Barcelona – a back story

A thank you to all who have written to us about Barcelona. We were provoked to start an extensive set of travels through Spain this year of 2017 as we knew due to the history Spain was rife for terrorist attacks. Even without that threat the history had to be addressed. We cannot say, ‘It was a long time ago’, or ‘they were not real Christians’. We have to take the responsibility that the Lord shows us. We of course ask, and will continue to ask questions – are we pulling strong enough, are there elements we are missing etc. We do not ask them from a guilt perspective, but from a responsibility angle.

Our first foray was to the north and one of the key places was San Toribio de Liebana. This Noe considers is the real source for the ReConquista, the place where civic and church powers came together and some 700 years later the final kingdom of Granada falls. Noe wrote to us yesterday, I include his notes below, pointing out so much – what struck him is the attack came from Don Pelayo street, the king who was behind that agreement in San Toribio. Note also his comment on the place of the attack – the same place where there was a battle ground in the Civil War. We are finding a lot of overlay from the ReConquista and the Civil War.

Noe & Loli are from a Spanish church down the road from us. We have worked with them in the prayer journey, and they have been absolutely invaluable to us. As those of the land we value them enormously. They have been in Barcelona. With Samuel Rhein, Noe and Loli took us to the place where the ReConquista started – the agreement of church and civil powers. We are grateful for what did not take place as Noe outlines.

Noe’s email:

What Can I say? My family and myself arrived to Barcelona last Sunday for short holidays. We came last year and my daughter wanted to come again. We are in love with Barcelona!

We wanted to visit La Sagrada Familia (Gaudí cathedral) and Downtown (Barrio Gótico, Ramblas, Raval). We have been walking by La Rambla for the last 3 days. Just 1 day before the attack we were at the very place at the same time.

We live 480 km from Barcelona.

It is evident that Barcelona is a multi-ethnic tourism hosting international city with the biggest percentage Muslim community in Spain.

We stayed at a friends house in Tarragona, next to the second attack place, Cambrils.

FEELINGS: Just arriving I felt something weird. I felt it gonna be an attack 2 days before but I rejected it in my mind. Just a thought cross my mind. At the same time Loli was feeling that Barcelona will be a place of visitation and revival, all these days.

I shared with Martin & Gayle about the oppressive atmosphere I was feeling for the first time in Barcelona. (Note: Noe sent us a photo of a St. George statue – his presence is so often an issue where there is racism and division.)

THE FACTS: 2 days ago there was an explosion in a little town called Alcanar. It’s the first town of Catalunya after Castellon province of Valencia.

I saw a TV program years ago because it just the border between Catalunya and Valencia and they were demanding to change to Valencia because Vinaros is a big city next to them but is in Castellon. They wanted to change for health and other services.

When I was driving back we went by national road instead AP7 and went by Alcanar. That name came to my mind strongly and I remembered the TV program.

Recently Police has discovered the terrorists has come from Alcanar (210 km far From Barcelona) and the explosion it was because they were manipulating 20 gas butano cannisters to create large bombs inside the vans for Barcelona!!!

If the explosion did not happen Alcanar explosion maybe today we would have so far more than 14 dead people!

That explosion killed 2 of the terrorists and originated the quick attack in Barcelona. They rented 3 vans and due the explosion they just used one. The terrorist attack were planned to be huge.

Thanks God it has been “nothing” compare with they wanted to be.

THE PLACE: The first terrorist attack happened in La Rambla. Maybe the most touristic place in Barcelona. An ancient Avenue with a central promenade packed with tourists from all around the world.

Something that got my attention is that the attack came “from” Don PELAYO street!! Is from where the vehicle entered the Rambla.

Don PELAYO is the King who originated the Reconquista. He was a key character in our prayer trip to Santo Toribio (North Spain).

Pelai in Catalán.
Pelayo in Spanish
Pelagic in English:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagius_of_Asturias

The attack happened in the same place of the battle inside Red Front in the Civil War. Anarchist against communist. That’s was the battle ground.

