Eli Stone is a TV series (on ABC from January 31, 2008 to July 11, 2009) about a lawyer in San Francisco who sees visions. These are very much like dreams that he has during his waking hours, giving him signs and messages that help him figure out his life and where he is going. He gets messages about his cases as well as his personal life. Having visions is not something discussed at the Swedish Lutheran seminary my father went to in the 1940s in Illinois but he did have numinous experiences and there no one to talk to about it. When he became a chaplain after serving as a pastor for several years, he found a way to channel this interest and became a proponent of dreams. Learning from dreams is dependent on our taking time to remember them. He learned from Morton Kelsey who said that they are God’s way of talking to us. Eli Stone went to an acupuncturist who he could talk to about his dreams. Having a vision was what directed my father to become a minister. Lutherans talk about having a calling which doesn’t have to be a minister and my father directed me to not become a pastor just because it was a career but to find my call wherever that took me. We live at such a fast pace in urban settings, trying to work and make money, that we often don’t take time to remember our dreams. This is a reminder to talk to that inner voice; to rely on a greater power. Not doing this is what gets us into addictive behavior. I’m telling myself at the same time I write this.
I am one who grew up Christian, went away to explore other spiritual currents and came back though not as a weekly church going one. Many others do this as well and not all return in some way. But it is possible to do and to reclaim the good things that you believe in. We don’t have to throw out everything we’ve learned when we learn something new. Today I came up with the term post colonial Christianity and found out that others use this term. I wonder what this means for me and others in real life. Here’s one link I’ve begun to read http://khanya.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/postcolonial-christianity-is-a-neopentecostal-megachurch/
Here’s an article about a Lutheran church that is up for sale in Sacramento.
The congregation is small and is not closing but wants to find a new direction. They say that many people find they can meditate in their back yard and call that secularism. I think it is a form of spirituality. My ancestors were among the Swedish Lutherans who started the Augustana Lutheran Synod in the U.S. in the late 1800s. They were called pietists. They wanted a personal spirituality but didn’t try to leave the church. In fact they came to the U.S. and set up a church and probably needed it as immigrants as a way to keep together and help each other in community. Now we have so many communities, though the corner church is suffering. Is this because the church doesn’t understand why people aren’t coming or is it because the church isn’t needed? I think there is a little of both. I’ve written a dissertation relating Creation Spirituality to Lutheranism and addressed the issue of popular spirituality vs. traditional Christianity. I was raised in the Lutheran church and stopped going for awhile as I explored other spiritualities. Then I went back but didn’t go every week. Now I have moved and haven’t gone to church in a year. I hope keep a connection to the Lutheran church but don’t know yet where or how.
If you have had similar questions, I hope to hear from you here.
In June of 2009, we showed a film at WISR called Zulu Love Letters, which was critical of the Truth Commission in South Africa. The point was that for such terrible crimes, the movement toward healing that was supposed to happen was not nearly enough. This article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_(South_Africa) , refers to this process as being a type of restorative justice, which I think is appropriate and which I think is a good idea, and I have always been impressed that they were able to carry it so far in South Africa when you consider all the horrible things that people have done to other people through the ages. I learned when we showed the film, however, that some people did not think this process was appropriate or nearly enough, considering the damage that had been done. It is a challenge for people of faith and Christians like Desmond Tutu who apply their faith in this way. I truly believe there needs to be more restorative justice to heal society and not just punish people. I hope to study this article referenced above for starters and would like to dialogue with others more about this so feel free to post your comments here and let me and others know what you think.
This blog will be about matters of Creation and Spirituality. Marilyn Jackson has a religion major with concentration in Psychology from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, a masters from the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College in Oakland, CA. She earned a PhD in Higher Education for Social Change at the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR, pronounced wiser) in Berkeley, CA where her dissertation related Lutheranism to Creation Spirituality in the context of the tension between popular spirituality and traditional Christianity based in the U.S.