I woke up this morning in the midst of a dream that involved an end-of-year conversation with my first-year students (not this year’s students — they were the anonymous extras provided from Central Casting of the dreamworld). They were adopting a favorite moment from their Early Church History class as the theme for next year’s orientation. It seems that I’d been talking about the controversial ministry of some leader — Gregory of Nazianzus during his Constantinopolitan tenure, perhaps, or John Chrysostom. I described the impact of his ministry on civic life, using a sequence of four vivid nouns: “Riot! Rebellion! Something! Devastation!” [I don’t remember what the third element in the series was, just that there had to be four.] I then noted for the class, “You can expect that sort of response if you dare to work for truth and excellence in the church.”
Evidently the students in the dream had loved the idea of causing trouble by working for truth, so (to my surprise) they had made that their organizing motif. Wish I could remember that third noun — but apart from that it was a pretty gratifying dream.