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Saturday, December 14, 2013

On Parables and Dreams

Jesus spoke in parables and God speaks to us in dreams because He wants us to make an investment in comprehension. Take, for example, the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus could have said “I as the Son of God am now informing you that you should love and assist strangers.” Well, I would say, “that’s an interesting proposition Jesus but I don’t personally comprehend it much so it doesn’t mean that much to me. You have filled a sound bite with abstractions that you are telling me are true—ok, if you say so.” Yet when he tells a parable with many possible applications that are relevant today, and when he conveys this meaning by having me do some of the investment work of comprehension myself, then it can be said that I really, deeply, understand his speech and its meaning for the first time and there is some chance that I might even apply it.

Now dreams today are largely ignored as neurological flotsam and jetsam. I think this materialistic belief is a major error. I think we should understand them as parables from God. Last night I dreamed that I was at a computer and was attempting to print out a blank calendar for a month ahead. But instead of a future calendar, the computer always returned a blank calendar from the past—a calendar that would be totally useless in planning the future. Now when one thinks of it, there could be a thousand possible interpretations of this dream—all of them carrying some weight for various applications. And perhaps God intends that I consider them all and use them when appropriate. One application of this dream handy today is that for the past 30 years I have been a City of Saint Petersburg employee. The “calendars of the past” in which dates certain could be reliably set may soon be supplanted by a less structured retirement calendar. Like Dali’s clock faces, the future may not be all that predictable. In any case, I have accepted “the parable of the calendars” as God’s aid for me to keep in mind while navigating the world.

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