THE ANSWER: As I guess in places where happened other attacks some people blow the hate flame but most of the society has answered properly, even with a cry: WE HAVE NO FEAR

HOPE: On Wednesday we visited the Sagrada Familia (Gaudí cathedral). Something got my attention in addition to the beauty of the place. Suddenly a whole bus with Islamic women came into the cathedral. They look wealthy, I guess from some Emirates or another Arabic nation. But just the picture of a bunch of Islamic women coming in from the ‘Pasion’s door’ (name of the gate) with the sun rays (at that time), gave me a sense of redemption. After this, a Muslim women with veil came to the prayer seats, prayed and cried. Was one on the best pictures on the trip.

(At the passion door is sculpted the betrayal of Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus for money and because he had his version of the kingdom of heaven, which included suppression of all opposition through the use of power. This is what motivates us to travel and pray – so when Noe wrote that this was the door they came in through that spoke very deeply. The Reconquista was motivated in part economically and the suppression of all who opposed the ‘kingdom of God’ was through violence.)

SHARE ON:

Own our story

I write the morning after the Barcelona attack, taking a brief pause in writing up our recent trip. (we have been this morning planning our next trip which we think will take us into Portugal en route to Gibraltar… another story.) A while back I watched a TED talk by Bren Brown (her web site here) on her own journey and research. Into the current violence she makes a very profound case for – if we do not own our story it will eventually own us, but if we can own it then we write the ending of the story. True personally and also corporately.

She recently reflected on Charlottesville – I make no comment on that as I do not live that side of the Atlantic, although if there is sin in the land it came from this continent here. I am also no great authority on Spain, its history and story. I simply suggest that maybe the ‘brother against brother’ might be a recurrent theme with a deep wound in the Priscillian incident being the first Christian to be killed by fellow Christians pulling on Imperial power.

To own one’s story we have to get perspectives from others (the other?). If we are part of the dominant side, the ones who write the history, then it is very difficult to hear the story from the underside. It is easy to see that the Civil War ends in Spain and the Valley of the Fallen is proclaimed to be a sign of reconciliation with people from both sides buried there. However, from the underside it would be like burying Auschwitz victims alongside Nazi persecutors, then proclaiming the past has been dealt with.

In travelling Spain it has been interesting to research using both English and Spanish sites. Often the big sweep of the Spanish sites will gloss over what went on. Thankfully in the years we have been in Spain issues surrounding the Civil War, the Inquisition, and even to some extent the Muslim expulsion have been covered with increasing honesty. This is vital for any forward movement.

We don’t know the stories of the terrorists who were involved in Barcelona, nor do we know the story they bought into but, for sure, some of what we are seeking to pray into will be a contributing element. It leaves us with a deep conviction that we have to continue, and also asking the question whether we began on this journey too late and have done too little thus far. We are not asking that from a guilt perspective, just a sobering one as there are responsibilities that we all carry.

Our prayers last night were for the police as well as the families involved. Sad today that so many have lost their lives, including the terrorists who departed this planet never having discovered the reason for which they were born. Yes, we need law and enforcement, but their job should be much easier if we can hold the space where true reconciliation can take place. We knew that if we did not do this journey of prayer that there would be terrorist attacks this year in Spain. The news has reflected these past months more arrests than before… but last night was yet again a sobering call.

SHARE ON:

Sierra de la Espada

It can be challenging tracking down where certain events took place and also the driving can be challenging too, but the views in the mountains – the only challenge there is to keep one’s eyes on the road while taking in the view!

One of the clues as to the position of the massacre is a ridge called the Barranco de los Muertos. In typical fashion the Muslims had grouped together to avoid slaughter, forced conversions or exile in the interior mountainous regions. The initial unsuccessful attempt was from Segorbe in the South but the forces were repelled. Then an army was assembled from the north at Onda and advanced on Alcudia de Veo and then beyond. This was a European army, with the backing of king and pope and viewed as a crusade. ‘All eyes in Europe’ were on this crusade and when eventually they were brutally vanquished it was proclaimed that finally all European territory was free of Muslims.

sierra de la espada

With a bottle of wine in hand Gayle and I drove as close to the area of the final bloodshed and found a place to pull off the road. Pouring wine on the ground (blood speaks, but the blood of Jesus speaks louder and calls for reconciliation now and eschatologically) we spoke forgiveness to the region.

