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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Drop the dead dummy and talk to the Builder.

This morning I had a dream. I was and am still rather tired and decided, unusually for me, not to go to church, but to get some much needed rest so that I could concentrate on other church-related matters. But when God wants to speak to you, He gets to speak to you; sleep notwithstanding.

I dreamt that I was visiting a friend's church on the other side of the city. The church he pastors is mostly Nigerian and rents space from a Baptist Church. My own church has a similar arrangement with an Asian Church, as do quite a few churches. I should add that my friend is a man of prayer and faith and a dedicated intercessor.

In my dream, I was not actually in the Baptist church but in a house. As my friend came towards me, he seemed to be headless. As he got closer, I realised that he was carrying one of those headless tailor's dummies. It was dressed exactly as he was and, for the most part, obscured him.

Then the scene changed. Clearly the house was being renovated. Signs of building were everywhere but it was chaotic. There were a great many people in the house doing various things. (It was clearly not intended to be a message about his church as everyone else in the dream was white. The reason for this is explained above.) I could see toddlers playing with the building materials, seemingly under the illusion that they were helping - as children do.

People were living in the house as it was being renovated, but without any sense of demarcation between work areas and the rest of the house.

One man spoke to me. Everything about him said 'builder' and at first I thought that he was a contractor. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that the situation was dire. People had stepped out in faith and invested money in the works, but the money was running out and the work was no-where near completion. It was piecemeal and chaotic. He was actually doing some of the work and I thought that he was worried about being paid, but then it turned out that he had invested in the building and was a part of the congregation. The way he spoke to me left me thinking that he expected me to do something about the situation.

I sat down at a table with some of the people. A slim, attractive, dark-haired, young woman joined us. "Everything will be alright", she told me. She had invested money and was full of faith that it would come right. Despite her obvious beauty and faith, I found myself wondering if she was being naif? I thought that the builder had a better grasp of the situation.

After prayer and reflection, once awake, I decided that the dream was from God and when I shared it with a friend and prayer-partner, she also found that it spoke to her.

On the personal level (see my advice in my post on The Magnificat - slide twelve), I have to ask what am I carrying around that looks good, but is headless (Christ-less and dead) and is obscuring the man of prayer ( the New Creation)? It is a serious challenge on use of time, money and gifts within the church.

Secondly, what is it that the Builder expects me to do? He was the Builder and a part of the Body (The Head). He has made the major investment in the building. Clearly I need to speak to others as well. But what else should I do? How can I be most effective in helping to right the situation?

On a wider level, many churches need to take a hard look at what they are doing. Are the spiritually immature (the toddlers) being left to 'help' when they are hindering? What of the dead dummy? Is there Christ-less leadership that is obscuring spiritual leadership?

On the denominational and universal church level, the question becomes, how do we get rid of the dead dummy? 

As to the investment that had been made, we have to ask about our stewardship, not only of our own time and talents, but also that of others. Are we using our gifts and the gifts of others to the best effect? 

At the widest level, and increasingly, local churches and even dioceses, are asking if it is right to fund godless leadership. The same is true of many denominations.

We have to drop the dead dummy.

We need to be better organised

And we need to talk to the Builder about the building works.


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