Random Read #7

Scot McKnight has put up two interesting articles on 1) faith and Maggie (Thatcher) and on 2) Bill Clinton. Not simply interesting to read but to consider why would I think ‘Of course she / he had faith’ or ‘No way’. And probably the main reason would be my take on their politics. Raises other questions about what constitutes ‘faith’ – evangelical faith / sinner’s prayer / discipleship etc.

Mrs Thatcher’s Faith

Bill Clinton’s Faith

Another very interesting post from McKnight was on the review of Jerry Walls’ book: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory who as an evangelical defends purgatory post-death. Not a commonly held perspective:

Purgatory – one mostly solitary evangelical’s affirmation

Back to faith… An old article in the Guardian I picked up on I found very interesting. It is on the conversion of some women to Islam. Replace some of the language and put it in a Christian context and we would be very happy!! How about this for a quote:

I have no regrets. On the contrary: my life now has meaning and the void that I used to feel is filled with God, and that is priceless.

The challenge has to be for us who follow Jesus. How does it differ… this also ties to the opening articles – faith in Jesus surely has to go beyond a prayer prayed, a ‘faith’, to some evidence that a) we know who this God is – and he has to be Jesus-like, and b) discipleship marks our lives.

Converting to Islam: British women on prayer, peace and prejudice

A little while ago we finished reading Disarming Scripture by Derek Flood. A wonderful read at the heart of it was Scripture as a trajectory (not too radical) and the need to ‘excise’ certain Scriptures (much more radical). Greg Boyd has taken to reviewing the book (first post of four here: Must We Deny Biblical Infallibility to “Disarm” Scripture? A Review of Derek Flood’s Disarming Scripture: Part 1).

Boyd is certainly correct to place Flood’s approach into the wider one of the doctrine of Scripture. And he suggests that Flood’s approach is one of denying infallibility. Of course these words (and the much tighter word inerrant) need definitions all of their own. So the review alongside the book makes for a good read.

Easter Conference

Screenshot from 2015-04-07 14:52:16

I returned last night from 6 days in the West of Sweden at Halmstad. The main focus was an Easter conference with Kornhill, connected to New Wine. I last visited there in 2007, and they are a community with a Celtic influence to their rhythm and spirituality.

There was some wonderful openness and at one stage I had a thought that I quickly dismissed. As the days progressed I was reminded of days at Marsham Street back in the late 1990s. Imagine something prolonged here in Halmstad I thought, something would really build. Maybe that would be good, the challenge is always when something of that begins to kick in of being able to move on carrying the good but being re-positioned for the shift that is now here. Anyway – it was a thought and my response to it also a thought!

The area is one of the most ‘secular’ in Sweden I am told. Begs the question whether secular is worse than ‘religious’, but I understand what is meant. So I had a strong sense that I released that 1) there is an inherent spirit of innovation and excellence in the region, but this has been 2) capped by a false ceiling, that was due to agreements met that people had to conform to but the agreements for peace had not dealt with the root issues. So there was a ‘state of resolve’ but not a resolution to issues in history. The region itself carries a destiny to release new curriculums (with a focus on the university), books, including children’s books.

It was very interesting to meet a lady who had been head-hunted by the civic authorities, to aid them with innovation as she said the research indicated that there was indeed such a spirit there, and that the research showed that excellence should indeed also be returned. She then explained the history of the kind of resolution that had taken place in the area when there was an end brought to the Danish / Swedish conflicts. It certainly resonated strongly with what I had shared.

My counsel was that over the next two months there was a need to fill the heavens with some clear apostolic declaration of the destiny of the region. There is an openness in the heavens in the immediate to receive that with the possibility of the ensuing months to the end of the year being ready for the outworking.

It is awesome what is taking place in different geographies. Our focus here is different – but we too need to be able to fill the heavens in Spain with what is needed at this time. Mid way though a decade of rebalancing we need to stay focused.

About this site

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.

In my spare time(!!) I enjoy putting together wordpress sites, and also coaching people to make their own - open to hearing from you on that too.

Magazine articles

Just some more blogs? No, of course not, nothing even similar... well maybe very similar indeed, but hopefully you can use them differently. At the foot of this home page you will find 10 more blogs, these ones are grouped together, they will only be replaced every few months with a new set of 10. They can be downloaded as an emagazine, or read here as blogs (click on one and read, or use the 'emagazine' link in the menu above). Here on this site you can also add your comment.

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.

So you see - nothing like a blog!!

WordPress design

I develop WordPress based web-sites specifically made for your site. This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. It can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or a few additional elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated here. I also plan the sites so that they are mobile-friendly, being responsive, they adjust to the device being used to view them.

If interested in a site feel free to make contact. I also have various courses on WP theme development. If interested in taking one of them online, or indeed you would wish to contact me about presenting a course to a small group.

Previous posts

The diversity of heaven

A short blog while waiting for my session here in Sweden. Diversity: sound like many waters; treasures from the nations; every tribe, language people and nation… All themes from Revelation indicating richness is found in diversity. Indeed I suggest that to the extent that diversity can be embraced is the extent to which heaven can […]

WOW!!

