Scotty still believes this stuff #9

I am not sure I understand the implications of the last post, and if there was anything of value in there any lack of understanding is because I am to wrestle with the implications of the Gospel message. Once we push it beyond the ‘salvation of souls’ we have to be engaged in working out […]


I am not sure I understand the implications of the last post, and if there was anything of value in there any lack of understanding is because I am to wrestle with the implications of the Gospel message. Once we push it beyond the ‘salvation of souls’ we have to be engaged in working out contextually how we are to live in the light of our commitment to Christ.

This is something of a follow on from the last post, and in part in reply to Joanna’s comment / question concerning ‘the gates’. It is also probably a little cheeky to have it under a ‘still believes’ title. These beliefs, if I had them at any level some 20 years ago, would have been expressed so differently back then. I am in process, and my ignorance is probably visible for all to read!

I find that new thinking often comes when something fresh is experienced. I think this is the primary way that God teaches us. We observe, are challenged, then re-evaluate. This is the hermeneutic of the NT. Gentiles were coming to faith so how should they, as Jewish believers, respond (Acts 15). They listen to what is happening, then come to a conclusion, and importantly the ‘they’ are those immersed in the God-story of the Scriptures. They are ‘under’ the story line, but not simply ‘under’ the text. The text is evaluated and highlighted by the activity of the Spirit.

I will make the remainder of this post narratival. In 2009 I had an interesting dialogue. Standing with hand in pocket there were a few coins in there.

‘Whose money is that?’
‘Yours Lord.’
‘What are you to do with it?’
‘Steward it.’

It is always easy to give the correct answer when there is nothing at stake. However, I have discovered that the Lord is not asking us for his benefit…

‘Whose money then is in the bank account of a Middle Eastern oil sheik?’
‘Yours Lord.’
‘If s/he is not stewarding it, how are you going to steward it?’

I am probably as clueless as to the ‘how’ now as I was then, but those kind of experiences have provoked me enormously. (I put the above as a conversation between the Lord and I, and that is certainly how I experienced it. I can also accept that it was a Holy Spirit provoked conversation inside my own head with myself.) The provocation is still with me.

I do not think the answer is that I, or someone equally as godly as I(!!), needs to get to the top and displace the said oil sheik, so as we now have the big bucks and can steward it. The likelihood is that we would not steward it well, even if it meant we had money to give into ‘missions’. Indeed I find it interesting that what was in my pocket was small change and it was that that provoked the conversation. There is something of a connection between how I handle the small change and what happens in the big outside world.

My last time of addressing a prophetic company across the pond was quite a few years ago. I had 15 minutes so chose to touch on two issues. Marriage legislation and abortion. Right or wrong I suggested that the White House, nor #10, nor Rome changes legislation. When we walk up the aisle saying ’till death us do part’ and walk down again saying ‘we’re not getting on so now we will separate’ we are setting a culture of marriage. (I am actually on the ‘liberal’ side of marriage, divorce and remarriage, so there is no criticism of any particular situation, but a general comment when the percentage of breakdowns deny the bigger picture of covenant faithfulness, then we are in trouble.) I secondly said that we cannot criticise society for dehumanising life in the womb when we as believers can dehumanise all kinds of people different to us with our language, and even justification of war. My inadequate point was that if Jesus has ‘all authority’ and sends us what we do will make a difference. Again this is tying in with the royal priesthood theme – how we live is supposed to affect something wider than us.

So back to the gates. To bind and to loose was a rabbinnic term to forbid and to allow. It is not primarily to do with a volume of speech that we address demons with, but how we live.

I consider that a) how we handle the small change in our pocket has an effect on how money is handled in society. The rampant neo-liberalism that has been supported by many believers is probably a judgement not simply on the world but on the body. How Gayle and I live will have a shaping influence on what we connect with. And b) that intercession – first how we stand, then what we are able to pull through in repentance and prayer is vital.

These are the concepts I am trying to work with which in turn pushes me away from looking for believers to occupy the top positions. Top positions speak of ‘success’ whereas I am convinced that we are called to effectiveness. Life is not defined by what we exhibit, but by what results beyond us. Jesus ‘became a life-giving Spirit’ and thus redefined life as that which took place beyond him.

We do not have control so cannot cause the world to be different. We only have to look at God as the ‘uncontrolling One’ to see that is not the way. Neither can we do what is perfect, and I am glad that is so. We are involved at a compromised level. If not I suggest there is very little possibility of a believer being an MP, and certainly less so of being a president. In those settings it is virtually impossible to do the right thing, but it is possible to help facilitate what results in a redemptive element being released.

OK looking above I see so many paragraphs and need to wind down.

  • I am passionate about the call on the body of Christ as the catalyst for change. The catalyst is essential and without it there is no change. The visible agent of change though might well not be the church but (imperfect) groups of people in the world.
  • By faith, I consider that change takes place as we lay down our lives, not as we demonstrate our great success.
  • Gratefully some will be called into the gates and will occupy what can be seen as place of influence. If those people occupy a place of influence it is vital they do so redemptively.
  • If they do not occupy the places of so-called influence how they handle the small change in their pocket will be vital. Indeed if they occupy the places of influence it is perhaps even more vital they handle the small change in a stewarding fashion

A revolution is here. It is a revolution of values. It has to start with how life is valued (pro-life) and has to challenge all forms of de-humanisation. God is not a human, so we cannot bring God down to being ‘one of us’, yet it is not possible to get to God through de-humanisation, for the Incarnation is the wonderful offence that arrests the world and unlocks redemptive possibilities. The gates might not prove a helpful analogy… but an embedded people who are committed to add their small contribution (cups of cold water) so that the multiplicity of small things bring about change, both in the here and now, and ultimately in the here and then.


