Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Close Down the Dream Factory

The children come over the hill and there he is. Aslan. The great Lion of
Narnia, Son of the Emperor Over-Sea. I'd turn away, assuming I had no place
in His sight. What do the kids do? They run to him! They even touch him,
run their fingers through his golden mane, bury their faces in his warmth.

How could they? Aslan is the Jesus-figure in the Chronicles of Narnia. How
could C.S. Lewis even have conceived this? Touching God? And He puts up
with it?

"As to what God offers... Here's what I've found over the last couple of
years. He offers an intimacy far deeper than any, and I mean, ANY, human
can ever touch. He touches me in places I never knew I had; or never knew
could be touched. He meets needs in me I felt deep within, but couldn't
ever put definitions to. His intimacy is all-encompassing and never ending.
I've felt His touch at every various hour of the day. I've been enveloped
in strong and loving arms, swung around in dances of joy, gripped tightly
by my hand and held close as we crossed dangerous territory, watched over
by night, had my forehead caressed by His gentle hands, my face by soft big
hands, my shoulder gripped by strong steadying, or restraining hands...
I've leaned on His strong chest, buried myself in His neck, and leaned my
head on His shoulder, all while He held me close, wrapped in His arms."

In another book is a character named Cee, whose parents were killed in a
thoroughly violent fashion by soldiers of the new fascist regime. Cee ran
away and lived in the inviting forest. Later, some other people try to
capture her, presumably to clean her up and return her to civilized life,
but she'll have none of it. How does one like her learn to trust, when
everyone who is kind either dies or tries to contain her? Either way, Cee
had no choice. It's her against what appears to be the whole world.

Dreams should have the grace to die when they're beaten up repeatedly,
rejected, suspected, betrayed and destroyed. Why bother believing again? It
only sets me up for disappointment. Lies on top of lies. I prefer the
forest, alone.

But the dream of wholeness won't die. Misshapen, contorted, warped by years
and attitudes that aren't even mine, God wouldn't let me kill it.

He laid his hand on me and at first I trusted him. What choice had I?
Trust, or die. His burden was supposed to be easy, his yoke light. But it's
still a yoke. His purposes aren't my purposes.

The theory is that only His purposes will fulfil me. This sounds to me like
doublethink: Peace is War, the God in whose name the Inquisition was
created is Love.

How is suspicion allayed? One woman had the patience to just sit, waiting
for Cee to approach, not saying a word nor moving a muscle. Over time a
silent dialog built up. Who has that kind of time in our world? Here, it's
produce or die. We have only so much time. We'll give you a day or two to
get this sorted out. A season. Then it's time to put on the yoke, even if
you think you feel sharp teeth in it.

I learned to fake it. Outwardly compliant to avoid conflict, inwardly deep
in the forest, far away from what's happening, determinedly untouchable. No
one knows the difference.

Except God. He knows. Aslan gave Edmund one quick look and knew he'd
betrayed the others, when Edmund himself had managed to hide it from
himself in fancy words and the taste of phony candy. In our world truth
doesn't matter, only the outward appearance. God, however, doesn't care
about that. He wants my whole damned heart, and won't allow any bypasses
around trouble spots.

I know that Lu, and Lewis, wrote the truth. I myself have approached this
invisible God and felt His invisible arms holding me more strongly,
demonstrating more care, than anyone else has done. It's that power that
scares me. His love is erosive, washing away the years of dead ideas,
dissolving stone and turning it to flesh.

If I wanted flesh I'd have kept it. If stone had worked I'd never have
turned to Him. What am I to do now? I can't touch Him without being touched
back and changed thereby. I, who have prided myself in forcing life to flow
around my rock, leaving me unchanged. Trust no one. They just want their
way with my power.

There is no shortcut. I'd rather shut down the factory, quit dreaming, than
go through this change. No longer will my obdurate soul make its solitary
way through the forest, gathering what little I need. With God's touch
comes more need, more knowledge of need. I'm used to living with little.
God's generosity is the greatest danger I've ever faced. I could get used
to His touch, and what happens when He disappears?

I can either find out, or I can die. The two alternatives look much the
same. A choice of lies, or is God really there for the completely
destitute, wanting their good rather than His own? Or is this all just more
manipulation to His purpose?

I started finding hints of this problem months ago. The termination of
Mosaic Beverly Hills brought it closer to the surface; there's nothing like
the distraction of service to keep from having to think awkward thoughts.
Now there is no barrier, and the life is being squeezed out.

How much do I trust God? I guess I'm finding out, day by difficult day. No
mental sophistry is going to keep the doors open. It's either keep the
factory open and believe, or close it up and watch the thing crumble to
dust. Very familiar dust. I guess that familiarity is what keeps me going
on to something that might be different.

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