Dream: Haunted Hotel


A Parable of the Church?

I have been here before
Perhaps as a child

I grew up on Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse
My kids grew up on Donald’s Duck-tales nephews
Perhaps my grandkids will grow up on the third generation,
where Donald inherits Scrooge’s role
As the old man
The patriarch

There is a shuttle bus going there
A spy is using it to sneak in
Or at least try to
He has it rigged
To drop him off
At the old mining station
But we see the empty bus
And accidentally hijack it en route

The spy came here in disguise
As a maintenance man or such
He rode the bus
Pretending to be asleep
While the crew captured and tortured prisoners
Perhaps children
It haunts him to this day
Though he tells himself
There was nothing he could have done
Except get himself captured

The hotel is pretty run down
Mostly abandoned
But the parts still in use
Are full of light and energy

I see younger versions of my friends
Running around seriously
Are they playing, or on a mission?
Is this their children, or a time warp?

Most of the kids are playing
One large machine
A jukebox or video game
Or something in between
There’s many hand-size led buttons
With pictures on them
I recognize several
But only a fraction
Dora is on the upper, center-right

I am trying to find a bathroom
I enter an abandoned wing
There is a girl there
Doing nothing in particular
Perhaps she lives in the hotel
The bathroom doors have rotted away
But I’m having trouble
Figuring out how to tell her
That I need some privacy

The men’s room is large and spacious
Actually well-lit and clean
But the toilets that seem to still work
Have large trays of food on them
Mostly spoiled
With green moss or mold on top

There’s way too much food here
This must be from when
The hotel was busy
Ages ago
But the food looks relatively fresh


I think this is about church
My local church, which is facing a crisis
Or perhaps The Church

We remember when church seemed stable
Like it would go on forever
Like it had always been there

Now it is but a shadow
Of its former glory
Thought there is still life there
Perhaps even more so
Than when it was full and busy

Now we are the elders
Donald Duck playing Scrooge’s part
Without his wit, or wealth
Or ability to speak and be understood
Will there be anything left
For the generation that comes after?

The spy
Might be me
I’ve seen the church
Spirit-filled, Bible-believing men
Pillars of the community
Shoot our wounded
Punish the sinner
To avoid facing their own sin
Sins of the spirit
Rather than the flesh

And I did nothing to stop them

I am trying to get back
Creating elaborate plans
To fix everything
All on my own
It is a mercy
Or a miracle
That I get swept up with others

Church has become entertainment
A distraction or diversion
Rather than training in godliness
There is still truth there
Like the veggie-tale videos we play our kids
But not much more useful
Than what they learn from Dora

Not nearly enough
To restore the hotel
Much less convert it
Into a hospital
Or military barracks

I am still seeking a place
To get rid of my shame

The young girl
May represent the Holy Spirit
If so
It is pretty foolish of me
To try to conceal myself

The bread of life
The word of God
Is still almost fresh
And there’s enough
To feed an army

But it has been spoiled
By the green of envy
Of the powerful
Of the popular
Of those who get away
With being hypocrites

If I stop being afraid
Of embarrassing myself
In front of the Holy Spirit

If I reconnect with my friends
As they reconnect
With their inner child
And youthful enthusiasm

If we repent of our envy
Of those who succeed
Using the weapons of this world

If we move the neglected truths
From the bathrooms to the kitchens

If we teach our children
How to fight
Not just how to play

If I face my failures
And take responsibility
For all the times
I looked away

I will earn the right
To be a doorkeeper
In the house of my God

And it will finally become
What it only pretended to be
A Temple
A Hospital
A Beachhead
A Refuge

Where the sins of the fathers
Are redeemed
By the repentance of the children


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