Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nightmares ... what a world?

I have been annoyed lately because I am having nightmares and often because of these, wakeful nights and loss of sleep. I have often found that there are reasons behind the nightmares I have and I examine my lifestyle for those. I dream that there are terrorists or sometimes non-descript men chasing me trying to exterminate me. I dream of being unable to runaway from chasing dogs or desperately trying to get out of a bog. Why?
Bedtime reading...
One of the books given to me at Christmas is a true story of a man walking the Amazon river. I read this every night before I turn out the lights. In this he encounters angry communities, bogs and all sorts of dangers in the jungle. It is a great story but I wonder if it is appropriate bed time reading?
Out of line lifestyle..
This week all the busyness and responsibilities of being chairman of the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust seems to be starting again. In some ways I enjoy this work, but it does take me out of my comfort zone. It is not "me" in a sense. It is a bit of a CEO role and I am not cut of that cloth. On the other hand I sit in my local Church and share in services where the leadership offered is not, in my view, up to the basic standard it ought to be. I keep thinking, "THAT is where I ought to be using my abilities, that or something similar." But there are virtually no opportunities in this congregation. I feel a "calling" to be leading or creating stuff that leads people to consider the sacred or depth in life but I can see no opportunities for that? I wonder if part of my unsettledness is that I am not doing the things I am meant to be doing? But I struggled with traditional ministry expectations and traditional "church"?
The World Worries me...
The siege in Sydney, now the siege in Paris and the ongoing murders, wars and atrocities between the west and the radical Muslim world worry me. I think retaliation only increases the violence down the track. But when people believe they have God on their side and they are killing in the name of their God all rationality and reason go out the window. I cannot see an end to this situation. The response in Australia and in Paris of solidarity and the desire for unity is great. But there are sections within the world where hatred of all things muslim, and sometimes of all things "religious" is building. Hatred never solved anything either.  One ex-military man in the USA is quoted as saying “You go wherever in the world the terrorists are and you kill them, you do your best to exterminate them, and then you leave behind smoking ruins and crying widows.” He also had other very warlike angry words to say. So I am really concerned about the future for peaceful coexistence in our world. It will not worry me, I'll be out of here soon enough. Continued escalation is all I see can happen at the moment. This will make for a very troubled worldfor my children and grandchildren. I suspect it will be more destructive and more widespread than ever before in history.  I am also concerned for Western society in the situation. The west is weak on depth. While we have amazing and fast changing technology, we have no real "spiritual anchors" or deep agreed values that will help us work through the issues in any depth.  Our media and even our political systems seem to encourage superficiality - popularity is all important.  But superficiality is the last thing needed to work through the issues facing us. 
The other thing which we need to see is that "they" the radical muslims, are not the only evil guys. In the recent Paris siege, there was a lot of rhetoric about the freedom of the press, the freedom to express opinions etc. Within living memory the French government sent agents to New Zealand and bombed Greenpeace's ship "Rainbow Warrior" because they were expressing dissent about France's nuclear program! This was not a couple of cranks, but a terrorist act ordered by a government!  It was only pure chance that more were not killed by those terrorists!  To heal the growing rift, we must not see just one side as "the goodies" and the other as "the badies", but be open to view all actions and all the history objectively, with compassion seeking to understand.  Anyway, I think this situation contributes to my nightmares. 

Do you get nightmares? There was a time I never used to have bad or good dreams. I just slept. I could not understand people having nightmares! But in the last twenty odd years they are, from time to time, part of my experience.  I most often find there are triggers in my lifestyle or thinking which cause them.

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