Bona Fide Fire
Have you ever felt a fire inside? A fire not only warming your bones but igniting your very soul? This has been my experience in recent years.
Seven years ago I became aware of a vision, a passion – a dream – growing within me. A manifesto of sorts from Him who Is; entrusted to me so I might play my role. Since that time, I have had difficulty describing what has been happening within me, but a few things are clear. I’ve been gripped by laser-like purpose or direction daily. Passion for specific arenas has not only birthed in me but kept me warm, focusing my attentions and will. A desire for relevancy through a heightened missional attitude is shaping my thoughts and actions.
Life has been different.
Dreamers of the Day is the name which has emerged to convey the sentiment behind the occurrences expressed above. ‘Dreamers’ (as I’ll refer to it) was developing in me for some time before I became aware of it. As usually occurs in one’s life, many experiences have shaped Dreamers into what it is today. Through work within full-time Christian vocational circles (appropriate descriptors elude me), various levels of concert promotion and a family life outside of what could be called ‘good’ – a vision for life-long service was born.
What is Dreamers of the Day? In brief, an opportunity. Dreamers is an opportunity extended to each one of us to re-evaluate, refocus, rest – an opportunity to be refreshed, renewed and re-created. Much like the recently coined ’emerging church’ [not a] movement, Dreamers affords us a “contemplative repose before the forward charge”. To borrow from a popular and oft-quoted major film, what we do equates to a “moment of clarity” in our frequently clouded lives.
Art, faith and culture – especially the inter-marriage of the three – are arenas we like to roam within. Exploration is key, and expectation is his sister in this epic adventure. Art is a beautiful thing. Art speaks to us in ways and at depths that didactic teaching or motivational speaking struggle to attain. It can be very subversive and coy. The best way to describe the function of art is to say that it meets us where we are because it’s created out of where we are.
Faith oftentimes is conveyed overtly and in predetermined absolute dictates. In musical terms, we could say many approach the arena of faith with forte and not so much with piano. Our efforts to communicate such wildly cataclysmic, captivating, formative encounters are dwarfed by the Realities themselves . . but we continue. Such foundational and meaningful certitudes should not only captivate but destroy, and ultimately rebuild us into our truer selves.
Culture, simply speaking, is what’s left behind in the business of living – like the lingering fragrance of a swiftly consumed pizza. It’s inextricably bound to our existence as humans, finding it’s origins in our lives and carrying on our legacy after we’ve departed our single attempt at living. Culture (or what we call culture) is an interpretation – the nomenclature of introspection – of our own existence and our desire for meaning within it.
In my own estimation, the wider ‘world-culture’ looks with suspicion on the Christian Church. It keeps many Christians and what it thinks it knows of Christ, at arms length, refusing to hear. This has come about not without instigation or encouragement from the Church itself. The other side of the coin is that the Church has kept the ‘outside world’ at arms length refusing to hear, due to fear and arrogance. The Truth was never meant to be a weapon. Art occupies a strategic position in this cosmic struggle. Art is the universal language. Art is an interpreter, a translator, between these two megalomaniac camps. Art is owned by no one and claimed by all. Art is common. Art is king.
Those of us involved with Dreamers believe there exists a natural and honest way to become the Salt and Light of our Commission. It’s to lead a life of integrity, service and love while seeking to discover, develop and employ our God-given gifts. Everyone is gifted in some area. Everyone has a passion of some description. Deep within we all desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Dreamers exists to raise awareness of the life-altering Love pursuing each of us and enable individuals to discover their unique ‘telos’ (purpose) / vocation, while empowering them to develop within it. An intimate, on-going relationship with our Creator, Lover, and Sustainer is the first and foundational concern. As mentioned earlier, art maintains a key position – both in the process of formation into our truer selves and in the effectual dissemination of a life lived in passionate pursuit of the One passionately pursuing us.
I want to see people on fire. I don’t mean with ego-centric interest, but an unflinching commitment to love the ‘other’ and to express it with relevancy, integrity and creativity. I want to see people captivated and consumed by Jesus Christ – living their lives with passion and purpose. Dreamers of the Day does not offer a quick-fix life programme or even guarantee a positive (subjectively speaking) experience. What we offer is an opportunity to see new horizons, discover fresh perspectives and initiate a ‘new way to be human’. This is accomplished by various means.
Dreamers events generally follow a retreat style format. People gather for an extended period of time and offer themselves up to the implicit and explicit benefic elements within the devoted time. Evocative messengers (speakers), art workshops, discussion forums and discovery sessions in the spiritual exercises make up much of our time together. We do like to leave a lot of breathing room. Individuals attending can make use of opportunities for rest, reflection, silence and solitude. Spontaneity is vital and often lends itself to late night discourses, musical sessions, collaborative projects or exploration of surrounding attractions. Art for purchase, media recommendations and stimulating articles find their place in our online home. Our desire is that after engaging with Dreamers of the Day at an event or online people are inspired, not deadened – resolute and hopeful for change in the most salvific sense.
Are you hungry? Hungry for something fulfilling . . satisfying? Are you tired of religious drama and spiritual actors? Tired of too many superficial encounters. Are you willing to embark on a difficult, but surprisingly joyful journey? Are you looking for others to journey with who are also seeking, searching and falling forward? We are too. Come join us.
For more information, see our steadily evolving presence on the web at www.dreamtoday.org.
Shane Tucker is an American who’s lived in Ireland for six years with His wife Christy, daughter Neve and son Aidan. He travels the island for the Church of Ireland Youth Department, spending his spare time working with ‘Dreamers of the Day’ [www.dreamtoday.org] – an organization utilizing the arts, spiritual disciplines, evocative speakers and discussion forums to engage people along their journey toward Christ. Shane can be reached via the website or at email@example.com.