I read a post yesterday which was entitled The Lies Christians Tell. (http://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net/telling-lies-on-behalf-of-jesus-a-blog-post/)
In it Janet Oberholzer is asked to write an article telling her story of healing, after she submits her story, the editor makes some ‘minor’ adjustments, kind of a beefing up of the work and role of the Holy Spirit, I guess, adding the religious language to make it an interesting faith story, but not strictly true, fairly shocking and I am sure not all that unusual. The question that was raised though was does God speak to us, and I guess if he does, HOW does he? I have often used words like and ‘God said to me’ – well no I have not often said that because it is becoming politically or religiously incorrect – go figure – but I do believe God ‘speaks’ and God directs. My call to ministry is one such example in which the call of God was made over and over in various forms and through various means, but does God, ‘say’ and does God ‘nudge’ seems to be the question being posed.
Well, first of all I guess I should come clean and say that I believe that God ‘nudged’ me to write this blog, it came in the form of a dream. The night I first journaled the idea of blogging I had a dream, the smurf’s were in it – don’t ask, I haven’t managed to work out why they were the messengers, but messengers they were and the message was read Acts 26:16 – “Now get up, stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.” Here Jesus is speaking to Paul (Saul) during his conversion and tells him that he is to go and speak about what it is he will see and what he will hear. I took that as a confirmation that I should write and that the writing should be about what I have been shown and what I will be shown. So when I say Jesus speaks, I believe that he does. I also believe of course that he speaks to us all differently. Generally speaking, I take most of my spiritual confirmation from the scriptures and from dreams, if it comes out of the bible I believe it’s the word of God, other messages (like dreams) I am bit slower and more discerning with (um, well I try to be anyway).
So, this blog was started as a dream blog and I haven’t really been dreaming… well I have I know because when I wake up there are snippets lurking in the ether but they feel like spiritual dreams in so much as they are other-wordly and serving a purpose, but a purpose that in my waking life I couldn’t or don’t need to understand. So I haven’t been dreaming dreams which can be shared, but then the other morning as I was doing my devotions the bible fell open at Daniel 7, (I am almost too embarrassed to write that, it seems so flippant and clichéd *blushing*) But fall open it did at Daniel. Daniel for those of you who are unaware is pretty much the dreaming book, according to Morton Kelsey, Daniel should be known as the Romance of the Dream. Now, accident, coincidence, synchronicity, spirit nudge? Is God encouraging the dream work? Who knows, all I know is that I was in the NT reading other stuff and for the bible to fall open at a random place and have me take notice of that random place and text as I was closing up my devotion… um, well I’ll let you decide. But I, again, took it as confirmation that what I should be sharing was my experience of God and dreams. And so I have picked up a book on dreams and God and I will share what is discovered there, starting with this quote:
“The early Christian church viewed the dream as one of the most significant and most important ways in which God revealed his will to man… not only do we find this view in the Old Testament, in the New Testament and in the Church Fathers, but it is the attitude of nearly every other major religion of the world.” Morton Kelsey
Believing that God speaks to us today is increasingly difficult to do, we believe it in our heads, but maybe not so much in our hearts. We want to obey Gods will for our lives but how do we do that if we can’t discern it? The world is all about facts and science, the mystery of God and Gods breaking in Spirit is for quacks and ‘special people’. Listening to dreams is left to rainbow hippies and psychologists, not serious followers of faith. And I guess that’s understandable, it’s so hard to know if our interpretations are correct or not. But God wants to be known, the spirit world is here, the kingdom of God exists in the world with us through Emmanuel (God with us) right now. Are our Western brains programmed for a different kind of understanding more reasoned than esoteric or is it because we are afraid of what actually lurks beneath the conscious that makes us less likely to engage with dream language?
“The trouble is that the dream comes to man neither from the acceptable material world nor from mans well-ordered and controllable reason. To value the spontaneously given content of the dream one most postulate the reality of something in addition to the material world and mans reason. Depth psychology calls this reality the unconscious; the early Christian community called it the spiritual world; and these 2 very different terms may well refer to the same reality, as the Catholic Theologian Victor White has suggested in ‘God and the Unconscious’. Unless men believe that there is such a realm of reality which can be experienced, they will probably not look very hard for meaning beyond the material world.” (Kelsey)
Does God speak? Yes, to me he speaks in my dreams, my ‘night visions’, I am still learning to understand what it’s all about, but in the sharing and the learning we are talking about God and I think that’s the point, engaging our faith and looking for meaning beyond the material world.