Here’s my friend’s dream. He is a pastor. I just received this email today. It is used with his permission. (I think this is my longest post ever!)
I had a dream the other night about you a couple weeks ago and thought you might find it interesting.
Here it is.
You and I were out for a walk late one night, I think it was in St. John, though not sure. The street was urban, the street was dark and I recall telling you about my reflections about your cartoons. I was sharing with you how your cartoons were helping me understand those who have left the church and also been hurt. I was also sharing with you the virtue I still saw in the church and that so many different expressions of the church had… so much to offer. There was nothing adversarial about the dialogue, good friends sharing idea’s and spurring one another on. I remember enjoying the chat and the laughter we shared. It was good getting caught up on our friendship.
It was then I turned to you and asked you point blank, ‘David, I don’t get it, you have so much to contribute and I know you are doing that through your cartoon’s and your writings…but I still see a reluctant shepherd in you who want’s to try this again….leadership. I keep wondering if your reluctance to lead a flock of sheep is because of the very things you address right now in your cartoons and writings would that be too much for you to face?’
It was then you took a long telescope out from your back pocket. It was like a tool you carried with you wherever you went.You began to search the night sky like Vincent Van Gough searching the sky’s for new galaxies.
That was it. Dream over.
I’d love to connect again and share more about your journey…and mine. I love your drawings and stories about Sophia. Stunning stuff. I find your cartoons and writings very provocative as well. They make me smile, chuckle, sit back in my chair, ponder, get angry, think, re-think, defend, wonder why I’m defending, get perplexed, get confused, get more clarity, get more obscurity, saying YES out loud, saying NO out loud, most of all looking forward to my inbox that says ‘Naked Pastor’ everyday, and opening it like a sneek peek at my Christmas stocking before mom and dad get up Christmas morning. Thanks for being you.
Here’s my response:
Wow. Quite a dream. Thanks for sharing it with me…Dreams, as we know, say more about the dreamer than the dreamt. But I would like to address what concerns your dream reveals.
- I have left the ministry. That’s true. I know some feel I’ve excluded and disqualified myself. But I am still in the game. I feel so anyway. My “ministry” has taken on a whole new appearance. I don’t serve a local congregation. Although I do meet with many people on a daily basis both locally and online. Including my ESL students. I truly sense I am providing guidance and comfort and hopefully wisdom to many more people. And they are people who want it and are thankful for it.
- I was hurt so many times by the church. Not just incidentally but systemically. It wasn’t just occasions. It was my condition within it. But that was my story for so many years before I left. And it is true on that the evening I decided to leave I had a painful meeting with people of the church I thought were my strongest supporters. It was the last piece of a 1,000 piece puzzle that finally made the picture clear that I and this local congregation were no longer compatible. I realized that my frustration with the local church was a clear sign that I was no longer to confine my ministry to within its walls. If I wanted to proceed with my call, I was to leave that position as a clergyman.
- I love the church now more than ever. I believe in it. I strongly believe people have the right to get together for religious and spiritual reasons, and that it must be in a healthy manner that is beneficial to all.
- I have never been happier. I wake up happy to be alive and excited to face my day and serve my fellow human beings with joy. My heart is full of love and Presence and I see a huge horizon filled with possibilities for people and for the church and for spirituality. I believe we are all one and all my efforts are concentrated on setting people free to manifest that reality with me. Daily I am confronted with hostility towards my call. But I press on now with hope in spite of it… a hope that was constantly quenched within the walls of the church.
Sometimes I’m asked if I will ever pastor a local congregation again. Soon after leaving I gave an emphatic NO! However, wisdom has always taught me, eventually, to keep an open mind. So I no longer say NO! But the conditions would have to be totally different. Of course.
That being said, I am doing some “nakedpubs”. They are dynamic small groups, occasional, non-committal, and effective. I am also considering doing these in livingrooms and other venues. I think it is important for people to get together and explore together without fear of repercussions, and I like to provide that.
I would love to get together and rekindle our relationship. I could talk far more openly in person.