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.