Why the focus?

Gayle and I have had a focus on shifts in society for a long time. Gayle was involved in education and taught in schools that were not rated highly in government statistics. In that context she saw people come to faith, and early one morning when having arrived before anyone else was in the school she then thought someone else was also in and playing music… but no, simply some angels had also (got up early?) and come to add some music to the prayer. My push was simple: through prayer the church would shift demonic powers, discover the gift of the city / region and people would come to faith. As I developed that focus I moved from a simple vision of something that might look similar to classic revival (Finney, Welsh, Hebrides etc.) to a presence of God’s Spirit and people throughout all society. Influenced by Anabaptism the challenge was how to see that outwork practically. Thankfully the journey of understanding the nature of the imperial spirit ran parallel to the push toward the emphasis on salt in society. So an understanding that was in contrast to anything top-down developed.

Three years ago, this month, it became clear that a sharp focus for us was to be the opening up of space for a new politics to grow in Spain (and beyond in Europe). This was something left of field as neither of us have a background in politics. And if we were to see some kind of shift here so what? Why this focus? If we did have a top-down perspective this might be easier to understand, but we see the drive to get the Christian PM / President as misplaced. We do not think that all that is needed is to get the right party in power. The party governing can change but unless the very shape changes nothing really changes.

We will soon have lived in Spain 9 years and in this apartment for almost four of those. In the past 9 years we have dug deeply into the history of the land, both recent and ancient. We have witnessed an increasing exposure of corruption, of cases going to court. (Fancy buying a T-shirt with an extract from handwritten notes printed on it? The handwritten notes of the governing party’s illegal accounts and who was paid. This T-shirt has the extract of one of the many names: ‘M Rajoy’, and one of the payments he received from an account that has been run for decades.) There is a long way to go but there are shifts. We sat recently with a senior bank employee who told us in no uncertain terms that we needed to understand that ‘corruption is part of Spain and will always be here’.

The mainline press and TV channels do not cover a lot of the corruption. Thank God for social media and some very honest journalists. This past week a set of conversations have been recorded between a ring of at least 100 national police. (Thankfully there are many good and honest people involved in law and order.) However the conversations have not only been highly negative about the Catalan situation, but have talked one to the other of their hope that certain people will be destroyed and blown up. They have named journalists and the mayoress of Madrid among others.

The Catalonian crisis continues. Are the current Catalan political leaders ‘political prisoners’ or not? Even Amnesty International has said that they are not. At the same time as this goes on, greater clarity is coming into one of the big corruption cases, with the clear implication that many politicians in the governing party, including the PM, have received large illegal payments. The same party has failed to give an explanation for 40billion euros that has disappeared from public funds. The other main historic party has just had a huge debt written off by the banks. (Contrast this to a 42 page letter we received from the government saying that if we did not respond within 10 days we would be fined 70,000euros. Our crime was to send some money to a friend who was threatened by the banks and had no money to buy food.) The Catalan leaders have not been granted bail while a member of the governing party was granted bail and the next day one of his houses (in Mexico) was raided and 5million in cash was discovered. I could go on – almost 900 senior members of the governing party are either now in jail, court, indited or suspects in corruption. Our banking friend was correct – corruption is part of Spain… Corruption continues! But the future?

Anyway I am a little of track with this post. We are committed to seeing the corruption exposed and old ruling families from the Franco era no longer shape the future with that agenda. But so what? Why the focus? In making a response I note that something continues for us both – shifts in society; but the change of focus indcates that there have been some paradigm shifts.

  • The levels of corruption indicate that there is the presence and effect of the demonic that is unacceptable. Demonic powers do not just focus on one area but look to destroy humanity. We are their nemesis, created in the image of God. They look therefore for all kinds of partnerships, all of which focus on the dehumanisation of humanity. The corruption indicates their presence. That is almost reason enough to focus this way!
  • We see the body of Christ carrying responsibility for the world. This is God’s world, everything is in God, for in him we live and move and have our being. We owe it to the world so that living within boundaries they might seek and find him. That is certainly a significant reason.
  • Justice is called for and this has led to a new word – we are not looking to Christianise the world (as per Christendom) but to heavenify it. By this I mean a greater measure of heaven’s love, freedom, servanthood and justice to be made visible. All good gifts come from heaven.

