Frederick Buechner wrote that “dreams of fame and fortune die hard if they ever die at all.” Sometimes it takes a long, dark night of the soul before those dreams die, before they are wrenched from imaginations that cling to them. And sometimes it’s God who does this work in us.
Is there also, as Elaine Heath asks in her book The Mystic Way of Evangelism, a dark night of the church? Are we experiencing it? Is God at work wrenching our alluring memories of social prominence and significance from our minds, ripping dreams of fame and fortune from our imaginations? Recently a church member mentioned the “good old days” when we had to put up folding chairs in the aisles on Easter Sunday. Is God inviting us to let go of those days and the accompanying dreams and memories?
Anthony B. Robinson is president of Seattle-based Congregational Leadership Northwest and coauthor, with Robert W. Wall, of Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day (forthcoming from Eerdmans).