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Scotty still believes this stuff #8

I am maybe pushing it a little too far to say ‘still believes’ when I come to this post as in all honesty my thinking and concepts have shifted a lot these past 2 decades. The challenges of believing we are to steward the age to come’s entry to this age, or at least to […]


I am maybe pushing it a little too far to say ‘still believes’ when I come to this post as in all honesty my thinking and concepts have shifted a lot these past 2 decades. The challenges of believing we are to steward the age to come’s entry to this age, or at least to stock up the material that will be used to build the age to come (though we have to be clear that we do not build it), when as Ann reflects on the last post, once we move beyond spiritualising (hellenising) salvation we are setting out a huge stall. We (humanity) seem set on destroying our environment, both the environment literally in a physical sense, and in a societal / economic sense where giftings are to be released. Maybe there are discoveries to be made down the line that can reverse the destructive path, or will be bailed out by the return of Jesus… though it seems that can only happen when we have provided the material for the New Jerusalem. I still believe… but this post will probably have less connection with the past than the former ones.

Prayer, or when we don’t have a clue what to do, at least a good old genuine repent and a bit of a kick, hoping that it might just scrape in under the ‘all kinds of prayer’ umbrella, to clear ground still remains for me the foundation. Without that there can be no permanent change. Understanding redemptive giftings act as a further key in releasing the future, then there has to be a filling of what has been cleared. Not in any complete sense I have suggested that there are ‘spheres / gates of society’ that shape society. I have described them as:

  • Arts and entertainment
  • Business, trade and commerce
  • Education and youth
  • Family and community
  • Government, politics and law
  • Health and well-being
  • Media and communication

Of course getting a neat 7-fold description is very important otherwise how could it possibly be considered? In seriousness though the above is just a rough sketch and is not at all definitive. There are others who work with something similar, and any of the above could be subdivided further. The two aspects that are important in the above sketch is THERE IS NO CHURCH / RELIGIOUS GATE / SPHERE, and certainly no religious mountain, and secondly I am avoiding the use of the term mountain as I suggest we are not setting our aim to get to the top of anything.

So having started with a sketch and then followed up with such unbelievable clarity than even amazed me, I had better continue.

Back in the day of 20 years ago I would probably have headed down a ‘mountain top’ perspective, but the reading and re-reading of Revelation, the influence of the Anabaptist connections I have had, the studies of Roger Mitchell (kenarchy) have all been a wonderful persuasion not to go that way.

What comes below I realise will need unpacking… I am writing what my fingers are typing, but not in some automatic typing fashion!!! Please read slowly – and remember it is a Perspective, but I hope it is a contribution to the important debates of today.

I have serious concerns (remember this blog is ‘Perspectives’ and in writing I am not criticising those who are doing far better at responding to God than I am) over all talk of ‘Christian nation’. That kind of approach has given us apartheid and slavery and if pursued will give us an idolatrous construct that far from mediating the presence of God will hide his face from society. I also believe that both historically with the formation of Islam under Mohammed, the expansion of Islam through the Ottoman empire and the modern day militant manifestations draw their strength from that christendom stance.

I grew up through the restoration movement that God was restoring the five-fold ministry, the church and then the world would be converted. I was very happy with the ‘in those days the highest mountain will be [the church]’. Maybe I am still on the same track, and I think somehow I am, but it is taking a turn that I could not see back then. I am happy to suggest God is restoring, and fundamentally restoring the Pauline gospel (from 2001 this has been the track that took us to Spain some 7 years later). That gospel is focused not on souls being saved, but a vision of the sight of a ‘new heaven and new earth’. In the same flow of the OT where Israel was to be a light to the nations, a royal priesthood (if you like a willing scapegoat), so came Jesus to rescue Israel from her bondage, rooted in her desire to be as the nations rather than the hope for the nations, and then having released Israel (potentially and actually for all those who received the Spirit of freedom) from religious stronghold (the unique elemental spirits associated with Israel), so that there could be a message of hope to the nations that the elemental spirits that held the nations in bondage could be broken. That bondage was and is one of deception, the strongest form of which is nationalism.

We are called to be pro-life. However much we wait for the NT to come into view to help correct and develop our early readings from the OT, I am struck by the first response accorded to God with respect to murder. It was not ‘an eye for an eye’ but to protect the murderer. God is pro-life. I hope it goes without saying that I find it very difficult to understand how a believer could be pro-choice to the level of dehumanising the unborn, but pro-life cannot stop at the issue of abortion. Pro-life has implications for the environment, war, the stock market, the banking system and the commitment to nationalism first. The pattern remains… the anonymous servant is probably how we can describe the Holy Spirit, who comes not to demonstrate her power through us but to empower us.

I probably need to wind down this post, but where this takes me is that I now believe passionately that we cannot stick the word ‘Christian’ on to something that is fallen and under bondage. Neither are we looking for a ‘Christian’ alternative. We live in Babylon, but cannot live there by Babylon’s values. The responsibility to babylon is our call. The gates of society are calling, and it was from the gates that the environment was shaped. What entered the city – be it Jerusalem, Babylon or Madrid – was determined in the gates. I do not see the way of influence being through legislation or top-down, but through anonymous servanthood. We change what is outside of us when we change inside. A new banking trade system does not come when there is a Christianised IMF (!!) but when there is a growing movement who understand that the bottom line is never what has been termed the bottom line. The bottom line is Judas and those like him.

I will try and follow on in the coming days…


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Scotty still believes this stuff #7

City gifting… redemptive gifts of cities and nations. A very important element to discover, but one that has a timing when it comes into focus.


City-types; the redemptive gift of cities / regions / nations. Mr. Lowton who provoked this little series with his comment that I have used as the title for these posts asked while we were together in Madrid – so what city type is Madrid? My response was that this had not been a focus for us at this time and I really wasn’t sure. I found that very interesting and on reflection realised that as with many ‘tools’ there is a time when a tool should be used and will prove vital at that time. Our perspective of Spain, and maybe more so of Madrid, is that the season we are in is of digging, uncovering, exposing and the city gifting aspect will come down the line.

