Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

~♥~

The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning “inland” or “in the middle of the land” (from medius, “middle” and terra, “land”). –Wikipedia

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of our beautiful trip to Mallorca, Spain to visit my lost-and-found father. So I have decided to re-post some of my series entitled Spanishoeprints.  At the top of the screen, you can also click on the page with the same title for an assortment of photographs and journal writings from our trip.

I will never forget that day when we looked out of the airplane window and saw Mallorca for the first time from the sky. First we saw the pure and blue Mediterranean sea, then what appeared to be Middle Earth in the art of Tolkien.

imagesIt was a magical three-dimensional game board- green and terracotta with the curves of stone streets and walls, the hammered out cliffs, the pencil lines of fields, square and triangular pastures, and the dots of sheep and almond trees.  The game pieces were steeples and palaces and monasteries set in spirals that rose gently with the slopes to the tops of mountains.

I will never forget that feeling of being a Hobbit in the Shire for three magical weeks with my father and my son. I still dream of the place and long for the time when I can return…Sometimes I try to pretend it wasn’t real because the hollowness I feel becomes almost unbearable. Please pray for me that I may continue to “follow the light unflinchingly”.

Peace & Grace,

“Sister Olive”

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~♥~

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

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I had a dream that I was standing in the grass behind a great Victorian style mansion with a woman who healed animals.  It was a gusty and cloudy day. The sky was full of birds soaring through a web of branches and wind, and she could just reach out her hand and catch a bird.

She held them and turned them over lovingly, inspecting their stomachs and legs and wings for wounds or diseases.  As she touched their infirmities with her beautiful graceful hands, they were instantly healed.  Then she opened her hands and released them.

She also attended to a small sick kitten, feeding it green grapes as part of its healing.  I knew something spiritual was happening, because a predator was eating fruit.

Isaiah the prophet wrote of how “there would be no hurt or harm” in the Holy Mountain, and I can’t help but notice there seem to be more animals than humans there, and more children than adults:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

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(Some Questions for Readers)

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.  (Matthew 12:25)

I cannot comment on other religions and whether they have the same problems, but Christianity seems to me to be terribly fragmented, along sociological, ideological, and denominational lines.  All of these divisions are rendering our faith ineffective and even laughable to those outside of Christianity, so I wanted to post an essay addressing one issue:  division along racial lines.

I wrote this piece a year or so ago, and have wanted a forum to discuss this problem for a long time.  I hope that you will read it and comment on the questions at the end.

Peace & Grace,

Olive

~♥~

Sacred Segregation in the South

“At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation.”  -Martin Luther King

Black and white people work together, attend school together, and frequent the same restaurants and theatres.  But here in the south, they usually choose to worship separately.  I have been the sole white member of an African-American church for the past ten years, and I find this mystifying and disturbing.  When I have invited whites to come with me to church, they usually make excuses not to come.  If they do visit, they never return. I am curious if this is unique to this area, or if it extends further.  I will share a few experiences that have made me wonder about this.

When I was a child attending a Baptist church in North Carolina, I heard the preacher ask the congregation not to bring any of their black friends to church.  Although I was so young at the time, it didn’t sound right to me.

In more recent times, I asked a prison chaplain for information about the ministerial association in my area and was told that there are two; one for white ministers and one for black ministers. I could not understand why.  Are they afraid of each other?  He also told me “it is very unusual for a white person to willingly come under the leadership of a black preacher, although it is not as rare for it to be the other way around.”

I read a newspaper article by a black preacher who remarked that their church had “broken the racial barrier” because one white person had begun attending there.  I found that to be a bit of an overstatement.

I heard a black preacher speak at a juvenile detention center during Black History Month a couple years ago, and he proudly stated that all of the great patriarchs in the Bible were men of color, including King David and Solomon.  He said that Jesus Christ Himself was a man of color.  I have no objection to any of these statements, because it makes no difference to me whatsoever.  But it raised questions in my mind about whether this is evidence that people still harbor racist feelings, causing them to want to preserve one segregated realm.  It is my desire to explore this issue with more depth and find out why blacks and whites seem to prefer to remain separate in this one arena of religion.