Just a short blog to report back on the past short while. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY… and off to Sweden tomorrow so will be a few days till everything settles down. So much to say and deserves something much longer, but the highlight, or maybe the most significant aspect from our perspective was our first visit […]

One year on

One year ago today we spent our first day in our apartment in Oliva. Furniture coming up over the balcony swinging in the wind, and we still have the dents on tables to prove it! Got to know the painter who was painting the walls of the apartment block – still have the paint splashes […]

Random Read #6

Great article outlining perspectives north and south in Europe: The bailout crisis: Germany’s view of how Greece fell from grace (The Guardian.) In answer to the question What is God like? God is like Jesus. God has always been like Jesus. There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus. We haven’t […]

So what is going on?

There are put simply some bizarre stories in the Scriptures. Not surprising given that we soon come across a talking snake, and a few other challenging to believe aspects. Glad of course we are not mandated to believe the elements in the story but to believe the ‘story’. However, a few chapters later we read about Jacob’s behaviour to influence the breeding pool of the animal world!

An album

Music, art… vital. We have been talking a while about anthems for the new day that is here. A day when the bed for the river seems to be peace. Just today Simon Paylor sent through a link to an album that we have ordered. I played the track Simon sent, Gayle came straight in […]

We all love dictators

There are many times there are crossroads in movements. Certainly many would see Constantine, the Reformation, Azusa Street and the like to be big turning points. I am thinking that we are fast coming to another one. Maybe one-string violin as I mention that ‘Empire’ word one more time. But if it is at the heart of the Gospel there is a lot at stake.

Everybody is right

Eschatology the land of the crazed? The Bible is such an empowering and disempowering book all at the same time. If I have my beliefs I can probably support them from the Bible. Recently I was flabergasted (though in reality my flaber should not have been gasted, it is just the world that some inhabit […]

Random read #5

Over at Reimagining the Future Andy Knox is posting a series on Reimaging Knox on ‘Political Parables’, working with the books ‘Parables as Subversive Speech – Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed’ by William R. Herzog II and ‘The Prophetic Imagination’ by Walter Brueggemann. Not a read but a view. Over at YouTube a series […]

Magazine Articles

Editorial Vol 2.1

In this issue there are a number of articles to respond to. Dyfed reviews Roger Mitchell’s thesis Church, Gospel & Empire. Roger’s book is his thesis so we should not expect it to be an easy read, however, with Dyfed’s review I think the book will be accessible for most. In a recent blog Roger […]

When is a Gate not a Gate?

It is a simple question. Should religion be treated as a gateway in the model of the city that we explore on this blog? Martin and I have both, perhaps instinctively, said no. Then Martin invited an article on the topic: then I got to thinking: then, well, you’ll see.

Ownership, stewardship & forgiveness

“So the business leaders of today are not capitalists in the sense in which Arkwright and Rockefeller were capitalists. Modern titans derive their authority and influence from their position in a hierarchy, not their ownership of capital. They have obtained these positions through their skills in organisational politics, in the traditional ways bishops and generals […]

It’s the Economy stupid!

So much talk about the economy, but what is the economy? Is it just pounds and pence? Dollars and Euros and cents? The Cambridge dictionary defines it as “the system of trade and industry by which the wealth of a country is made and used.”

W.I.L.D. voices for the poor and the powerless

For some time I have been wrestling with the issues of money, care for the poor and how our present western economic system seeks to support people in need. As a community at Antioch, Llanelli we have a focus on ‘God’s presence and the poor’ and over many years see the day to day pressures of folks who are increasingly struggling financially in these challenging times.

Church, Gospel & Empire: a review

‘How is it that the best of church experience in both traditional and radical expressions tends to relapse to hierarchical domination and control?’ This is Roger Haydon Mitchell’s chilling question in his introduction to his newly published PhD thesis, Church, Gospel & Empire.

Art shaping culture

It has been received wisdom for a while now that economic power is shifting from the old world to the new world. Continental Europe is faced with tremendous headwinds to do with spiraling social costs and an ageing population that means growth over the next 100 years will be hard to come by. In the developing world on the other hand very low wage rates and high worker motivation are combining to create a compelling long term argument for excess growth rates and wealth creation for those markets.

Values: unelectability

I watched a film recently ‘Ides of March’. A film looking at people on the campaign trail. The governor has sex with the intern (definitely a big ‘no’ in the film)… However, the areas that were far more challenging though were to do with the ethics of winning votes. One example were meetings with fellow politicians to gain their endorsement. Making a deal so that votes could be guaranteed – in return a position in the forthcoming government.

Wealth: redefinitions

Definitions of course have their limitations, but I was provoked and challenged when sitting listening to a Zimbabwean speak. His question to us was to consider what are we were investing into. To help us he used the two phrases of ‘artificial’ and ‘creational’ wealth. One he said was how the (industrialised) West defines wealth, but is illusionary. This he, therefore, termed ‘artificial’.

Come back Christian nation

Abortion, gay marriage, Sunday trading (sorry, strike that one off, as we like that now)… All evidence that we are losing it. The ‘look, once we could see Cathedrals and church spires on the landscape, now Mosques are where churches once stood’ type of statement are all laments about what is disappearing.