Installment 32

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My journal entries about “Two Choices” were intermixed with entries about Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), life events, entries brainstorming about church work, my roles in the church, ideas for my personal website, and my study of Psalm 119. Additionally, in October 2012, I began filming a year-long Torah study which examined the Hebrew word that named each Torah Portion and how that word was translated using the Greek Old Testament and how it correlates to the New Testament.

In this Installment, I want to share a couple of dreams that occurred near the discussion about “Two Choices”. Then I want to share some of the thoughts I had back in October 2012 regarding “Two Choices”.

First up, a dream from October 06, 2012:

I don’t know how I arrived in the church service, don’t know if it was Messianic in flavor, but the person asking for prayers was Messianic in nature. They expressed their distress about their marriage and that they needed help to have resolution to their problems and were sent to [a person in my religious heritage], but he proved inadequate to the task. The Messianic relayed the idea that [the person in my religious heritage] would continue focusing on bringing the Messianic to the church, leaving [the Messianic] with the impression that movement into that church would solve the problems. But the Messianic knew that “church” movement would not solve the issue because the issue was bigger than that.

In the dream, I could tell the Messianic was visibly upset, distraught, and I ask them if I could interrupt them. They said yes but for me to wait. I waited then spoke, I believe I had my arm around the Messianic, and said something to the effect that I am from the same background as [the person from my religious heritage], he does not yet see, but if God can help me see, then God can help [him] see, and I think I expressed my apologies to the Messianic.

When I had that dream, I made a note that stated a possible reason for why I had that dream, but provided no other thoughts. Now as I look at that dream I see things differently.

I took “Messianic” to mean a person who attends a Messianic Synagogue. Does the Messianic represent me? Doubtful, because the second paragraph conveys otherwise. So I am still not sure who the Messianic represents other than someone who is connected somehow to the concept that Torah has some kind of validity for the New Testament.

What I find most interesting is the Messianic visited someone from my religious heritage asking for help regarding marriage. There are no specific details given about the marriage, so it could have been a person having a problem with their monogamous marriage. The person from my religious heritage is one that I knew conducted marriage counseling, so the dream definitely conveys the aspect that the Messianic went to someone who performed marriage counseling.

Yet, that counselor proved incapable of addressing their problems, instead thinking that movement into the “church” would solve the problem. Because of my familiarity with my religious heritage, I interpret the dream to mean that my religious heritage couldn’t offer any real solution to the marital problem. But the counselor thought that if the person had association with the church, the problem would solve itself, yet the Messianic is aware that such would not happen.

When I arrive at the second paragraph, I can see that the Messianic was upset with their situational advice. I am cordial. I ask for their permission to speak. My arm placement shows compassion and understanding, and potential that the person from my religious heritage would come to see the truth. The Messianic’s dilemma is not resolved, but I try to give them hope.

Now for another dream, from October 12, 2012:

[A person from my religious heritage] handed me a check, amount I don’t know, don’t know if I even unfolded the check to see the amount, but he told me I need to choose, that I just can’t sit around waiting on God. Then Mary walked up as I was telling him something like, “What’s wrong with waiting, if I don’t know/understand?” Then Mary tells me she traded in her VW Passat for, I think it was, a Buick Century.

I had that [dream] just before 5.00am, my alarm went off, I hit snooze thought on this, then shared the details that I could remember with Mary.

What I find interesting is that within a week of the previous prayer, I have another dream involving another person from my religious heritage. The person in this dream is not the person in the other dream, yet the person in the previous dream and this dream were masculine, and each was a minister when I had those dreams. Yet, I am not certain what it means that both dreams included ministers.

First, it is important to know about a personal practice I have. From time to time, there are moments, even though rare, that someone will hand me a check or hand me cash, folded. In accepting their gift, I never look at it – I never examine the amount in their venue. The person knows what they are giving, at that moment I don’t need to know. Instead, irrespective of amount, I want to show my gratefulness, and gratitude is always genuine when the number is unknown. Therefore my knowledge of their gifted amount arrives later, outside their purview.

As for this particular dream, a minister handed me a check of some amount that I didn’t know, and I assume that my personal practice was represented in my dream. But what he told me to do was choose and it was important to choose and not to sit around and wait on God.

Now what I find interesting is that this dream occurs after discussing with Mary the “Two Choices”. I thought I had made a choice. But from this dream, it seems that I had to make another choice, perhaps something in addition to the church work or mission work of the “Two Choices”.

Then, in the dream, as Mary is walking up, I express to the person that if I don’t understand or know, then what’s the harm in waiting? The dream does not provide any answer, except to insinuate that I had to choose and not to set around waiting on God before I made my choice. Difficult is it not to decide a choice when one doesn’t know what the choice is for or what the choices are?

As for Mary trading in her car, hmm? Well, as for Mary’s VW Passat, it was financially totaled when a deer collided with it. Mary didn’t get a Buick Century, she found a Mazda RX-8. But since dreams are mostly symbolic, there must be something specific that a Buick Century represents, for example, trading in something “foreign” in order to have something “domestic”.

As I look back on this, I find that those dreams have significant time aspects. As I mentioned, those dreams occurred around the time Mary and I were in lengthy discussions, prayers, self-reflections, and meditations about “Two Choices”.