My parents participated in civil disobedience in north Florida in the sixties to show their support for oppressed blacks.  They were arrested while trying to integrate buses in Tallahassee.  My father described how the bus driver looked in the rear view mirror and saw what was happening, and radioed the police. The driver said that the inside of his bus looked “like a checkerboard.”

The Ku Klux Klan has also had many demonstrations in St. Augustine, and in the center of the town, the remains of a slave market still stand as a grim reminder of the town’s history.  Although city officials deny that the spot was ever really a slave market, a close friend of mine says that she remembers her father telling her that when he returned from World War I, he saw an auction of slaves taking place there.

A Flagler College student named Jeremy Dean produced and directed a documentary called “Dare Not Walk Alone” about the civil rights movement in Saint Augustine, Florida. At the end of the film, he photographed the part of town where many of the blacks live, to raise the question of whether there is truly “equality” for blacks in the present time.

I have met two ladies from the “Saint Augustine Four” who were arrested in Woolworth’s for trying to order lunch in 1963, when it was a “whites only” restaurant. One of them still has pains in her knees from scrubbing floors while she was in prison for this “crime.” I apologize that their names escape me, but one of them showed me a scrapbook with photographs and articles about the demonstrations in the “oldest city.”

I joined a black church in 2003, and I know that the Spirit led me there.  I had a dream about a group of black prophets many years ago, and I will discuss that in a separate memoir.  My experience has been that God always leads me to places where He can take me to the next level in my spiritual growth.

I am not the first white person to find my calling and fulfillment in a black church.   Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian martyr from Germany who studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York, attended the First Abyssinian Church in Harlem.  He states that this church transformed him from a Christian scholar to a man of God.  My experience is quite similar.  Through a black church, I found my identity as a daughter of the King.

Like Bonhoeffer, I found that the liberty and passion of the black worship services enabled me to pour out my heart to God and to establish a relationship with Him in a new way.  This is the most marked difference between white and black worship services that I have been a part of.

In my church, people can worship outside the program- they can sing a spiritual, give their testimony, run to the altar to cry and pray, or whatever is necessary to find their wholeness in God.  There is seldom a time limit, and the service continues until everyone feels refreshed and equipped to deal with their personal trials.

There are many amazing practices in my church that remind me of the early church in the Book of Acts.  Pastors take their entire congregations and choirs to visit other churches.  They cross denominational lines to have fellowship with each other, and uphold the doctrine of the house that they are visiting when they enter.

Also, if someone in my church is in a nursing home or hospital, the pastor and his wife and sometimes the whole congregation will end the services and go to visit the church member who cannot be present because of their infirmity.

Also, it is beautiful to see the high level of respect shown to the “church mothers”. These are the older women who are called upon to render their wisdom in important church decisions.  Several of them are widows.  Though many of them are desperately poor, they are treated like queens at church.

The chaplain I mentioned earlier told me that he attends a black church once a month to compensate for the hugs that he is deprived of in his white church.  I can attest to the warmth of my own experiences in the black churches as well.

So I would like to ask my question again:  Why do blacks and whites prefer to worship separately in the south?  I find it odd that the black congregations are willing to cross denominational lines to visit one another, but they don’t cross racial lines.  Is it merely cultural differences that cause races to remain separate in church, or is it something deeper?  Is it just a tendency to remain in our “comfort zone”?

Perhaps we are comfortable with superficial interactions across racial lines, but we still want to keep other races at “arm’s length”?  I’ve had whites ask me if I am at all scared to go to “that neighborhood.”

I understand that the style of worship in black and white churches is very different in many ways.  But some of the livelier Pentecostal and charismatic churches seem to be similar enough for the different races to feel comfortable worshiping together.

Are the churches so radically different as to warrant this separation?  Or could it be something else?  A friend of mine told me recently that there are two national gospel competitions- one for blacks and one for whites.  He said that if they competed together, a black singer would win every time.

The first time I took my sons to a black church, my eldest son said “I never want to go anywhere else again.”  He said it because it was so joyful and passionate and exciting.  I have seen many a black preacher set fire to his congregation, and I’ve seen many white preachers put my children to sleep.  It makes me think of a poster I’ve seen on the wall of a professor’s office.  It depicts Jesus sitting in the front row of a church, asleep with a newspaper on his lap.

