On Easter Monday nightÂ I had a dream. Bishop Maurice J. Dingman, of the Des Moines Diocese, came to me. This is what I told him:
â€œWe are teaching lies to our children. Either evolution is real or it isnâ€™t. Either the Genesis 7-day Creation is true or it isnâ€™t. If itâ€™s true then evolution is false. The two cannot both be true. Speaking from two sides of our mouths makes no sense to children or to adults. This conflicted worldview-thinking is the lie religion refuses to recognize. By teaching this conflicted worldview we are destroying the trust of our children and are driving them from religion, for as they grow up they will either reconcile the conflict in favor of evolution or continue troubled and confused for life. In breaching trust with our children we are trashing the truth that all are one. We must stop teaching lies and begin teaching common truth and the way God continues to be present in ongoing creation. Truth is, evolution happened and is happening.â€
Deeply troubled, he turned and walked away. In ten minutes he returned and asked me, â€œWhat are your plans?â€ I broke down and cried, and sobbing I handed him the ADULT FAITH STUDY, â€œEcumenical Catholicism, The People Church.â€ When will we stop denying evolution and begin to speak truth to our children about the way of Cosmic/ Earth Evolution? www.WordUnlimited.com
What Bishop Dingman means to me: to put Bishop Dingman in context; he was a close and personal friend. He appointed me to serve on the staff of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (early 1980s) some few months before his untimely death. After his death a â€œmore conservativeâ€ (non-Vatican II type) bishop was appointed to replace him at the NCRLC, who forthwith replaced the whole staff and put a Religious Brother in charge. Thereafter the NCRLC returned to its usual political actionÂ role (the top-down as opposed to the bottom-up activism).
On my first exposure, I traveled with Bishop Dingman and Bishop L David Brown, ELCA, and I spoke to laity on land theology fromÂ the lay (grassroots) perspective. Bishop Brown wrote the Introduction to my â€œNew Genesis Poemsâ€. Bishop Dingman and his acting director (Fr. Leonard Kayser) of the NCRLC spent a whole day with me at Ames on our exploratory meeting. They expressed a very flattering opinion of me and asked me to be part of the NCRLC effort. I agreed. Our oldest daughter Monica, (now deceased), The EVOLUTION of SYMBIOSIS, also spent time together with me and Bishop Dingman.
So Bishop Dingman has been a signally important person in my life; but he has never before been in my dreams. Joseph of Egypt and mystics throughout history interpret dreams in terms of divine revelation. I donâ€™t presume to go as far with â€œdream revelationâ€ as mystics do.