Neil Cole author of Organic Church, is a practicioner who does the work without the hype. Love his writings, and his passion is very challenging. Looks to empower everyone…
I am in Wales in a few days time talking about Europe and the future – has to be the 1s and 2s finding relocation, reversing Empire, so that we do not go out in strength to colonise, but in weakness to be eaten alive – unless God preserve us.
We are off to Sevilla tomorrow for a day and a half. The history between Cádiz and Sevilla is very key, particularly with the influx of gold from the new world and the Spanish empire. So our first exploration into that history. Then off to Wales for a few days.
Badajoz is in the West Spain toward the Portuguese border, and at some point we wish to make a visit there. I have had some communication with Andrew Brims who, with family, moved there from Sutton in September 2010. He has written with Nat Gillett an excellent book Click on the link image below to find it, or here if you wish to check out his regular blog.
Not sure how much is getting in the news but Spain has been very active on the streets, with around 1 million last week across cities protesting about the austerity cuts. The most poignant was in Valencia where the PP (conservative) is in control, with a history of corruption… now they have cut heating and supplies in a number of the educational establishments. So money has gone where it should not have gone, and now money is not going where it should go. It is difficult for the police in these situations but the response has been so heavy-handed and shown on TV. Great news is people verbalising, ‘We are not living in the Francoist era’. Such statements would have not been made public before. Change is here… An exciting time for us all – don’t write Europe off. Don’t despair, many things are unravelling, but this includes what has propped it up, Christendom. Will be tough as things go – but I smell answered prayers through it all. Pray for NT reality, and the answers are not in a straight line. The pathway is called ‘inconvenient’. More to come on this.
Over the last week have been thrown into thinking mode by one of my friends Facebook status updates. He and his wife and son have just been to America and of course there is the good old flight to and from the States. On the way out from Heathrow they got bumped up to first class. What is that? Is that a sign of blessing from God? Was God revealing His pleasure on His servants? We often as Christians see outward signs as signs of blessing. Evidence of the hand of the Almighty upon our life and ministry. Responses to this status update were the usual ‘Praise God’ response, and maybe a hidden bit of jealousy (come on let’s be honest!). God is so good blessing His people in such an amazing way. Yet what about the faithful Christian that does not get bumped up to first class? Is that person not walking in the same blessing? Is there a generational curse or secret sin that needs to be sorted out? Are they not praying enough or maybe not walking in such measures of faith? And then what about the Moslem or athiest that gets bumped up? Is that a sign of God’s blessing on their lives? Is Allah blessing his man and the no god blessing their man? It really has raised many questions for me this week about the blessing of God.
The whole situation really took another twist on the return journey when they were bumped off four flights before they finally got a flight home. If getting bumped up was a sign of God’s blessing then what was this? Was God a bit tired now of doing nice things for them? Had they not fulfilled their destiny in America so they got punished for it? Had they got lessons to learn about patience? Some really wild thoughts I had on this were, maybe when they were bumped up God wanted them to give up those first class seats to someone else showing how selfless they were and because they didn’t do that God was teaching them a lesson. Prefer others surely. All of this to me reveals how shallow our interpretation, theology and outward evidence of blessing are. It is great receiving nice things and getting things going for us, but surely we cannot see this as the hand of the blessing of God. Blessing has to be more than just stuff. Jesus said something on this issue when Thomas wanted physical evidence of Jesus being raised from the dead. The stories were not enough for him. He finally got to see the living Christ and touch Him. Jesus agreed he was a blessed man because of this, blessed because he had seen something great. But then Jesus proceeds to say ‘but more blessed are those who believe and have not seen’.
Walk by faith and not by sight.
