January 22, 2009

Dreams from the Past

This week, I've been thinking about a former church of mine. When I was there, I worked with the congregation on ways it could allow God to transform it into a congregation that would reach out to the community, especially the youth of the community, among whom there was a great need. Perhaps the changes were too much--and yes, there were some theological differences (although the majority of the congregation had no problem with that)--and soon I felt God calling me elsewhere.

Once I left, I didn't think much about my former congregation, and didn't hear much from it, other than one or two members who have kept in touch. Then one day I got an email from my former regional minister/mentor, in which he advised me to not be overly concerned with what was happening to my former congregation, that I had done all I could to help them. Which, of course, made me wonder: what was happening?

It turns out that conflict was happening, to a greater degree than I had realized. Arguments broke out, even in the middle of worship, something that I never experienced personally. Some members wanted to cut the umbilical cord, the lifeline, that connected them to the denomination, while others did not. Eventually those who wanted to cut the cord succeeded, although without any consensus.

I continue to focus on how blessed I am now to be a part of the congregation to which God has called me most recently. However, this week I had two dreams about my former congregation. In one, I was running to get to the church, urgently running, but could not run fast enough. It was as if my legs were in a slow-motion replay, or that they were moving as if I were trying to run in a swimming pool, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get them up to speed. I could not get to the church fast enough.

In the other dream, which took place a few nights later, I had gone back to visit my former congregation, only to discover that the building was no longer there. A handful of members had gathered for worship--sitting on folding chairs on clumps of grass where the church building used to be, on a pleasantly cool, partly cloudy day. I suppose this dream reflects, at least in part, an actual comment one of the church's elders made to me once, that "if it came to having to choose between the building and the pastor, I'd take the building." In the dream, they had neither.

I pray for God's peace to come to that congregation. However, I have the sense that they're adrift at sea--and they've just cut the rope that connected them to the mother ship.


Purple Hydrangea said...

and with no anchor, no oars, no compass... hope they at least use that wonderful assistant -- The Bible

Dennis Sanders said...

Sorry to hear about this, Danny.