We are deeply grateful to God for both evangelical and charismatic foundations. We pray that those we meet and increasingly share life with will find Jesus in a not-too-dissimilar way. We continue to seek to be a witness, bearing testimony to new creation realities… but our focus is on the politics, to push back space so that those who, knowingly or not, partner with demons will no longer be able to do so, and those who manifest love and justice will find space to yield their gifts for others. That is our focus in the foreseeable future as we believe that is our responsibility.

We have been here almost 9 years, by the end of 12 years we expect to see something shift beyond recognition. The next years… a focus that needs to stay sharp and a bumpy ride!

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Facilitate or be?

We are at a wonderful moment in our corporate body of Christ journey in Europe. In 2001, right after 9-11, Target Europe began to take shape with some focused prayer into the ’40-70 window’. It was at that conference in Hannover that I first understood the role of Spain was to re-capture some core elements of the Pauline Gospel. (Disclaimer: the strength of our faith is that it is ‘faith’. We seek to make sense of the world in the light of the belief in the resurrection. What I write in this post is my making sense of what is around. Others use a fear window to look at the world. So what follows is a perspective – but a considered on and it focuses on ‘politics’ in the sense of the world being re-constituted.)

We have watched political debates (elections are days away) and on Monday the two historic parties went head to head. It was so ‘old’. Insults, lack of respect, criticism. In the studio were the two leaders of the two young parties, one that worries us because of its leanings to the ****t (no give aways there then!) and the other for a reason I will come to a little later. So ‘politically’ they are poles apart but to see the two leaders of those parties embrace each other was a sign that maybe a new politics does not need be adversarial. (If you have not seen it check out the video from yesterday of Owen Jones and his enthusiasm for coming to Spain at this time – for Europe.)

So now follows some dots that I have connected.

  • Persecution in the history of the early church was not primarily because of being a new ‘religion’ but for being perceived as a new political movement. Here I am pulling on ‘gospel’ being the direct challenge to Imperial rule. There is something of a kick back to this view from some but I suggest that the Pauline gospel is not simply the good news of the kingdom to Israel (as was proclaimed by Jesus) but what was imparted to him in the Damascus and post-Damascus wilderness experience. The Jesus-to-Israel message had implications for the re-shaping of the world.
  • If there is something new happening in Spain that is pushing us beyond the old politics then I consider that this is part of the recovery of the Pauline gospel itself. (For those who follow this blog you might realise at the beginning of the year we eventually made a connection between a full square and a proclamation from heaven for Spain, and now at the end of the year we are making a similar connection.)
  • The rebirth of a new politics – forget the old definitions – that are taking place in Greece, and to some extent even the UK, are gathering momentum here in Spain. This election might well give us more of the ‘same old same old’ as before but something has shifted forever. This re-birth is part of the Pauline gospel – maybe even the core of its outworking. The challenge then for the body of Christ is to be present, for in her absence there is a vacuum to be filled, a ‘spirit’ to be imparted.
  • In the same way as I watch the new voices calling for a new Spain, a new country for the next generation, and see the tears flow as hope comes, I have all my memories kick in of the wonderful days from the late 80s and through the 90s of church movement conferences in the UK where proclamations of a new future were declared. I am reliving the experience.
  • And that gives me the lead in to the title of this blog and also the concern over the other new party I mentioned above. In those ecclesiastical days there was inevitably a view that had ourselves placed at the centre. We somehow would feature in the fulfillment. So the concern (maybe we have lessons from our past that can help those who are now, at least in part, carrying the torch of hope for the future?) is related to a belief that our call is always to facilitate what is rising, to be preparers of the way and not to become the way.
  • The early stages are not the most dangerous. Fluidity and a non-defensiveness are not too difficult to embrace. Even embracing the ‘opposition’ is not too difficult. It is in the stages beyond that the difficulties arise. The church is never meant to take centre-stage (sorry to those with the thought of the ‘highest mountain’ perspective!). Priesthood is the call. And ‘new’ political parties. Are they to take centre-stage? For me the jury is out on that, and what is more important is the release of a new politics, a facilitation of a re-shaping of the world. That brings me full circle – I think that was Paul’s vision. Blind for three days then with sight.

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This is the Gospel!!

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 a brief break for a birthday celebration. Age after all is simply a number, a lot of days, not so many years and a handful of decades thrown in. I hope more to come!! When I was 46 I woke in the early hours of the morning and got up to pray. Two prayers… I am 46 Lord if possible give me another 46 years as I have so much more to learn, more mistakes to make to gain something of value for others. That did not take long as we don’t have a lot of control over that aspect. My thoughts now are why did I only go for double? Second prayer was for those half that age to kick in with a focus, lack of fear and a maturity that one would only expect from someone twice their age. That prayer took a lot longer. I have many stories to tell about that aspect, one being calling someone (the first time I had called them) to ask if they would consider taking on some of the ‘stuff’ I was involved with. I then explained the 46 x 2 and 46 / 2 episode. At the end of the conversation he posed a question – ‘do you know what day this is?’ I did not but it was his 23rd birthday.

Age is strange. But it is primarily simply a number. So a pause for that… and then a longer pause for our internet to return. It can go down quickly but apparently what goes down does not come up so quickly. So pauses behind me and back to the Gospel.

In what follows there is a measure of a ‘work in progress’ and many mornings, particularly in our readings Gayle and I have wrestled with these issues.

I am very grateful for my (narrow) evangelical background. I encountered Jesus in a life-changing way when I was 16, have had some crazy encounters since. Experiential Christianity is not abnormal.

Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Gal. 3: 4,5)

‘Experience’ (better than some versions ‘suffer’), and ongoing verbs (current and not past) of ‘supply’ and ‘work miracles’. Hardly non-experiential. Love it when there are miracles, inbreakings of heaven, shifts etc. So I am one who does not want to see that disappear amidst some Gospel that has no personal transformation, but… is there always a ‘but?’

disc_kenarchyThe Gospel core that I extracted a few posts ago with the help of Gospel Coalition definitions just does not cut if for me at so many levels, and of course with the Cross and one view of it at the centre it paints a picture of God that just does not fit with the Jesus-revelation. It fits if Jesus was somewhat mild and meek in his Incarnation but is ready to come with the blood of his enemies on his garments at the parousia. However, as I have written in ‘Discovering Kenarchy’ (highly recommended!!) the Jesus who went is the One who is coming. The Incarnation is eternal, certainly in terms of carrying revelatory value and not something temporary. At the parousia we will see him as he is, but not as someone different to how his 30 plus years were lived.

So I write what follows with some tensions. When I meet those who are ‘born again’ I normally have a spirit-to-spirit connection with them. There is a deep resonance, even when the Gospel I hold dear and the one they hold dear makes for (some) ‘common ground but not too much ground where there will be happy and mutually-beneficial co-working in the same space.’

Are they brothers and sisters – YES. We are of ‘the household of faith’.

But the Gospel that is presented is too small and very one-sided, totally unbalanced (not that I have an opinion on this!). So why am I convinced that the Gospel is much bigger and more embracing?

The message of the NT is contextual. Of course we can read it and read it through Western, 21st Century lenses and be incredibly blessed and impacted. But that is not the NT world. It is a world, both political (in the context of a ‘one-world government’) and faith-wise (this is the God of Israel that Jesus claims as ‘Father’). Consider:

Kingdom (basileia) of God and Empire (basileia) of Rome
Caesar is lord and Jesus is Lord
The ‘good news’ surrounding the birth of Jesus and the ‘good news’ surrounding the enthronement of the emperor
The ‘peace on earth’ and the ‘pax Romana’.
Jesus as ‘Son of God’ and the new Caesar being proclaimed as the ‘son’ of the former Caesar who has passed on now to divine status.

Is it any surprise that Paul is accused of proclaiming another king, and a king understood in political terms? Not sure that is what most ‘evangelists’ would be currently accused of.

The message is a political one – not political in the sense of political party, not political in the sense of left / right but political with the implications of Sabbath, Tabernacles and Jubilee all located in the background.

Political for the big world, and heavily challenging for those who claim to be the covenant people. Jesus as ‘son of God’ is not a divine title but an Israel title. Jesus as ‘son of man’ is not simply an affirmation of his humanity but that he embodies the vindication given by God to those who suffer in the face of the ‘beast(s)’. Covenant people is not so as to avoid pain, but to carry for the sake of others, to carry it particularly in the face of the tribulations that the ‘beast’ afflict on all non-compliars.

I don’t know what Paul proclaimed or how it would match up against the typical evangelical sermon. But it seems that his proclamation was centred on the inbreaking (or maybe better outbreaking as it is already present) of a new order, a whole new creation. The foundation for this new Creation, Paul proclaimed, was through the suffering of the Son of God / God the Son and his forerunning resurrection that signals the end of death’s reign. It is a theo-political message.

So for me here are the challenges. The message is political, and there are those who embody it better than perhaps I do, but do not ‘believe’ in Jesus. They are also there in the story of the early church – the Asiarchs who were not believers (in Jesus) but were advocates for Paul, even though everything he was standing for would disempower them. They are his friends. They seem to count as those who were not against him so are counted as with him.

Do they need Jesus? With my ‘Gospel’ hat on – YES.

And if those kind of people do not come to a similar faith as I discovered when I was 16 will they be ‘lost’? With my Gospel hat on – I don’t think so. (And for the record, lost is not for me eternal burning in a place called hell – I have covered that in the long ago podcasts on eschatology, just trying to keep this post shortish and focused.) The offence of the Gospel is not in who it excludes but in who it includes.

Where is there a basis for ‘the politics of love’? The basis is in the life, death, resurrection of Jesus who reveals who God is. Can one come to the same conclusion without the ‘Jesus’ part? Maybe to some extent – after all ‘humanity’ is in the image of God, so those with a truly humanitarian approach (and I am using that term theologically) can come to convictions in the same direction.

(This suggestion is something that needs some more working through, but it is I think central to seeking to resolve ‘those who are not against us who are with us’).

After all Jesus is human, it is just that he is more (fully) human in a way that we are not. Theology that dehumanises people cannot be called a theo-logy. A Jesus revelation will only push us further. Love for neighbour (humanitarian love) becomes re-defining the one who would be classified by others as our ‘enemy’ as the neighbour, where we do not take life but are life-givers. (Yes there are implications for such issues as the death penalty which should not surprise us when we read that in response to the first murderer that God protected his life; implications for war etc.)

So I have an uncomfortable Gospel. A Gospel that is about societal change, that includes far more than it excludes, that does not demand a ‘jump through these hoops and you are in’… and yet. And yet come experience Jesus and personal cleansing, receive the Holy Spirit of God.

The big challenge is not the mess of that. The challenge is living it in such a way that people see there are values to live for, and en evident, tangible life source that burns within that is truly transcendent. Seems Jesus had that burning within but the religious powers were not happy that they had lost their monopoly. Seems Paul had that same fire and even some former hard-nosed vested interest, power hungry people found a pathway to humility.

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Days of crisis?

Greece-LightningI was struck by the photo on an internet news page this morning – a photo of Athens and lightning above the ancient Acropolis, with the headline ‘Greek Crisis: ATMs run Dry’.

Of course there are many stories as to why the crisis. A northern European one, and an internal one from Greece itself. Stories – we all need those to make sense of what is happening. The outcome though is likely to be huge crisis of hunger and poverty. Some 25 years ago I saw long lines of people waiting for food hand outs – and the image was in Western Europe. Well we are there right now and have been for a few years. Travel to Valencia, see a prospering city, but travel to another part of the city and you can see a line maybe a few hundred metres long waiting for food.

The huge crisis of our time is how we as peoples (nations) respond to the criteria set by Jesus:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

How we respond to the hungry, the thirsty, the refugee, those who are sick and those in prison was the criteria he set.

Yes there is a crisis – a crisis for Greece financially, but a huge crisis worldwide. Are we now facing that judgment of Matthew 25? Is it simply a future judgment, or could it also be a present one? The financial crisis will also bite deeper here in Spain. Will we rush to the ATM to get out what we can? Does the Gospel encourage wisdom of stewardship – or when does ‘wisdom’ simply become fear. And when, like Jesus, do we wisely choose to lose money to break strongholds so as others can go free?

And back to the image. Steve Lowton walked with a team to Rome in 2005 to mark a shift for Europe and the end of the ever-increasing length of the night over the continent. Walking to mark the beginning of a new time. From Rome they continued East, the next ‘big’ place of course was Athens. That walk is chronicled in the book: Footprints Through The Gates of Europe. Here is the summary of it:

This is a chronicle of a journey that began on the rugged cliffs of Whitby in North England, and came to a conclusion in the historic setting of Jerusalem, the most contested of cities. Over fifty different people joined the journey as we walked through the global gateways of London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Damascus and Jerusalem. Believing in the power of prayer and the redemptive purposes of their Maker, these journeymen and women pick up the tale of the cities and people they encountered, finding the storyline of their own lives woven into the fabric of these wonderful nations.

The image on the cover was taken from an actual photo as they walked on from Athens. That image might look strangely familiar

Footprints What lies ahead for Greece and Europe? Footprints have walked this continent for decades, for centuries. We often reflect on the Pauline journeys that took him step by step to Athens and on to Rome. Burning with one passion, Caesar cannot claim the title of ‘lord’, the Pax Romana is a false peace, there is an alternative king and therefore a different basileia, one that is truly the kingdom of God.

There was a crisis in Paul’s day. Maybe the NT will become more real for us as we find our context being increasingly one of crisis?

Maybe I will follow this up tomorrow with a few comments on the (US) Supreme Court ruling this past week. For some that is a crisis… maybe the big opportunity is how do we respond to crises – real and perceived?

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Are there links?

I have been puzzled for a while about fulfilments. I am glad we cannot always claim conclusively that certain events are the fulfilments of what has been prayed, declared or prophesied. So here in Spain we are living at an interesting time in history, and without making claims I will write about two possible ‘coincidences’ or maybe ‘fulfilments’.

There have been major elections in Spain, not for the national government, but for the local and regional governments. These elections carry considerable more weight than, say, the equivalent in the UK. Those elections took place on May 24th, and then June 12th was the day when who would become the respective mayors / mayoresses had to be resolved. Most situations post-May 24 were in a state of lock-up so it has been most interesting to see how things would pan out. OK back in a moment…

Gayle and I have known that this was the year to have a confrontation at one of the main national seats of spiritual power at the Vale de los Caidos, where Franco’s tomb is found, and we anticipated that this would be toward the end of the year, however when Roger and Sue Mitchell were with us in March it became evident that the time was right for at least a first approach. I made a short report here: Franco’s tomb. We had a most extraordinary time there and we are not sure that we will even need to re-visit it. It felt so strongly that something was over. As part of the prayer we asked for a resulting sign – let there be an earthquake in the land. Well, one of the most common words that has been used resulting from these elections has been ‘earthquake’. Statements such as: ‘there is a national political earthquake in the land’. The three largest cities, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia have had the most incredible of turnarounds. Beyond anything imaginable just a year or so ago. For example in Barcelona Ada Colau has been elected as mayoress. Just months ago she was saying it was time to take back the town hall. A not unlikely line when protesting the horrendous repossession of houses and the ensuing difficulties. Images of her being dragged from scenes by the police have given way to the police protecting her passage through the crowds on her inaugural day. I am sure that not in her wildest dreams did she think that ‘take back the town hall’ would mean that she would literally be given the ‘keys’ to the town hall. She has pledged to govern by obeying, seeking to facilitate a government from below.

In Madrid Manuela Carmena, a 71 year old retired lawyer, reluctantly stepped forward as the candidate for Ahora Madrid. Now elected she has said that any governance can only be through listening. The level of shift and the statements that are coming forth are what is being described as the ‘earthquake’.

Of course anyone who assumes that these people can change everything, and certainly any believer who puts their faith in political change will be seriously disappointed. Yet it seems right to rejoice in this day. So many changes that have not taken place in 20+ and in other places 40 years are now happening at a significant level. (Spain is some 40 years old as a democracy.)

We feel increasingly responsible to pray into the political space, and of course when prayer takes a focus, the Scriptures also come alive in that context. For the past 18 months we have called for the spine of Spain to re-align and maybe, just maybe there is something taking place that will align Spain in and through what has been taking place. We are certainly privileged to be witnesses to what is taking place.

OK part 2 later.

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Our few kilometres

Always good to come home. I have been away for some 10 days, with one night at home in the midst. As soon as I arrived home Gayle and I took a friend back to Alicante Airport and then covered some 2000 kilometres to Madrid then Cádiz. If ever you are taken with the thought of driving in a country just to see it we would recommend Spain every time. A beautiful and very diverse land. From the coast to the plateau that Madrid sits on at 2100 feet (Europe’s highest capital city), to the ancient city of Cádiz to the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas. That was our journey.

 

spain-trip-0515

 

Last November while in the liminal space of the West of Ireland something happened to us, and maybe particularly to Gayle, with the awareness of the need to protect political space becoming something we have increasingly felt responsible for. So it was great to make our way to Madrid to meet with a UK journalist (and friend) Julie Tomlin who was there to explore how to listen to the voices at grass roots level. We were also able to stay in the apartment of our ex-landlady, Ana, who hosted us. She too has a (family) background in the political scene of Spain.

Sunset in Madrid
Sunset in Madrid

We had three incredible days there with connections, and walking the streets of this capital city. People and places have to connect and we feel such a connection to this city. And with the situation in Spain as full of potential as it is at this time we simply loved every minute there. (Dream-wise) we are aware that the level of changes needed will not take place this year (2015) but the level of shift and challenge to the status quo is at an unparalleled level. The reactions too are simply incredible! We are sure that the timing of prayer at Franco’s tomb in March, and that it is 40 years since his death, have contributed enormously to the current shifts. We are certainly glad to have prayed there, having called for an earthquake as a sign, and then to read the language in the press with virtually the total results of the elections causing an earthquake in the land.

Of course no political party is the ‘saviour’ for a situation, and we will not sell our soul in such a way, but the whole land is reeling. People we have talked to use words ‘dangerous times’, ‘end of an era’, ‘hope’ through to many more negative terms. We would aspire to being able to spend the major part of November in Madrid as the general elections will take place at that time.

Mentidero Cadiz
Mentidero Sq Cadiz

From Madrid we spent a couple of days in Cádiz. Amazing to come back to the city not as people living there but as ‘semi-visitors’. Something has shifted but the city is still at a huge balancing point. It was great to spend some time with Simon and Amy but also to meet up with some friends from before. We did have two fairly disturbed nights there which is always a sign of spiritual disturbance, so there still needs to be a big push in that city. There are undoubtedly keys there for the nation. In the previous post I covered some of the perspective of the young / old woman of the city, and this is clearly still contested ground both in the city and the nation.

In my next post I will go back to the travels before our drive in Spain as I was in Plymouth for a few of days.

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Madrid: January 31, 2015

Well we visited Madrid and saw the crowds but our time there was cut short as Gayle had to fly back to the UK to be with her dad who has been ill for some time. We did not have as much time there to get a feel for the March for Change. Certainly in the time we were there (the first hour but before all the speeches in Puerta del Sol the biggest impression was the age spread. Indeed my guess is I would put the average age around 40 or so. This was not a young peoples’ response but a peoples’ response to, not in the main the crisis, but to endemic corruption that seems to be within Spanish politics.

This observation was born out by http://opendemocracy.net:

There were a number of striking features that distinguished this march from other protest marches in Madrid, particularly those associated with the original 15-M movement. The first was how old the crowd was. Although there were some young people present, the vast majority of the crowd was over 30 and many marchers were in their 60s and 70s. The people marching today in Madrid are not the young 15-M protesters of 2011.

podemos_sol

The language – and for someone coming with a charismatic heritage – is incredible. ‘Dreams’ featured strongly amidst the criticism of the corruption:

We dream, but we take our dreams seriously

We need Quixotes. We are proud of our dreamers. Don’t allow them to turn that into a brand. Sovereignty is not for sale

There were those present who are not ‘Podemos’ voters per se. They were there to identify with the protest. There were those present who were previously PP (conservative) and PSOE (socialist) voters. I saw a number of them interviewed on TV expressing their ‘having had enough’ with the status quo.

How true will Podemos be to their direction? Why no criticism of the lack of women in the Syriza government? Are they a protest movement or a political party? Will it be win whatever the means? Are there roots that take them on a Venezuelan-type path?

Those questions are hard to answer. But for now it is hard to argue that ‘soplan vientos de cambio’ – winds of change are blowing.

Not in some naïve loud mouthed way but what if ‘what you bind / allow in the heavens will be bound / allowed on earth’? What in Europe is the body of Christ forbidding / allowing? Certainly there is a vacuum waiting to be filled. I hope when the winds of change are blowing we do not miss the opportunity. The first recorded wind in Scripture was very significant. As was the later one in Acts 2. Both released speech. The speech of creativity not of fear.

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Politics and the western world

While in Nigeria, perhaps naively, I put out there that God was looking for a new politics to come out of Africa, and to be led in that path by Nigeria. A tall order… but whatever we make of Obama, or the UK coalition how much of politics in the western world can continue as is?

Goldman Sachs contributed to both the Obama and the McCain campaigns. To be even-handed and help these guys, or to ensure that whoever got in owed them? Mr John under the Holy Spirit seems to have got it right on those years ago: the city that rules over the kings of the earth.

And the great reforms that would result from 1997, to the House of Lords and the City of London? That government has come and gone, but those 2 institutions remain.

Bribery and corruption wears one set of clothing in Nigeria, but maybe another set of clothes elsewhere.

The last economic shake exposed mammon. The next will hit soon and expose how power is being (mis-)used.

So Nigeria come through the fire. Europe and North America needs something new.

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A little more on Nigeria

I have no doubt that the timing of this trip to Nigeria was very key. The openings to have some words into the future shape was a privilege. It is a good experience to be invited to speak prophetically into some key areas. also challenging. I spoke with one person who recounted where a pastor was invited to come and pray into a government scenario, to discover that in the next room was a voodoo priest who had been invited in also. The desire for spiritual authority to back them up is high, and it is naive to think that to be invited in means what it might seem to mean. This is the challenge of a ‘spiritual’ culture.

One situation we were involved in was to pray in the home of a most humble servant-leader. He has genuine faith and unintimidated, in spite of telling us that a professional witchdoctor had been brought in to curse him and his work.

Politics in the land is such a tough issue. There are so many layers to this and how easy would it be to be a true Jesus-follower in this realm is open to question. [A little aside here. It is easyto speak of the corruption in Nigerian politics. Being bought is a very real issue… but Western politics? How about one of the beasts of economic power that financed both the campaigns of Obama and McCain? Or the untouchable nature of many institutions in the City of London?… another blog for another day.]

Europe and Africa are linked historically (and North America too, of course). This means that a breakthrough in Africa is essential for the release of Europe. It was a huge privilege to be with Roger and Segun who had journeyed with the Africa European reconciliation initiative (now restoration). Their experience and journey I believe is what opened up the parliamentary scenarios. I might be biased but it always seems so clear that whenever a pathway of true (identificational) repentance is followed that there are shifts politically. There is no change without it.

There is much more work to be done on the land in terms of warfare and cleansing but in the year of Jubilee there is a great opportunity to move on. One thing we did discover in Africa that with respect to many of the ex-French colonies that there is still a major holding on. Many (all?) received their independence in 1960, and the heads of state were invited to France to celebrate their independence. What is that about? There is a holding on, and a holding on to the wealth of the land, with even political decisions needing to be ratifed from Paris. I do believe that this is a major factor in the troubles that are impacting, and will increasingly impact, France through this year.

There is a huge class gap in Nigeria. A wealthy class. The oil industry is huge and is a major source of money. How people from the ‘upper’ class speak to those who are serving them was for us a shock. The British who operated through indirect rule built on top of this, re-enforcing it. Hierarchy is present everywhere, including within the church. Titles…!!!

The nature of leadership, and the exercise of authority has to change.

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Nigeria – a few notes

We have just returned from a most significant time in Nigeria (Oct 27- Nov 1). There is so much to process as a result of this trip. and without too much sleep now is not the time to do it, but will make a few comments over the next few days.

Roger & Sue Mitchell were invited along with Gayle and I through a really good (and mutual) friend, Obii Pax-Harry. She is an amazing woman, a prophet and strategist. Some years back I had opportunity to prophesy over her that she was going to be taken back to Nigeria, would be a bridge between the two nations and would be called o work relationally into the political arena. So through her we received the invitation to give input to the first parliamentary prayer breakfast. To help us Roger also invited Dr. Segun Johnson, currently a pastor in London, and formerly a lecturer in Political Science in Lagos University. Segun was not only a great travelling companion but invaluable at the information and spiritual insight level.

The timing of the event was to mark the 50 years since independence, and Roger was invited at the prayer breakfast to make the declaration of Jubilee. Both Sue and I contributed there too prophetically in that event. For me one of the highlights of that day was the dinner that evening at the home of the President of the Senate and to sit next to the Ambassador of Iran, who had attended the prayer breakfast. There was one incident in particular that took place in the morning that was particularly insensitive and offensive. It was a privilege to make a personal apology to him. If we are going to win people to Christ we cannot see them as ‘enemies’ but as fellow people made in the image of God. [Iran also has a major move of the Spirit currently.]

I do not intend to make a full day by day report, but the privilege to meet the Vice President of Kenya (a godly humble man) and the head of the (civil) services are two aspects that stand out. The occult is at a high level (because it is established deeply in the land and the waters) and this affects the politics of the land enormously. We certainly made a good dent into that, and were able to leave a deposit of what God is doing in Nigeria. From the beginning it was clear that the nation is a first nation, with a gift of leadership, and that there is a new politic being forged in the land.

More later… but all part of the enormous shift from the Western world to the East and from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern that is taking place.

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Uncovering

What a time to be in the country with all that is going on at Westminster. London – two cities: the ‘city’ and the city of Westminster. From the city and its shakings we now have Westminster being shaken. May 1997 (12 years ago – patterns of 7s and 12s are often manifest in many issues – Labour came to power against the backdrop of ‘Tory sleaze’: now the level of cross-party disillusionment is immense.)  I suggest that it is time to look for this cleansing to work its way along the path of the river… so watch for uncoverings along the path of the Thames.

[I was privileged to stand on Westminster Bridge in Feb 2006 with others to call for shaking in the city… and I know of those who have walked the length of the river.]

For a very good article on the current scene check out: Heather Brooke.

I like the conclusion:

This could be the chance to revolutionise British politics, to create a new form of parliament that is entirely open to the people. This is the beginning of real democracy.

A call for a new economic scene now for a new political scene. This is an amazing time in history. Come on you intercessors – the future belongs to you. It is time for those with sanctified imagination to be released.

It is time too to call for new banking / financial enterprises – there is a vacuum currently and there will be suggestions coming forth to adopt an ‘Islamist’ model. So I am calling on fresh revelation regarding stewardship.

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G20: A new world order

I was fascinated to listen to Gordon Brown’s speech following the G20 summit. He spoke of the outcomes and claimed that :

A new world order is emerging and with it the foundations of a new and progressive era of international cooperation.

I thought ‘now that’s a statement for all the Bible-prophecy discerning people to jump on.’ But I also thought maybe that’s a comment worth exploring because it draws out so much of the complexities of where we find ourselves. So a few inadequate thoughts as I heard those words.

Globalism: fact. And we participate. From where our clothes are made, to the right to do business outside of our national borders, to the right to have a home in another nation, to… We live in a global village – and thank you President Lula for the truth that it is not the developing nations who got us into this mess.

We need a new order in the world and that order has to include government. (Well of course there is the anarchist option.) A perspective is that whatever boundaries are drawn, we need government, within those boundaries. The world has changed.

All government is fallen.

Government can be a tool for the demonic advances and any global grouping – G20, UN, World Bank, etc., can become such a tool. So also can the controlling leadership within a company, a family business, a church.

The new world order (has always been) and is always here. Or maybe better: 2 competing new world orders are always here. If anyone is in Christ there is a new world; and, we can build our tower to heaven.

Perhaps the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness deals in the same issues, they use the same building blocks? Perhaps the G20 and global institutions are neutral? Perhaps authorities are appointed by God? Perhaps it is time to make a difference to the world where I live? If Brown, Obama, Lula and the others can come together to talk of a new world order, then maybe I need to dream of a new world too.

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