The diagram is how I understand that city gifting types work, based on the 7 letters in Revelation. As the gifting is discovered there will be typical strongholds that we can see in the letters, and that the people of God are there to enable the city to discover its gift and live that out. You can read in detail about this in the book Impacting the City (if you can find a copy in print) or follow the link to e-book resource where in shorter form there is an e-book on this.

The way I see it working is:

  • a central redemptive gift (e.g. Gateway)
  • elements of the gifting from the wider land where the city is located (e.g. Establishing)
  • elements from one or other of the adjacent gift (e.g. Developing)
  • elements from the same corner (e.g. Deliverance)

Gifts can be perverted: more common in the case of Establishing and Finishing
Gifts can be suppressed: more common in the case of Deliverance and Gateway.

This post is too short to expand further and the series is to do with my core beliefs and not some attempt to bring teaching. Rather than expand I want to work a little backwards. The church’s task is to unlock the redemptive gift, so Laodicea needs a ‘Laodicean church’ not a ‘Thyatiran church’. At a basic level we cannot run around the world and find what has ‘succeeded’ elsewhere and try and import it where we live. Apart from the dubious measurement of ‘success’ we end up with severe misfits. One size does not fit all. Working backwards it is vital that the true redemptive gift of the place pulls the church into a shape. The biblical shape for the church is a world-shaped people. In other words we do not start with a world having to fit into the church, but vice versa. This is the pattern of the incarnation. Heaven sent, but earth shaped. Jesus was a first century authentic to the culture Jew.

Ultimately, and increasingly so, it will be very difficult to develop a church and then hope it will reach society. I consider that the prayers for God to move is making that increasingly difficult, particularly in Europe. Unlike many who see Europe as lagging behind I see Europe, if anything, ahead. More secular and further along the post-Christendom line. Therefore with more hope. Not more hope in the near future of big churches but of God’s people wonderfully hidden, immersed in the world but carrying the presence of Jesus. This is why I consider we have to work from the future rather than try too hard to get something from today into a new shape. If we learn to live in an uncomfortable context, probably out of sync I believe we will be better placed to play our part in unlocking the redemptive gifting.

Europe with all her challenges! We have been praying for a long time that there will be 10s of thousands of believers dislocated who will be relocated in a haphazard way across Europe to seed a new day. That there will be no new ‘big thing’ but the multiplicity of the small, totally embedded in the world. Our hope has been that much of that will be seeded from the UK… but maybe the fulfilment will be in the hiddenness of the influx of refugees. Just a thought.

For those of us who have the luxury of living beyond the survival level we have to live from that place responsibly for the sake of others. Every situation that we find ourselves in of any level of privilege is for the sake of others. If dislocated from, for example, an expression of local church, my thoughts are avoid peer pressure, but discover why that is case. Reacting against something is not normally a good guide for direction but being pulled by what has not yet been expressed remains a powerful direction puller.

I am convinced that there can and should be a multiplicity of expressions of the corporate body of Christ. If one of those consists of regular gatherings in a public building so be it. The real challenge for any gathered or scattered expression is of a true world-connection (and not some constructed connection) and of connecting in a way to release the redemptive gift of the locality.

I still see redemptive giftings as an important aspect of this journey even if our context at this time in Spain is a step behind that with the digging out the past. I am less focused now than I was some 17 years ago on starting at the end of ‘an appropriate church for the city’ and more on seeking to help believers see their city through a redemptive grid set of eyes and align themselves toward unlocking that. The church, in all its forms (and non-forms!), is here for the world. The church is a chosen people, because ‘the whole earth is the Lord’s’. Church is central but in a not highly visible way. It is time for the cities and nations to stand in their redemptive gift. Cities and nations that will birth a new economy, a new politics, new ways of trading. Redemptive giftings.

We are a long way from discovering much about Madrid or Spain, but maybe protest, unseating authoritarianism, refusing to live from the constraints of the status quo could be part of what is called for. We think that is part of it. If so I really had better not comply but be something of a trouble maker.


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Scotty still believes this stuff #6

Levels of prayer, not levels in the sense of grading, but in the sense of distinct from. Paul exhorted that we should ‘with all kinds of prayer’, suggesting to me that the most simple of prayers are not to be spurned or mocked, and that there are ‘all kinds’, different kinds of prayer. I do […]


Levels of prayer, not levels in the sense of grading, but in the sense of distinct from. Paul exhorted that we should ‘with all kinds of prayer’, suggesting to me that the most simple of prayers are not to be spurned or mocked, and that there are ‘all kinds’, different kinds of prayer. I do not profess to be a great pray-er nor come with awesome insights but I do come alive when there seems to be the need to push in for prayer that touches on history.

Prayer is strange. What difference does prayer make? Does God need us to pray? Does he need x-number of people to pray for something to happen? Does he say – if enough of you request something then I will grant the request, leaving us not sure if he really wanted to answer in the first place or that he only responds to petitions above a certain level? Or is prayer for us rather than for God?

Some prayer I am sure does something for us. Jesus was asleep in the boat (I like Mark’s little addition, of being asleep on a pillow), the storm is raging, the disciples are afraid and wake him. He does not exhibit any fear; he does not call them to prayer; he simply rebukes the wind and the waves and asks why were they afraid! If we were the ones being called on to deal with the storm we would pray like crazy, drag up some Scriptures etc. The prayer would mainly be for us – to deal with our fear. That does not make the prayer illegitimate, but we probably can suggest that a whole lot of prayer is for us as we are not consciously living from the place of true rest, trust and security.

