If you can dream it

There seems to be a lot of planning going on right now—the end of a program/academic year, I suppose, merits awareness of and plans for the beginning of the next. I’ve been talking plans with a variety of people—future 20s & 30s stuff at church, teaching FYC learning communities next semester at school, etc., etc.

It’s such a busy time to be doing all of this—where did April go, anyway? Seems like Easter was just last week—but I find it so invigorating. Few things excite me quite as much as hatching plans for the future—and then carrying them out. Dreams are exciting.

TEC apparently gets this: yesterday I discovered “Dreams of Church,” a video project to be completed by young adults (ages 18-30—wait till my priest finds out; she thought the young-adulthood cutoff was 35). It asks contributors to, in 60-90 seconds, “Describe the religious community or church of your dreams, and how you will participate in it.”

I. Love. It. I especially love that creativity is welcomed (hooray art! I also discovered Spark and Echo Arts yesterday—awesome!), that contributors are “encouraged to speak in their preferred language,” and that it’s open to all denominations and faiths (though I’m not totally sure why a non-Episcopalian would be super-stoked to submit a video that will be “shown in the House of Deputies at General Convention 2012.” Like, I’m pretty sure the Baptists aren’t making vids for the CRCNA’s Synod. But hey, if it works).

I love the space that this opens up for talking about hopes and dreams for the future of the church, for telling stories that matter for an audience that cares. I hope it has buy-in. I think I’ll try to make a video, despite my lack of skills (I never did make any more perpelxionary videos. Hm…). All you 20-something readers should, too—remember, you don’t have to be Episcopalians (or Christians)!

(And, seriously, would it really matter if you were a little outside the age bracket? I mean, we have 50-somethings who are a welcome and enlivening part of our 20s & 30s group.)

What excites me so much about this, I think (besides my abundant love of story), is its focus on the positive. We talk a lot about what’s wrong with TEC/mainline Christianity/modern religion, and often rightfully so. There will always be faults that must be revealed in order to be fixed. But criticism can only go so far. If all we do is point out problems, we’re just going to be frantically and fruitlessly patching holes in a sinking vessel. “Dreams of Church” asks for future visions. It asks us to look up from our patching and mourning and dream of what may come.

And the thing about dreams is, once you can imagine something, there’s often a way to make it a reality.


Can you “describe the religious community or church of your dreams, and how you will participate in it”? Don’t do it here! Click here, read the directions, and submit a video. You could post a link to your video below; that’d be super-cool. If I make a video, I’ll be sure to post it.


3 thoughts on “If you can dream it

  1. OK. I’m not gonna go for a video right now; but, my inner 29- or 39-year-old can sure enough describe the church of my dreams. It is one where, in addition to leading very old corporate rituals understood as metaphors for what is difficult to name, the leadership spends a fair amount of time acquainting the congregation with ways to have a personal contemplative practice that (speaking of human development) puts the community on a path to higher consciousness, individually and collectively. I think the gospels and the teaching of the apostles have implicit or latent indications of contemplative practice that were later developed, and then largely lost to (post)modern culture. People need permission for all of this to mean something beyond what has become for so many its thoughtless, uninspired, received meaning—something that helps us become what we have the potential to become. I spend much of the liturgy of the sacrament in ‘practice’ mode, but that is something I had to come to on my own. We need meditation to move beyond being a ‘hardcore’ practice and to become something we just do.

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