A few more days and then home. Today we drive to Valencia, will get a flight to Palma de Mallorca and be with Noel and Tricia. And a bed!!
However a tent, a small gas burner, two children’s flotation lilos as matresses has been our home for the past week – yes luxury comes in different packages. However when one reads of yet another two boats down in the Mediterranean luxury is to be measured by being able to have a cup of coffee and a croissant in the morning. Once we are home I will blog more but yesterday we were able to give Pamplona (the world-famous bull running city) a major blast. Religion in all forms places a ceiling over a people, and when it is entwined with animal sacrifice, there really are some issues.
In a visit to Madrid when we were able to pray into the Valley of the Fallen we were led to a particular church where we encountered the saint San Lorenzo. Another story… Well he was a wild one, martyred in the persecution by Emperor Valerian in 258 on August 10th. Last night we stayed in Huesca the place of his birth. A remarkable man of faith and hardly anything here marking that. There is a greater presence of Saint George (a mythical figure whose spiritual legacy is still causing enormous problems round the world). Little wonder it was a bit of a battle here through the night. Got to be worth it all though. This is such a wonderful year for Spain. We do not expect it all to swing – after all this is only 2015, marking the half-way point of this decade. There will be many swing backs to preserve the status quo. But let’s see the see-saw swing a few more times!!
Oh and did I mention the great hardship of driving with the Pyrenees in full view for two hours yesterday? Breathtaking. If anyone reading this is ever wanting a wonderful break with some of the best countryside in the world, get yourself to the north of Spain, bring a tent, a small burner for coffee making, then go camp wherever you stop and ENJOY.
Tomorrow morning we leave early for the north of Spain. Camping – with the threat of the first few days with thunderstorms. Still our tent is ‘shower-proof’!! Could be what some people make of my theology. Shower-proof but can’t withstand a severe storm? We got some new places to see and some prayer stuff to focus on too.
So I will be without internet for some of the time. I am posting a video below – and am not posting it because I will be out of communication! I am posting it because for those interested the level of honesty from Jeremy (and Bren) on their journey is very humbling. I know that biblically and theologically the rights / wrongs will be debated for decades to come. This site goes by the title of ‘Perspectives’ so here is a very personal and honest perspective. It is an hour long but I sat and watched it without realising that amount of time had passed.
As an aside another interesting aspect recently I picked up on. Not sure how this one had passed me by, but with the controversy surrounding Obama’s ‘selling out’ to Iran I assumed this was a US / Iran deal. Far from it. Charles Strohmer (Source) points out that it was a deal that China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus Germany worked out. I am not suggesting that it is a good deal – what do I know about such things – but simply how complex our world is.
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.
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!!
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.
Of course we know what the Gospel is. We are very clear on that – or as clear as our tradition tells us to be. So I will try to refrain from stating what it is, but am continuing the theme of the past posts: ‘Different Pages – Same Gospel?’ and ‘Another Interpretation?’. I had […]
Not every day that one can claim to have spent 21,915 days on the planet (post womb!!) but this is the day for me. Thanks to one and all for the kind messages, cards etc. A great way to start the day. If I was a more reflective type I would take time to thank […]
So, hopefully without too much distortion, I presented the ‘normal’ Gospel – certainly the one I was brought up with – yesterday. What though if that presentation is not a true representation of what we find in the pages of the NT? Years ago in a process that is probably the root of the ‘new […]
Words are a means of communication. What they mean will determine what is communicated. And the complex part of communication is in closing the gap between what I meant and what was understood by the hearer. So the word ‘Gospel’ and related words such as ‘evangelism’ I am finding are increasingly becoming challenging words. We […]
I have been provoked a lot these past months about how we understand the Gospel. Partly it is, in a season of being practically busy, it also gives time to reflect on other matters. So I will get to this in due course – like so many other things ‘in due course’. Then there are […]
I confidently announce that the end has not arrived in all its fullness. No not some great prediction there just to update on what I began with writing on the issue of eschatology ‘simplified’. I have not finished the series (the end in all its fullness?), but am working toward getting it into an ebook […]
Chris Bourne sent me a link to an essay he had written A walk among the ruins. He had sent it to me as ‘A little cure for insomnia’ but it might be long-ish but it was certainly insightful and provocative. Comparing and contrasting the Tabernacle to Pharaoh’s battle tent Chris then moves on through […]
Must be the time to review books? Second one in a few days. Exit Darcus I read while travelling to and from the UK last month. Written by Kerry Cole – I have known Chris and Kerry for almost 10 years. A couple who carry integrity in their actions. I was intrigued to read the […]
Tales from the Couch Memoirs of a Drunk Monk by Dave Vaughan The back cover ends with this note: Many have encouraged Dave over many years to get these stories into print, this book is eagerly anticipated and heavily weighed down with ecstatic life, ENJOY! I looked forward to reading the book having known something […]
Gayle and I almost invariably read together first thing in the morning. Often the Spanish Bible, a chapter of a book that will stimulate and provoke. So this post is an update from this morning. Maybe I should entitle this ‘Compulsory Read’? First – we are almost finished ‘Journey to the Common Good’ by Walter […]
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 […]
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.