The implication here is that there is greater blessing for those that hang in there by faith without any physical evidence whatsoever. Why? Is it because God blesses them more? No I do not think so, it is because of the faith aspect, a faith that does not need evidence to exist and be strong. All in all this is a more content place to be when you do not have to worry about where the next bit of evidence will crop up. I believe in the angelic, I believe people can experience the angelic, yet I have never seen or experienced an angel. Does that mean I don’t think I am surrounded by them or that I have never met one in disguise or invisible? There are times when I certainly think the angelic have been involved in my life. I believe. Does this mean I am less blessed than those that see angels all the time and experience them regularly? I do not think so. There was a time when this really bothered me but not any more. I would love to see angels and experience them, but I believe. I have faith. I do not need the physical to reveal their presence to me. I am blessed. Blessed if I do and blessed if I don’t. Blessed if I can surround myself with people like David with the mighty men and the Cave of Adullum. Blessed if no one will listen and gather like with Noah and Jeremiah. The hall of faith in Hebrews makes it quite clear that it is nothing whatsoever to do with outward stuff by including characters that seemingly failed in it’s hall of honour. Noah’s message was rejected by everyone except his family, and they in a way had to be there because they were related. If he was a pastor today we would not invite him to speak at conferences. Where is the evidence of the hand of God? Surely he needs to get the message that he is not gifted to do this. Hebrews includes those beheaded and killed. Blessed? Less blessed than the one’s who lived and built churches of thousands? We need a new thinking and theology of blessing. We are blessed, full stop. Blessed. The blessing has already been released through Christ and it is not measured by what is going on. The sun shines on the righteous and the unrighteous. It rains both on the righteous and the unrighteous. Some things are just life, stuff, happenings. Is God in and through the events of our lives? Unquestionably, but one event is not a sign of blessing or curse, He uses all things of life to shape us from the moment we are born to the moment we die. It is just that we put too much weight on one seperate incident as evidence of His working. It is not about the evidence but about the eternal and faith to believe in what we do not see.
Live Blessed Whatever is going on.
Living blessed is not about pretense either. We do not need to keep smiling 24/7 through the stuff of life, but just be aware that even in the valley of shadow Someone lurks. For there to be a shadow there must be the existence of light. Blessed.
I know when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness (that which has been completed) of the blessing of the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:29)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (chosen, adopted, forgiven) in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3)
How the times are a-changing. Not being inside the UK means that I am not always in touch with what really is being said and actioned. I have come across two recent events: the banning of prayer before the Town Hall meetings in Bideford (see a comment by Dyfed), and a report in the Telegraph that Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has said that once beyond the door of the ‘temple’ Christians are not above the law. He drove home his point with the example that Roman Catholic (and other Christian) adoption agenices do not have the right to deny adoption to homosexual couples under equality laws, regardless of their faith position. In other words, despite what the agency might itself uphold they cannot become an exception when it comes to issues of equal rights for all. His comments are not simply being made at the expense of Christianity for he likewise made points about sharia law.
Although I think there are gaps in his argment that an average driver might be able to manoeuvre through without hitting too many objects, it is not that aspect I wish to open up. However, I consider the two examples are signs of a shift in the times. Lord Carey, former archbiship of Canterbury, has responded with a call to respect the nation’s heritage with an acknowledgement of the CofE as the established religion. Certainly his call to understand the history of a place is well grounded, but through that kind of argument are we expecting more than we should?
So cards on table: I have been seriously injected with a dose (I don’t think overdose) of Anabaptism. Separation of church and state. The requirements of Jesus are for his disciples. Not swearing allegiance, etc.
But back to signs of the times. Yes we can consder that there is a growing disrespect to faith. However, our history has been one of imposition (did the Reformation ‘succeed’ through winning hearts or through the conversion of a ruler?). I am currently reading the spread of the Spanish Empire. The ‘natives’ could have the Gospel preached to them and given the offer of conversion and submission to the crown of Spain. A neat little package all thrown in! General Franco conquered Spain as son of Spain and servant of God. The Catholic hierarchy more or less totally backed his crusade (which for some could be spelt genocide).
