In 1989, the movie Field of Dreams was a blockbuster hit. Kevin Costner played Ray Kinsella, a 37-year-old man who always played it safe. He had never done a spontaneous thing in his life until hearing a voice one day that said, “If you build it, he will come.” After hearing the phrase several more times, he asked other farmers if they heard similar voices. Eventually Ray saw a vision of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson walking out of his cornfield. In the vision, Ray’s cornfield was transformed into a baseball diamond. When he actually “builds” a baseball field, the other farmers think Ray might be losing his sanity.
God’s field of dreams is not found in an Iowa cornfield, but the pursuit of God’s dream might cause others to think you are losing your sanity. Sometimes I wonder if the dreams cultivated in the fields of modern Evangelicalism have anything to do with the upside-down priorities Jesus announced for his kingdom.
For many of us, our concept of Jesus comes from culture and tradition, not the Bible. I’m continually challenged to look through the clutter of stereotypes and connect to who Jesus really is. Can I let go of my preconceived, limited view of Jesus so I can embrace the One who is more real and relevant than I ever imagined? More real and relevant than any caricature created in an Evangelical subculture that seems to spin relentlessly on its own axis.
Hopefully, I’m starting to realize that no real yearning of my heart will find itself met in pursuing my best life now. Surely there comes a moment of honest crisis when we realize all the jockeying for position in our lives, all the envy, competition, striving, and score-keeping are meaningless. The world’s table is nothing more than a banquet in the grave. God’s banquet table alone satisfies. No one earns a place at the banquet prepared for kingdom people. It is reserved for the humble and undignified. I’ve grown weary of a church culture that celebrates “winners” and those who have realized the American dream. The American dream, after all, is not necessarily Jesus’ dream.
The kingdom economy abounds with “losers.” Kingdom people win a prize, but it’s unearned. God help me understand grace. My hypocrisy makes me want to qualify grace, to hem it in with restrictions and rules so people don’t abuse it.
Maybe Walter Brueggemann was right when he said, “The world for which you have been so carefully prepared is being taken away from you by the grace of God.”
Jesus gives us a better dream: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).