But not all prayer is for us. Abraham and the dialogue over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah can be rehearsed. Paul again and again calls the readers to pray or let’s them know of his own prayers for them:

  • join in helping us by your prayers (2 Cor. 1:11)
  • I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ… may give you (Ephes. 1:17)
  • Pray in the Spirit at all times… persevere in supplications… (Ephes. 6:18)
  • we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled (Col. 1:9)
  • deveote yourselves to prayer (Col.4:2)
  • pray without ceasing (1 Thess.5:17)
  • I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions be made for everyone (1 Tim. 2:1)

Not all prayer is for us. Paul continually urges for prayer for others and is continually praying for others. A belief in an all-powerful God cannot nullify that there are actions of God that are dependent on prayer. I cannot get away from there are situations that change, there is an intervention of God as a result of prayer. I still believe that, and given that ‘today is here as a result of yesterday’, this is what brings me to life concerning the thought of prayer.

Land needs to be healed. The corporate memory is held in land. When memory is embedded in a person or in a land there is a response from memory that takes place, until that cycle is broken. Discovering the memory that is triggering the response, then bringing about a resolution to it is key. Anyone involved in counselling will recognise that and there are a variety of ways in which prayer ministry is exercised to open up a different future response. I consider land to be no different. Memories do not control the response, but the deeper the memory, the more it has been re-enforced the greater the effect, indeed it can be so strong that it manifests as a stronghold and controls.

Cycles of history; repetitive patterns. Those are the things we look for. I still believe that we can act as priests, as representatives of heaven and of a new future. To do that it seems there are two aspects that are called on. Bring the past to a conclusion through healing and release the future through declaration. In many cases any involvement will only be partial but will still move things on a step.

Repentance, touching the trauma is key for any resolution of the past. It seems that the closer a person is in some relational sense to what took place the more effective the repentance is, but the key is to be able to embrace the land. If a person embraces land there is an interaction that takes place, and often the person will experience the crap of the land before the land experiences the benefits of their life and walk.

In November 2014 I had a herniated disc in my back. The centre of the intense pain was manifested in my right ankle, and I was often unable to walk more than a few metres without taking a break. We did not take too long to realise it was in some way tied to the land. One morning as I woke (I call them waking visions) I saw a man lying on his back across Spain. I traced the image I saw on to a map. The results were (and continue to be) revealing. Two aspects struck me immediately. The centre of the man’s back was over Madrid (where the herniated disc was), the right ankle was exactly over where we were living (where all my pain was). Further the spine of the man ran from the head in Bilbao directly to Gibraltar, the place that Franco called the ‘dagger in the spine of Spain’. Fuelled now to pray we saw shifts, improvements and a few relapses. The last relapse I had was immediately at the moment when Madrid made their verbal response to Cataluña’s referendum / opinion poll on independence. With no pre-throught as I heard the response immediately my back seized… and very soon the realisation came that the time had dome for there to be a shift. My back had mirrored Spain, now Spain was to mirror my back. I like that as in our hands we now had leverage for the land.

When Gayle and I first entered Spain we did so bare-footed from the aircraft, through the terminal and to the car. A few days ago we poured salt at a political party headquarters that has had all-but 7000 major scandals in 40 years of history. We called for corruption to come out, and one of the last politicians that would represent that older school resigned within hours. I believe this stuff. In a few days we will be 11 hours away from here distance-wise to seek to a) bring a correction to what is remembered, b) revive a true memory and c) seek to reverse something that relates to the first murder of a believer by other believers in collusion with state power. If we can do some of that at any level we are looking for that to open up the way to pray through the expulsion of Muslims in Spain, all the way back to their entry at Gibraltar in 711.

These posts are not about convincing anyone of the truth of my beliefs. I am not accountable for anyone else’s beliefs but to live consistently with my own. I still believe we have to take responsibility for what has gone on in history, to see ourselves as the channels through which healing takes place and a future is opened up. Some of the activity might prove to be as much for us as the situation, but there remains an element where the prayer is necessary, and however it is worked out, God is limited as to what he can do without our co-operation. Those beliefs are still intact, and a shout, a kick, a jump like a big frog, a bag of salt, a bottle of wine, even the blow of a shofar can all be pulled in to add to any words that are spoken.


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More to come…

I have more to come on ‘Scotty…’ but watched this video this morning from Kare Raworth, who also has a book out on ‘Doughnut Economics’. I also think it is a good piece to put in the midst of any set of posts on what we believe. The scale of the issues that we face […]


I have more to come on ‘Scotty…’ but watched this video this morning from Kare Raworth, who also has a book out on ‘Doughnut Economics’. I also think it is a good piece to put in the midst of any set of posts on what we believe. The scale of the issues that we face in terms of a good future / transformation is enormous. It is easier when we look at the issues to shrink back to ‘all that counts is souls being saved’ and the Hellenisation of the Gospel continues. But the death of Jesus is for a new world… ‘a new heavens and a new earth.’ Takes faith to believe that and must be supplemented with action and response. However, if we are responsible to make sure things happen…?

As I watched I thought again about the nature of sin – it is to do with (generous) boundaries. Eat all of this except. I also realise that there are many now who have had those boundaries taken from them – that is enslavement. The effects of sin – alienation at every level.

God help us!


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Scotty still believes this stuff #5

Occupying what has been cleared was an OT mandate, indeed one of the narratives says that the Lord would not drive all the enemies out all in one go, the Israelites needing to develop and be able to replace them. In the NT we have the narrative of clearing a house but not filling it […]


Occupying what has been cleared was an OT mandate, indeed one of the narratives says that the Lord would not drive all the enemies out all in one go, the Israelites needing to develop and be able to replace them. In the NT we have the narrative of clearing a house but not filling it as being highly dangerous – the latter state being worse than the former. That principle being applied to an individual, a generation, and with the intriguing use of the word ‘house’, applicable right across the board as well as to the specific house of the Jerusalem Temple.

Occupying what has been cleared. I am not sure what I thought some 20 years ago, indeed my thinking was probably far from clear. I was looking more for some kind of (as I thought) classical revival and then an impact on society where there was both a cleaning up of it and more than likely those in power would be those who knew Christ or those in power would be sympathetic. I don’t think I was looking for the influential top positions to be filled by Christians but if that model was presented to me 20 years ago I might have bought into it.