Years ago I would have wanted to be able to defend such actions and prove that they make a vital difference. Now I hope I am less defensive and simply accept that they do. If the giving of a cup of cold water can seemingly make a record that is assessed in the age to come then I think pouring out wine symbolically probably does so too.

PS to Xativa / Alcala

After we visited Xativa and the day before we visited Alcala our friend Noe had a visit to his house at 10.00pm. It was a mechanic that he has both used to service his car and has befriended. The mechanic was coming on behalf of the Iman from the local mosque, asking if Noe would take part in a TV program from Moroccan TV on the relationship of Muslims and Christians in Spain! Noe was unable to take part, but the main pastor of the church took his place. The venue chosen was the church building and the backdrop the director wanted was the dove on the wall with the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ enscribed on it. Fernando was able to be both clear and reconciliatory, with one of the key people asking for him to pray for him after the recording.

Would that have happened if we had not gone to Xativa or pursued what God has put in our path? Was it a coincidence? Thankfully we will never be able to prove it one way or another. But it is so sweet when such coincidences happen after prayer – and they do seem to happen quite regularly. So here is to sweet regular coincidences!!

SHARE ON:

Alcala de la Jovada

Thanks to google here is a satellite view of where we went a few days ago. About an hour’s drive and the birth place of Al Azraq and the place where the treaty was made that came to an end and Xativa (last post) was attacked and captured by Jaime I. Beautiful drive up to just over 2,100ft elevation, but to think of making this kind of journey pre-tarmac roads and cars!! Not for me, in spite of the views!!

Alcala de la Jovada

There were Muslims of north African and Arabic background, but there were also Muslims who were living in the land prior to the invasion and who converted. By the time of Jaime (13th Century) and certainly by the time of the Expulsions (early 17th century) those being attacked were being attacked by other citizens in the land. It can only be described as a civil war. The Muslims were also, by the main, the stewards of the land, their care and work is amazing. Drive today and you can see the wonderful terraces for irrigation from the Moorish era. We understand that there are more stones involved in the terracing in Spain than in the Great Wall of China!! Plants and vegetables were introduced and grown – would we have huge paddy fields for rice (paella) across the Valencia comunidad had it not been for the Muslim influence?

We understand then that there was a strong element of civil war and of sin against the land in driving off the stewards from the land (as well as economically not very clever!!).

When we went to Xativa Gayle had an image of a specific Muslim leader, who she described to Noe. Immediately he responded with that is ‘Al Azraq’. Born in Alcala, to a mixed Christian / Muslim marriage. He and Jaime had a relationship that genuinely seemed to have respect for each other, hence the treaty. In all of this it would be naïve to suggest one party was good and the other bad – and think of Solzhenitsyn’s wisdom of the good / evil line never running between us but through each of us – but the breaking of the treaty does seem to be what is triggering the response in the Dayesh video. We consider Al Azraq a man of peace, and (now you can choose to stop reading!!) that in some way he was ready to receive an apology from us, and to release the land.

In these situations it is so hard to describe what goes on, and much harder to put a theological spin on it. What really happens? Who / what is being addressed? I draw a blank on it all. If we accept that the resurrection creates a time-warp (an ‘end’ event taking place somewhere between the beginning and the end, hence even graves in Jerusalem being emptied before their time!!) and that the land holds the record of what has taken place, it is not surprising that there are strange events that take place.

In Alcala we came to the statue and prayed. Gayle even gave the statute a kiss of peace on the cheek to acknowledge that our apology had been received. She said it was as real as kissing anyone on the cheek.

A meeting – many years after the event, but not too late!!!

Alcala Team

Off home – the views are not bad!! A couple of days later Gayle and I drove north to another site… the content of the next post. Talk to you soon!!

Alcala Home

SHARE ON:

The punishment did not fit the crime

Not been a lot of posting going on here as we have been fairly occupied and also continuing to research. Our most recent journey out with Noe, Loli (Calpe) and Craig (Oliva) was to Xativa. It is around 45 minutes from our home and we have driven past it many times en route to Madrid but never stopped there. It caught our attention when I found a video released by Dayesh over a year ago. In it they said they would never forget Al-Andalus (Spain & Portugal) and then named three cities: Toledo, Cordoba and Xativa. We were intrigued why Xativa, a town of 30,000 inhabitants does not seem that significant. However…

Xativa from the Castle

Historically the city was a stronghold for all the ruling people over centuries as once established there control was reasonably easy for a wide area. In Roman times the main route from Cadiz, Cordoba and on to Rome, as well as from Cartagena came through Xativa.

