Field of Dreams

Written by John TealJuly, 2022

The beloved 1989 movie Field of Dreams begins with Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) alone in a cornfield. Ray hears a voice saying, "If you build it, he will come." He believes Shoeless Joe Jackson will come, and he does. But, Ray later learns that "he" is his father. The Iowa farmer plows his corn field, builds a baseball diamond, and risks the loss of his farm to ruthless investors. The movie ends with all the gathered cast members leaving Ray and his deceased-but-now-alive dad alone on the "Field of Dreams." In a moving exchange where neither acknowledges the opportunity for redemption and reconciliation, Ray calls out to his father as he begins to walk away, "Hey, dad? You want to have a catch? He immediately responds, "I'd like that." In that redemptive moment, the camera rises to view thousands of cars coming to fulfill what Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) said would happen. He implored Ray not to sell his farm, saying:Ray, people will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway, not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. "Of course, we won't mind if you look around," you'll say. "It's only twenty dollars per person." They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For it is money they have and peace they lack. Our stories are much like Ray Kinsella's story – it's a story of reconciliation and redemption. He imagines that his journey is to resolve the hurts of others: Shoeless Joe, Terrence Mann, and Moonlight Graham, to name a few. Yet, Ray needs resolution from his brokenness, guilt, and regret, especially with his father.  When we began Common Grounds Unity, we desired to create a space where our Stone Campbell family dysfunctions and division could be brought into the light and healed. I cannot deny the progress that has occurred. Truthfully, we have only stumbled on to what God is already doing, and the work of reconciliation belongs to Him and not to us. If we are not careful, we can become purveyors of the "superior truth" we find in this ministry of reconciliation. I think it is better for me to deeply understand my need to be reconciled – to deal with my brokenness and dysfunction. Maybe fixing everyone else is not the answer, but receiving Shalom, even as I battle my unhealthy behaviors and relational conflicts? Perhaps, I begin here on my Field of Dreams.  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:16-20) And, so I pray, Father, help me refrain from viewing others from a worldly perspective. Help me be a minister of reconciliation as you desire me to be – one with you and one with my brothers and sisters. May I let go of the old and hold on to the new. And may I meet you, Father, on your Field of Dreams!  
John Teal has been a member of Stone-Campbell Movement congregations for more than forty years - having experience in three of the major streams. He attended Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, MI, and graduated from Central Christian College of the Bible with a BS in Biblical Studies. John is a founding Board Member of Common Grounds Unity (CGU). He served in the vocational ministry for a few years before returning to the corporate world where he enjoyed a long career in the waste and recycling industry. He and his wife Danna live near Raleigh, NC. they have two adult daughters. John is now enjoying a post-corporate career as a REALTOR which allows him the flexibility to serve the mission of CGU.

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Should we read the Bible as a legal brief or as an invitation to live in God’s story?

This review of John Mark Hicks book, Searching for the Pattern, was written by Mike Cope for The Christian Chronicle and posted on Feb. 6, 2020. Mike writes: I remember entering classes at Harding University in the mid-1970s, eager to study the Bible in the original languages. Both in my upbringing in Missouri and my university years, there was a quest to help the church conform to what we thought was a blueprint in Scripture. It was a heady process —wading through the commands, examples and necessary inferences of Scripture to reproduce the New Testament church. I brimmed with confidence and certainty. But for Hicks, and for many of us, there were cracks in the wall of certainty. Read the full article by clicking on the picture above or below. Thank you Erik Tryggestad at The Christian Chronicle for giving permission to re-post this article. To find John Mark Hicks book on Amazon (CLICK HERE). You can also enjoy the CGU Podcast with John Mark (Episodes 68 & 69).

Resources and Events

The CGU Monthly Newsletter Team is planning to add a Resource and Event section later in 2022. Each month we will highlight a resources or event from the various streams of the Stone Campbell Movement and/or beyond. We will also provide a link to a resource page providing information about publications, universities/educational institutions, podcasts, YouTube channels, events, and much more. We desire to be a connecting platform uniting the streams of our movement. 
To have your resource added to the list please email Ben Brewster and John Teal at and All submissions are subject to review and approval.      

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