I have been sharing lots of things from my journal, some of which have been references to various journal entries without giving any in-depth discussion. In this installment, I am going to focus on two specific things, but my journal continues having its miscellany entries, discussing a variety of topics.
On July 28, 2012, the following information was written about a dream:
I had this dream yesterday [July 27 while] at Corpus Christi. I told Mary the dream, she wrote it in her dream journal, I am copying it from there. When Mary wrote it down, she made the comment that she asked God to give me a dream, this was the second time she has done this both times I have told her a dream. Interesting? No?
The dream: We were downtown in a city… for a Christian presentation (or conference) or something.
Mary and I had left the conference. Not sure what we were doing, but we drove around this corner and people with bats and rocks were destroying a business or building. So we drove beside it to try to get away from it, to get away.
We drove back to the conference and asked people if they knew about the rioters and they said, “Yeah, It’s started.”
There was something about a man backing up a truck at the conference, and we were in his way. (if memory serves, I said “Excuse me.”)
The next thing I know, we were pulling a trailer. We have to drive across a muddy area and there is some type of ditch digging going on and then we go over a big bump and we are back on the pavement and make a hard right turn, going toward an intersection with a light. (it’s like a light allowing a business parking lot out into the street), we go down a steep incline, enter the intersection and turn left.
(Next thing I know), the right trailer tire blows out…. My thought in the dream was “That’s what happens when you take the corner too fast and don’t check your tires.”
We pull into this neighborhood area. I have no spare, the trailer has a bunch of personal possessions, I don’t know what they are, but I don’t have any tie-down [devices].
I considered going to [a store] to buy a tire, but chose not to because of the riots. Somehow we end up losing the contents of the trailer. But then I find myself driving up a mountain (on a windy road).
For me, that dream was difficult, in many ways, it still is. Like I have said before, dreams seem to be very symbolic. Yet as I have experienced, dreams do not have to be only symbolic. As I was going back through this, I spent some time thinking about this dream and talking with Mary wondering what she thought.
For me, one of the things I think I see involves the right tire blowing out. When I experienced the events that I am describing in “My Story” not only did I experience my tire blowing out regarding cessationist theology, but my tire also blew out regarding traditional church interpretation of marriage. Therefore for me, the tire blowing out seems to represent the conservative Bible interpretation that I had been towing with me. In a sense, I tried to use that training to make my journey, but that training did not fully equip me for making this journey.
As for the image of me going to the store for a tire, there was a time that I did consider going back to my conservative interpretations. But experience has helped convince me that the conservative interpretation especially regarding dreams is not in-line with what the Bible says about dreams. Experience has also helped convince me that the conservative interpretation that I had been given regarding marriage is not the only marriage that God permits.
In a sense, leaving the tradition that God does not communicate through dreams and leaving the traditional interpretation of marriage has made me, in the vein of their interpretation, liberal. That made me uncomfortable for many years, but the Bible says what it says, and the Bible says God used dreams to communicate, and the Bible says God worked in and within marriages of one husband with two or more wives.
Mary mentioned that the manner in which we arrived at the intersection, the crossroads if one will, was because of decisions that we had made. From that, it seems to mean that we took a different path differing from some Christian presentations. Mary also expressed that my comment about not checking the tires could represent that I was not fully ready to make the journey because I had not checked everything.
That said though, I ask the following: How on earth does anyone truly count the cost of following God’s leading? I answer: it is not possible to know everything that God will do, that is why it is called faith. God does not and will not inform any person of every single thing. This is why Paul reasons that we are saved by faith, our trust in God that God will deliver even when we do not understand. After my experiences, and at the end of the discussion, a person either trusts God or they don’t.
There are several images in that dream that I don’t really understand, like the people destroying a business. But the one thing that stands out is the person backing up and we were in their way. That moment means something, but the dream’s details are few. If I take it to mean that the dream symbolizes the journey that Mary and I have taken, then the event of the man backing up his truck means something, I am just not sure what. It could refer to a specific masculine person, it might not. Either way, it seems I was trying to get out of his way in order to let him do what he was doing.