Xativa Cathedral

There are the inevitable situations such as the Cathedral built over the previous Mosque site, a well-documented episode of hundreds of Muslims being dragged to the door of the Cathedral in 1521 and given the choice of baptism (conversion) or death. All of that makes it a significant place but perhaps no more than any other place.

A while back Gayle and I went to La Muela where a major brutal massacre had taken place. The military force involved in this came from Xativa. Significant in that it led to the capture of the ‘last king of the Moriscos’. But we think there was something deeper. First a step forward in time and away from the Expulsion era.

In the Spanish war of succession as to which family would have the throne of Spain, the French Bourbons or the Austrian Hapsburgs. Eventually the Bourbons gained the throne. At one stage in Xativa they placed a portrait of the Bourbon king but upside down to show disrespect. The result was that Felipe (1707) with a strong force besieged the city, massacred those who defended it, deported many of the residents and burned the city. Punishment beyond the crime! Back to our era – or to the 13th century!

A Muslim ruler Al Azraq had a treaty with Jaime I of Aragon which resulted in peace as far as Xativa was concerned. Underneath this there were tensions. In response to violence against Muslims by some of the Christian population, some Muslims went and stole some mules. This act of retaliation Jaime took to be the Muslims breaking the treaty so now no longer believed he was bound by it. He now took force against Xativa and took it. A punishment that went beyond the crime.

We consider this is the root to the ‘we will not forget Xativa’. A betrayal. Our prayer was into the forgiveness for this. The night before we travelled there both Gayle and I had major battles over our sleep. I never, as far as I remember, have war dreams, but one after another was about shootings, snipers and even deception and seeking to make false treaties. Gayle was convinced that there was a former Moorish leader we were to meet and described his clothing. Once we dug into this it was undoubtedly Al Azraq, whose mother was a Christian. We sensed that even in the mess of the history he was willing to listen and accept our apology. (Not sure what that really means, but we will in the next few days make another trip to his birth place and where the treaty was made.)

The town welcomed us in the Spirit. Maybe now the door is closed there to Dayesh.

In closing a few thoughts:

  • betrayal opens the door to murder
  • Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and wine – he overturned this betrayal leading to murder by laying down his life.

SHARE ON:

Why not other spheres?

In a recent post from a few days ago I suggested that the media, education and the arts might be best placed to help lead to a new scenario, opening space where believers and non-believers alike can imagine and work to a new future. I might be mistaken, I could be too pessimistic about, for example, politics, business or one of the other aspects of society. I hope I am, but where we are wedded to an-shackled consumerism it is difficult to be optimistic.

2008 supposedly brought about the (banking) crisis, but was it a crisis or a blip? It really depends on who one asks. For those, such as the youth of Spain, a crisis of enormous proportions, for those who received yet again a bonus for their ‘work’ in the economic realm the word ‘crisis’ surely has no meaning.

Consumerism seems to be the root issue with what is wrong. ‘I saw, it was to be desired, I took, I ate…’ Words so profound in ancient culture and if anything more profound today. Entrance to the land that was apportioned, strict laws about debt, restrictions about moving boundaries, and partial resets every 7 years and a major one every 70 years. Enjoy but live within boundaries. An economics that does not stipulate boundaries is not a biblical economics – and in the case of Israel a state enforced boundary.

Suppose you are harvesting your crops. Then do not harvest all the way to the edges of your field. And do not pick up the grain you missed. Do not go over your vineyard a second time. Do not pick up the grapes that have fallen to the ground. Leave them for poor people and outsiders. I am the Lord your God.

A business model that is based on maximising profits is hard to justify biblically. Do not harvest to the edge of the field. From all business ventures there was legislation that gave from those businesses provision for the marginalised and the immigrant. All backed up by God’s authority!

