A few months after my beloved grandfather died in 1975 I had a dream where I saw Jesus. I spent the next several years looking for people with whom I could explore my dream. What I encountered was one of two reactions: people either nodded, said “Uh huh” and slowly backed away, or they got excited and proceed to tell me that I had met the real, literal Jesus and told me I had to accept him as my personal saviour to insure my salvation and passage into heaven. Neither response was satisfying.
After 20 or so years I had two opportunities that vastly expanded my experience of the divine: I participated in a 4 year program at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland called “Seeking God in the 21st Century” which featured world-renowned progressed Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other speakers such as Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Huston Smith, Rabi Ari Hershfield, William Sloan Coffin and many others. At the same time I joined a small group of people who worked for a while with an African shaman, attended a Lakota Sun Dance and gathered together twice a month to meditate.
In the latter group, Spirit would occasionally speak to me. When I would ask how I could share my encounter with Jesus and my growing relationship with Spirit with more people, Spirit would always respond with, “Patience.”
It took another 20 years. In that time I had joined the UMC, burned out and dropped out, then reengaged as the church was dwindling to a few remaining faithful souls. Just as I was beginning to give up all hope that I could find what I was seeking in the church a seismic shift occurred: we had a sudden and unexpected change in pastors, we completely renovated sanctuary and the worship experience and gained several new exciting, fantastic, enthusiastic, and progressive members.
I now have a church and a group of people with whom I can discuss my dream of Jesus with open minds and willingness to wrestle with God and with each other. It took “sitting in traffic” for 40 years (not always patiently) to finally arrive at my destination.