I don’t make it widely known that I also experienced a leading regarding a name that I was led to accept. If my reader finds the things that I have shared not out of the ordinary, then the leading I was given to accept a name probably will be no big deal. However, for me, this was an event, in a long list of events, that simply posed another challenge to accept that God does things in ways contrary to my expectations and against some of the theology that I was given in my heritage.
My journal entry from August 11, 2012 records, in part, the following:
Havdalah August four was at [a] park. It was held there for the purpose of using the spring fed pool for baptisms/washings [mikvahs] in preparation of the high holy days.
Things were to begin about 4pm…. Well on our way there, the u-joint broke on the Suburban…. We sat for about three hours. [A brother, his wife and family] helped us…. It was about 745pm or 8p when it was all said and done….
We made it to Havdalah, 3 1/2 – 4 hours late, but in time for Havdalah services. During which I had to teach a short segment. I had to in order to fill time because [the leader] was not available [to teach]. I prayed asking what to teach and I felt and believed I was to talk about love and from 1 Corinthians 13.
After services, we ate, gave some food away to the homeless, and [my son], Mary, and me were immersed. … I was also immersed but more to fulfill righteousness than personal need.
The night before, I was praying for confirmation about a Hebrew name Shlomo – which means ‘peaceful’ coming from Shalom meaning ‘peace’ – and the name Shaul – which means ‘desired’ (Brown-Driver-Briggs). So I had always, well not always, but somewhat routinely considered King Solomon and the Apostle Saul (aka Paul) the two men I somewhat looked up to, Solomon for his wisdom, Paul for his unswerving ability to reason Christ and Law; both qualities I want/like.
One of the reasons for Havdalah at the park was to take on a Hebrew name….
As for me, I have done my research on Raymond; it means ‘king’ and ‘provider’. But as I was praying for confirmation: Solomon or Saul, I received [the leading for] David, but was not certain; so, I asked again in prayer: Solomon or Saul? and before I could finish my question David is there, again. So, I am confident that David is the name I am to take. But, I did not do so at Havdalah.
However, over the next several days, I thought and meditated about Saul, David, Solomon. It was interesting to me that while I considered Saul because of the Apostle, I was meditating on the names of two of Israel’s first three kings: Saul, and Solomon.
What became of more interest is that God gave me the name David (Beloved), the name of the middle [king]….
It occurred to me later that the names, by meaning are: Desired, Beloved, Peaceful. …
As I am going back through this, I can’t help but see this as another reflection of my approach to things presented to me. I take my time. I analyze. Then I respond.
Here’s what I mean, consider this part from my journal entry on September 09, 2012:
Mikvah’s [baptisms/washings] are coming next Sunday, I hope I can go because I want to officially take the name: David.
My journal entry from September 25, 2012 records:
I had to talk [a brother] into mikvahs for Saturday September 15 because we had planned the mikvahs after Friday night service. But I forgot my clothes even though [he] was ready. So we got together Saturday.
I was mikvahed… [taking] the name David.
That same day I recorded:
This Havdalah (September 15) was the first [Havdalah service] following my mikvah taking the name David. This was the first time I was called David [by someone else]….
I am not really certain the length of time it took from start to finish. But from those journal entries, it looks like it took me nearly a month to pray, meditate, and respond to that which I had experienced.
My reader has to remember that I had come from a church tradition that did not believe in active Holy Spirit leading or in modern day revelation, by revelation I mean that God would reveal himself and specific concepts to individuals for their lives. Having come from that type of religious training, I had to take my time, in order to be attentive, careful, meticulous, and thorough regarding the things I was experiencing.
I have been slow to adopt the use of the name David, and many still refer to me by Ray or Raymond. So I have come to look at myself similar to how Paul, the Apostle, was known.
The New Testament includes him and speaks of him. His name was Saul. But he was also known as Paul (Acts 13.9). Although almost all of modernity knows him as Paul, his name is actually Saul.
Was he Saul? or was he Paul?
Depends, I suppose, on whom is asked. But truth told, he was Saul and he was Paul, because they are one and the same, because you can’t have one without the other, even though Saul did find belief in Jesus. But notice that Saul preached Jesus (Acts 9.19-20), before he, as Paul, preached Jesus.
In like manner, I am both Ray and David.
Blessings and Shalom