Posted by: Dan | July 3, 2012

There Was No Third Way

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream.

I was standing with a crowd of people and two roads stretched out before us.  The first road was broad and smooth.  It was well-lit.  The second road was narrow and rough and shrouded in darkness.  The roads were not side-by-side.  Rather, the broad way passed over the narrow way, and the narrow way passed below the broad way.

Those who entered the broad way quickly established property boundaries.  The set up fences and built homes.  They went into their homes and then never came out.  The spent their days updating their Twitter feeds, friending or unfriending people on facebook, and ordering items from ebay.  All the goods they ordered were delivered in giant crates that were heli-dropped into their yards.  The same is true of the housing extensions they developed.  The choppers would come and lower down another wing to their house, or another level for their highrise.  Thump.  A package would land, a person would scurry from his or her home — they all lived by themselves — gather the goods and run back inside.

The broad way was also a dead end.  A giant wall was at the end of the street.  Those who entered into it never left it.

I turned to examine the narrow way that ran below the broad way.  Here I discovered something completely  different.  There were no fences, walls, or properties here.  There was neither time nor space for such things because the people on the narrow way were holding up the way that passed above them.  They would all take turns — those whose turn it was to hold things up, and those whose turn it was to rest and play, and those whose turn it was to care for, massage, and feed those who had just rotated off of holding things up.  There were not a lot of goods here.  The helicopters could only drop things on the top level and not much trickled down.  People were poor and poorly dressed.  There was a lot of suffering here… but there was also a lot of joy.  Many of the people whom I have met in my journeys were down here acting as pillars of the earth above them.  Some were single-handedly supporting large sections so that others could rest.

I also noticed that the narrow way did not end where the broad way ended above it.  Rather, it continued on into a land that was flowing with milk and honey.  Yet none of the people on the narrow way passed into that land.  If they had done so, they would have made it more difficult for those who would have been left behind.  If people had continued on, those left behind risked being slowly crushed to death.  Plus, I observed, beyond a sense of duty or obligation, people remained because they loved the company of those who were with them.

However, the more goods that were ordered and delivered by the helicopters, the more housing extensions that were built, and the more things that were accumulated on the broad way, the heavier things became and the greater the burden became on the backs of those on the narrow way.  More people got injured, less people were able to rest or play.  More and more people were spending longer and longer amounts of time holding things up.

Then somebody new appeared upon the narrow way.  This person single-handedly lifted the burden of the broad way from the shoulders of those who were on the narrow way.  With the burden removed from their backs, all those on the narrow way began to pass out the far side, into the land flowing with milk and honey.  Soon, only this one person was left in the narrow way.  This person walked to the far side and, with a shrug of the shoulders, tossed up the burden that was being carried and entered into the new land on the heels of the others.

There was then a tremendous crash as the broad way came falling down.  Everything was smashed in the fall.  Houses collapsed and caught fire.  Those who lived (alone) within them were caught in the rubble.  They were wounded and the air was filled with their screams.

The one who had dropped them did not look back or heed their cries.

But then something incredible happened.  Those from the narrow way, who were moving into the new land, did hear the cries of those in the rubble and they stopped what they were doing and, in one mass, came flocking back.  They sifted through the rubble, they tended to the wounded, they wiped the tears of those who were weeping, and they helped all those who had been caught in the collapse into the new land with them.  Not one person was left behind.

And then I awoke from my dream.

(And, so, you see, I opened with the first sentence from Pilgrim’s Progress because it seems that my dreams are as sublte as Bunyan’s… that is, they are not subtle at all.)

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Responses

  1. Wow – even your dreams fit your ideology! ….how come people were checking twitter feeds, not wordpress stats? ;)

    • Yeah, it’s true. Been working through a lot of this sort of thing in the course we’ve been teaching so it’s kind of fun to see it come together in image/story. Although, like I mentioned above, it appears that my subconscious isn’t the most subtle or creative creature when it comes to processing this stuff.

  2. I found this part interesting:

    “I also noticed that the narrow way did not end where the broad way ended above it. Rather, it continued on into a land that was flowing with milk and honey. Yet none of the people on the narrow way passed into that land. If they had done so, they would have made it more difficult for those who would have been left behind. If people had continued on, those left behind risked being slowly crushed to death. Plus, I observed, beyond a sense of duty or obligation, people remained because they loved the company of those who were with them.”

    Do you see this in Jesus’ life (i.e. the way he showed us how to live)? It seems to me that he did go on, didn’t just keep grinding away as a carpenter…


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