Jeff Fountain: weekly word

In the shadow of the Austrian vote:

Sixteen years ago, when Jörg Haider led the same FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) into the Austrian government, there was widespread reaction from across Europe. Diplomatic relations with Vienna were frozen. Sanctions were imposed… Now representing the same party, the anti-immigrant, nationalist, Eurosceptic Hofer hopes to become the first extreme-right president in the EU. (Jeff Fountains’s weekly word on the failing centre of (European) politics.)

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We will vote – and here is how

europe-no-boundaries

I have hesitated in saying which way we will vote re the referendum as everyone has to make their own choice, however having been asked what our perspective is and what our decision will be I have eventually decided to post it here. I do this not wishing to suggest that our choice is the right one and that all who read this will follow their own convictions.

There are personal elements to the vote. Many years ago we embraced a European identity rather than a British one. Having been born in Scotland, and Gayle in Zimbabwe but both living the major portion of our lives in England, we have probably benefitted from having had to live outside of one’s nationally-born identity. I would go as far as acknowledging that I needed a deliverance from a nationalistic spirit. Maybe then it sounds strange that in the Scottish referendum (in which I could not participate) I would have probably voted for independence. Not from a nationalistic perspective but as a contribution to re-balancing the inter-national relationships of what is called the United Kingdom. Relationships between nations that break exploitation are very important.

There are personal elements to our choice too – we live outside the UK by conviction of calling. We see Spain as an important leverage point for the sake of Europe. Having been involved in what was called Target Europe our focus was on the 48 nations of Europe which we sought to embrace individually and as a whole. At some levels borders – here is Europe and here Asia begins – can be artificial, but our embracing of those nations together was in recognition of a major common history (past); an important time frame (present), marked by many post-, and for us the main one being post-Christendom; and with a future without God that was bleak but we dared (and dare) to believe that something totally new was to be birthed. We used from Mark 5 the story of the two 12 year healings as an illustration. Europe was like the woman with no hope who the doctors could not cure. Interestingly the pope has used the same language of Europe – an old woman whose life has gone so needs God. The young child where all the hope was but eventually later was discovered not to be the carrier of the future as she died at 12 years old. Of course biblical stories applied out of context have their limitation… but it so resonated with what we were praying for.

Personal choices too. We came to a land struggling economically, and with the latest figures now showing that the debt is greater than the GDP of the land, things are not improving. If one marries the land the first aspect is the muck of the land will manifest in one’s personal experience… until there is a turning point. Last year we came to the first time in our years here of crossing a point where the land cannot push us out – does not mean other forces cannot do that, but the land’s relationship to a person is totally fundamental.

‘Europe’ does not function well as a democracy, but we must not fool ourselves to think that Westminster is a great example either. Media and economics have shaped the context in which we live. Is the course of privatising the NHS, education or the tax evasion that is taking place within the City of London examples of democracy at work? I think not.

We should not be making responses from self-interest (both the in / out sides are using this to sway the vote). The background to the EU – and of course the ‘beast’ has changed since then – has deep roots in a man of faith, the French governmental minister Robert Schuman, who carried a strong conviction that for the sake of the future and peace there had to be a fundamental level of unity and co-operation. Much has changed for the better since then. There are many issues surrounding the euro, and the wisdom of monetary union but not fiscal that can of course be questioned, so no sensible person can suggest the EU is a wonderful model.

So we will vote to stay in – and we are sure some of that is based on personal convenience. If Britain were to leave it could eventually put us in a challenging position. Our first priority is not our citizenship – that was an element that we gave up years ago when we realised the call of Jesus transcends citizenship – our first priority is to seek to live in the land where we are called.

We will vote to stay in primarily for spiritual reasons. Our convictions are that there are times and seasons – and when a ‘fullness’ of times comes about there is the possibility of change like never before. We hear this sound of hope from some surprising quarters. The sound is not simply naive optimism as it comes carrying the pain of those who have sought to be married to the land in their own way – and from people who do not share our faith. We carry a deep sense of responsibility within this and I guess feel we would rather go down than have personal survival.

Our appeal to our fellow-followers of Jesus in the UK is not to vote as we will, but even if your vote is to leave, make it for the future of Europe. Perhaps 25+% of European believers live in the UK. Regardless of EU identity, we (I still write ‘we’ as that is my roots) are European. The old woman can be touched from heaven, but it will come though inconvenience, prayer, some hardship, tears, but it will come. The old woman can be renewed.

I am still holding back on sharing two related revelations that have application at a personal but I think also at deeper levels. When the time is right I will probably do a couple of videocasts on them. It is the established taking life from what is rising so robbing the future, and how there is an impartation of youthfulness to those who are positioned to receive it.

