The Red Couch: Introducing God Has A Dream

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Feb_RedCouchMy prayers can be very me-focused. God, please do this. God, it would be great if you came through for this person. Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like help with this.

In the last few years, I’ve had to conscientiously make space for God in my prayers. It sounds so silly. Who am I praying to, after all? And yet, I’ve come to believe prayer is akin to conversation. As much as God may want to hear my requests and petitions, He also wants me to listen to Him.

Not only to hear what He has to say about my life but what He envisions for my community and the world at large. My dreams could stand to be stretched a bit. I want to be less me-focused, more other-focused and it starts with prayer.

Less “what will you do for me, God?” and more “what can I do for you?”

Reading Desmond Tutu’s God Has A Dream awakened me to this quest all over again. It’s a slim volume, deceptively so compared to how much wisdom Tutu packed inside. The chapters are part letter, part essay. “Dear Child of God,” he begins each one and then gives us a vision of what could be.

I read each night before I go to bed. It’s a stress reliever and one of my favorite routines. I saved God Has A Dream for bedtime, wanting Tutu’s words to be the last on my mind before slumber. When I woke, I was ready for further contemplation. What would this look like in my life? How do I fit in to God’s dream for humanity?

I daresay I’ll be asking those questions for the rest of my life but hopefully I’ll move into action, as well.

It’s not easy for me to leave room for God’s response, especially in the day to day. When I’m in the car for long periods, I leave the music off and let the miles open my heart up, as well as my ears. In those moments, I have a better understanding of prayer and of the ways God might be using my life. Equal parts humbling and awesome.

But long car trips are few and far between. I need to cultivate space for God’s dreams in between the alarm clock waking me and the tasks of work and the people I see every day. Or maybe not in between them but throughout them.

As you read this month, consider your local and global communities. Where have you witnessed injustice, transformation, reconciliation, love? Think of the Desmond Tutus, the Nelson Mandelas, the Mother Teresas, the Rosa Parks living next door or across town. Are you one of them? Consider your response.

Tutu refers to his vast life experience throughout the book. For those interested in learning more about South Africa and its history of apartheid, The Nightstand has several recommendations for further reading. Other books included touch on the themes of transformation and societal change.

God Has A Dream is only the beginning, dear friends. As you read this month, let’s dream out loud together. Let’s see what He might have in store for this community.

Come back Wednesday February 26 for a discussion post led by Kelley Nikondeha. On Twitter, the official Red Couch Book Club hashtag is #redcouchbc, for those interested in discussing and sharing quotes in the meantime. Don’t forget our March book is Behind the Beautiful Forevers. We’ll be announcing the next quarter’s book selections in March, as well.

The Nightstand at SheLoves Magazine

No Future Without Forgiveness– Desmond Tutu

Made for Goodness– Desmond Tutu

God’s Dream– Desmond Tutu (children version of God has a Dream)

A Country Unmasked: Inside South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission– Alex Boraine

History Channel- Miracle Rising South Africa (full movie on YouTube)

Jesus’ Plan for a New World– Richard Rohr

Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity– Brian Zahnd

Everything Must Change: When the World’s Biggest Problems and Jesus’ Good News Collide– Brian McLaren

Diepsloot– Anton Harbour

Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing– Moeletsi Mbeki

*Recommended by Kelley Nikondeha, Idelette McVicker, Nicole Joshua, and Marlyn Faure

 What’s on your mind as we begin to read God Has A Dream?

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.

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Image credit: Allie

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Leigh Kramer
Leigh Kramer is on a quest; she’s living life on purpose. Her to-do list might look something like this: leave life in the Midwest for Nashville, Tennessee, followed by San Francisco, quit steady job as a social worker to chase her dreams of writing, suck the marrow out of life’s in-between places and revel in the now at every turn. Leigh shares this journey through words of transparency, heart, and just a dash of pluck at LeighKramer.com and on Twitter at @hopefulleigh.
Leigh Kramer

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  • Siki Dlanga

    Thank you Leigh… I am always happy to see the name of my country. Bono puts it even better… he says “God what have you already blessed that I may go and do that.” I think it speaks to understanding that we are co-partners with God. We are not merely doing things for our selves or for God but we are co-heirs and co-partners with God. Doing something for God can easily be about me doing good for God rather than in humility and recognition that God indeed has a dream and He has called me to partner with Him in that dream. So that it is not about me or but about a beautiful humbling partnership of a dream larger than this life. Even as it changes my world. It sounds like a great read I will have a read! He is an inspirational man.

    • Great thoughts, Siki! I think you’ll definitely enjoy what Tutu has to say.

  • mercynotes

    I haven’t read this book or heard or it until now, but it sounds delightful. Thank you for sharing, Leigh! Like you, I’m starting to open up more to hear what God is saying. I like what you said about giving space for that. Will have to catch up with y’all more on these books, they sound great.

    • Hope you’ll be able to join us for the discussion, even if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I think we all benefit from asking these questions.

  • Cynthia Nichols Cavanaugh

    My book just arrived in the mail yesterday, can’t wait to start! I love to read a few chapters before I fall asleep as well. It’s good therapy, I can’t wait to crack open this one tonight.

  • I am so happy we’re doing Desmond Tutu’s book. I soaked it up! Can’t wait for the reflection/discussion together.

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