Jesus’ team building had at its heart a strategy of how to lose money. Not some arbitrary loss but set in motion to break any love of money and to give a path of freedom to those who needed it from that. Thankfully even Judas found that path, even if he did not realise it due to being overwhelmed in sorrow.

A new economics is called for biblically, not a simple step of occupying the current ‘mountain’. If to be able to successfully ‘buy and sell’ (trade) is the mark of the beast perhaps there is an economy being called for that is deeper than that, based not on commodity but on life? Everything that flows from a resurrection based faith has to be life-giving.

Money is not evil, the love of money is the (or ‘a’) root of evil. Yet money itself is problematic. How much exists? How can a stock market lose x-billion or gain x-billion in a day? If I lose 20euros I have lost it, someone else finds it and they gain 20euros. The money is not ‘lost’. That makes sense, but money in the big scheme of things does not make sense. Run your private accounts on the less-than-500 year old system that we have and see if you are allowed to become rich or face a prison sentence.

Have someone loan you 1000 euros (it is a loan as you sign to ‘I promise to pay the bearer 1000 euros upon demand’, though legally the loan money is yours to do with what you wish).
From that loan to you, you can now loan someone 900 euros (and charge interest)
Then loan the next person 810 euros, the next 729 euros and so on (this is the banking system…)

After simply 10 times of doing this you will have loaned out 5.5k and still have almost 400euros left.

Imagine doing that over a week… you had nothing, you are loaned 1000 euros and have had enough money to loan out 5.5k. At the beginning of the week you were broke, at the end of the week you are the source for countless others, could invest ‘your’ remaining 400 euros, or have a (or 2 or 3) nice meal(s) out and start again the next week, meanwhile each person who you loaned to will be paying you interest… who would have believed that was possible?

What prompted such a system? The financing of war was the main ingredient. So much war is to do with establishing new boundaries.

Sadly the system is based on debt, and debt is based on how the present relates to the future.

This is what we have… I am not saying the creativity involved is evil, and I am thankful that good / evil are not the only two biblical categories but the very important ‘fallen’ category is there too. Yet the more fallen, or the more persistent something is to lean in that direction the harder it is to see something redemptive enter. Can we see something redemptive enter the economic realm? All things are possible, but this is why I suggested the arts, education and the media might be the areas where we can see a leverage effect take place. And the media maybe against all odds until recently might have been another area for pessimism, so that should give us a faith boost for the economic realm.

To all those who follow Christ whose context is the economic / money / business realm a big respect to you as you wrestle not against flesh and blood, but live out your lives and values in the light of the cross.

Footnote: do not try at a private level to work your finances along the banking loan model. I think prison might be the context that could lead you to.

SHARE ON:

Keep you here

Some readers will know Phil Townsend. I first met Phil some 19 or so years ago. Diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the oesophagus we have been praying for Phil, Lynne and the family. A while back Phil’s brother, Stuart, wrote a song that came out of the situation that they then recorded. Profound and moving.

SHARE ON:

To boldly go

Changes, changes, changes. Who can predict the future? Post Brexit referendum the jury is still out as to what that all means. Gibraltar the clearest ‘remain’ vote (could this be down to vested interest?!!) and yet one of the biggest financial contributions to the leave vote campaign came from there. How will a year-old party shape up in France? Across the pond what is happening?

Dependent on the glasses one wears and therefore how we see the world I guess we could be anxious wanting to go back to some safe boundaries (for safe read yesterday and status quo) or we can see opportunities in the space that is opening up. I lean heavily to the latter. From a theological perspective I do so as my eschatology does not have space for a future antiChrist, but consists of an open future that we are challenged to shape in the light of the gospel of freedom; and from an intercessory perspective I see the open space as a result of prayer. Our task is to open space and let it be filled by those of positive vision for the future whether they have faith, as we define it, or not.

