Thursday, November 3, 2011

DREAM: JESUS AND US...November 15, 2009..edited Nov. 3, 2011

1. I saw myself two different  ways: One I was lying on my back on my present bed. This was a 'realistic' scene. This was comfortable to me and where I argued I wanted to stay. The other was 'unreal' and animated and had me upright suspended in a large funnel shape enclosure. The shape was a rich royal purple color and it was all  'moving up' like a resurrection or an ascension. Looking down on this scene it appears as a purple circle with the top of my head and body in the middle of it. From the side this shape is an inverted triangle. An authoritative voice was saying regarding the second situation, ' And love brings him home.' As I say I was comfortable and wanted to stay in the first situation but I was being told it was necessary and timely that I accept the meaning also of the second situation.

2. This was a Church of Christ  scene and I was the pastor. It was Clear Lake Church of Christ  only somewhat different. I had been away for a long time but returned to be the preacher at least this one day. I was met early in the dream by two couples who may have also been making a return visit. One was a former deacon and his wife. He had been an outstanding leader/deacon/Bible teacher when I was there, along with his wise wife. Another was a couple who were in some eyes in the shadow of the church because they had both had previous marriages. First the very large and disorganized group met at one place, maybe outside, and sang a brand new and beautiful song. The chorus was one that emphasized women's voices , was catchy and had rich Christian meaning. I had trouble finding my copy of the words but was very stimulated  this hymn  sung by an enthusiastic people.
Clear Lake Church Of Christ-Springfield, IL
We then moved toward the auditorium. As we walked the second couple said they may be needing to change churches and were a bit discouraged. I imagined that they were discouraged by  fundamentalist teaching but they were saying they wanted more the Old time Church of Christ legalism. I was astonished. I had worked hard and preached in a more 'liberal' way to make it clear that people like them can be just as accepted and involved in the church as anyone else. And now they were, except for the remarriage situation, embracing a legalism that would keep others from being so included. (It is common that one can experience so-called grace and  turn right around and deny it for others, who have a different need, the same measure of grace. I  succumb to question the quality of grace they actually experienced in the first place.) Yet, I felt they were sincere and hopefully would continue to be a dynamic part of their church. Then the former deacon asked if the 'chicken dinner and hospital visit program' was going to come off that evening? I was rather sure that it had not been developed well enough to happen. But even though he was just visiting he assured me we should announce it and  it would have a lot of involvement. Lastly he said, ' stress for men to also be a part of the group to make visits at the hospital.' I assumed his thought was right and agreed to 'push' the idea at the assembly.

The place was packed with enthusiastic people, most of them strangers to me. I stood at the pulpit to welcome and make announcements. I was very unprepared and frustrated but also amazed at this large crowd of people. I was confident  I would be fine once the time to preach came. I was aware I was not the best person to do this part of the service, that someone else should do this and just let me preach. But I suffered on. It was not an orderly situation but there was much positive unchanneled energy. The former deacon came and told me there was some confusion at the back of the auditorium. The hall way was clogged  by some tables etc that needed to be moved. He was assuring me it was being taken care of. He was asking me to explain to the group what was happening. But I either did not hear or understand him and was unable to follow his suggestion. I felt badly about it. Things were getting more unruly just for the lack of proper space and organization. Then I found myself standing with a group of young adults at the front. I then realized they were communion servers lining up and I should be seated. I was pleasantly surprised that nearly half of them were female. I smiled and chatted a moment and sat down.
Christian Worship Service

Finally it was nearly time to preach and I was hopeful this would get everything settled down and I would know what I was doing. But as I tried to get started the whole group stood up and began to leave through all doors. I did not sense they were rejecting me or my message but that the whole situation was too disorderly and thus uncomfortable. I was inviting them to return for the rest of the service but they were moving right past me. One lady, an old friend of Beverly, commented to me ,' I'll probably be back Easter.' I could tell she was frustrated at the disorder. The rest of the service did not happen. I went back to the office and a treasurer  deacon was keeping records. He said this was by far the largest crowd ever assembled here and he seemed undisturbed that they had left before the service was over. Then I saw one of my former , more progressive, elders. He and I both were astounded by the large crowd even if they didn't stay. We could not imagine what had brought so many. I said excitedly, 'and did you see the women that were going to serve communion? I don't know who arranged that but I was sure delighted to see it.' He agreed and had a pleased question mark on his face.
Christian Communion Service