Of course ‘we’ can argue that we have not been so bad as that. Maybe.
We are coming to the end of an era. That era has many facets to it but one is that of christendom. I do not consider that christendom was ever valid, and we have to learn to live on the margins again as servants not as rulers.
We have prayed for first century realities in terms of faith, but I suspect to really live in those realities we will need to have a similar context. Faith expressed in the public arena, but not with Christianity in a privileged centralised position.
This is a decade when so much will be unrecognisable by the end of it. The process is something though we will have to embrace. A process where we recognise that change does not take place through no. 10, Brussels or the White House, but in lives that are absolutely committed to follow the Crucified One.
Economies are going to be shaken (this being a pivotal month), circumstances will be harder, privileges will be lost. And in all that Jesus will not need to be defended.
So in the changing times we must resist the temptation to try to restore something from the past. A new day is here with the increasing possibility of first century faith being expressed in a twenty-first century setting.
Mike Morrell’s blog is always worth a read. In a recent blog he writes about how we can end up so in trouble when we go down the heresy-hunting route, and that being accused of guilt by association is not so bad a thing (even if it hurts!!). With a debt to the German pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) who wrote about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group, Mike put these lines on his blog:
First they came for the charismatics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a charismatic.
Then they came for the emergents,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t emergent.
Then they came for the universalists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a universalist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Spare a thought for the Rob Bell’s and others who have tried to push certain discussions into the open. Just a thought: let’s not be too quick to dehumanise others.
I am glad that the ‘I believe in sin’ raised a few (unresolved) issues. Continuing to try to get to some of the core ‘what I believe’ stuff this one is in some ways related to that earlier post. Some of the same dilemmas arise here as we consider the implications of this belief. There are similarities: personal ‘geography’ – my life – is affected by what has gone on, all the way back to a literary / literal Adam, and yet I am not simply an inevitable victim. Likewise with land geography.
With around 1200 references to land / earth in Scripture this is not a small theme, and with early revelation that the earth was cursed because of sin it is no surprise that the relationship between people and land is very key. Makes total sense that we await a new heavens and a new earth.
A very central NT Scripture on land is found in John 10:39-42. It comes at the end of a section from John 7 where Jesus finds a hostile response in Jerusalem (geography dominated by politically compromised religion). Then we read:
Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.
Six geographical references amidst one historical reference. (I occasionally learn a little English, and discovered the other day the difference in meaning between historic and historical, now got to master a little more Spanish…)
No two geographies are the same… Jerusalem and across the Jordan are different. In Jerusalem the history has developed a dominating ‘spirit’ that stones and kills the prophets; but across the Jordan we discover a place that is conducive to faith in Jesus.
Oh to find places like that. Oh to live in a place like that. Or maybe more exciting to live in a place and contribute toward it becoming like that. If what is present today is largely due to yesterday’s activity, then tomorrow’s spiritual dynamic begins today.
For this reason I applaud those who are sowing seed into the trade routes. I expect to see a harvest. When? Tomorrow. I applaud the hidden ones, losing their lives. Seed today for tomorrow.
We can pursue this further as we look at the outcome of Western christendom. The fruit is on the land, but the seed from death is in the land. There are tougher days ahead, but there are also better (healthier) ones.
A huge tension comes as to how we do what needs to be done to change history. A huge part must be to turn on the light into the darkness, rather than curse the darkness. We cannot be so overwhelmed with the negative history (and here we sit in one of the most ancient continually inhabited regions of Europe) that we do not expect anything until 3000 years, or whatever length of time we consider is alive, is dealt with. No, let’s turn on the powerful light. And yet… it seems sin is dealt with through confession and repentance. That is my guess why Jesus found the ‘across the Jordan’ geography a happy place. It had resounded to the confession of sin as John was busy baptising, a baptism connecting people and land again.