Back some 30 years ago I was introduced to the Anabaptist stream from the Reformation era and maybe that helped me steer away from the simple top-down approach. There are biblically and currently great examples of those who have a position of influence and use that for the good of society. There are also examples where the results are mixed. Is the work of Joseph and the enslavement of a whole people really an example to be followed? And as the fear of Sharia law is propagated is a Christian (OT?) alternative better?

Power. To effect change we must have power, and have more power than the other person. So the narrative unfolds. Yet Jesus submitted to the powers and in that submission he stripped them of their power. The resurrection is the vindication of his path, and post resurrection he did not swap the cross for the other type of cross that could now slay his enemies. Even in the parousia he is the rider on the white horse but that garment is already blood-stained, his own blood. Yes every knee will bow, but enforced on one and all as dictators do? Or as the universal proclamation of truth when sight will be clear? Jesus path is not the same power path as Caesar’s with the only difference being one is good and the other is bad. Of course politically there are very real challenges but the belief that the good guys (us) can and must have more military power than the bad guys (them) is not the God way, even if it is argued that it is the necessary way. That action is at best a fallen way, and when what is fallen is portrayed as right eventually what is clearly wrong will be declared right. Rhetoric of power is not fitting for anyone in a position of influence who claims faith in Jesus.

Thankfully for most of us we do not have to wrestle with the influence of power in some big sense. We are called to pray for those who do. Now coming up to date, where does Scotty now stand on this big issue of occupation? First, I still believe we can clear the ground by shifting what is in the heavens above, we can change the atmosphere. I am not too quick to jump in and, at a volume, address a host of powers, as I see their authority rooted in what has gone on in history. Hence the need for identificational repentance. However, with that, and sometimes with the passage of time (2015 we visit Franco’s grave, 40 years after his death – a cycle was ending) there is a rightness about making a proclamation that a new day has arrived. Assuming we can get to that stage, then I am very happy to use the analogy that there has been a clearing. From that the necessary step is for a filling or an occupation of what has been cleared. I consider that it is the church’s responsibility to ensure that there is a filling of the space with things new and old. It is not our responsibility to fill it, but to ensure it is filled.

I watched Shawshank Redemption with Gayle a number of years ago. So revealing about the effects of insitutionalism. As it closed I spoke out loud, ‘That’s the kind of film Christians should be making.’ Unpremeditated but immediately these words raced through my mind as strong as any audible voice could have been:

No you are wrong Martin. This is the kind of film Christians are responsible to ensure is made.

If we have to make them, we need a Christian film company, producers, actors etc. I am not for one minute suggesting there is something wrong with that, but there is also something beyond that. What would happen if we saw ourselves as responsible for what came out of Hollywood? Not in the sense of legislating, but in the sense that Hollywood by choice began to put out films that were promoting messages that were predominantly wholesome? (And of course there are films of that nature that are deeply prophetic.) I believe this is possible, and that is not unconnected to those of us who seem to occupy space a million miles away from that world.

Occupying space. How we live within the economic sphere, how we set ourselves to relate to the other so as to confront racism, sexism and nationalism is important. It might not make us popular, it might close the door to power, but that is where (I believe) real influence takes place. And believing in dimensions beyond what we touch and see opens up exciting possibilities. Dreams take place for people when the body of Christ lives out the Gospel in humility. They dream and receive revelation and changes of heart and mind. In dreams we can go to people and communicate with them, speak wisdom to them. They can appear to us and we can have a very real meeting with them whether in dreams or while we are awake.

It is great to meet someone and be able to give them a ‘word from heaven’. God can bring before us people like that that we would never meet without God’s hand involved. It is great to be able to say ‘I gave so-and-so well-known person a word.’ However, if it seems to have no effect I am absolutely convinced that it is better never to meet them but somehow through how we lived – and sometimes with a crazy supernatural intervention – to be the means through which that they were changed and impacted.

If it appears I am writing in a mystical sort of way, this is exactly what I believe. Whatever we mean by ‘spirit’ is real. Life is more than physical speech, the shaking of a physical hand. I am still charismatically wired!! When I used to travel in Brazil I came into a building with Anderson Lima and said to him – we were here last year. He said – no we have not been to this city. I said – we have, and told him what was in the building, what rooms were there etc. However, we had never been there before – seems I had been there.

Called to ensure the building is occupied and filled. Here are a couple of ways in which I think that becomes limited:

  • When we think only short-term. The early church shifted at a rate of increase of about 40% per decade. That is not high growth. They did not generally have access to power, but there was a change that was taking place. We have to think long-term.
  • And the lack of impact is probably also down to the myth of ‘the only power that counts is the power you can wield.’ There has to be strong evidence that the pathway we are on demonstrates that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, that our path is to create an environment where the greatest level of servanthood possible is facilitated. So ironically in believing the lie about power we end up without true power!

My beliefs today and 20 years ago are quite a way apart on this issue. I look now for a revolution of the multiplicity of small things. The hidden, and if necessary despised revolution. I look for the space to be occupied by those who hold space not for themselves but for others, regardless of their faith or other criteria.

The landscape is so open. Change is both possible, or could be quickly shut down, and the body of Christ surely has the biggest say in that.


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Scotty still believes this stuff #4

A strengthening of belief… In teaching on land (and amazing that there are more than 12000 references to land in Scripture) I held strongly to the need of the church to embrace identificational repentance. I see this exemplified by the ‘this is where John was baptizing earlier’ and in the baptism of Jesus. I also […]


A strengthening of belief… In teaching on land (and amazing that there are more than 12000 references to land in Scripture) I held strongly to the need of the church to embrace identificational repentance. I see this exemplified by the ‘this is where John was baptizing earlier’ and in the baptism of Jesus. I also saw the strong connection between the seeds being rooted out of the church so that the fruit does not grow in society, such as:

  • anger → murder
  • lust → adultery
  • greed → idolatry
  • dehumanisation → abortion with no limits

So the list could go on. I initially saw this as God cleaning the church, the powers being bound / limited and as a result people coming to church. Having pressed in recently to a fresh understanding of what it means to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, that calling does carry a privilege, but a privilege for a purpose. It puts limits on our success as the calling is about the effects being experienced elsewhere. Israel was not at the centre, the world was… Israel’s centre was to carry responsibility, and so with the church.