1. The first dream, among other implications,  seems to confirm my basic understanding of  the  meaning of The Christ symbol. It is that Jesus of Nazareth was far more 'like us' ordinary humans than traditional orthodoxy allows. So to demonstrate this the dream presents me, rather than  using Jesus, experiencing the two aspects of what we have inherited about Jesus. The first is the real human me. This was fully realistic and human as I lay on my bed. This was myself that I am comfortable with and that is real to me. The second shows me in a symbolic and 'unreal unnatural' but still, at another level, 'true' state of being.(Whatever is true about me in the second state is true of all humans and it was true about Jesus.) The perfect circle is a symbol of wholeness and completion. The inverted triangle is widely understood as a sign of the feminine while an upright triangle representing the male.(This likely originated from the respective basic shapes of the human female and male pubic hair. Here is another way the dream emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and us all.) It shows that like Jesus the symbolic meaning of 'resurrection and ascension'  will also be  realized and happens to me (and all other humans) as we live out our humanity as Jesus lived out his.

 The second would resemble what some progressive scholars  meaningfully call the 'Post Easter' Jesus, the Jesus that was created by successive generations as they sought to give explanation to their or their forebear's experience of the fully human Jesus. Jesus had come to be seen as far more than human and fully worthy of being considered as 'a' if not 'the' manifestation of God on earth. The dream shows my discomfort with exchanging my real human self for this religious spiritual symbolic self . This would be similar to how I would imagine Jesus of Nazareth seeing what has become of his memory. The dream does not say any of this is wrong or bad but that it is the way that humans who fully live out their humanity are likely to be explained and described later. This could happen on a grander scale in ancient cultures, for example where images of the deceased 'real' person were not constantly placed before the public via film and T.V.

Many Bible scholars whose work I  respect see the gospel of John(written some 70 years after Jesus' death.) as nearly entirely a description of the 'Post Easter' symbolic Jesus. Yet, when I used to take the Bible as literal history, I took the words of Jesus from this context and treated them as Jesus' actual words about himself and as describing how he thought about himself such as being , 'the way the truth and the life.' and of being 'I Am'. The real human Jesus is fully lost by such 'belief' no matter how much it is argued contrarily. John's writer pictures Jesus as claiming his supra human 'Post Easter' description of himself. This of course would totally contradict the 'real' human Jesus' evaluation of himself (If the text is taken as to be a fully human Jesus we get a picture of a human filled the highest sacrilegious pride. It would be a human who is not a healthy human, one who has lost touch with their own humanity. This would be the opposite of  how I perceive the actual  human Jesus of Nazareth.) just as I am pictured not being comfortable with the second version of myself presented. I realized such  is not a place, no matter how real spiritually and psychologically it may become, in which I (or any human including Jesus) could live an actual human life. Christian orthodoxy unintentionally does this destructive process to the memory of Jesus of Nazareth. I can fully agree how this kind of interpretation of Jesus' life served a very essential and necessary process of religious development for a long period of Christian history. But this process has run its productive course in our era  and insists  now on a more complete view of the meaning of Jesus and of the 'The Christ' he became after his death. It is only by our understanding, becoming conscious of, how such 'unearthly' symbolic descriptions, though real but not literal, can seriously distort the  memory of an exceptional human.

C.G. Jung's work has helped me to understand what happened in the move from the human Jesus to the Post-Easter Jesus. His followers  projected(a now demonstrated  unconscious  human process) upon him the Collective Unconscious archetype(that lives in us all) of the 'Self' or of God. The dream would imply that such a projected archetype is attracted to a human who has managed for whatever reasons to live at a higher level of consciousness than is common in his/her era. Another corollary is that it is only by withdrawing the projection that we can 'really see' and appreciate the actual human apart from the projection. (This is played out on a lesser but tragic scale by present day celebrities who are pressed into an isolated , misunderstood human life while their persona, symbolic outer life, flourishes. They are not seen and appreciated for their actual human selves and suffer terribly for it.) For me the human Jesus is far more amazing and to be honored for his human(who also is an image of the Divine) accomplishment than is the 'Post Easter' projection that landed upon him and that the gospel writings made permanent. I am not depreciating the gospel texts for they are amazing writings created out of deep suffering and rich religious experience but in human progress every projection eventually has to be withdrawn in order for a higher truth to become conscious.  We can learn so much from the gospel writings but not best by taking them as literal history which was likely  not even their writers' full intention.