This weeks blog takes it’s inspiration from a living room conversation that I had with a great friend Tony John. Tony and Pat are a couple that I love so much, walking paths, pioneering paths, living paths. They knew what it was to walk a more ‘liquid’ expression of church before anyone was even talking about it. For that walk I honour them. After a couple of years without seeing them, Monday saw a time of re-connection as we shared coffee and stories of love’s great adventure. Dots were re-joined. A clearer picture began to emerge. This blog is titled after one of those throw away phrases you just happen to come out with in conversations like this. The ‘Word of the Lord’ is so natural and normal. Rhema in the middle of the ordinary and unplanned.
“We are like orphaned fathers (and mothers)”
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers… (1 Corinthians 4:15)
One of the subjects we discussed was that of being fathers to those in the Way. Realising that we ourselves were a fatherless generation, but in thinking about this more and more maybe not fatherless but orphaned. As I grew in the church I knew what it was to have fathers/mothers. I think of my first ‘pastor’ Alan Kidd, many youth leaders, the so called ‘Senior Pastor’ at Lutterworth, David Maggs. I have been privileged to have had great spiritual parents on my journey. I cannot say any of these people abused their authority, all they did was promote and encourage me in my walk with Christ. I am so thankful to God for the people he has given me in my journey. I know many cannot say this of their own journeys. Even when I first moved into Wales a guy called Paul Dando was such an encouragement. But then came the prophetic wave, the new, the fresh expressions. Then came the time to walk more and more the liquid path outside the walls of organised church life. This is where all of a sudden the Fathers of the past could not see where you were going. This is where the Fathers started to try to control and cry rebellion. This is where they began to turn their backs on us and walk away. We were given up as lost, back sliding, missing the mark, disobedient. In the new landscape we were orphaned. In the wilderness and the cave and the rolling hills of the spontaneous there were no fathers. No one had been this way before. The only measuring stick was where everyone had been before, the old form. It was so easy to call us loose canons but we never set out to do it alone, it was just when we got there nobody else was there to take us under their wing. We had to discover the parameters for ourselves and make mistakes, which of course proved the watching eyes right that we deserved to be rejected. Here we learned a dependence on Father. He was there walking in the cool of the garden. Orphaned fathers began finding other orphaned fathers. Here was a new beginning to see that another generation would not be fatherless.
Fathers not instructors
There are a billion and one people who would tell us what to do. Instruct us on what the verses mean for us and how to apply them to our lives. Downloads, books, conferences, web-sites, blogs, all full of how to live, how to walk, how to worship, how to pray, how to party, how to live prophetically. God is not looking for people to instruct this generation and say ‘this is how I learned to do it, now you do it like this’. He is calling parents to be there, to bring forth life. Parents do not have to understand their children to parent them. The problem comes when a parent tries to get their child to live their own dreams. This is where it ceases to become parenting and it becomes instructing. Being there is normally the greatest gift for a parent to a child, just being there. Being there to slay the fattened calf when they mess up and come home broken. Being there to put on the robe when they think they deserve rejection. Making sure that even if they choose to waste an inheritance that they are still part of the family when they come home with their tail between their legs. For my own boys I have no dreams for their lives other than them just living. I’m not here to judge their every move, if they ask my advise I will give it to them, but I do not have to preach to them every day for them to know God in their every day lives. I trust God with them. I enjoy them. This is how it needs to be with this generation of radical misfits and mystics. With this generation of broken wanderers. We will all find someone that we can just be there for. Have an open door for. Have an open life for. For some it may be just for a season. For others it may be for life. For some we may just see them once, for others we may see them every day. The hearts of the fathers will turn to the sons and the hearts of the sons to the fathers. Must also be noted here this is not something of age either, the younger will sometimes father the older as well as the older the younger. The less experienced may father the experienced. Loving and yet not dependant relationships. Elastic connections that will stretch to the moon and back. We may have been orphaned but this generation will be able to say there are fathers and mothers in the land that are for them and not against them. Orphaned parents of the land your sons and daughters are here already. Be ready with open arms.
