Some readers will know Phil Townsend. I first met Phil some 19 or so years ago. Diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the oesophagus we have been praying for Phil, Lynne and the family. A while back Phil’s brother, Stuart, wrote a song that came out of the situation that they then recorded. Profound and moving.
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:
Which comes first – chicken or egg? Not really my puzzle for the day. If you get time look at this TED talk – inspiring… My musings that follows the video are not as valuable as what Theaster Gates communicates.
Sweeping out the house that he had spent all his money on – ‘performance art’. I know many people who have done things like that – or more likely at a lesser – level over the years. ‘Prophetic acts’. A number of those acts done inside the four walls where parts of the body of Christ had assembled, but some done in the public space.
My question is – is there a connection between the insignificant so-called (though I think with many of them the rightly-called) prophetic acts and the amazing city transformative vision that is exhibited, for example, in this video? Can we see a connection? Or if we do is that arrogant?
Here are my Sunday morning thoughts on this:
To lay claim to what ‘we’ have done as being the starting point would be arrogant
It would fail to understand that the Spirit of God is in the world
It would be to fail to grasp that the gifts of heaven and the vision of heaven is in the hearts and minds of many, and many who do not profess faith in Jesus
But if there is a ‘firstfruits’ anointing on the body of Christ maybe there is a connection, between the prophetic acts (crazy stuff???) and some of what is already beginning to manifesting.
And if so we need to continue to see the fulfilments for the prophetic as taking place in society not in the church.
It raises the question about the need for the ongoing prophetic sweeping out of the buildings. Now what buildings need to be swept – surely we do not need to keep sweeping the same old buildings of before?
And it raises the questions about the repositioning of the body of Christ to partner with the ‘Theaster Gates’ of this world.
I suggest we need to humbly thank God for initiatives that are taking place where at least there is some sort of connecting line between the community transformation vision that has been a body of Christ emphasis for a couple of decades. We need to see the spaces that are opening now (for spaces we can also spell that word c-r-i-s-e-s) as indicating that there are incredible opportunities. Political space is opening – the election in the UK posits questions of which way forward for the UK on critical issues of housing, immigration, employment, unity of nations, Europe-focused etc. So I think there are some buildings to sweep. There is certainly new ways of thinking. The old ways will prove insufficient for the future (and the present). There is space to be stewarded. And there are artists to be released who truly carry the political imagination for the future. If the answer to the fifteenth year of Tiberius (Lk. 3) was found in the desert, we should not think of the answer to our issues as lying in Westminster / DC / Madrid or Brussels. Crazy clothing, bizarre diets might just be where the word of God is coming. Only from there was there a journey to Rome.
So maybe we cannot be at the centre of transforming our community. Lack of skills, connections, faith. Maybe we have too much fear, unwilling to take risks. But we can either get to the performance act / prophetic act of sweeping the house again, calling for it to be filled with kingdom vision. Or we can embrace the need to get out of the way, stand guard over the space that has been cleaned so that what comes to occupy it is not again corrupted with an imperially shaped orientation. Stewarding space. We might not be personally capable to transform our communities, but maybe we are responsible to sweep, create space, guard space so that they are transformed.
In the final of these three videocasts I focus on the challenging aspect that the spirit is ‘for those who are afar off’. Many moves of God never connect with this aspect. Not surprising for there is a ‘I’ve never done this before’ aspect to it. The challenge is of a world-vew shift, a conversion as Peter experienced in waling into the surprising (shocking) fulfilment of his own apostolic declaration. God is at work in the world, and the Spirit is not coming to bring the world into the church but rather to sow the church into the world. The Temple is not being built somewhere, but is being built in and through all of society.
Company of Burning Hearts have also released as a podcast the thrust of this as I shared in Wales in July. You can find the podcast here:
In the second of these three videocasts I focus mainly on the generational aspect of the Spirit’s trajectory. At each stage we can pull what the Spirit is doing to enhance who we are rather than flow on and out. It is important to understand this so that we can be prepared for the final aspect of the Spirit’s trajectory.
Company of Burning Hearts have also released as a podcast the thrust of this as I shared in Wales in July. You can find the podasts here:
As most readers of this site will be aware earlier this year I came to the conclusion that we had shifted into a third phase of the trajecotry of the Spirit. From ‘for me’, through ‘for the generations’ to ‘those who are afar off’. I have put together three brief videocasts that take this theme forward.
Justin and Rachel have also released as a podcast the thrust of this as I shared in Wales in July. You can find the podcast here:
It is out in a few days. Yes the proverbial arm and leg will have to be exchanged to get it, but we have been waiting some 10 years for this… and the professor has been holding back for 40 years. Here is a short summary of what and why the book
This kind of blew us away… The content is amazing and then the language of change the soil, transformation etc. A true pastor within his community. Raises again the issue of where are the answers to prayer being manifested – simply within the church? I think not!! The anonymous, faceless generation is rising. This generation has a high in-built BS guage.
Karen from England has lived and worked in Romania for the past 12 years with Networks (see the first YouTube video for a little of what they do). She recently came and stayed with us and we had a great time together. She is both remarkable – prayer walked across and around Romania and recently to Russia. A few encounters with those in authority en route!! She is both extraordinary and very ordinary. It is a great combination. She never tries to suggest she knows what she is about but she carries the presence of God in a very easy way. I think you will enjoy the short video with her – sound quality was a bit challenged due to the wind, but worth listening to. I know her desire would be to simply encourage anyone to trust God and step out.
She left us to go to a local garage to hitch a ride to Barcelona en route to Romania. Not recommended in the guide books, but she said this is how she likes it… her and God setting off on another journey.
I followed the work of Richard Twiss and Wiconi International for a number of years. I never met Richard but felt the sadness at his loss when he died in February this year. Gayle and I watched this video a few days ago. Sadness for the loss of his life and the reminder of the hegemony of the European christendom world. Hope as whatever Richard embodied of the Jesus’ way lives on and as christendom lies in dust in Europe to think of what is rising.