Thursday, September 9, 1976

UCLA Dream Course 1976


In January 1976, I awoke as a clear commanding male dream voice said to me: "It is time to wake up and begin a grace-filled ministry!"

Believing the voice divine, I took the command seriously and wondered how to obey it.

Two weeks earlier I had met and sung for the Reverend "Brother Taylor", the black charismatic pastor of the Greater Grace Memorial Church of God in Christ in south central Los Angeles (Watts). "Brother" was the first black man I had ever met, since my first traumatic encounter more than 20 years earlier with a black soldier in the Army, who had beaten me up. When I mentioned this "grace-filled ministry" dream to "Brother", he also took it seriously and felt it was meant for him and his "Greater Grace Memorial Church". Six weeks earlier he had hired me on the spot to sing Negro Spirituals on his regular Sunday radio broadcasts for several months.

The night before Brother and I met those six weeks earlier, another dream prepared me to speak to and sing for him. I call it "Tenacious Black Boy":

A small black boy grabs hold of my right leg without making a sound. I am alarmed at what seems to me the boy's presumption and try vigorously to peel him off my leg with the heel of my right hand pushing against his forehead. But the boy is strong and tenacious and will not let go. As I continue struggling to free myself, I suddenly see through my lifetime of racial prejudicial attitudes from my Mormon upbringing and realize that I am being strongly embraced--not attacked--by a determined, needy child! With that realization a new compassion sweeps over me and I reach down to take the boy gently into my arms. Silently he allows me to lift him up as I, too, stand up. This is all that the boy has wanted and, still silent, he smiles broadly as I hold him in a close embrace and awaken.

While pondering what this "Tenacious black boy" dream, along with Brother Taylor's "Greater Grace Memorial Church of God in Christ" invitation and the "grace-filled ministry" dream meant to me personally, I was invited by Dr. Robert Rees, director of UCLA Extension Division, to teach something for the university. When I suggested developing an experimental class on dreams, he asked for a prospectus. This became the course called "Creative Dreaming and Spiritual Awakening".