Referendums

Just before we left Spain on Friday the result was in. It was always going to be a close result. I have made no secret of which was I voted – not because it was the right way to vote – and knew many (maybe more) who were voting out. So first, a big respect to those of you who voted by conviction ‘out’. I am aware that it was possible to vote ‘out’ for selfish, xenophobic reasons but that not every ‘out’ vote was for those reasons. One of the challenges with respect to voting, which can be increased on a simple in / out referendum such as we have just had, is that all the issues are subsumed under that binary.

Normally we have to acknowledge that our vote is not the right one. We can and should make the one we consider is the most redemptive one. The one that can help facilitate the best future for society, and making that choice is not an easy one. My view of what is redemptive and the best future might well not align with someone else’s call on that.

Today Spain goes to the election box again and hopefully before we go to bed tonight we will have some idea of where that result is going to land. We cannot vote in a national Spanish election but if we could we would put our cross in the box we think is the most redemptive one. Challenging… some of those in that party were in their youth members of the communist party, and the party has formed an alliance with another party (IU) that was a catch-me-all party for the left, so had pulled in what was the communist party of Spain.

Politics, and in particular, political parties are never going to bring in the kingdom of God. We might never be able to cast the right vote, but we can always think redemptively. The jury is out on the Brexit from a redemptive point of view – and it would also be out should the vote had gone the other way. What remains (no pun intended) is the positioning of the body of Christ within the UK in relation to Europe, and the response to the Gospel mandate of openness to the alien, orphan and widow.

If the Brexit marks the end of an era for wider European co-operation under the EU umbrella that will be sad, unless in the messy aftermath it provokes a new way of co-operating together and serving one another. It will probably be difficult for that new way to surface in the immediate future, but the trans-national, alien present body of Christ holds the keys to that. It will have to begin, as always, with a response to neighbours, and the embrace too of the ‘other’ that is close to hand.

Now, of course, back on the table comes the Scottish possibility of a ‘leave / remain’ referendum. Maybe Scotland needs to lay down her rights to serve in the current instability? However, the parallels are remarkable.

In all of this at a family of God level we have to go to a much higher level. If we bow at the foot of nationalism as our identity, or in signing up to make our nation great again then I do not think we have considered at any depth the new identity that we have in Christ. I would love to see a new style of politics arise, not a putting down of the ‘opposition’ but a journeying together for the common good. A new media that does not shut down the minority voices but speaks from and for the margins.

So still with hope for Europe, still looking to the first century seed in the ground to spring up. If it does we know that there is healing for the nations.

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Fear masquerading as a warning

I have just been scribbling some replies to people who kindly dropped us emails after our latest newsletter. In replying to one I began to write about the encouraging signs when things that have previously been untouched begin to enter the conversation and even headlines in a land. With the forthcoming election in Spain in mind I wrote to this person:

Such unbelievable fear of the unknown – all couched in language of avoiding the dangers of the past.

As I wrote that I thought – now that is an insight worth getting hold of. I wonder how often we seek to control the unknown and to do so we pull back holding on to the wisdom we have learnt and the dangers that were so present but we managed to avoid them (or so we claim!). I consider this is very true at this time in Spain, and probably across many other lands where the old way of callibrating things has gone, but the new proposals are not being welcomed or even considered. The real reason being a fear of the unknown, but the reason given for the pull back being that the proposals are the past radical ideas simply re-surfacing that we managed to avoid.

Seems to be the situation as we listen to the ‘sensible’ voices in Spain in the run up to this election. Paint something as extreme, make it implicitly reference civil war type language (1936-39) and an appeal to avoid the dangers that Spain managed to escape then and we can pull things in the sensible direction. Of course those sensible voices might well have much more insight than I have, but I do think the issue remains.

The people called to ‘boldly go’ is the church, the people whose orientation is not shaped from what is, nor what has been, but from what is not and what has not yet been. For them the fear of the unknown is a snare that has to be avoided. Thank God for the wisdom voices that can reflect on the past, but now is the time for the voices of those who are dreaming of a future that has not been.

If we lay aside the fear of the unknown we might have to embrace the resulting very real dangers to be encountered on the new path. If we hide the fear of the unknown we might appear wise and avoid repeating the dangers of the past… however, we will repeat the past but now in a different context.

A strange PS: In this final week in Spain opinion polls are not legitimate to publish. So? Andorra (an independent principality in the north) can publish opinion polls which are then released in Spain, but released as emoticons reflecting the weight of various fruits, but in the colours of the various parties!! A smart and amusing way round the legalities. So who knows what kind of fruit we are gong to get elected to parliament this time round?

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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.

God led me

Been thinking, but my thoughts are not always so deep and profound, so here are a few reflections on the above title. We believe we are doing what the Lord wants us to do – at least most of the time we can affirm that. It shapes our response to invitations, personal and corporate. It […]

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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 […]

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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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