The first dream was definitely communicating something about marriage. Marriage was definitely the topic that I was wrestling with during that time. In the dream, I expressed to the other religious person my hope that the person from my religious heritage would come to see the truth.

After several years of dialogue with many in my religious heritage, I stand by my doctrinal position, just as they stand by theirs. But as of now, it is difficult for me to see them allowing me to persuade them into accepting any marriage other than their doctrinal position. Additionally, I am compelled to consider the events that occurred to me, and those events directly affect my willingness to affirm and articulate the doctrinal permissions for one husband to have two or more wives. In light of these differences, I can appreciate their difficulties, but with God’s help perhaps one day they will see. With God all things are possible.

As for the second dream, it was definitely communicating something about not waiting on God. Waiting on God is exactly what I was doing. Yet, when one does not know what to choose, one waits, and waits, and waits, and waits. I waited. I waited. Then I waited some more. At the time, I so wanted God to push, pull, or drag me to the next event in my life. But here’s the thing, God cannot do that and be God, God has to permit you to choose, even with marriage. God can orchestrate the events, get them started, get the proverbial ball rolling, but one has to become an active participant in life with God, and that requires one to act. One has to choose. I have chosen.

October 16, 2012 – APOLOGIES and RESOLUTION

Last night I went to bed talking with Mary about how we simply cannot do just anything for God. We found that out, it makes me nervous. Am I, are we, so limited?

So this morning I awoke feeling terrible in my being. So, I went to work and spoke with Mary in between driving students. On my way to pick up the second group [of students], I prayed:

I am sorry for being afraid. Am I so concerned about Mary that I will not listen to you?

The apology [to God] just felt right, like I knew in my being that I need to apologize for being afraid. I had already spoken with Mary about this and that I don’t want to be afraid, I no longer want to be ashamed.

Last night we agree that Mary would [pray asking] how we are amiss with God. And after I gave my apology, I knew I needed to broach the subject so I asked the question above [Am I so concerned about Mary that I will not listen to you?], the answer was a resounding, “Yes.”

Then it hit me. Ugh! Talk about hollowness, a void opened up. I have been asking: What was the lesson to be learned from the two choices? A) I was afraid of people. B) I am more concerned for Mary than God. Both are a bummer, because I want to do the will of the Father.

The very difficult thing I must now embrace is that my concern for Mary must be less that my need to listen to the Father. This does not mean that I have ill-will or hate for Mary. May the Father help me in this.

I simply cannot convey the depth of anxiety that I felt and experienced during the early years of this marital rethink. That anxiety was so acute that I feel like I carried myself like a high school student, all fumbles. But that anxiety was real and made me timid about any possibility about changing my marriage and really fearful about letting things become known to others.

Like I wrote in my journal, I apologized to God for being fearful. Even though Mary and I had interactions with ladies about this possibility, personally I wavered back and forth, back and forth until about January of this year (2016). Truth told, I conducted myself in the manner in which I believed I was led, but deep in my own being, I was not ready. Weird, I know.

It took me a long time to truly get over that fear of what others perceive and their judgments. My mind conjured up so many possibilities of being rejected, that the mere possibility of their reaction terrified me to where I truly did not want to pursue another wife. I also learned that I was, in essence, rejecting myself and in rejecting myself I rejected pursuing another wife.

In my next Installment, I hope to reveal the struggle that I was having at that time. Not because I feel that way today, but because it was part of the process of becoming who I am. Candidly, I am not like how I perceive other men to be, pursuers of the ladies. I am the guy who had few dates in High School and few dates in college.

I liked the girls, I did. But I was more interested in not playing the “dating” game and wanted to be accepted for the person I was/am. I still find “dating” to be a game, a dance if one will, where each person puts their “best” forward in hopes of securing the other. I am who I am – faults, fractures, and weaknesses. But I’ll tell you this. I tell the truth.

Here is something else I learned, and the Father helped me with this. I really did NOT have to make my concern for Mary any less than my concern for following God, both are primary. In fact to love God is to love Mary. God has helped us navigate these changes, and our hearts are ready.

One more thing, before I see my reader in the next installment, the biggest truth that I learned in talking about this with Christians, is this, they talk a great game but have very little to back up their talk. Here’s what I mean.

Most Christians, and I say most, believe in God, but don’t really study the Bible for themselves. Most Christians believe what they believe because somebody else gave them that belief structure. That structure is the core value set they use to assess everything, and when someone does not meet that core value structure, they are rejected.

Here’s the other thing I learned. Some Christians don’t actually believe their own rhetoric. Challenge them on the topic they object, many times their objections crumble. Sadly, frequently, many don’t know the answer, they simply repeat what the pulpits teach, even preachers and ministers simply repeat doctrine and can find themselves rattled by unforeseen challenges. In large part, this is due to the prominence of teachings about the Bible instead of prominence of studying the Bible to determine what it says.

Personally, I don’t think I am any longer afraid of these characteristics. They can shout. They can pout. They can be all kinds of rude and judgmental. But the issue is, I challenge their preconceived notions of marriage and challenge the doctrines many don’t want questioned. I appreciate their dilemma, but their struggle point no longer keeps me from pursuing what is permitted.

Like I said before, I made my choice. God permits this marriage. I want this marriage.

Blessings and Shalom