Tag Archives: Robin Hood

Field of Dreams: My All Star Moment

Dreaming is a tricky thing.

I’m not just talking about the kind where you place your head on a pillow and close your eyes, although night time dreams can inspire our waking dreams or desires.  When I was twenty I had a dream I married a girl name Sarah.  When I woke up I believed it was actually going to happen, so for two years I didn’t talk to girls, unless her name was Sarah.  This is a slight exaggeration, but I let that dream hinder how I lived.  Fortunately, that dream died, later than it should have, but only after I made myself awkward around a few too many Sarah’s.

The other night I dreamt that I was back in Guatemala.  Dreaming I’m back in Guatemala is pretty typical.  Most mornings when I wake up I tell myself, “well, guess I didn’t dream about Guatemala last night, must be over it now,” but then ten minutes later my dreams come drifting back through my mind and yep, I was in Guatemala again.  I feel like I dream about Guatemala so consistently because the country and the people there mean so much to me.  I am very grateful for all of my dreams, but unfortunately another aspect of my dreams is most of the time they turn out unresolved.

In my last dream, I was in Guatemala for the graduation of some of my students.  It felt so right to be back.  In my dreams it’s raining, as it is always raining in Guatemala.  I am teaching again, but IAS looks different.  It is more like a castle, which is odd, but not odd enough to tip me to the fact I’m in a dream.  My students are listening to my every word, and who can blame them, my lecture is flawless.  Bam, I know it’s a dream.  Then, in a flash, it’s time for graduation and I want to celebrate each kid, tell them how special they are.  But before I have a chance to tell anyone how great they are I have a light saber battle with Lord Voldemort.  But before I strike the killing blow, I wake up.  Always.  I never see it to the end.  It’s horrible.

Crazy, right?

Waking up from an unresolved dream is annoying, but living life in a dream world is a tragedy, because you never actually live. Like when I was dreaming about a girl named Sarah.  Yet, I would be lost if I didn’t drop off at night and let my mind create.  Sadly, if all I did was sleep, living in my dream world, I would be even more lost.  I believe we must dream in the real world and go after those dreams, because  “If we are afraid to dream grand dreams, then we live empty lives.”

I have many dreams or desires in my life.  I want to write professionally, have a family, become more like the man Jesus created me to be, and maybe go back to Guatemala to teach again, and it would be a shame if I didn’t go after those dreams.  If I live my life just dreaming I’ll never reach my potential.  I must take action.

In Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone Harry comes across a strange mirror.  It’s a mirror that can tell the dreams of a man’s heart.  The mirror is aptly named the Mirror of Erised (desire backwards).  In the mirror Harry sees his parents, who have died.  He spends hours just staring at them, settling for the unreal fulfillment of having his parents with him, instead of living his life and creating actual relationships.  In the book, Dumbledore, Harry’s headmaster, warns Harry away from spending too much time in front of the mirror.  Dumbledore tell’s Harry, “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Living is part of taking action.  I can spend all day dreaming about life in Guatemala or becoming a writer, but if I never write, I will have never lived.  I will have never reached out and taken a risk.

And so as I have grown up my dreams have changed.  I have let go of my dream to be a rock star (can’t sing), being president (not corrupt enough), or Robin Hood (Don’t like Wearing Tights).  However, it is important to remember our childhood dreams and remember that God can redeem our past hopes and their innocence, but that is a blog that will come later.

When I was little I dreamed of playing in the major league  Unfortunately I didn’t even make it as far as Moonlight Graham, who played one game in the bigs, but didn’t even get to bat.  I retired after the 5th grade.  I’d had a great year at third base, but my team was downright awful.  Most of the kids didn’t have a passion for the game, they were just playing because their moms and dads wanted to watch them pick dandelions out in center field.

I played hard, but struggled with migraines the entire year.  When my school didn’t have baseball in the 6th grade I decided it best not to play, mostly because of my migraines.  My dream ended quietly, but I had school to distract me from the void not playing baseball.

I didn’t let myself stand in front of the mirror, but I moved on, and I’m glad I did.

In fact, I’d completely forgotten how passionately I dreamed of playing in the majors until I had my Field of Dreams moment.  Fortunately, unlike Adam Greenberg who was beaned in the head by the first pitch he faced in the majors, which ended his career, all I did was ride the pine in the Colorado Rockies’ dugout four hours before a game.

I was on a tour of the Coors Field for my job.  I’ve been working as a summer camp councilor with Ken-Caryl here in Littleton, Colorado.  I have a feeling none of the kids at my camp actually grasped how cool it was to sit where the likes of Todd Helton or Troy Tulowitzki have sat.  But as I sat down, as my butt touched the wooden bench, I felt transformed.  It was as if God was saying, “you might not have made it to the majors, but here’s a little taste of what it is like.”  It was awesome.

I didn’t think I would feel such a rush as I sat on the bench, but I did, guess that’s what dreams do to you.  I have been on the bench of a major league baseball team.  And even though I only sat for a couple minutes it was enough for me, I knew I couldn’t sit there for my entire life, holding onto the greatness of that moment.  Life had to move on, nor could I sit their dwelling on what could’ve been.  God has more for me than that.  And so, I stood up feeling fulfilled.

