06 December 2007

spirit dreams

I am part of a church community which has some interesting (if I may use that term so early in the morning) traits. On a certain level this is probably a good thing, because in so many ways this particular group of believers does not become attracted to some of the pitfalls which surround (and define?) modern evangelicalism. Even still, there are other aspects which makes this condition rather hard to deal with. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to spiritual growth and renewal that faces this (and other) churches is the inability to dream - to consider the possibility that something better may be on the horizon.

The reason for concern here are not simply the ongoing annoyance which accompanies the eternal quest for momentum within the body, but with the larger issue of how dreaming ultimately serves to define who we are - at least, in part. The ability to dream is directly linked to our ability to imagine things, to create pictures in our minds which often transport us to another place. When we sleep we often lose much of our control over these things, but daydreaming is something that is quite unique: it is the longing and desire for something else - usually better and more exciting - that pulls us away from the present reality. And somehow, when we return, we find that we have a different perspective on how we want to move forward.

So, these dreams matter. What Joel 2 promises (and what Acts 2 cashes in) is a community of people who dream. But rather than sitting in a daze envisioning galaxies far, far away we are to have dreams and visions of how creation is meant for so much more than the fallen state it now experiences. The dreams that we have are meant to come from the work of the Spirit within each of us, summoning us to God’s perspective. The ultimate dream is one of the kingdom of God coming in its fullness. The reality of this is to work toward the fulfillment of this goal, to become active participants in the kingdom.

The simple theory is thus: to find contentment in the ways things are with no drive or desire (or even question) of seeing the world in better terms is to demonstrate a lack of the Spirit within us. Whether individual or community, this dullness exposes our failing connection with the Spirit which has been made available to every believer. The promise of Joel has been fulfilled in the outpouring of the Spirit - it is who we are that summons us to dreams and visions. We have no reason to dwell in passionless gatherings.

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