Growing up in the Assemblies of God tradition one of the first things I was introduced to as a serious Christian was the traditional Sunday morning ‘Breaking of Bread’ service. This was the meeting that all committed Christians had to make a special attempt to get to because of the command to remember ‘the Lord’s death until He comes on a Sunday morning, the first day of the week.’ It was always a bit more sombre than the evening Gospel service, that was there for outsiders. The focus was always upon a very old table at the front of the church that was called ‘the Lord’s table.’ On this table would be either a piece of bread or a cracker and some small individual tumblers with a little sip of Ribena or non-alcoholic communion wine. The worship every week would always lead us to this place where we would give account of our lives, repent of our sins and never take these emblems of His flesh and blood in an unworthy manner or we may eat and drink judgement on ourselves. It was always pretty scary, very serious and a time to recommit ourselves to following Him. As a young man there were times I felt I could not take the emblems because I had had a bad week and sinned. They called this ‘Communion.’ I took part in this weekly ritual from the age of 15 when I became a Christian until I left Tonyrefail and the ‘Pastoral’ life 6 years ago. Knowing all the time that the supper it refers to when Jesus shared that last meal with His disciples was nothing like this, and the one that Paul refers to would have been in a totally different context. A ‘Lovefeast’ as it became to be known. Yet both would have taken place in the context of a meal time and not a meeting time, and both would not have just been an isolated ‘nip and sip’ as Gerald Coates once called them, but a time for family and celebration and eating and drinking and being merry. This was the table I knew but the tables have turned.
The table has taken on a whole new meaning for me now. Where as once it was the focus of just me and the Lord and a sombre place, I see tables everywhere as places of real communion. Places where fellowship and relationship can truly be formed. Dinner tables, breakfast tables, coffee shop tables, picnic tables, garden tables, coffee tables, pub tables, wherever there is a table is an incredible opportunity of realising that whenever two or three are gathered together there He is. This is where 2 x table = 3. That does not mean every conversation has to be littered with Bible discussions, but realising that every conversation we have will be permeated by the Divine because He dwells within us. There have times when we share bread and wine during a family meal time. At first I felt we had to have Bible study and Scripture readings to make it Holy, but I have come to realise that as family whenever we meet and eat and whatever the topic of conversation God is there amongst us. And sometimes His name even crops up. This has happened over the years sharing breakfast in people’s homes, having a coffee in an airport or in Starbucks. This has happened sharing buffets with friends and extended family. I have sat in a kitchen just sharing stories from life as we eat and drink together. All of these tables become the Lord’s table. All of these gatherings become Holy. There is no false sombre air about them, there is laughter, there is tears, there is story, there is life, there is distress and there is hope. Yet these tables become gathering places, not the focus themselves, but the places of lives shared. There is no room for hierarchy at a table as everyone has a level playing fields. The focus is not on one person but on each other. This is what King Arthur was allegedly trying to communicate through the round table, here we are all equals, together, joined, in fellowship. The tables are turning.
Place of Presence
In the tabernacle and the temple the table was the place for the bread of the Presence. Every table we sit at can become a place for the bread of His Presence. Mephibosheth was invited to always eat at the kings table, and so are we. Although imperfect we can incline with Him. Jesus inclined at the table with not just the twelve but with the Pharisees and tax collectors. The table became a leveller and place of encounter. The ‘Lord’s Table’ of old became a place of exclusion because unbelievers were told to let the bread and cup pass by. How embarrassing is that? What were we thinking? The table of the Lord becomes a place of inclusion. Let’s eat, drink, talk, fellowship, laugh and dwell together a while. Let’s share stories and see these stories touch hearts and lives. He has prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil and my cup overflows. He just says, time out, take a seat with Me. Feast upon the food I will give you and let me deal with the stuff. Take the weight off of your feet and let me take the weight. Oil will flow as we sit at the table together. Joy will return as the wine is poured out. Broken lives will be restored, relationships renewed, faith revived as we sit around tables. It is the turn of the tables. The tables have surely been turned.
