1993, 08/15. Jung’s Treatment of Christianity.

August 15, 1993

Dear Mom,

Well, there is a lull in the activity here on this job.  This is an hour after the phone call I made to you Saturday night.

I just got off the phone with Dave A., who was advising me to stick with what I originally told him rather than bickering with people or trying to set them straight.  I told him I was weary and that I needed a “sabbatical” to get away for a while and think things over, to seek God, to pray, to study.  This is more where I am at.  When I talked to him, I had nothing to prove and he wasn’t selling the party line so I was more on the level with him.  With everyone here, I get into debates and the real issues get clouded.  I have been here thirteen years and I would like to get away for a while.  Of course, this will not go over well either, but neither do I want to slip out the back door, so I am going to say it.  Then maybe, I’ll go.

Dave kept reminding me that if there is anything he can do, he will help.  Though I still find it hard to believe I am welcome if I show up.  (Yet, it’s he who is reminding me of our first phone conversation where I mentioned the sabbatical, as if he were advising me to take one.)  Maybe there is a mixed message then.  Don’t leave, I don’t want to feel I am making you leave, but why don’t you come on over.  Maybe he doesn’t want to face the consequences of what he is offering.  It seems ambiguous, but it also could just be me.  I might be projecting my personal dilemma on him.  Really, it’s me who is this way.  I’ll let you know what I do, either way.

Now, I would like to tell you about that dream in more detail.  I will just copy from my journal.  It was a curious and interesting dream.  Whether or not it is a “message,” I don’t know.  But it certainly reflects my present dilemma, or is a product of it:

I had a dream last night. It took place in a fellowship house. There were numerous scenes of guys trying to get me.  There was one big guy who especially wanted to do me in.  They never got far in their harm, only beginning push and poke me.  But one guy had a knife.  I yelled outside, “Call the police!” which only met with laughter on the part of a crowd that was out there.  The big guy asked me, “Did you take the bike?”  When I said no, he said to his friends, “See, I told you he was lying.”

I realized I better get away from there.  (Up till this point, it hadn’t occurred to me to do that.)  I went to the back of the building, where there was a burned out area filled with rubble and fallen rafters.  It started to rain and even though it was August, I realized it would be cold out there and I was going to get wet.  (The feeling I had to flee, a long trip in the rain and cold.)  I thought of grabbing a jacket from the second floor, but realized it would be risky and I couldn’t risk getting caught.  I would just have to go.

I got outside in the back yard.  I saw a fence to a neighboring yard. It was a small yard and there wasn’t much room to run to.  I was disappointed.

I stepped over this fence, which rattled loudly as if it were covered with pots and pans, alerting everybody in the house. I fell over and my feet became twisted into the meshwork of the fence and I lay there on the ground, unable to move.  I could see a light in the second story window.  I was trapped and I figured it was only a matter of time before they got me.  But I kept trying to work my feet free and trying to cut the wire.

The darkness suddenly cleared, revealing a bright full moon.  Now I was even more visible than before, lying on my back under the bright moonlight.  The light went out in the house.  Maybe I hadn’t been detected.  I realized this was like a World War II escape story and that people have been desperate situations like this, sneaking under the fence by the guard tower without much hope of escape.  Yet they lived to tell about it.  They survived despite the odds, so maybe I could.

To my left in the distance, I could see a big lake with hills on the other side. It was a refreshing and beautiful sight.  I thought, “I wish I could be there. Just let me go there.”   Then, continuing the World War II motif, three American soldiers came along the fence and they freed me.

This dream seemed to be about escaping the Fellowship and how hard it is to do that.  About the dangers, fleeing on a rainy night, sneaking out of a camp.  Then getting caught by my feet, snared and lying helpless on my back, just waiting for these people to come any second now and finish me off.

Maybe I need someone other, or greater, than myself to get me out.  In the dream, I could run, but I couldn’t escape.  I couldn’t get my feet out of the fence.  (There is a “fence” around the Fellowship isn’t there?  I really can’t get out.  Then soldiers from another place, the “good guys,” came.)

So, that was the dream and some of my thoughts about it.  What do you think?  I don’t live by dreams or consult them, but I do notice and write down any interesting and unusual ones.  There have been other dreams, but that seemed to be a important one.  Another curious dream was that I was shown a book with the words “C.G. Jung” on it and was told that “If you want help with your problems, you should read the parts about sin, the Gospel of John and human life.”  I had never read this author, though I knew he wrote about psychology.  I thought, why not check it out?  Upon reading an introduction to his basic writings, I quickly found out that he wrote extensively on Christianity, devoting a major portion of his life’s work to it.  I also picked up “Jung’s Treatment of Christianity” at a used book store.

What grabbed my attention were Jung’s comments that many of the patients who sought help came to him from theologians.  (He didn’t mean that these people were referred for counseling by theologians!  But instead, that they were driven crazy by the theologians because of Christianity as presented and the unrealistic and taxing demands thereof.)  He also wrote of the harmful effects of having a false image of God.  I am making a general survey of his writings.  What I get out of it is that he was attempting to reconcile Christianity to its true or original meaning, in a way that would be useful to people.  And to reconcile Christianity to people who, for whatever reasons, had lost their faith or their moorings.  He is a very interesting writer and also easy to read.  He had great insight into the human condition, though not necessarily in the strict traditions of orthodoxy.

During our call, you said I seem pretty well adjusted but really, I am going through a difficult time.

Dave, who I mentioned earlier in this letter, spoke to Richard Wurmbrand on the phone from Germany.  Wurmbrand said that if he is invited, he will come again to speak at Times Square Church and that he would like Dave to talk to Mr. Wilkerson about this.  He will stay with Dave and some of the others.  It seems he likes them.  Dave told me more about his week with Richard Wurmbrand as a chauffeur and companion.  Dave went for long walks with him and made him breakfast.  Mr. Wurmbrand gets up early in the morning and prays and sings in Hebrew.  I am invited to come.  So, whether I am living with them or not, I will try to be there.  Dave says Mr. Wurmbrand is a very approachable man.

Mom, I don’t know what the day will bring.  I mailed you a copy of “My Exit Statement or: Why I Desire to Leave the Church of Bible Understanding,” which I will hand out to everyone in the church.  There is great censorship here.  If I mailed it in after I left the church, it wouldn’t get passed around.  I would be considered to be a weird person, who is in his own world. (In other words, mentally ill!)  And not worth listening to, or worse.  The paper I wrote would find its way into the trash can.  (I have read several ex-member dissenters’ letters that I found in that location!)

God bless you Mom. Pray for me,

James

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