This morning (Monday 30th April 2012) I caught the last few minutes of Radio Four’s ‘Start the Week’ 09:00–09:45 with Andrew Marr on creativity with Jonah Lehrer, Scanner, Rachel O'Reilly and Joanna Kavenna.
The conversation was around the value of day dreaming, or what is sometimes referred to as ‘blue sky thinking.’ Indeed one of the contributors spoke of his joy in flying in an airplane and how he didn’t want to be able to get mobile phone connection. He further argued that we should treasure moments of apparent boredom by allowing our minds to wander freely and not try and cram every moment with answering emails or meeting some demand.
My wife and daughter are always telling me off (mostly in a nice way!) for always fiddling with my phone and checking emails. I know there is a real danger that we can do this because at a subconscious level we want to say to people look how important I am and how much in need people are of my attention.
Referring to somebody today as a dreamer is most often said in derogatory terms. We take it to mean someone who has their head in the clouds, who will not face reality, living in a fantasy world.
However dreamers are essential for human flourishing and development.
Yes, they need to be able to share that dream, to convey it in such a way that it can be grasped by hard nosed realist who can begin to turn the dream into a reality.
The dreamer and the dreams also need carefully monitoring – Hitler dreamed up a world of the most imaginable horror that then led to hard nosed realist building an efficient way of exterminating a whole human race and class of people!
The way of Scripture, Reason and Tradition, beloved on Anglicans can help put the dreamer’s dreams into context as to whether they will help build the
upon earth. Kingdom of God
Whilst training for
Church Army my tutor reported that I was a ‘dreamer’ – this was written in a report with a slight note of disdain or concern. I thought long and hard about this and in the end came to thank God that I was and am a dreamer. (The tutor eventually also came to the same conclusion).
A part of my ministry as a Diocesan Evangelist is to dream dreams as I work alongside Churches helping them find creative ways of communicating and proclaiming the Gospel. Busy clergy and churchwardens and congregations often find themselves so hard pressed and up against things that they have lost the capacity to dream and to think of anything beyond what is facing them and any kind of solution. They have so often reached an impasse, a log jam with no discernable way through.
This is common in all spheres of life, families, big businesses and the Church. Often what they require, and sometimes pay good money for, is someone to help them move forward first by imagining a different scenario and then by agreeing upon that idea, followed by practical steps to make it happen. However it begins not with the practical steps but in the dreaming of a different outcome and future!
Most of my ‘dreaming’ is done whilst out running on my own. No phone, no emails, nothing but an hour or more to allow my mind to wander and explore all sorts of things. I love dreaming, I love allowing my imagination to wander, I love looking at clouds and seeing animals or all kinds of other stuff, I love sharing this with those around me. It is important for us all occasionally to have our heads in the clouds!
What time do you allow yourself to dream dreams? Is this your gift to the Church and to the world? How do you convey your dreams? How do you measure and weigh them up to try and discern if they are from God and can help build up God’s Kingdom? How often do you encourage your Church leaders to spend time day dreaming?
‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.’