"I dreamed a dream in times gone by when hopes were high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving… but tigers come at night with their voices soft as thunder as they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame." - I Dreamed a Dream, Les Miserables
- Something happens along the way. The tigers come at night. We dream big dreams as children, the dreams of unfettered imagination, the dreams of wonder and promise. Then we grow up and our dreams meet reality. The dreams get broken into shards of disappointment and loss such that we decide its easier to stop dreaming. We don't want to risk the pain of shattered dreams. Think about it: When is the last time you took the time to think about your dreams, to envision what God's future for you might be? Most of the time our answer is, "Who's got time for that?" We feel like we barely survive each day let alone taking time to dream about the future. We get lost in the chaos of life, and we forget that God wants us to keep dreaming and envisioning our future through a thriving relationship with Him. His are the dreams that DO come true, the dreams that Joel proclaims in Joel 2:28 when the Spirit of God is poured out on all of His people. Even in the turmoil of locusts and drought and hunger, God reminds HIs people that they are His dreamers. Peter references Joel's words on the day of Pentecost declaring that this time of the Spirit – the time of dreamers and visionaries – had come. It is the time we live in even today. No matter the hardship, never stop dreaming. As the Spirit fills you – as it fills HIs Church – let us imagine what God can do in us and through His Church as we pray, "Thy Kingdom come."
- FPCO DREAMS: For that reason, the past six months have been illuminating and refreshing as our congregation has started to dream together. Our elders have been working hard, praying and dreaming together about what might be in the years ahead. Even so, it's not for them alone. Dream with us! That's why I hosted the two Town Hall meetings last week. We want to hear from you, and both of those offered rich exchanges. We will continue to have these discussions in smaller forms through the summer, so take part when you are able.
- WHOLE 30: My daughter, Kaylee, was home in early April and shared her experience with the "Whole 30" diet experience. About a week later, in a fit of personal frustration, I said: "OK, I'm doing that." The next day, I went to the store, loaded up on the proper foods (meat, fish, chicken, fruits, veggies, nuts) and I am now 15 days in. It has been fascinating. I fasted 40 days in 2007, but that was totally different. This has taught me how to read labels, how to think differently about food and my relationship with it. In some ways, I have turned to God far more – instead of food – for comfort or peace at the end of my day. Trust me, I will be super glad when this is over, but I am also really glad I did it.
- DON'T HURT THE PLANTS: According to Ecologist Craig Huegel, flowers and plants do indeed have feelings. They are doing things we never notice. "If vegetarians really understood how plants work and operate, and what they are doing when they boil that poor little baby lima bean embryo, they might look at life differently. Not that we shouldn't eat those things, that's not my point," said Huegel.
- GQ SAYS SKIP THE BIBLE: In a fascinating article about the "21 Books You Don't Have to Read", GQ magazine said the Bible was one of them. "It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned." Perhaps GQ and its editors have done a thorough study of the Scriptures, but somehow I doubt that. That sentence smacks of cultural assumptions. If you don't understand the storyline, then no, it's not going to make much sense. This is why our church is doing "The Year of the Book", a yearlong study of the Bible. It's one long story, not simply a series of disconnected books. When you actually do the work you'll find that, yes, it is VERY repetitive. God thinks we need to be told things over and over again. I tend to agree. And yes, I can see how a person who lifts out one passage or two might think it foolish or ill-intentioned, however, so are Shakespeare and Hemingway when read in a similar fashion. The unity and agreement of Scripture are actually one of the great miracles of God, but it has to be studied to be understood fully. Give it a shot.
- THINGS THAT MAKE YOU WONDER: Baldwin Park shuts down its workout rooms for 90 minutes each day to clean them. Huh? Can you imagine the YMCA shutting down for 90 minutes in the middle of the day? Even better, they close at different times each day. Makes me crazy.
- DOG PARK SUB-CULTURE: I have been to the Lake Baldwin Dog Park a number of times lately, "killing two birds with one stone" by working at the picnic tables while my dog exercises herself. After two weeks of regular visits, I find it hard to work anymore. The combination of unique people, unique dogs, the combinations of dogs and owners, and the conversations that people have with each other while you are standing RIGHT THERE are utterly eye-opening. I am more convinced than ever of both man's total depravity - and our ability to rise above it and show kindness. I've seen the absolute craziness and genuine compassion which I suppose is a microcosm of life.
- CHI OMEGA at AUBURN: I was pleased to see that Chi-O, my daughter's sorority at Auburn, had elected the first black sorority President in the history of the University's Greek System (Bria Randal). It's wonderful and terrible at the same time. It's terrible that most Greek Systems on college campuses are not diverse, but it's wonderful that it finally happened.