Not only has my expectation of what some prophecies might look like when they are fulfilled changed (100,000 in a central square in Spain, for example) but I have doubled my belief as to who is responsible for those things taking place. Back in 2005, long before Mr. Obama was on the scene I was able to say that the election in 2008 would not carry the outcome that (white, middle-class) Christians would expect. If however, the outcome could not be embraced 2012 would be a double blow. I suggested that the reason would be that this would be the means to reveal our confusion – the confusion being the belief that to get the ‘right’ person in the ‘White House / Moncloa / No. 10’ would be what we need as that is where change comes from. Revelation 4 & 5 are such a challenge to that perspective. The Lamb slain is the source of change, and those who follow the Lamb take a path that does not shrink from death.

I believe now more strongly than ever that we have an authority in the body of Christ for change. As Adam likewise had an authority but the misuse had implications for others, so it would seem God does not just back us up when we use authority well. The effects of how the church lives is enormous. Some (most?) of the problems in society might have to do with the misuses within the church. I remember being able to challenge an assembled prophetic group that government did not legislate about abortion but we did when we felt legitimised to dehumanise those of other faiths and see them as our enemy.

Our responsibility is not to get the ‘right’ person elected but to ensure that the outcomes in society are such that justice, truth, honour and an environment where gifts can be developed and grow is present. One of the huge elements that I think has cursed the body of Christ is the thinking that God has destined us to success, and success as often defined by non-kingdom values. God calls us to effectiveness. Success in business means that I outperform the opposition. Effectiveness might mean that I strategically lose money (just as Jesus chose to do) so as the monetary hold in our society is broken and business discovers a legitimate bottom line. How could we ever have though money was the bottom line?

By taking responsibility – and Gayle and I take responsibility for a new politics in Spain – does not mean we will be responsible for the choices others make, but will mean we will be responsible to remove the barriers and blockages so that they can make choices free of the oppression of the powers that have gained dominance through history.

On this aspect then I think I can definitively say Scotty still believes, and believes this stuff even more strongly than before.

My passion is to see the body of Christ step up to the plate, take on the identity of royal priesthood, take responsibility for the world, lose the desire to be at the centre, refuse to buy into the lie of the only power that counts is the power that is wielded, and look increasingly for the fulfilment of God’s word to be visible in the world. Next post will be looking at ‘power’.


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Scotty still believes this stuff #3

Evolution… I have evolved. Evolution does indicate change and also can indicate a greater strength than before. With a core belief of history shaping geography there are two ways I wish to suggest an evolution in my beliefs. 1) the outworking of where we will see a change once we shift the effects of history, […]


Evolution… I have evolved. Evolution does indicate change and also can indicate a greater strength than before. With a core belief of history shaping geography there are two ways I wish to suggest an evolution in my beliefs.

1) the outworking of where we will see a change once we shift the effects of history, and
2) a strengthening of my belief as to who takes responsibility for the changes.

(A change and a greater strength and I hope all will be clear by the end of this and the next post! I will try and expand on the first aspect in this one.)

A little history first. Back some 20 years ago, privileged to be involved in what took place at Marsham Street over many months, I had a simple image and hope of the outworking. The church / church movement I was a part of would be incredibly blessed with many coming to faith. Growth and effectiveness would be noted by many who could then come and learn from what we had done. They could then take this back to their own setting and see similar results, assuming that they diligently followed the path we had discovered. God would be clearly working with us, our place at the centre would be a given in that. The result would be that those who learned would be able to talk about the church / church movement I was involved in and what God was doing with it. It did not take long, as I began to travel to cities and regions, rather than to a local church, to gain a shift. The centre was not to be us, but the centre was to be the people God was touching. I then gained an image that God would do something remarkable in a geography with people coming to faith, others would come to find out. They would meet me and I would simply let people tell their story. Those leaving would be impacted by the stories and what God had done, but they would forget to find out what church was behind this and what great strategy had been put in place, forgetting that because they were overwhelmed by the goodness of God. I evolved!! It was no longer about me, my church, but about God being found by one and all.

A little aside, but one that will lead into the points below. I started life as a simple evangelical with a heaven for the ‘born again ones’ and a hell for all others. Many, many years ago I came to see that Scripture seemed to overwhelmingly teach conditional immortality (eventual non-existence of those who reject Christ). Since I worked with the two statements that seem clear but those two statements do not define the two categories for all of humanity:

  • All who receive Christ are saved.
  • All who reject Christ are lost.

Those two statements need a lot of unpacking, and I cannot definitively determine what it means for a person to either receive or reject Christ. I am not the judge of that, but I do want people to come to personal faith in Jesus, and find some claims to having personal faith more easy to resonate with than others. Back in the day where there was evidently no personal faith I would be a lot more confident to consider the person to be ‘lost’. I am not a universalist (too many ‘ifs’ in Scripture) but am optimistic that there is a wideness in the mercy of God (Pinnock) that will mean that more than just the clearly born again ones make it (conversely I am not convinced that all those who jumped through the constructed born again hoop will make it…)

So where am I going with this aside? Back in the day the outworking was simple – personal faith being multiplied, the numbers of those being born again increasing dramatically. I still look for that, but not simply that. So trying to put the two evolutionary points together…

I now look for the outworking to be visible in the world, and I believe the calling of the church is to take responsibility not to get people out of the world and into the church (though that remains our desire) but to see the transformation of society.