The issues raised about the nature of ‘sin’ and in particular the oppression of corporate sin is a discussion that has to go and on. Personal (the flesh), corporate (the world) and principalities and powers (heavenly and earthly) all intersect in this one. And as Cheryl says we cannot avoid it all – oh boy all the good people with their Apple products!!! Again it raises what is ‘work’ and what constitutes a ‘successful’ business.
The first comment by Cheryl about ‘discovering why we are alive’ provoked me and in the past few days I have been reminded of an incident a while back. I am very grateful for the supernatural activity of God, and over the course of time have witnessed many miracles. One of the most unusual was in Brazil after praying to break false prophecy (another interesting aspect as it releases a false destiny, not the reason why we are born!!) I saw a woman continually looking at her hand and then at her fingers. I was intrigued. Her fascination was that she now had fingerprints for the first time. How neat is that? Those markers of identity and uniqueness.
This illustrates the core of what I was pushing for in the previous blog. Discovering who we are is at the heart of the Gospel – through discovering who God is as revealed in the face of Christ. Life can seem for many to be crap at times, but there is a restoration of identity that salvation restores. The heart of the fallen world is to take that away, even by offering all kinds of successes and pleasures.
To bring glory to God is not to have a name so as we can really make him famous, it is to walk the silent path of discovering who we are, not through some inner journey alone, but through responding to the one who holds together all of Creation.
Only from that position is it viable to grapple with the corporate power of sin.
Been a long time since I have put up a post with the ‘I believe…’ title, so here goes – not a complete statement, nor covering every angle. What is meant by ‘sin’, what do we understand as ‘original sin’, solidarity with Adam and the like?
There are ‘laws of life’ that we are to live by, but the problem with simply quoting Scripture, such as ‘all your righteousness is as filthy rags’ to indicate that no matter how well we do we fall short is to take Scripture that applies to Israel with their righteous (law-keeping) behaviour not proving to be enough. We cannot take that and simply apply it universally. Even a lot of Pauline texts are dealing with the Jew/Gentile issue. We cannot make specific Scriptures and simply apply them universally. He does of course say ‘all have sinned…’ regardless of being Jewish or Gentile.
Sin can well be understood as never discovering the reason for which one was born
So: the idea that whatever good is done is despised by God is not something I can see as substantiated by Scripture. We can value what is done that has genuine good in it. ‘Good’ is not something that is acceptable when done by Christians and not when done by someone else; neither does good guarantee someone salvation – that is a different aspect.
So ‘born in sin’? That’s a tough one to answer. If by totally depraved (the ‘T’ of tulip) is meant there is no good in someone, I reject that; if it is softened to indicate that humanity is tarnished in every aspect I can almost go there. In some way all of humanity is in Adam, and in need of a Saviour.
So sin is falling short, not making the grade, but borrowing from Walter Wink here is the core way I look at it. Working with the archery term (sin: missing the mark) let me suggest that sin can well be understood as never discovering the reason for which one was born. To miss the mark in that sense. To do so means we fall short of the glory of God. To discover why we are born, and to live it out is to bring true glory to God.
We need Jesus. He was fully human – we are not. He lived in relation to the Father – only what I see / hear him do… To be captivated by his love, to be incorporated into him, to receive the same Spirit, as the Spirit of adoption, then we can begin to falteringly walk in the same direction.
The real tragedy of sin is not that of wrong-doing, it is that of people living and dying never discovering who they were, why they were here… that can only be discovered, not by an inward search, but by a heavenly encounter.
Whatever we believe about sin, the effects are everywhere with personal and collateral damage. However where sin abounds, grace more abounds.
