I still dare to dream of a theology and praxis that is deliberately and enthusiastically living in the "radical middle". Post-Charismatic, but not post-Spirit.
Not to be missed in the comment section are these excerpts from a comment by Brother Maynard which seemed eerily familiar to me:
Recognition. Identification. I know those dreams... remember them still. Run from them now, rather afraid of them. They lie unfulfilled in a heap, victims of disappointment with the church they longed to serve.
Dusty dreams, reminding him of a recurring prophetic vision... a vision he used to share publicly, a vision of gifts, callings, and dreams that went unfulfilled. He remembered the feeling of calling people forward to respond to this vision, of praying for person after person after person, that God would restore these dreams, dust them off, fulfill them. That these forgotten gifts would resurface, how God hadn't changed his mind, that the gift remains. He recalls how encouraged people were, how touched, and how these prayers sparked new life back into the lives of a number of folk who'd simply grown weary.
"Was that all a dream?" he muses. "Was it real? Have I become one of those people?" Who knows...
Daring to dream. He wonders if he'll really ever be able to do that again, or whether the cynicism that invades his soul will prevent it permenantly.
Why so cynical? Sadly, the political maneuverings of the powers-that-be are sometimes the weapon that dashes the dreams of those who dream of authentic community. The latest train wreck of church politics among the SBC has overtones that many will recognize. Proving your loyalty to those who have banded against you is a difficult and sometimes futile task.
This difficult measure was not taken without due deliberation and exploration of other ways to handle an impasse between Wade Burleson and the Board. In taking this action, trustees addressed issues involving broken trust and resistance to accountability, not Burleson’s opposition to policies recently enacted by the board.
(statement from the board of trustees regarding Wade Burleson from the IMB.)
While the suffering some have experienced in church is certainly not of the degree that people experienced with slavery and racism, we can all draw wisdom and hope from Dr. Martin Luther King and his famous "I Have a Dream":
Some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.