I have written before about a particular experience, and I rate experiences highly, particularly the ones that affect us liminally. Prophecy is so important, but our handling of prophecy is shaped and limited by our experience. Peter resisted Jesus when Jesus informed the disciples that he would go to Jerusalem and there be handed over. Peter resisted, not because he was being awkward but because he was the one with the revelation (prophecy) that flesh and blood had not revealed to him. The revelation (from the future) met his expectation (shaped by what he knew already) and the result was that he dug into the revelation and ended rejecting the Jesus-path. I consider that Judas did not follow a greatly different path to that one, simply Peter was probably more reflective.

The experience I refer to is of going above the land of Spain so that it was laid out below me like a map. (I think this is before ever being in Spain even to visit, so around 1999 or so.) The map shrunk from all directions so I knew I was coming to the centre. In the centre I came to a a square, in which were gathered some 100,000 people. At one end was a stage erected, but unoccupied. The people were gathering to hear the word of the Lord. I have many times recounted that experience, and until 2 years ago always expected that any fulfilment would be with some form of Christian gathering and some well-known prophet or preacher proclaiming the message… of course 100,000 gathered in that way would be a faith stretch, but only indicated the scale of what would take place.

Two years ago I realised that Gayle and I had actually witnessed that exact event I had seen in that visionary form some 18 years before. In January 2015 we went to Madrid for a weekend when from all over Spain people were called to the capital by a newly formed political party to take part in the march for change. As we prepared to go to the gathering Gayle had a phone call and had to fly to the UK that afternoon on the first available flight. We never did get to take part. However, we decided to go to the square… the square in Spain from which all measurements are taken. The central square of all Spain – Puerta del sol. Already the place was being packed by people. We stayed around an hour and by the time we left people were amassed in the square and into side streets. The event had not yet begun and at one end was a stage set – with no-one on it by the time we left. Organisers eventually claimed there were 300,000 present, police said 100,000.

Months later, and only months later, did I realise what we had seen. I remember walking down the hallway of our apartment with some coffee. Gayle was in the lounge and as I came into the lounge I had that liminal moment of realising what had taken place in Jan 2015. I said to Gayle ‘this was that.’

No prophet in sight. Indeed the main speaker is an acclaimed atheist (though has softened through his respect for the pope – that up and coming speaker!). The fulfilment was so different to what I expected. However the word released? ‘Tick, tock, the clock is ticking, this is the year of change for Spain’. 2015 the year we visited the Franco tomb, and asked for a sign that an earthquake might go throughout the land, and in the May of that year many, many newspapers carried the headline that with the greatest political changes in 40 years that ‘A political earthquake has gone through the land’. A year of change indeed and Spain is still on that process.

Years ago I would not have been able to expect that as an outworking, and might even have seen it as a false sign. Today I am not looking for another outworking. That was what I saw.

So the evolution is that I am looking for the signs to be in the world. I am not waiting for the signs to be of a huge church appearing and we flock to it to learn what we need to do to get the same results. Not all might come to faith… and very controversially I am open even to some atheists making it through to the age to come. Not all have rejected Jesus, and if there are any who make it they will only do so by what Jesus did on the cross. I might be wrong on that… but I suspect that great day will hold a few surprises for us all!

So not sure if this qualifies as Scotty still believes this stuff, or I have evolved, or I have changed my beliefs. I am still fanatical about faith, but my expectation has been opened to a perspective so much wider than 20 years ago.


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Scotty still believes this stuff #2

I have changed, evolved, softened over the years but one of the core elements that has shaped my perspectives and activities that has not shifted is that it is what has taken place in history that shapes a geography. The connection between history and what we see is very strong. This is the case at […]


I have changed, evolved, softened over the years but one of the core elements that has shaped my perspectives and activities that has not shifted is that it is what has taken place in history that shapes a geography. The connection between history and what we see is very strong. This is the case at a personal level. Visit a counselor and they will wish to uncover what has taken place earlier in one’s life to help discover the factors that shape responses and beliefs. What is true at a personal level is true corporately. From John 7 to 10 we read of Jesus in Jerusalem. Those four chapters will be in contrast to the final 3 verses of chapter 10 that I will quote in a short while. In Jerusalem, the ‘holy’ city that was there to be the place where salvation entered for the world, the response to Jesus was all-but exclusively to reject him. Only once or twice do we get a hesitant ‘maybe he could be the Messiah’, and certainly not from the powers that be. We read:

  • Jesus has a demon (7:20; 8:52; 10:20)
  • they tried to arrest him (7:30, 44; 10:39)
  • no prophet arises from Galilee (7:52)
  • questioned his legitimacy (8:39)
  • they declare he is not a Jew but a Samaritan (8:48)
  • pick up stones to kill him (8:59; 10:31)
  • he is not from God (9:16)
  • he is a sinner (9:24)

Not exactly welcoming him with open arms! The contrast of the four chapters to the final three verses is immense, with even the slow build up over the chapters to leave us with a clear picture that he is overwhelmingly rejected underlining in a few words what took place in a different geography:

He went away again, across the Jordan, to the place, where John was batptising earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him , and they were saying, ‘John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.’ And many believed in him there.

Geography, geography, geography. It is hard to put together so few words and to emphasise geography so many times:

  • He went away
  • across the Jordan
  • to the place
  • where
  • he remained there
  • many came
  • believed in him there

The emphasis on locality is unmistaken. And tucked in those verses is one reference to history: the place where John had been baptising earlier. The geography is different spiritually to Jerusalem. Earlier in Jerusalem it had been the city that stones and kills the prophets. That shaped the geography. It is the centre not of holiness, but of demonic bondage of a particular type. Across the Jordan has been exposed to the open confession and a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

History shapes the geography.

In the same way that if we understand where a person has come from, what they have experienced we will often understand why they have made the choices they have made so if we understand the history of a geography we will often realise why it manifests in the way it does. The outcome, both at a personal level and at a corporate level, might not be predetermined (there are choices) but the bias toward, and many times the direct outcome, can be seen as a result of the history.