On Tuesday a friend, Karen McCrill Howard, shared a dream with me. That dream meant more to me than I am sure Karen would realise. I found such encouragement in it that I wanted to share it and a few thoughts surrounding it here. Before I go any further here is the dream as Karen shared it with me;
Usually when I fly in a dream, I am doing the flying. This is different. I was watching from miles high in the air…the clouds were barely visible below & I watched as a group of regular folks (believers!) were each flying on the backs of huge, wider than horse’s backs, Canada Geese. The group was the last, the 4th group, & that was the most difficult flight. Previous goose flyers simply had to fly, this group must bring it in!! All they had to hold on to were the reins ,which they wouldn’t have even considered using to control the goose. This flock had to make a steep bank to the left, and all the while maintain their position on the Goose’s back, or maybe the goose balancing their person on their backs, which they could all do!… it was like a sudden re-entry. All this seemed very frightening because I was going to be doing it too.(—the dream goes on about my fear of wild goose flying, which I’m sure doesn’t pertain to you flyers—) end dream while awakening, & thinking about this dream I both heard & saw 2 big block letters with the words “H G knows everything” wondered what that meant & right away, Holy Ghost. Not a term I use. Listened to Frankie Lanes Wild Goose
My heart knows what the Wild Goose knows I must go where the Wild goose goes Wild Goose, brother goose which is best A wanderin’ fool, or a heart at rest?
It is believed that the Celtic Christians preferred to refer to the Holy Spirit using the metaphor ‘The Wild Goose.’ For them the Holy Spirit was not a quiet, demure bird but a loud and uncontrollable one, which always seems to arrive unexpectedly and does not submit to human authority. Someone once called it the untamable wildness of hope. The word goose comes from the European word ghans, which is said to refer to the sound of honking that the geese make. The word wild is also of European origin, ghwelt, which means untamed or natural. The goose then is a bird of hidden treasure- of spirit in unseen motion, like water flowing underground, until it bursts forth in a spring. Wild is not a word of chaos but one of following it’s own will, making it’s own meaning, sailing on it’s own winds. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. It is time for the Wild Goose Chase. We can feel as if we are going around in circles going nowhere, but really we are circling around the elusive and mysterious. Being caught up in the uncatchable, untamable One. This in turn makes us uncatchable and untamable. Join the flight of the wild goose.
Memories of Earlier Days
The dream is also very poignant on a personal level because one of the first messages I heard that made a lasting impact upon me was from my very early days as a Christian when I was in Bible College, when I attended the Assemblies of God Annual Conference (The term Holy Ghost was used here often). It was here I heard a man called Warwick Shenton, a man very ahead of his time. He spoke about the wild geese and how we needed to learn so much from them. He shared about the way they fly in the V formation, that there was never a dominant leader but a sharing together in each team. The one at the front paving the way through the wind currents while the others behind would honk in encouragement. After a time the one at the front would drop back while someone else took the lead. Everyone would have their turn at the front and everyone would then take their turn to follow and support. True sharing of the load, responsibility, care. Then if any goose was over tired or injured and it had to drop to the ground another would fly down to support it and keep it company until it was ready to fly again. Then they would just join in with another group and be welcomed and carry on the same roles until they reached their destination. To think someone was sharing this about 25 years ago is amazing. To be reminded of it now through this dream is a honk of encouragement in itself. A bit more honking we could do with in this wild flight. Our honking brings a connectivity in the wildness and unpredictability. No one dominant leader but a sharing of journey together. Sharing and caring and encouraging and free. Not tied together but joined in journey. There is a sense in my spirit that we so called disconnected one’s, the outsiders, the untamed, we are the one’s nurturing a new connectedness. Not through a meeting place, although that may happen, but through mutual encouragement and journey. There is a deeper connection happening than I have experienced before. A connection through the Wild Goose. Outsiders and in the margins, but right inside where we need to be right now, central. There is so much encouragement to be gained. It really is time to honk if you love the Lord.
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