Ben White's Adventures with softened hearts

Month: November 2021

Imaginative Prayer: Am I a cosmic dolphin?

“I was kind of like a cosmic dolphin,” I said to my friend as I described the waking dream I had while meditating. Angela Lam of Jesus Collective had led us in a time of imaginative prayer. She had painted us a scene in which Jesus was present in some way that I forget, but I did not forget this very strange vision that is steadily sinking into a long-term meaning-giving moment.

I had this vision many months ago now, and since I can’t shake the image I am asking myself and God, “Am I that cosmic dolphin?”

“Was this vision more than a strange coalescence of associations?” I am leaning towards answering “Yes,” which is why I am writing this blog post.  Jesus said in Matthew 10:27 “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” This blog is kind of my roof.

I hate the financial metaphor, but I am taking this vision to the bank because I am an inheritor of Morton Kelsey’s legacy. Here’s a taste of his wisdom to help you listen under him with me for a minute:

“God, the very creative power at the center of the universe, is loving and caring like a truly devoted parent. This love is not one aspect of God….but the very organizing reality at the heart of things. God is love. — Morton T. Kelsey

Morton Kelsey influenced my parents, and me through them. I actually haven’t read The Other Side of Silence, but I ought to, and probably will soon. My dad wrote this helpful summary on his blog a few years back.

In The Other Side of Silence (and elsewhere), Morton Kelsey pointed out that when we are still, images will appear naturally, as they do in our dreams. There is a vast, mostly unexplored territory in our unconscious, that impacts us deeply. It is a territory where God is much needed and very available. We can follow the revelations in our literal dreams or our waking dreams, listen to them, and find meaning in what they reveal about our deep places where God is relating to us Spirit to spirit. On the way to being quiet, we will need to dismiss many distractions. But we can recognize deeper images that arise from a place where we are communing with God. — Rod White

So I think this cosmic dolphin arose from a place I was communing with God. Here’s the full vision.

In a sudden flash I was swimming in a stream — rushing with a current not terribly unlike the Bifrost in the Marvel movies but much more watery. I was so fast I could speed up in the lightning current which jetted through a cosmic landscape — a multicolor milky way bursting with laser show like anomalies, but just as vast and void as infinite space might be. I didn’t have a tail  but I kicked as if I did and breached as if a pointed nose and dorsal fin sliced the water with each smooth splash.

The cosmic stream  didn’t have a bottom. there was no bed to channel it, and  thus it was inherently fathomless. Instead of a bottom, it had two tops — an above surface of the water that rippled beneath the laser light show sky, and a below surface of the water which can also be called above since it rippled just as its counterpart. There was no under or over, but I was certainly in, except when I launched myself into the cosmic air, dripping rainbow droplets in slow motion flight that could have been free fall but for the gravity seemingly centered in the core of the stream.

A crystalized moment of realization occurred as I skimmed the underside of the surface looking up (or down) through the water into the rushing light from without, when suddenly switching focal lengths as one often does when looking out of a window, I saw my own startling face reflected back at me from the underside surface of the water.

Renewal is unfathomable reorientation.

Peacemakers Observing Veteran’s Day

My friend from the Jesus Collective, Keith Smith, shared this today on Facebook:

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”
Praying for shalom in our veterans and in our world.

That’s pretty much it, I think. How do Peacemakers who follow Jesus observe Veteran’s day? Praying for shalom in our veterans  and in our world.

The ancient Hebrew concept of peace, rooted in the word “shalom,” meant wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity, carrying with it the implication of permanence.

Praying for shalom in the world is a huge prayer; it will build your faith to read the news and keep praying for shalom, or to encounter the real scars of war, physical and emotional, in the real lives of your neighbors who have come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and all our countries previous conflicts. Wholeness, completeness, soundness, health safety and prosperity with an implication of permanence! It’s easy to think that’s impossible. But today is a good day to not give up. Today we pray for shalom.

My prayers today have me hoping that our community of peacemakers in Circle of Hope would not loose the thread of connection between the ordinary loving that we do and this big picture transformation that so many of us long for. I pray that there would be shalom and I pray that we would be a part of it in new ways and in the same old ways. Gandhi was very right when he said, “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.” May the peace we make in our cells, congregations, love feasts and families be a consciously walkable path for us who aspire to be like Jesus. May our tiny shalom contribute to the bigger shalom we seek.

Osheta Moore, author of Dear White Peacemakers,  paints a good picture of shalom by drawing the important distinction between peacekeeping and peacemaking.

Sometimes I forget we’re not called to be peace-keepers—the children of God are made of sterner stuff than to merely keep the peace—no, Jesus challenges us to be peacemakers.

The difference is subtle, but subversive.

Peacekeeping maintains the unjust status quo by preferring the powerful.

Peacemaking flips over a few tables and breaks out a whip when the poor are exploited.

Peacekeeping does everything to secure a place at the table.

Peacemaking says all are welcome to the table, then extends the table with leaves of inclusive love.

Fear drives Peacekeeping.

Love powers Peacemaking.

Peacekeeping is for districts and factions and empires.

Peacemaking is the Kingdom of God. (source)

When Jesus sent out 72 people  to proclaim that “the kingdom of God has come near” in Luke 10, he gave them an uncanny peace to pass around the places they went. He told them to look for the “people of peace” which I take to mean the people who were eager to receive  peace. Moore’s beautiful declaration for peacemakers gives me lots of ideas about where to find people who are longing for peace… for shalom.

My final prayer for Veteran’s Day is that as we go out, because we too are similarly sent by Jesus, that we would not lose track of the way of peace that we were given to share in the first place; may we demonstrate peace in that holistic way that the Hebrew word shalom encompasses. May we pray for shalom in the hearts of wounded people and in the halls of power, and may we walk the way of peace in our cells, Sunday meetings and families… in all our relationships, trusting how we are all of us together caught up in an inevitable future of shalom in Jesus Christ.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace  (shalom) was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Amen and amen.