Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I've been having really weird, vivid dreams lately. In one, I was fighting alongside Harry Potter and Hermoine, in another I was out in the desert doing a cultural study on some very Manson-esque hippie cult, and in yet another Kate Middleton confessed to me that she wished her wedding had been "more personal."
Yeah, I don't know what's with my brain, either.
Maybe the weirdest one of all, though, involved being in a fairly large church. I was sitting toward the back, alone, and in front was an older man who was preaching. He was a bully, a Fred Phelps type. I don't remember exactly what he was saying, but I do know that it provoked a very strong, visceral negative reaction from me. I couldn't believe people were listening to this, and I wondered if they were actually buying it. I also thought about how damaging it could be, how far it would spread, and how many new visitors would walk away from Jesus because of it.
So I stood up. And I called him out.
He told me to that he was the leader of the church, and that as a woman, I had no right to speak up or question him. Then he told me to sit down and shut up.
But I didn't. I kept standing. I kept talking.
And then, the craziest thing started to happen--other people started to stand up with me. By the time I was finished, there were just a handful of people still sitting.
The pastor left, with a few people behind him...and suddenly I was in charge of a church.
Now, I have a background in clinical psychology, so when it comes to interpreting dreams--I think it's total quackery, to be honest. But, aside from being pretty entertaining (and apparently really weird, if you happen to have my brain), they can be pretty thought-provoking, even though I don't think they necessarily mean anything.
Here's the thing: in my dream, I stood up--but would I, in real life? If I was in a church, and the pastor started gay-bashing, referring to women as inferior, or using Jesus for personal or political gain...would I stand up in front of the congregation and publicly take a stand? Standing up, walking out, and ranting about it later--that I've done. But that's not enough. It maintains the silence.
There's a very well-known, mega-church pastor whose books and sermons are pretty popular with some people I know. He's a bully. He's said rude, dismissive, and misleading things about a friend of mine, as well as another friend's father (both of whom are also authors), and he's pretty condescending toward people who aren't like him. I would really like to think, that if I was in his congregation and he said those things, I'd stand up. The longer I think about it, though--the more excuses I can come up with.
"My gosh, that would be speaking in front of a huge group of people."
"I don't know my Bible as well as him; he would probably try to make a fool out of me."
"I'm not very eloquent when I'm flustered; I do much better when I have time to think and type out a response."
All of those excuses have something in common: fear. And always, if I keep my mouth shut when I should speak up, it's because of fear. I'm thankful for dreams in which I can be fearless, and I hope that they'll teach me to live as well waking as I do when I'm asleep. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm getting better.
Thanks for listening to my word vomit today. I know hearing about other people's dreams is about as interesting as looking at their family photos or hearing about their operation in full detail. If you stuck it out through the whole thing, you're a special kind of awesome.
⋅ Labels: deeper thoughts