The Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Benek
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
I am standing in a crowd of people talking when suddenly I feel an awkward feeling in my mouth. All of a sudden my teeth begin to crumble in my mouth… Are you kidding me? I now need dentures at this early age in my life?
Then I realize this can’t be happening. A couple of weeks ago I posted an article about how I lucid dream and indeed this turned out to be one… a persistent one. Time after time, I’d realize I was dreaming. I’d then simply “think” new teeth back into the jaw of my “dream self” and continue on with whatever the plotline was that evening. The weird part was that this kept happening even when I was aware that I was dreaming. Something else had to be going on.
Coincidentally, at my next trip to the dentist, the dentist asked me if I realized that I had been grinding my teeth? She then told me how bad this was for my teeth. She also indicated that it was most likely happening in my sleep. I then understood what was going on. I was indeed grinding my teeth at night and when I did that my body was informing me in my dreams by the crumbling teeth dream metaphor. Since then, I have discovered that many people have this teeth crumbling dream also. When asked if they grind their teeth, they have checked with their dentist and sure enough they do. As far as I have discovered thus far nobody has ever officially documented this claim in dentistry.
What is more interesting though to me than this little discovery was the fact that once I became aware of the problem I was able to stop the teeth grinding altogether in my sleep. Now mind you I was asleep when the dreaming happened, in a dream state, yet my physical state behavior changed. And I was not consciously telling myself to stop grinding my teeth in my lucid dream state. Instead the teeth grinding just stopped, apparently subconsciously.
This leads me to draw some interesting physical/theological conclusions. Might it not be the case that when people become aware of unconscious actions that harm themselves that such conscious recognition in and of itself might be enough, sometimes, to cause the harmful behavior to stop? This seems logical doesn’t it.
Teeth grinding obviously isn’t good for my teeth but I didn’t know that I was doing it. Once I did, the action stopped even while I was technically in a subconscious state. Is it possible that such conscious acknowledgement of an unrecognized harmful behavior might cause the individual to subconsciously stop said behavior?
My thought is that this is exactly what happens sociologically in worship.
Or, what if I think thoughts that are bad but don’t realize that they are bad. If I were to verbally convey my thoughts to another person who then indicated to me that what I was thinking was bad. Would this be enough to potentially stop the bad thoughts from happening again?
Welcome to confession.
My larger point is that, I believe that there is something intrinsically engrained in human beings that makes worship in our current state good for us. And when we become better, in that process, we bring further testimony and thus glory to the goodness that is God.