“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 […]
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.”
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
Today Tony Benn passed away. A man of integrity. He said: ‘One on the practical level of action… I am extremely cautious and conservative. [In] the realm of ideas… I try to be very free.’ Here is a great interview BBC.
Italy → Europe 27 November 2013
Well, well, well Mr Berlusconi has been expelled!!! This is something we have followed for some time. A few years ago Gayle had a dream that indicated there was a process of shifts in this order:
Vatican → Rome (government) → Italy → Europe.
This follows the statement by the pope this week:
“We have to find a new balance. Otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”
Faith in the workplace – beyond personal? 2 October 2013
David Westlake writes about the work place… noting that in the recent talks he listened to on faith in the workplace that they talked of: 1. Personal fulfilment 2. Personal morality 3. Personal stewardship 4. Personal evangelism and 5. Personal performance. He writes ‘You might have noticed a theme!’
UN urges Spain to deal with past
United Nations experts have urged Spain to investigate what happened to thousands of people who went missing during the civil war and nationalist Franco dictatorship. (Estimates are of 300,000 unmarked graves.) A rebuke for the Amnesty Law of 1977. More to be uncovered – cannot move forward by simply covering over the past. Read.
What if…? 27 August 2013
What if what we’re supposed to do is neither world-denying nor, to be sure, naïvely world-affirming, but instead robustly world-redeeming? What if our calling is to imagine engaging the world so as to make the good things of the world better versions of themselves? J.R. Daniel Kirk.
Outgoing chief rabbi 25 August 2013
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “If people work for the maximum possible benefit for themselves then we will not have trust in industry, in economics, in financial institutions, we will not see marriages last… It’s the fault of what we call culture, which is society talking to itself.” (Read BBC article).
Peter Enns referring to Newbigin who distanced himself from inerrancy as it is more Muslim than Christian and he held strongly to the Incarnation. Nice take!
Stealing language 1 July 2013
Great article by McKnight on how ‘complementarian’ was hijacked by the hierarchists re. men/women and the Bible. A bigger issue is of stealing language – disempowers those who used it prior. He (not often a she!!) who tells the story controls the glory.
5.4% increase in millionaires 19 June 2013
Spain is in crisis financially, but the number of millionaires (US$) has increased 5.4% over this past 12 months. Source.
Eating together 23 May 2013
The second group exhibit very different traits and practices; these are churches where eating together is the new ‘Sunday service’. For these small communities, access to communal spaces, such as cafes, large vicarages and community houses, can make a crucial difference to their growth and sustainability. Young adults attending these types of churches may struggle to make the leap to more traditional forms of church as they get older. This suggests the determining factor here is not their age or life stage and that these new forms of church will continue to grow and develop. The recognition of these small sacramental communities as church is vital, both for the sustainability of these fledgling churches and for the building up of the wider church.
Beth Keith (Church Army in Sheffield) report: Authentic faith: fresh expressions of church amongst young adults
Short post on Revelation 12 May 2013
Kurt Willems (good Anabaptist name) has a good post on Revelation and how to read it.
Open Theism 9 May 2013
A set of videos from a recent Open Theism conference. Very easy to follow… Boyd claims ‘open view is how everyone naturally lives’.
I have just completed a chapter for a forthcoming book that Roger Mitchell is putting together. Kenarchy and the eschatological hope is my title. Hope it is accepted as I really enjoyed writing it. The core is the eternal nature of the Incarnation, with the implication that the parousia is the presence of Jesus of Nazareth, not another Jesus.
Change of view 7 April 2013
When we finally realize that our existence is to improve the world, and not escape it, we will grasp that the church is not the point. The kingdom is the point. (in Missional Communities by Reggie McNeal).
Much of the material that will be central to these posts will cover perspectives on the 'gates' of society, the places of influence that shape the culture. If transformation is a desired outcome, such aspects as strategic prayer and understanding the redemptive gifts of places will play their part. As prayer opens up space, filling it will be vital, not in a controlling, top-down sense, but with a servant spirit. Finding appropriate terminology is difficult. Maybe 'transformation' is not the right term, perhaps 'transfiguration', where inner qualities burst through.
I have chosen to use the term 'gates' and although they can be defined any number of ways these are the seven ways I have chosen to group them by:
These are in two formats. Epub can be read in many ereaders, such as Ipad, kobo etc.; if using a kindle then the format will be mobi. If there are difficulties in reading the format an internet search should show any peculiarities for your specific ereader