In some correspondence today I suggested there are three aspects of society that are essential to shaping the future at this time. I do not place them in an order of priority but suggest they are:

  • education
  • media
  • arts

All aspects / spheres of society are important but some have been colonised more than others; some have been suppressed more than others; hence I select these three as perhaps containing the greatest potential. In reverse order…

The arts. Years ago I gave a crazy prophetic declaration that when we learn how to value art the housing market will be re-valued (in many areas that means de-valued). When house prices dictate who can live where, we are not living in a free world. There are also come crazy valuations in the art world, but there are many artists (in the broad sense of that word) who are working with little return. Meanwhile there are those who make money from money… Paul was clear that those who are entitled to eat are the ones who are working, which of course begs the question as to how the word ‘work’ is to be defined biblically. I mentioned above that some spheres have been colonised, and some words certainly have. We have colonised ‘work’ along an ’employed’ / ‘unemployed’ line. Once we remove those terms from a creational context we will have very little left to pull us in a new-creational direction.

Artists are gifted to open our eyes, ears, emotions and imagination to where we could be going. There is a lament contribution that can be made that exposes the right grief about what we have done, but I think now we need more than ever a message of hope. Faith is related to what we hope for, it creates the shape for faith to develop.

The media. We have prayed for a new media. I admire the way that the media continues to push to get stories, even when so much of it has been designated as ‘fake’! The media is not unbiased, and this applies to the media that I like as well as the media that I disagree with. Thank God for social media, although so mixed, it gives access to alternative perspectives, sometimes alternative facts, but even when that is the case these are alternative facts coming from the bottom up rather than imposed from the top down.

A free media is vital. In most of our democratic western nations we struggle to really have a free media. The mainstream newspapers of the UK… the TV channels in Spain… ‘freedom’ is not the first word that could be used to describe them. But we are witnessing the same kind of shift as during the Reformation with the printing press and the release of Scriptures in the ordinary language. Controlling the press cannot and never will be absolute, and I applaud those who are committed to its liberation and doing so at personal cost.

Education. I love history, knowing the story of where we have come from is essential. The wisdom and knowledge that has got us here has great value. Animals seem to learn some aspects through instinct, but we as humans learn this through intentionality. We have the knowledge how to build a car, but imagine if you were the last human alive. I would struggle to put together a cart akin to one from ancient society. The knowledge and gifts are held corporately. We can build a cart, a car, a space rocket. Knowledge has great value in being passed on, but creativity birthed from questioning will take us further. Education is not simply teaching people what to think, it is certainly teaching people how to think, but perhaps its greatest goal is to teach people to question.

Neo-liberalism has all-but destroyed most aspects of the economic and business realms, so much so that there seems even in the Christian world very little radical thinking. Unless we have at the core the deliberate non-maximisation of profits, coupled to a strategic plan to be free from the love of money, and at least a measure of embracing the principle of jubilee there does not seem much hope for a change there. (And if this is not arrested I might well have to change my beliefs about an antiChrist – not because of the Bible but our inability to take the Bible seriously enough…)

So in this little musing coming out of this morning’s correspondence I am suggesting that the three areas of education, media and arts might be at the forefront of setting health care free from the monetary colonisation that is there… and from health care there might even be a shift elsewhere.

SHARE ON:

Just do it

So goes the strap line for one of the great(?) symbols of our day. Reminds me of Paul’s words – ‘this one thing I do’. His context was his passion to be faithful to his Lord, but taking it out of context I have often used his phrase as ‘make sure you complete the focus you have’. Do the one thing, even if there are 100 things left undone, rather than do the 100 but omit to do the one thing. We have one thing to do this year… follow (spell that stumble along) wherever it takes us as we track with the entry, defeat and expulsion of the Muslims from Spain.

It is an interesting journey. A while back just before we began with the first journey north I said to Gayle – we might be the only believers in Spain who are focused on this specifically so we had better do it. Always of course there are many others who got there a long time before us. Here a quote regarding the town where we live:

In other cases, the rebels shouted “Death to the Moors unless they become Christians!”. At the town of Oliva, Muslims were robbed and killed even as they were being taken to the church to be baptized, and eyewitnesses reported dozens of corpses littering the roadsides. Not all Christians engaged in these activities or approved of them. Some Muslims at Oliva were protected by a local friar and a group of local Christians, and this was not the only occasion in which Christians intervened to save Muslims from the rebels.

I noted also when writing about La Muela and the atrocity there that Zapata spent months seeking out Muslims to get them safely to Africa. There seems always to be seed in the ground. Seed waits for a time to be watered and for a result to spring up.