I have heard members of quieter churches raise questions about whether some charismatic churches are just engaging in “theatrics” or creating a “show business” environment. Some people are convinced that many of these services that include prophetic messages and wonders are “staged.”

I’m not trying to insult anyone, but to simply share my own experiences.  I want to raise some questions to my readers, and I would covet your responses:

Is your church integrated in terms of race? 

In your area, are churches mostly segregated or otherwise?

Have you ever visited a church where the congregation is a different race than yourself? 

Did you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?  Please explain.

What are your views about why many churches are still so segregated? 

What possible solutions do you see to this problem?

~♥~

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(From the Iris Diaries)

The woman who loves the wind is always dreaming of a road.  Though it is tiresome and lonely at times, she senses that the path is ascending gently under her soft little feet.  It rolls out like a divine scroll before her, with new words and new mercies each day.

She knows that the end of the path holds great rewards and secrets that her natural eyes are too dim to see.  She has spiritual eyes that have beheld a few shadows of glory beyond the veil.  She told a close friend about one of her most memorable spiritual dreams:

In one of my dreams, I was the innkeeper of an old rustic lodge by the side of a lonely road, and I provided hospitality to many travelers.  I worked hard to make people as comfortable as possible when they came. I always stayed very busy preparing food and cleaning out rooms and decorating with flowers and candles and art.

There was a certain man who visited the inn on several occasions. He was kind and gracious, and I always felt awkward in his presence. Each time he came, I felt more of a bond of friendship with him, but I often felt as though my services were inadequate.  He was always grateful, but I was always looking for ways to improve.  Each time the man returned to the inn, I felt great joy about his coming.

During one particular visit by the man, I felt that something was about to happen and our interaction was different, because my heart began to flutter unexpectedly and I sensed that he had come for a special purpose.  He was especially warm and gentle in his demeanor and it made me even more nervous and concerned than before. 

I was bustling around anxiously, when suddenly he stopped me and ordered me to sit down.  He asked me how I was doing and how I felt.  I replied that I was fine, and he startled me by sitting on the floor in front of my chair and massaging my feet!  His eyes were searching my face with concern.  I was astonished and confused.

Then the man got up and said, “Wait here.  I have something to show you.”  As he went outside I rose and stood in the doorway to watch, and I saw him returning.  I realized his hands were full of huge diamonds glowing in the sunlight! The light was pouring out of them like rivers as he strode up to the doorstep. I have never seen such large and brilliant stones. One gigantic diamond was set in a ring he wore upon his hand and light was flowing out of it in colorful strands. 

The man stepped inside and spread the gems out on the table, and spoke these words:  “I am a stone-cutter and I only work with the purest diamonds because I want to bring out the brightest light from inside of them.”  As he talked, he picked out particular ones from the table and held them up to show me. 

Then he removed the fiery diamond ring off of his own hand and held it up before my eyes, and said  “You see, I would never dream of giving anything but the most perfect stone to my daughter, or to my…” I woke up before he could say the last word.  But the word “bride” hung in the air like a moment that is never forgotten. Tears sparkled like diamonds in my eyes- tears of holy and eternal love.

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(The Iris Diaries)

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.” Hosea 2:19

A lady with silver hair dropped her lilac-colored slippers beside her bed, and crawled under the lavender chenille bedspread.  She dreamed that she was traveling on a familiar path with a group of hikers.  There was a deep sense of peace as they all walked together and talked with soft voices.  The grass and trees were lush and green, and they came to a brook with pebbles and rocks in it.

The lady was slower than the other hikers and afraid that her feet might slip.  The guide stopped everyone and came back to where she was struggling along.  She recognized him from another dream!  He held out his hand and walked with her through the water to the other side, and she felt the strength of his arms as he held her up.

She asked him, “Are we still headed north?”  “Yes”, he said, “sometimes it may not look like it, because the road winds around at times, but you can rest assured that we are still headed the right way.”

Then the leader addressed the group, “Some people are going to be passing us in a moment.  Just ignore them.  Don’t listen to anything they tell you.”

Just then, a strange crowd drifted by.  They were flat and fluttered in the breeze as if they were cut out of paper.  Their faces were very odd and evil in appearance.  They were headed the opposite direction, and laughed as they passed the hikers, saying, “What’s wrong with you guys?  You’re heading the wrong direction.  Can’t you see that?  How stupid can you be?”  They kept laughing wickedly, and the lady was glad when they had passed by. Everyone trusted the guide and whatever he said, and there was a beautiful sense of love and unity among the travelers.

The lady woke up with a familiar feeling of peace around her.  She had often visited this world of warmth and brightness in her dreams, and felt that she belonged in these idyllic forests and meadows with soft pastel skies and dew sparkling on the flowers.

Sometimes a beautiful fox would appear, and she would run like a child laughing out loud as she chased it. In her recurring dreams she was young and strong, and her heart would ring with joy as she ran.

One night, she dreamed that she was at a beautiful wedding banquet and she recognized a man that she knew.  He had on exquisitely lovely garments when she saw him, made of unearthly looking fabrics in rich hues.

She also dreamed once that the stones in her rings were all being removed and replaced with new stones.  She saw the most incredible gems she had ever seen, and she was told that she could pick anything that she wanted.

Once she dreamed she had been serving the familiar man, when he suddenly made her sit down and he massaged her feet, and asked her how she was doing.  She was astonished by this act of humility, because she only wanted to serve him. He gave her a diamond ring that had been glowing on his own right hand, and light was streaming from the stone in golden threads.  He said that he would only give the most beautiful gems to his daughter or his bride.

The lady woke up shivering with joy and peace, and tears sparkled in her eyes.  She loved this man more than life itself.  In a previous dream, she had asked him the way to the gates of the city, and he had handed her a key without giving directions, as if she already knew how to get there.

Now she possesses two priceless gifts- a key and a ring.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  John 14:1-4

~♥~

Photo came from Simply Orthodox ☦

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(The Iris Diaries)

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Iris follows the wind. She loves the comfort of encircling breezes and her hair being tossed about.  The wind whispers in her ear when she is resting in her bed and calls her secret name when it is time to awaken. She loves being like a leaf, with no knowledge of where he will carry her each day.  She clutches a stick in her right hand when she walks, and sometimes she uses it as a wand to weave the strands of air into shadowy shapes.

She seems to be a drifter, but Iris is always at work.  She inquires of the wind about where to go, and what to do.  She is like a flute that he plays in the canyons. Her ears are filled with music, and every day is an adventure on the windblown path.

The woman who loves the wind has many dreams. In one of them, she is wandering down a long misty road in search of a city, and she sees a familiar man by the wayside.  She asks him, “Can you tell me the way to the gates of the city?”  Without speaking, the man hands her a key.  He never gives her directions, as if she already knows the way.

“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  (John 14:4)

OLIVE TWIST ©2012

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An old friend sent me this poem in the wee hours of the morning, saying it was on a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap and she thought of me. Good ol’ Dr. Bronner!

I almost cried when I read it along with a brief  history of the author.  It really “speaketh to my condition” as the Quakers used to say.

On the last line, I wanted to see some words about invincible women too, but I’ll deal with it somehow…

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‘if’ by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

(Well, I must concede that “you’ll be a woman, my daughter” wouldn’t rhyme or sound quite as good…)

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Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

“Rudyard Kipling’s inspirational poem ‘If’ first appeared in his collection ‘Rewards and Fairies’ in 1909. The poem ‘If’ is inspirational, motivational, and a set of rules for ‘grown-up’ living. Kipling’s ‘If’ contains mottos and maxims for life, and the poem is also a blueprint for personal integrity, behavior and self-development. ‘If’ is perhaps even more relevant today than when Kipling wrote it, as an ethos and a personal philosophy…

“The beauty and elegance of ‘If’ contrasts starkly with Rudyard Kipling’s largely tragic and unhappy life. He was starved of love and attention and sent away by his parents; beaten and abused by his foster mother; and a failure at a public school which sought to develop qualities that were completely alien to Kipling…”

Thanks again, Dr. Bronner!

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