' if that is needed. I guess the dream is intended as an encouragement that in some ways I have 'unknowingly' identified at times with these timeless archetypes and modes of service. We all have our good moments. It is always dangerous and surely not truthful to claim or think that anyone in all ways and at all times perfectly demonstrates such positive archetypes of good behavior and innocence. I think we make a grave mistake by believing that  even Jesus did. As soon as we do that we give up much of the potential of being 'like him'. For example we destroy the possibility that he could also experience, as I did in the dream, doing good of which he is unaware, the whole point of the 'serving the least of these' story that he told. Only humans can have that nice experience. It is very important to me that Jesus was, in that way and all other aspects of the human experience, just like us. By letting Jesus be truly human we still honor him and his amazing enlightenment and we also make our connection with him more real and effective. Only by his being fully human can it best and innocently happen that 'The Christ' in practical and unrecognized ways  'live in us.' To me, this is a Bible School lesson, based on the gospels, presented by the dream source. I guess the dream is also saying, It's OK(despite the gospel story that warns of thinking too highly of oneself) to 'sit up front', especially if you are hard of hearing or have hurting feet.

Harding School Of Theology

The dream scene being at a prominent place of my religious heritage which I have never experienced is of interest. I have found need and reason to discard significant parts of my religious heritage and even of the broader orthodox views and interpretations of the Christ story. Perhaps the dream is reminding me there are many good and wholesome things in my heritage that I am not at all aware of. My guess is I would be  appreciative of the Religious Department of Abilene Christian University as I  would of the Harding School in Memphis, but I certainly do not know that. The dream acknowledges that I can be grateful and even proud of many aspects of my religious heritage. That is after all where I became familiar with and formed through the treasured gospel stories that are hinted at in this dream. Jim

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