Certain? Of course I am…

I follow a number of blogs each day and one of those is nextreformation.com. A few days ago Len posted under the title: leadership in the chaordic age.

In it he quoted Michael Fullan as saying:

the two greatest failures of leaders are indecisiveness in times of urgent need for action and dead certainty that they are right in times of complexity.

WOW I thought that nails a few things. I respect enormously the recent response by Brian Houston of Hillsong with respect to a response re. the complexities of homosexuality / same-sex marriage:

at Hillsong, we don’t want to reduce the real issues in people’s lives to a sound bite.

This, like many other issues, is a conversation the church needs to have, and we are all on a journey as we grapple with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world.

Seems to me that the two situations that Fullan refers to, ‘urgent need’ and ‘times of complexities’, are critical in our response on any issue. Is it an urgent need that requires action, or is this issue a result of times of complexity. How we discern that will push us in a direction. We all know the scenario of ‘x years ago I was so certain, I knew everything about everything, but now I am not so sure’. That can be the result of losing faith, allowing despondency to creep in, or with the passage of time the result of a maturing process where I realise things are not as clear-cut as I wanted them to be.

Being unsure about something is not the mark of unbelief. Doubt is not the enemy of faith, indeed one might suggest that doubt is an intrinsic part of faith. To be unable to rethink a position is not a mark of betraying truth, but is to respect that truth cannot ultimately be threatened nor changed.

Western society, the church in the West is being threatened as it stands, but if there is the collapse of christendom then we should not be surprised nor too disturbed by that. There are some necessary challenges here and we need the wisdom of heaven to know when the challenge is a real threat to how things should be, or simply a threat to how things are. We need to know when the uncertainty is to lead us deeper into truth that is found in Jesus, or whether it is just the confusing and deception that is often thrown our way to cause us to deviate from the path.

Discerning correctly the context will be very critical. There is a huge difference between the institutions as we have known them being under threat and pure devotion to Jesus wavering.

Certainly for me the context has become a lot more complex. When I asked a pastor who had been deeply involved in ‘Toronto’, and then left his wife and the ministry if we could meet for dinner and talk, I asked him when did things unravel for him. He said when a friend informed him he had seen all these manifestations in Hinduism years ago that was the moment. For me there was an inadequate theology of the Holy Spirit and a lack of understanding of how spiritual ‘manifestations’ relate also to cultural and personal contexts. He had been sure of the wrong thing and once that uncertainty was shaken he abandoned what he had previously given himself into.

When I have had someone write that they have seen every manifestation that we have seen but within a larger scale ‘secular’ setting things get more complex. When there are those who do not claim to follow Christ but are passionate about justice, when those who follow Christ inform you that you need to be armed to counteract the coming invasion things get more complex. Complex because it is harder to discern who my brother or sister are.

So I am voting that the times we live in are predominantly that of ‘times of complexities’ when clear cut, ‘dead certain’ answers are not two-a-penny. But in the times of uncertainty something is shifting and we can humbly (and cautiously?) trust the leading of the Spirit. If we make the times of uncertainty into times of urgency we might miss the season. Just a thought.

Home from the capital

A PS at the beginning!! Forgot to say that… (must remember to keep taking those tablets to help me remember… old joke ‘I take two tablets a day; one is for my memory and I can’t remember what the other one is for’).

Forgot to say that Gayle bought a watch one time we were in Madrid just as we were leaving. It was a sign that time was being reset. Anyway with watch on wrist we arrive in Madrid this past weekend. The watch has stopped at 12:00:12. The day we were focused on is known as 12-O (12th. October). Strange but batteries do run out so was just interesting to see that the time when it stopped was what it was… but once the watch was reset to the right time, it just picked it up and off it went keeping time.

It reminded me of a few years back when I had an interesting set of experiences where clocks and watches that had been stopped just started, including one that had the pendulum removed but it then started and also ‘tick tocked’.

Then I picked up the video from the hospital room where Bob Jones spent his last night before he passed away (I am putting a link to this at the bottom of the post). So I think there is also something we need to note about a shift in time.

Cold in MadridNice to get home. Madrid is the capital, in the centre of the country and higher up so quite a bit colder than here. We did see this sign indicating the temperature (- 173°C /-280°F) which did explain why we needed jeans and coats!! We certainly had some impressive thunder storms while there but trust we also destabilised the atmosphere ourselves.

Our focus was simple… Columbus Day, here known as the Dia de la Hispanidad, a day when many things come together, representing patriotism, militarism and imperialism. Our prayer since the beginning of the year has been with regard to the right alignment of Spain, calling for the ‘spine of Spain to align’. We had not planned to be in Madrid specifically for this day as we were unaware of the date (sorry for our ignorance) but once we decided to travel there over this past weekend we then discovered the significance of the date. It also coincided with Simon and Amy (Cádiz) completing a section of a prayer walk covering the area where Columbus sailed from and ending in Puerto de Santa Maria at his statue.

columbus_flagThe area dedicated to Columbus carries the largest Spanish flag in the nation, and some very impressive and creative sculpted monuments to Columbus and the ships that went out. Right beneath the flag we placed a plaque in a humble olive tree, the day before the large military parade, complete with king’s speech took place.

If I knew how to pray in these situations I would love to inform you… but I am pretty clueless about such things. We sought to come in humility and repentance. Our experience is certainly that most shifts seem to begin with something inadequate. Two non-Spanish people in Madrid, two non-Spanish people in Cádiz – what difference does it make? Those things are hard to evaluate, and of course we do not know about the (perhaps) Spanish-born who have stood in the gap before and after we have gone will continue to do so.

Who knows whether there was a sign or not. The old king was not present, this being the first time the current king has stood there to give his speech as king. A young / old issue is huge in Spain and something we will write about in the future. Cataluña / Catalonia (maybe I should write Catalunya (Catalan)) today announced they will not be proceeding with a referendum in November concerning independence. Was that a sign? We have huge sympathies with Cataluña due to its severe oppression during the Civil War, and the continuing centralised attitudes that come from Madrid… but there is always a higher way than reaction.

Small things in the hand of God can shift enormous issues locked in history… The photos that follow might indicate the smallness of our activities in contrast to the ‘achievements’ in the history.

Columbus Plaque
columbus_tower

 

Columbus Ship
Plaza Colon

 

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I am the main contributor to this site, though there are guest writers from time to time. Hopefully, what is presented are perspectives not the final word!

I am currently developing a part of the site with a focus on the 'gates of society'. That section will develop more as a forum with links to other articles, so that it becomes a resource for the future. I will also be looking for other contributors into the various subject-areas.

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Their core focus will be toward the gates of influence in society. They will not be the final word, hopefully provocative with some practical aspects thrown in.

The first four volumes will be uploaded here in quick succession, after that a breather before the next one. You can access earlier volumes from the emagazine page using the menu at the top of this page.

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