Adam Greenberg knows that life must move on.  After being hit by a pitch to the head, he was plagued by bad eyesight and dizzy spells, which negatively impacted his game.  Sadly he has never made it back to the majors, but he did get to face the pitcher again in a minor league game.  He came away with a hit in the at bat and he knows that’s good enough.  He can move on with his life.

I will never reach my dreams if I keep my head on my pillow.  I left Guatemala because, while I loved living there, God was giving me new dreams, like going back to school and being a part of a healthy church community.  Those things couldn’t happen if I stayed in Guatemala.  And right now, even as I dream about the country every night, my real life dreams can’t happen if I go back at this point of my life.  I have to let go a little, and live my life and trust that God wont let my true dreams end unresolved.

What are you dreaming of?  Are you living your life or are you stuck looking at the Mirror of Erised?

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If Practice Makes Perfect, How Much Practice Do You Need?

I’m an incomplete archer. Every time I practice shooting my bow, I unearth a long list of information and skills I don’t yet possess. There’s so much to learn. The first time I practiced, I uncovered the concept of bowstring velocity. In order for the arrow to penetrate the target, the bow-string must be released unimpeded. I learned this basic lesson by turning my left forearm into hamburger by holding it too near the string while I released the arrow. Arrow velocity is a painful and ugly lesson. Therefore, I learned it twice.

Then I discovered the intricacies of aiming. Mainly you must have at least one eye open to hit the target, at least to hit it on purpose.

Later I decided to read up on archery. To my delight I discovered there were only a few (1,000, or so) essential movements needed to fire an arrow accurately. On my next outing, before I mastered even one of them, my arm wore out and started dancing like a drunken Chihuahua. Fortunately, no innocent bystanders were hit by my stray arrows. I did hit the bullseye once, however, by accident.

In the process of struggling to master archery, something else dawned on me. This is why the Bible uses an archery metaphor –missing the mark– to describe our human inability to reach perfection. Not only am I an incomplete archer, I’m an incomplete human, constantly missing the mark.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Hosea 10:1-14:9

Jude 1:1-25

Psalm 127:1-5

Proverbs 29:15-17


Jude 1:1-25: When was the last time you heard a lesson or sermon on Jude? I don’t remember ever hearing one. And I’ve never preached one. This book cannot compete with the theology and complexity of Romans, 1 Peter or even 1 John. But this book is worth digging into deeper than many of us have. Eugene H. Peterson, in his introduction to Jude in “The Message,” writes, “As much as we need physicians for our bodies, we have even greater need for diagnosticians and healers of the spirit.” Jude diagnoses an unhealthy acceptance of half-truths and false teachers and offers as a prescription focusing on God’s true and great love and the mercy of Jesus. 

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Hosea also learned about human imperfection fist-hand. His wife never even came near the target of loving him. So too we miss the target in loving God. “They [we] make many promises,” God tells Hosea. Jude describes the same problem saying, “They [we] have taken the way of Cain.”

What are they alluding to? Sin. Not only the bad actions we each partake in but rather the reality that even our best efforts only hit the outer rim of the target and our outright bad choices maim and wound those anywhere near us.

This means not that we don’t hit the bullseye, we can’t.

For me, it looks like this. I sit down to pray and suddenly my mind has–well–danced off like a drunken Chihuahua. I find my is spirit somewhat willing to obey God but my flesh is in flat-out rebellion. I let fly my arrow of faith and inevitably miss the mark. No matter how hard I try, that bullseye of Christian perfection eludes me.

In this case practice does not make perfect. And, at least for me, practicing, especially my faith, only shows me how much I have yet to learn. You too? The time it would take for our life practices to reach perfection does not exist.

But the good news is that as followers of Christ, we aren’t aiming at once and for all perfection–a life of bull’s-eyes–this side of heaven anyway. Though, don’t read me wrong. I am not saying life is merely simmering in sin we can do nothing about. God wants us to be victorious over our hate and lust and fear.

The way to victory, however, is not what Dallas Willard, in his book “The Divine Conspiracy,” calls “sin management.” Trying to master what we cannot master, or even manage, is futile and draws our focus away from God. Instead Jude reminds us to keep ourselves “in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

In archery you can mentally check off the myriad of things you should or should not do in order to hit the target. Doing so, however, hinders rather than helps. Instead all other actions follow two: anchor your shooting hand and focus on the target. So too in life: anchor ourselves in God’s love and focus on the mercy of Jesus Christ. Only then will the arrows of righteousness, powered by the Holy Spirit, fly and hit the mark.

The spiritual practices of prayer, Bible study, giving, Sabbath, etc. do not make us perfect. That’s not grace. (Besides how much of the Bible do you have to memorize and master before you are perfect?) Rather, the spiritual practices draw us nearer to the heart of God. And that is the goal. Studying God’s word facilitates our knowing God. Prayer permits us to speak and listen to God. Giving allows us to act like God. Sabbath lets us to rest near God. They are not ends in themselves. They are means to anchoring ourselves in God and focusing on the mercy of Jesus Christ. The bullseye is the heart of God.

Archery is one vehicle I use to drive myself into the woods I love. It is my excuse to sit deep in the fall forest, with aspen leaves falling like otherworldly golden coins and silence singing God’s name. The end result, nearness to God, is what makes the practice perfect. Therefore, my incomplete friends, pull back your bow-string and shoot. To paraphrase Nike. Read. Pray. Worship. Give. But do so knowing these practices are not one-time tasks to master but incomplete movements in a life-time quest for God.

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Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com


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