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 on the car to prove it!

Yesterday marked 1 year from actually driving away from Cádiz and over the mountains and two new friends arrived for a couple of days. It is a privilege to hear about someone’s journey and always wonderful to hear about the situations and experiences that provoke the transition. Those wake up moments.

Yesterday Ian explained how he had preached a sermon in the morning a few years ago. As he was preaching it he thought – I have believed this all my life (about a point of doctrine) but it does not add up. Then over lunch he confessed I don’t actually believe what I have just preached…

Times of uncertainty, questioning are so beneficial. I listened to someone a few days ago who said: ‘I hope by now you realise I have a question for your answers.’

The two questions on the lips of Saul of Tarsus: ‘who are you Lord?’ and ‘what do you have for me to do?’ are both the critical questions and in the right order.

An awesome paradigm that was shared with us yesterday was that of losing the ‘right / wrong’ paradigm but operating from a ‘life / death’ paradigm. To let our actions be shaped by what brings life… So one year in we are muy contentos, enjoying the increase of interaction with neighbours, ready for a challenge – oh yes Madrid we will see you again in a few days time – but provoked to live from some healthy paradigms. And ready also to try and steward some political space – now that will take a bit of learning.

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 always known this.
But now we do
Brian Zahnd

Love the ‘But now we do’. Implications – HUGE.

Peace with God often demands conflict with current systems and prejudices – never through aggression but rather using respectful resistance. (Steve Chalke.)

disarming_scriptureA recent morning read for Gayle and I has been Derek Flood’s ‘Disarming Scripture’. An awesome read and certainly a bold approach. His underlying thesis is that we have to read the Bible as Jesus did. There is a biblicist reading which is one of unquestioning obedience but that Jesus, Paul et al read it with questioning faithfulness.

The idea of a trajectory in Scripture is not a novel one as to a small extent virtually all read it this way, and a Jesus-lens is not entirely new either. I think the push he gives is to allow that trajectory to be shaped by the fruit produced. The accusation of course at this point could be that of subjectivism, but the strength is when he pulls back the Jesus and Pauline readings of the OT. That for me was some of the most revealing parts of the book. He shows how whole parts are excised in terms of the violence and vengeance. Bold but both revealing and compelling.

I have written in the past that for us as believers we are not blindly subject to the holy book but to the Holy One. Thanks God he is the final word – God has spoken in his Son. For those of other faiths it must be so much harder for them.

So yes… read the book!!

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

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 […]

Conscience

I was reading an article by Brian Zhand this morning How does the church differ from the nation?… well I slightly changed the title as Brian is writing in the US context but the issues are much wider than the US v. church. But it got me thinking about the issue of conscience. I have […]

A Conundrum

Here is a slow post as the implications of taking a wrong turn could result in a severe accident… So I will try to move slowly. Allah is the Arabic name for ‘God’. God is our normal word used to describe the (Christian) deity that is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. Allah […]

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.