It’s time to kick the Bucket List.
I’m stealing that headline from the Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Edition; Joe Queenan’s lead article in the Review section was the kind of laser-focused leering that challenges otherwise savvy people to re-examine their assumptions.
Blame Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman for the cultural obsession with coming up with a Top-10 wish list that finishes with #11 being “embalm or cremate?” The concept went viral after the 2007 adventure/comedy exceeded predictions and grossed $175 million at the senior-adult box office.
If you’re under-50, this may not be your read. As Joe said in the WSJ, “Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: you can’t start a bucket list when you’re twelve. You can’t start crossing things off your bucket list when you’re 29. People that young do not possess the moral authority to compile a bucket list. They should all go up to their rooms and play Warcraft for four decades; Mommy will call you back downstairs when you reach full retirement age…”
So, what’s wrong with a “wish list?” Maybe nothing; maybe everything. Again, from Queenan: “(The list) can seem like a consolation prize for not having a satisfactory life. If you are rapidly approaching the final curtain and you still have dozens of things pending on your bucket list, it raises the question of what you were doing all that time. Bucket lists too often are an attempt to compensate for not having done things early enough in life that they would have made a difference. They’re a shortcut, a make-up exam, a trick. Bucket list accomplishments are like Fantasy League baseball: a cheap substitute for the real thing.”
Heathen and Heaven are on the same dictionary page, but they direct people in profoundly different directions. A Heathen compass points to self-gratification; Heaven’s compass will set a course toward experiences that honor God and advance his Kingdom, while producing a deep sense of certainty that the time and energy spent in the pursuit were invested, not squandered.
Scrap the Bucket List; in its place, get yourself a Dream Roster: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people… your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). New Testament Peter – at Pentecost – was quoting Old Testament Joel: when God comes to live in a person, they’ll see into a future that is more amazing than the present can imagine.
What are your dreams? “I dream my painting and I paint my dream” (Vincent van Gogh). The imagination begins with an image, and energy then flows into bringing that secret possibility into an obvious reality. The pursuit of Bucket Lists end up in Christmas letters; life invested in Dream Rosters is celebrated in Memorial Services… and upon arrival at the Reception Hall of Heaven.
Back to the WSJ article: “Remember that making a dream come true is not the same thing as showing off. Dreams are not pranks. When Don Quixote belts out his inspiring tune in ‘Man of La Mancha,’ he’s singing about achieving the Impossible Dream. He’s not singing about accomplishing the Impossible Stunt.”
Paul was a dreamer, and living those dreams made his life historic. He wrote to Christians in Rome: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation… This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you. But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain…” (Romans 15).
In The Master’s Program, we help couples clarify and pursue their dreams. Scroll down: you’ll see multiple opportunities to join an amazing group of Dreamers – and our gifted “Dream Doctors” – who will help you think out-of-the-box and into-your-aspirations as you live into a future rich with potential!
If you’re a TMP grad, get your Session #4 materials out and set a time to work on your dreams. If you haven’t joined us yet as a participant in Master’s, watch for one of these DreamMaster weekends to come around (offered in multiple venues during the year, every year).
The Bucket List premise: it’s what you do to get ready to die. The Dream Roster promise: it’s what you do to get ready to live.
Which would you prefer?