In voting – yes or no – position yourself for the future. Make a choice not simply at a personal / nationalistic level but at an inter-personal / inter-national level.

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This site

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!

The main area that I focus on and continues to interest me is how we should understand and live out the gospel. I am convinced (a perspective!) that we have to understand the implications of the gospel as being that of impacting the world. Although the kingdom of heaven can never be identified with any 'earthly' kingdom we are called to pray, live and act, so that we see greater measures of heaven manifest on earth.

I am very grateful that I have been deeply influenced by a charismatic theology, an anabaptist understanding of hermeneutics, a long-term involvement in the various intercessory / spiritual warfare, and the (more-recent) work associated with 'kenarchy'. backgrounds. They all influence me enormously and it will not take too much discernment to read those influences in these pages.

Why Spain

Why Spain

spain-mapGayle and I have lived in Spain since 2009 (Jan. 1 - start the year as one intends to carry on?) and although Spain was not a place that was on either of our radar, the continent of Europe certainly has been. In that sense we have a focus on Europe and live in Spain, however as we have dug into the history of Spain something has got under our skin.

Spain has only a recent history of democracy (1975-1977 being years of transition to democracy, post Franco), and has been subject to a two-party domination in politics, until the end of 2015 when that was broken. Although our hope is not placed in a political party we see incredible connections between the shift of the 'powers' and the time in history that has been unlocked through prayer.

Our own focus has been on the history of the land and we have had a strong focus on the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath.

We plan to be based in Spain long-term and increasingly look to connect with those who are embedded in the wider European context and are seeking to live out the implications of their faith in that setting.

WordPress design

WordPress design

wordpress_logo20I began developing sites for my personal use many years ago and settled on WordPress soon after it moving from being simply a blogging platform. I find it incredibly flexible and can empower virtually any style of site. My skills are in working with clients who wish something custom made for their use.

This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. A site can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or any number of elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated when clicking the tabs above. All the sites are designed to be 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 developed 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.

This site
Why Spain
WordPress design

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!

The main area that I focus on and continues to interest me is how we should understand and live out the gospel. I am convinced (a perspective!) that we have to understand the implications of the gospel as being that of impacting the world. Although the kingdom of heaven can never be identified with any 'earthly' kingdom we are called to pray, live and act, so that we see greater measures of heaven manifest on earth.

I am very grateful that I have been deeply influenced by a charismatic theology, an anabaptist understanding of hermeneutics, a long-term involvement in the various intercessory / spiritual warfare, and the (more-recent) work associated with 'kenarchy'. backgrounds. They all influence me enormously and it will not take too much discernment to read those influences in these pages.

Why Spain

spain-mapGayle and I have lived in Spain since 2009 (Jan. 1 - start the year as one intends to carry on?) and although Spain was not a place that was on either of our radar, the continent of Europe certainly has been. In that sense we have a focus on Europe and live in Spain, however as we have dug into the history of Spain something has got under our skin.

Spain has only a recent history of democracy (1975-1977 being years of transition to democracy, post Franco), and has been subject to a two-party domination in politics, until the end of 2015 when that was broken. Although our hope is not placed in a political party we see incredible connections between the shift of the 'powers' and the time in history that has been unlocked through prayer.

Our own focus has been on the history of the land and we have had a strong focus on the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath.

We plan to be based in Spain long-term and increasingly look to connect with those who are embedded in the wider European context and are seeking to live out the implications of their faith in that setting.

WordPress design

wordpress_logo20I began developing sites for my personal use many years ago and settled on WordPress soon after it moving from being simply a blogging platform. I find it incredibly flexible and can empower virtually any style of site. My skills are in working with clients who wish something custom made for their use.

This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. A site can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or any number of elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated when clicking the tabs above. All the sites are designed to be 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 developed 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.

The Pentecostal Movement

Yesterday was the Western Pentecost Sunday and also coincided with the 5 year anniversary of an anti-austerity movement in Spain known as 15-M. One precedes the other, will outlast the other but is probably also the source of the other. Watching yesterday it again raised for us the question of the nature, purpose and longevity […]

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Wow…

Picked up this quote yesterday. Loved where it ends. In Spain such a fear narrarive (only in Spain!!!????) concerning what is coming. So here’s to the future. “A transformed society] is not our goal, great as that is. . . . Our goal is the holy city, the New Jerusalem, a perfect fellowship in which […]

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Gospel or caricature?

Scot McKnight recently referred to Josh Butler’s second book: The Pursuing God: A Reckless, Irrational, Obsessed Love That’s Dying to Bring Us Home and summarises the (caricature / gospel) themes in the book, saying it is an ‘atonement theology for a postmodern world’: Caricature: Jesus stays at a distance and tells us how to get […]

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