Apparently the name one chooses for a ‘blog’ is very important – once you start, you’re stuck with it forever! I have been playing around with the working title of “faith, films and fishing”.
And although I don’t think that will be the best name for this new St Mungo’s blog I certainly felt the intersection of two of those might make a good opening article – and it’s not about fishing!
Last night I saw the much anticipated “Inception” film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. While I wouldn’t pretend to be a film reviewer – and films are a very personal thing, it certainly won’t disappoint fans of big action movies – as you would expect from the director of the last two Batman movies – but also – and unusually for a summer BlockBuster – it will meet the needs of those who want their films complex and thoughtful – and again it’s what you’d expect from the director who brought us “Memento” in the distant past.
Without giving any “spoilers” the story revolves around the team of “extractors” – people who can ‘extract’ ideas from people’s dreams mainly for industrial espionage – but this team get hired to do an “inception”, to actually seed a thought into some one – which is a lot harder – cue an action movie where the action takes place in a dream, that is in a dream, that’s in another a dream – hence one classic quote when the character asks “now who’s subconscious are we in at the moment?” It has great special effects but also extremely good acting, and raises some questions for the thoughtful Christian and some discussion points with our “not yet Christian” friends.
The Leonardo DiCaprio figure is wrestling with deep and complex inner pain which manifests itself very dangerously within the dreamscape – it’s his story of guilt, remorse, loss and bereavement. Themes that are actually part and parcel of many of our lives – as is the “target’s” painful and difficult relationship with his father!
Of course the main theme is dreams – what actually is going on in our dreams? Many people with or without a defined spirituality are finding dreams and dream interpretation a talking point. And certainly those of us with a more “charismatic” outlook on the Christian faith will have a very positive view of dreams – as a means of guidance, hearing God’s voice, and even sharing our faith. Its interesting to see that at this year’s Clan Gathering – the superb Christian conference at St Andrews which many of us in St Mungo’s are involved with – in the conference timetable space is provided for dream interpretation. And even our St Mungo’s counselling diploma students dealt with dreams in their summer school last week!
And anyone who studies scripture will know that dreams have a significance in both the new and old testament – whether it’s the Old Testament Joseph or the New Testament Joseph!
Though I do recognise there is a current debate about how significant we should make them, especially considering the comparative silence about the importance of dreams in the New Testament letters from where we get most of our teaching on every day Christianity and church life . I think the increasing discussion about dreams in the Christian church is reflected by the fact that in the July issue of “Christianity” magazine they gave space for a very fair and balanced look at the subject.
But as Christians we must remember that every time we say the name “Jesus” we are using a name that was given to Joseph in a dream! That idea was definitely a form of Biblical “Inception”. You can find all the best ideas in scripture!