We begin as children, and  never  completely grow psychologically and spiritually out of it, projecting near divine archetypes onto the people in our lives. This is our way of making people greater and more than they are, or than any human could be. Our parents were  'as gods' initially and often we projected(or more correctly encountered) similar inhuman archetypes on our lovers or highly respected teachers and leaders. It is always in the actual day-to-day rubbing noses with the real human that we have an opportunity to withdraw these projections. Anyone who has 'fallen in love' followed by being married can have an idea of what I am describing. One only gets to more know the 'real person' when we live with them. And even then it remains only a partial knowing. There is no perfection in this matter. To become more conscious in this area  is a major psychological and spiritual achievement as we move through life.

I should add that what we 'see' in another person at first by unconscious projection is not all a bad or untrue thing. As we become conscious of the projection we also discover  that humans  do have a true divine aspect that the projection was pointing to. This is how we can truly come to see the 'image of God' that most religions tell us is the deeper aspect and meaning of every human being. To consciously be aware of and 'see' this in another makes possible the highest levels of love between human beings and of a human  coming to a point of genuinely loving all humanity and creation...which is how the most highly developed  persons of history and myth are reported as being in their core. For example orthodoxy describes Jesus as sacrificially  'loving the whole world'  and not holding any negative judgment toward any created person or thing. Such descriptions of  human potential  cannot possible be fully appreciated until our original projections are withdrawn and  the person's full humanity including shadow aspects are accepted. Only then can  the 'God in us all' become a fully conscious reality. This is the goal, the teleos, of human development and is not one that can ever be perfected simply because individual consciousness can never embrace and be aware of the full extent of the Collective Unconscious from which all that is or can be has emerged.

To withdraw such a projection of God from our understanding of Jesus is more difficult for we do not 'live with' the real human Jesus or see his actual life or hear his actual human words. Also there is strong guilt, fear and risk of losing our ' spiritual grounding' involved in withdrawing such a projection of God. If we could associate with the human Jesus I'm sure we would still be very much amazed and astonished. We would be impressed with the maturity of his humanity not with the notion that he was essentially different than us. We would be impressed with his capacity to appreciate others, his simple love for others, his lack of neediness or any our typical  ego problems, his confidence that life was headed in the right direction regardless. He would seem to be the ideal human but in a way that we could see ourselves truly becoming 'like him' in our own unique way. We would 'see God  in him and know that he was also seeing ' God in us', probably more than we did ourselves. So this dream is a symbolic presentation of my own renewed understanding of the meaning of The Christ and a 'more conscious' , however different from orthodoxy, meaning of 'being Christian.' Perhaps only by doing this kind of work can we become truly his 'friends' as he requested of those who knew him in the flesh.

The voice in the dream is the type that for years I've  known I must take as a 'voice of God' and is inviting me 'home' and assuring that this is the path of love. The first dream image may also be describing another aspect of my human reality. This could easily be taken as an invitation to die with much assurance. I prefer to take it as an invitation to allow what I have called 'inner and outer' lives becoming  fully one. This may not be speaking of physical death but rather a fuller experience of my humanity still on earth. This may be an invitation to me , and to all humans, to the possibility of living in a mutual fully human intimate love relationship. As attractive as such an invitation is the dream shows my initial reluctance to make such a change. I am comfortable with my experienced life, regardless of its imperfections blurred perceptions of a fuller reality, and do not quickly respond to 'resurrect and to ascend' to a new level experience and love. Such an earthly happening  to any of us would be possible only through what would appear to me as the largest of life's miracles. But this time it would be fully earthly, human , natural and something that could be observed and appreciated by all who know and love us.

2. Obviously my Clear Lake Church of Christ experience was very central in my spiritual development. My dreams continually use it as a way to clarify my experience and understanding of the meaning of 'church' and 'preacher'. The dreams together surely make clear the human predicament in attempts to be representatives of God on earth, which both scripture and  orthodox Christianity claims we all are. There is a lot to be amused at and to laugh with in this very detailed church service dream.  I think it speaks far more for itself without explanation than the first one does. So I have devoted myself to reflecting more on the first dream image.  Jim Hibbett

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