In seeking to explain the what and the why we are deeply challenged. If we had been instructed to pray into the history of the Jewish expulsions there would have been more of a resonance for many. That expulsion and treatment was and continues to be an issue. The only question that would remain would be that of the validity of repentance for something ‘we’ did not do. But the Muslim expulsion? A double issue – ‘we’ did not do that, and ‘they’ are a false religion that has to be resisted.

In my inbox this morning came Jeff Fountain’s weekly word: (available at http://www.schumancentre.eu), entitled ‘Casting out Fear’. With the backdrop of the terror attacks Jeff then opens what the news does not report (and by news I also include the ‘Christian’ news).

Dr. David Garrison has researched the impact of the Gospel in the Muslim lands and defines a ‘movement to Christ’ as being when more than 1000 Muslims were baptised as Isa-believers within a community, or over 100 churches were planted, within a generation. (So how many movements are there in the Western world by those criteria?)

Garrison says the first Muslim movement to Christ did not occur until the 19th century, more than 1000 years after Muhammad’s message first echoed from the minarets of Medina. Then a further ten Muslim movements to Christ in the late 20th century. But, he writes, in the few years so far of the 21st century, we have already seen more than 60 new Muslim movements to Christ–a staggering increase!

So back to our little ‘one thing we do’. If land holds the corporate memory, and blood cries out from the land, Spain is vulnerable to all kinds of entrances. The church (certainly those who follow Christ, and maybe those that take the name church also?) has an unlocking and locking mandate. If the church has lived by the sword, and that militancy still is a strong paradigm, certainly at a heart level – and often beyond that too, there is something to be undone. Seed is in the land. It waits for a time to be watered. Good seed and bad seed. After watering comes fruit.

What a time to partner with heaven. Gayle and I do not need to convince one and all. That is irrelevant. Thank God for the many who have gone before, and the many today who are standing in line with the cross of Christ who are being more faithful than we are… but we need to do that one thing set before us.

SHARE ON:

Santo Toribio de Liébana

Spain is so varied in landscape. Travel in the north and get off the main roads into the villages and with mountains all around one could be in Switzerland or Austria. Liébana is in the picos de Europa (peaks of Europe) and the monastery there is one of the other five places that can offer ‘perpetual indulgences’. We travelled there with the main focus being on the beginnings of the ‘ReConquista’. The initial battle that halted the Muslim advance was at Covadonga in Asturias in 722. After this Asturias was a ‘Christian’ kingdom. It was though from Liébana that the agreement was made (church and civic) probably sealed with the eucharist to drive back the Muslims, fuelled also by an interpretive book on Revelation!

We took ourselves here to break bread in the open outside the monastery and to pray for a shift. As we began to pray the invitation was given over the loudspeaker to come to the service as this was the year of Jubilee. We did not join the service (really?) but took hold of the announcement of Jubilee. Debt forgiveness… Along with the prayer in the field pulling on the work of Priscillian this was a very powerful time.

I have been a little while in getting this up on the site – we were there a little while back. We are at home currently making plans for the next phases which we think will culminate in Gibraltar in September to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Gibraltar day (Sept. 10th). This week we also discovered a Dayesh video saying that they will not forget Al Andalus (Iberian peninsula) and that they will not forget Cordoba, Toledo or Xativa. The first two were not a surprise, but the third specific (and they only mentioned those three in this video) was surprising. We will be in Toledo in just under 2 weeks, and Xativa? Well it is 40 minutes from here… again indicating the brutality of the expulsions from this region.

A couple of images 1) en route through the picos de Europa; 2) the monastery of Santo Toribio that has (of course it is genuine!!) a part of the actual cross of Jesus:

 

SHARE ON:

There will be more written!!!

Maybe not the best way to do this but any non-responses to emails, lack of posts is due to being on the road. We have covered a considerable distance thus far… many highlights maybe yesterday the best with prayer in the mountainous region called los picos de Europa (the peaks of Europe) where the agreement, religious and political, was made to begin the expulsions. From there a 700 year process began.

Tonight we will be in Madrid before heading east to the northern province of Valencia. Once home a fuller report!!

SHARE ON: