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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Last half of the decade

We are entering the second half of this decade and we continue to have a focus on the two dreams that spoke into the decade. (I have written in more detail of those two dreams before but include a summary again.) The first with the see-saw and the years coming down on each side of the see-saw (20 – 10, then 20 – 11 all the way through to 20 – 20 when there was a new alignment and balance). The second where the façades came off the institutions that had shaped the Western world, with the accompanying sobering reality that the familiar brought things back to a so-called normality. The even more sobering part of that dream was the disconnect of the body of Christ with the (God) activity of the exposure. The disconnect was through the body resorting to the familiar (by default so-called God focused activity but by default insulating behaviour). The body being the major spiritual contributor embracing familiarity inevitably became the major factor in returning things to ‘normal’.

Our focus for prayer has been the Western world, the consumer of an inordinate amount of resources, just as Rome was in the ancient world. We have also come to realise that our focus has to tie with our responsibilities. There are many perspectives we might have on other parts of the world but we are increasingly looking to tie our perspectives to where we have a responsibility. This has been an important step for us. We can have perspectives but have little to say as there are others who are responsible for the future of those places.

The work of Christ is a finished work. But the work of Christ does not finish everything, or at least the work of Christ at the cross did not finish everything. Paul spoke of filling up ‘what was lacking’! Not lacking because Jesus was not able to finish it, but because that was not his work to do. He finished the work the Father gave him. He continues to work but in and through his body (Acts 1:1). So we (the body) are here to be the door from heaven to earth, the holy priesthood of intercession (in the fuller sense of ‘standing between’ not simply ‘prayer’). We are responsible for the future, not keepers of the past. There are however specific fields where the Lord wants us to work and take responsibility. When we discover those fileds we take responsibility though we might not ‘succeed’ (not a kingdom word unless success embrace a cruciform shape) but we are to be effective. As salt we are to inhibit certain growths but foster good growth in society.

So our responsibility in this season is Spain. The future of the land is something that we are responsible for. We have now entered our 8th year here and probably have not done very well, but last year was the crossover point of the land not being able to evict us. We might still of course need to be ‘evicted’ by the Lord if we mess up. That crossover point is what gives spiritual leverage, so we know that we are to pull for a future in these next years of this decade.

We have been very blessed to watch the language of some that we pray for nationally. One such person recently said of Spain that where we have arrived is at a point where the old does not have the power to pull things back to what they call normal, but that the new rising at grass roots does not yet have the power to pull things through to the future. His description was so reflective of the see-saw and the shifts. And the language of old/new I do consider so appropriate when applied to Europe – she is like an old woman. In Spain we see mirrored again and again the issue of whether the (often literal) old woman will continue to occupy the centre and rob the future or whether the young woman will find the voice that is now being required. It is not primarily about the young taking centre-stage but of the voice being heard.

The above paragraphs are to give a background to what I now share. The perspectives are shaped by our personal journey and there could well be a measure of projectionism in it. The first half of this decade has been one of finding space and room in a new way. The encounters on the way have been many, but I believe it is so that there can be space to take responsibility for whatever aspect of the public square that is appropriate. So weigh what I write. The next half of the decade begins now.

2016: signs of the direction ahead

Here is the core of what I see in this year. I also see what is happening this year as a pointer to what is to happen in the next five years.

A year of unusual turbulence. Not simply turbulence, but unusual turbulence. There might be a pull to what is normal, but the Lord will mark things by ‘this is not normal’. A year marked by storms (I am struck by the first hurricane in the Atlantic to form in the month of January since 1938 is happening right now as I write). The storms though are not simply weather storms and I saw them ripping through the tops of trees. The tops are where the winds will blow. This is a year when there will be storms that hit the high and mighty. Mountains not to be occupied but to be made low.

It is a time for family legacies to be established. The ‘me generation’ is fast producing a narcissistic generation. But it is not too late. There has to be an unseating of the ‘me’ that has plagued the West. This focus I see as being strongly aimed toward the 50+ bracket. The clash between the strong personality and those who step back from the ‘self-claims’ but clearly carry a focus for the future will be visible for all to see. There has to be some incredible acts of courage that take place – the voluntary unseating from positions of so-called power and influence. So look for resignation – due to the storms and due to voluntary stepping aside, no longer running on the treadmill of performance and notoriety.

Open doors and high fences. Doors open to the other or fences that will accelerate the decline through inbreeding. It is no longer possible to spiritually deal with what needs shifting through the so-called indigenous people of the land. Of course this has applications politically but as I always see the body of Christ being responsibility for society the primary way I am looking at this is concerning the body of Christ.

Patterns for the coming years. This year will afford responses that will both be signals of what needs to be responded in the years that follow, so there will be responses that we do not feel ready for. When we hit the strange challenges we need to be very slow at judging the response by what we know. If we go slowly we will gain insight of what we will need to come to terms with in the years that follow.

Always… every year and very day is a gift. An opportunity to hold things back or to help facilitate an acceleration.

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Not about left or right – much more important

We are in times of change. We always sensed that this mid-year in the decade would be one of big swings, but the status quo pulling things back. However, there should also be some firstfruit signs along the way. We have elections December 20, Gayle and I will be there meeting up with Julie Tomlin, staying with a good friend Ana, during those days.

There is so much at stake. Some of the old adverserial politics is slowly disappearing making way for collaboration and the prioritisation of the marginalised. The British author and activist Owen Jones is on his way to Spain (should be here by now!!) and he posted this a few hours ago from Heathrow airport. He has captured the moment:

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Another one bites the dust

At 7.00am yesterday morning the monument that marked where Franco held a secret meeting in some woods in Tenerife was taken down… down… down. Just three weeks ago Gayle and I with Jonathan, Rachael and Masie Birch were right there praying for it to come down. At one level it might well have come down without us – but what the heck we are well happy.

For Gayle and I as we come to the end of our seventh year it marked a huge full-circle scenario. This year our focus has been on the Civil War as Franco died 40 years ago this year. It is full circle when armed with revelation from Michael Schiffmann we went to Palma and discovered that the key family there was the source of the finances that started the Civil War (Franco was based in Tenerife, mainly to keep him out of trouble). In Palma right by where we lived and in the square that housed the ‘upside down church’ that was, according to the sculptor, the device to root out all evil, was the first monument in Spain that was honouring some of Franco’s crack troops was removed, so to go in the past few weeks to Tenerife and see this monument, and today to see in the papers its removal.

Without the personal involvement you might not enjoy it as much as we did today, but here is a video from someone who filmed after it had gone, then in the news links there is a video of it actually being demolished.

InfoLibre.es

Cadenaser.com

Another report put it:

Sin duda, el día de ayer se inscribe en la historia al haber puesto fin a uno de los símbolos del franquismo más significativos en la Isla.
(Undoubtedly, yesterday is part of the story that brought to an end one of the most significant symbols of the Franco regime on the island.)

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Not home yet but some initial thoughts

spain_north_trip

2000kms on the road and now a few days in Mallorca with Noel and Tricia Richards and also some time to connect with ‘old’ friends from our days here. I will pick out a few perspectives of our time away. We had plenty of down time but cannot travel throughout this nation without a prayer plan. The bull fighting / running was one, the visiting of the historic capital of Guernica, touching the head in Bilbao from a waking vision I had some 2 years ago, A night in Huesca the birth place of San Lorenzo. We managed to do all that which amazed us how it all fitted together.

The first perspective is of the beauty of the land, and the beauty of the land in the north. The diversity of Spain provoked some prayer regarding the nation as a whole. There is a very strong independence movement in Cataluña and probably a less strong movement in the Basque Country (Pais Vasco). There is an equally strong centrist ‘unity’ pull with the opening part of the constitution (1978) stating that there is an ‘indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation’. Hence any referendum regarding independence is deemed illegal. As we drove we called for the need of the recognition of diversity and celebration of that diversity. Without such a recognition any unity will be conformity and the greater level of conformity called for will only lead to a greater level of unrest. We would love to see that aspect of the constitution re-written.

Of course this principle is not only applicable to the nation but to all peoples everywhere. The level of diversity that can be embraced is the level of heaven that can be revealed. The embrace, release and appreciation of the other is a strong pre-requisite for a fullness of God’s presence. Fundamentalism of all sorts will never be able, by definition, to facilitate a God of love. And a new liberalism has to take note that it can become a mirror of the fundamentalism that it hates. Somewhere in this shift there has to be a focus on the marginalised as always the word of God comes to the powerful to ‘metanoia’ themselves.

Guernica (Gernika in Euskadi) could be the highlight of our time in the north. To walk in streets of recent history, to know of the intense suffering and to see a ‘light’ city that seemed to exude hope was very humbling. God is not in the building but on the streets of his creation. On April 26 1937 at Franco’s request the German Luftwaffe bombed and destroyed so much of this beautiful city. There are reports of people coming to the hospital for treatment who had no flesh left on their hands and fingers as they had been furiously pulling through rubble to try to find and rescue friends, loved ones and colleagues. During those hours of bombing around 1600 people were killed and huge parts of the centre of the town destroyed. As a ‘sign’ of resilience the oak tree that had (in history) been the place of assembly of the government remained intact.

Land is amazing, it acts as the battery that stores the memory, and we had to walk with soft reverence in that place. I am sure that the city has been visited probably on a few occasions by intercessors such is the peace on the place. Something has been resolved there, and being such an ancient city it was again a good place to release our prayer for Spain that from the north will come a new way of thinking (the head).

Forgiveness is both possible and powerful, and it certainly did not feel as if there was a resentment locked in the land there.

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Are there links: part 2

A couple of days ago I wrote about what a fulfilment to prayer might look like.And although there are times we cannot draw straight lines from ‘prayed this’ and ‘this is the result’ I suggest there was some correlation between prayer in March and a resulting ‘earthquake’. Today I am going to write about something over a greater time span and something that I have only begun to tentatively ask if this is the fulfilment.

In around 1999 (I don’t have the date recorded) my eyes were ‘opened’ unexpectedly. I had maybe been to Spain once before on vacation and I certainly had no connections here in the land so Spain was not on my radar at all. I was above Spain looking down and it was below like a map. I quickly zoomed in so I knew I was moving toward the centre of the land. There in a square was a crowd gathered. I somehow had the figure 100,000 in my understanding. The crowd was gathered, the platform was empty, and the people were waiting for ‘the word of the Lord’.

Well a straight line forward in 1999 would be pretty easy to draw. A platform ready for a preacher… a crusade of some sort would take place.

Now if I fast forward from 1999 to January 2015 – and it is only in the last few weeks I am making this tentative connection – Gayle and I were in Madrid. We were responding to the call for 20015 to be the year of change in Madrid. We were in Puerta del Sol. If I were to ask any Spanish person where would the square in the centre of Spain be that I saw in my vision they would say immediately say Puerta del Sol. Here is an image from that day of the crowd gathered (courtesy El Diario):

Puerta del sol

Estimates for the crowd size vary but the police set it at 100,000. Gayle and I had to leave before the event took place as she had to urgently fly back as her father was taken critically ill that morning. We were there when the platform was empty but the crowd had gathered. Everything lined up just as I saw. But there was no ‘Christian preacher’ about to take the stage. And the word of the Lord for Spain? I have no doubt it is what was spoken that day: 2015 is the year for change, the clock is ticking.

Spain needs much more than a political change, but agents of change are not simply gong to be believers. The body of Christ surely is responsible to stand in the gap between what is and what is to come, to take responsibility to see that healthy change takes place. Maybe it is to have a spiritual role as per the (physical) role Gayle and I had in that event. Stand as observers and get off the scene.

I wrote at the top about the tentative thoughts as to the fulfilment of what I saw. This might not be a fulfilment, it might be a partial fulfilment. However, I am increasingly losing the ‘tentative’ aspect. I am not looking for another fulfilment. I think that was it. I am now looking for my expectations to be increasingly modified.

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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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WOW!!

Just a short blog to report back on the past short while. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY… and off to Sweden tomorrow so will be a few days till everything settles down. So much to say and deserves something much longer, but the highlight, or maybe the most significant aspect from our perspective was our first visit with Roger & Sue Mitchell to El Valle de los Caidos. We knew that this was the year to visit there and begin a process, but we certainly pushed further than we thought we would at this stage.

caidos

To go into the history of this place, its significance, how it is fed from El Escorial, and the spiritual power source it is would take not a blog but a book. With work that began in 1940 we now have the largest cross in Spain – and I think in the world erected right over the tomb of Franco. (Still processing the effect of using the Cross in these situations. Some sadly mind-boggling possibilities as to the effect, and not simply the effect psychologically / or with deception… another blog some other day.) The valley and basilica built with labour from prisoners of war. The founder of the Falange party is buried one side of the ‘altar’ and Franco the other, both of whom died the same date Nov. 20th some 39 years apart. In the valley were brought bodies from the Civil War – from both sides of it. This is not reconciliation, but a forced acceptance of an imposed resolution.

Amazing to watch post-mass and see even one family where the father stood by the tomb and gave the Nazi salute. Makes sense of my neighbour when I asked him about the Civil War eventually said – after pacing his balcony – it is still here.

Any way we will watch and see the repercussions in this most eventful year in Spain – 40 years after Franco’s death.

So prayer and a few acts, and as is normal immediately following aligning the true cross into places with such history the wind comes. And as we completed the wind literally blew, swept, rumbled, sounded, spoke (no idea what word to use) through the tree tops in a most remarkable way. Then over… stillness.

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Quick follow up

A little quiet here as Gayle and I have had to make some adjustments to our plans. However a couple of things to put together. First is the concept of symbolic intercession. There are many examples of physical manifestations that mirror a historic situation. Ezekiel gives us many examples. Here is one:

Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year. (Ezek. 4:4-6).

Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days representing the 40 years in the wilderness is another example I would offer.

I think these things are very common experience when we go through the stages of seeking to identify with a geography or a people. There is an interchange and often the negativity of a place gives a ‘kick’ before the phase when things reverse and the geography gains the benefit of the identification.

I had a dream experience where I was expecting an impartation of healing but the person came, laid hands on my stomach saying that what I needed was an impartation of youthfulness because I was with Gayle. (Amazing how simple revelations can fuel prayer and expectation. That was 6 months ago and we are still working through the implications of the dream and what it practically looks like.) We knew at the time that there was a Spanish application, with an ageing population and a loss of hope among youth.

A couple of mornings ago as I woke I realised that something is happening with the Podemos expression. The leaders are young(-er) but the crowd in Madrid was maybe on average 40+. This was not a youth protest expression but an older generation aligning to a younger one. It had also come out of what was known as the 15-M which was a youth/ student expression. In many of the new expressions in Europe we have to see beyond the simple, this is good, this is bad to what is happening at a deep level. The answer is not found simply in the formation of a new political party, whatever way they express themselves, but at a deeper level. Part of the deeper level is in the symbolism which is part of the process of realising a new reality. Symbolism is so important. Both pointing to the reality that is being symbolised and (more importantly) drawing to themselves the reality of what has been symbolised. So I think we need to look strongly toward the symbolism that we see.

So in this turbulent year, at all levels there needs to be an alignment of the older to the younger. Maybe what we are seeing symbolised in this march indicates something is shifting for Spain? We know it is certainly time to push again for some of the historical issues to be exposed and the effects overturned.

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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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Freedom… or not?

If there is only one of my posts you read maybe you could choose this to be the one and only…

Well it is Saturday morning and other than it being a little too cold we have nothing to moan about. Imagine living in a nation where to post a photo of a protest that showed police aggression could end up setting you back around £25k / $35k, or a fine between £500/ $700 up to £25k / $35k if you were seeking to stop someone being evicted from their house, or to be part of a protest in front of the Parliament building. What price freedom?

So imagine the laws of a nation that would punish with a hefty fine if publishing the following photo:

ley-mordaza-1024

So on this Saturday morning be both grateful to God for the privilege of where we live and offer a prayer for the troubled oppressed areas of the world.

In Spain on 11th of this month parliament passed law that will make life very difficult for many in Spain. What do you think:

1. Photographing or recording police – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

2. Peaceful disobedience / ‘disrespect’ to authority – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

3. Occupying banks as means of protest – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

4. Not formalizing a protest – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

5. For carrying out assemblies or meetings in public spaces – 100 to 600€ fine.

6. For impeding or stopping an eviction – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

7. For presence at an occupied space (not only social centres but also houses occupied by evicted families) – 100 to 600€ fine.

8. Police black lists for protesters, activists and alternative press have been legalized.

9. Meeting or gathering in front of Congress – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

10. Appealing the fines in court requires the payment of judicial costs, whose amount depends on the fine.

11. It allows random identity checks, allowing for racial profiling of immigrants and minorities.

12. Police can now carry out raids at their discretion, without the need for “order” to have been disrupted.

13. External bodily searches are also now allowed at police discretion.

14. The government can prohibit any protest at will, if it feels “order” will be disrupted.

15. Any ill-defined “critical infrastructure” is now considered a forbidden zone for public gatherings if it might affect their functioning.

16. There are also fines for people who climb buildings and monuments without permission. (This has been a common method of protest from organizations like Greenpeace.)

The law was passed 181 to 141; a choir in the public gallery began to sing ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ (Les Mis) and were evicted. Seven MP’s taped gags across their mouths as the law is in reality a ‘gagging law’ – ley mordaza -though it is called ‘la Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana’ = Public Safety Law!!

El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper, has said from 16th Dec Spanish people will have to look outside the country for news of what is happening inside as far as further restrictive laws are concerned: El cierre de Google News y la libertad de información en España. There the writer has said that purpose of the press is to guard space not to sustain the powers irrespective.

While in Ireland recently we felt so strongly that in Spain political space is opening up. On our return we find that through parliament there is a total concerted effort to shut space down. Only those who comply will be allowed a voice. Even the ultranationalist party, Golden Dawn, founded in Greece has now been registered in the Register of Political Parties of the Ministry of Interior in Spain last week, with its headquarters in Alcoy (around an hour’s drive from where we live).

What does it mean for believers in the land? How does a rhythm of resistance and submission work? What part can those who are not Spanish by blood take?

These are the most tumultuous of times we live in. I ‘blame’ the prayer across the 40/70 window. Now how are we to respond?

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