Of this I have certainly not changed at all. I am as strongly believing this today as any time in the past 20 years. I have also seen too many shifts take place when tackling some of the historical aspects. Bloodshed, divisions, wrong alliances, changing of boundaries, enslavement and the like all sow into the land, and what is sown will produce fruit.

I might add to this that I am more convinced now than 20 years ago that the Bible does not outline in some predetermined way the future (antiChrist, Armageddon and such) so am a strong believer we can, and are called to, shape the future. I resist the idea that we are to counteract what appears as a threat (Islam and the like) to our so-called ‘Christian’ freedoms with a militant response. Indeed such responses, for me, are fuel that increases the division and strength of what is feared!

I don’t think on this one that I have changed. It shapes so much of what Gayle and I focus on. We have sought out geographies, we have walked streets because of this passionate belief, and in our time in Spain on every aspect (bar one to date) of where we have gone to pray with respect to history there has been some direct sign that has occurred subsequently. Many times in the pubic arena, on TV or in the newspapers. And on the one, as far as I can recollect, that has not seemingly produced a direct sign, I don’t think we are finished with that one yet!

Yes Scotty still believes this. But there have been evolutions. Evolutions tend not to mark right angle changes of direction, but of development.


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Scotty still believes this stuff #1

I wrote a few days ago that Steve Lowton paid me a very high compliment when he said that meeting up with me encourages him as it makes him realise that ‘Scotty still believes all this stuff.’ Other than the disrespect of calling me ‘Scotty’ (beam me up Scotty?) I was very touched indeed and […]


I wrote a few days ago that Steve Lowton paid me a very high compliment when he said that meeting up with me encourages him as it makes him realise that ‘Scotty still believes all this stuff.’ Other than the disrespect of calling me ‘Scotty’ (beam me up Scotty?) I was very touched indeed and provoked to think about my convictions. On names I was ‘Marty’ in school and in most official places in Spain I am James followed by E-Scott as it is very difficult for a Spanish tongue to go ‘S’ followed by another consonant, hence I suppose E-Spaña?

I like to think I have not changed at all, other than of course matured. The probability is though I have changed more than I realise and have remained as immature as ever. The wonderful thing about being a #8 on the enneagram is the lack of reflection, leading to a ‘nothing to change…’ approach to life! I am sure I have changed enormously in my core-beliefs, and can certainly realise that I have moved from taking a fundamentalist approach to Scripture (6-day creation, no evolution, literal flood, literal big fish and Jonah etc.) when I was in my late teens, but if I focus on the past 20 years I will try and see what has changed.

I have no idea how many posts will result, so let me start with a few backdrops. A number of years ago someone helpfully used (out of context) Jesus’ phrase that in his Father’s house are many rooms. A Baptist room, a C of E room, a Martin Scott room etc. I don’t need to like all the rooms, and many of them I can’t even find my way to (a meditative approach to the Christian faith for example). However, I do not need to write them off as outside of the Father’s house. Of course my room and the ones I visit are considerably more important than the others!!!???!!! I am also aware that God’s presence is not a great measurement for endorsement. Even if I make my bed in sheol (and by implication the writer’s entry to sheol was not from pursuing God but quite the opposite) his presence will be there. Those two aspects are key:

1) There are many approaches that God embraces and he seems (if I can say so respectfully) crazily accepting, allowing them to be another room in his house.
2) God shows up all over the place. When he does with us we wrongly assume it is because we are more right than anyone else. His presence is not an endorsement.

So 20 years ago, post Toronto (now that was the beginning of a paradigm shift) I was deeply impacted and involved in what was termed ‘Sowing the seeds of revival’ at Marsham Street. Heady days with amazing testimonies and such a sense of ‘revival’ being at hand. Certainly I am deeply grateful for those days, and it is from that time I want to try and assess whether Scotty still believes what he has always believed.

The following year – beginning in May 1998 – I began to travel with prayer teams to cities in the UK. I was convinced that something that was present at Marsham Street needed to get into the cities of the nation, it needed to get on the road. I began to pray for cities to open, day after day. Then one day the Lord spoke to me (or I realised how thick I was) in that I could only go to one city at a time. I then began to pray for one city to open. Within days I was in Leeds and from there one invite followed another, eventually with Germany, Sweden, France and a number of other European nations opening up.

What did I believe this would accomplish?

1) Healing of land was essential. I began to see how historic sin was what shaped a geography and that unless the effects of yesterday were changed tomorrow would only look the same – even if there was a temporary shift and a revival movement would come.
2) That to see a shift a number of aspects would be needed. Identificational repentance (the strongest Jesus-foundation for this is his baptism) as modelled by the biblical prophets would be at the core, this then meaning that the powers that are both the manifestation of the corporate sin and attach themselves to that sin could then be ‘bound’ (meaning that their influence could have limits places on them, rather than obliterated).
3) The unity of the body – one church in the locality (local church not being church in the locality) dealing with the seeds of the sins of its community (anger rather than murder model) then would mean there was a real ability to effectively bind powers. By using the term ‘bind’ I am not referring primarily to some loud prayer that ‘binds demon so and so’, though I am not averse to that either! I am seeking to emphasise that how the body is will largely determine what is allowed (loosed) and what is forbidden / restricted (bound).
4) Slowly alongside the ‘healing of the land’ and the unity of the church in the locality I began to see that there was a thrust toward occupying whatever was cleared – so I tentatively began to talk about the spheres of the city / region, such as health care, education, business, the arts etc.

From Marsham Street of 1997 and the emphasis there on a sound that attracts heaven, through to the early 2000’s that was pretty much what I was committed to. Maybe a 1000 or so people joined with me and others such as Steve with these prayer teams and prayer walking.

So looking at the boxes of my core beliefs which ones does Scotty tick today? Probably all of them, I think, but the context of our world has changed enormously, so the outworking looks different. I was a late-comer to the intercession thing, so make no claims in what follows. I do believe the huge shifts in the world are not in spite of our prayers, but because of the amazing intercessory movement. I include not just the ‘good’ things that we see around us, but the many pressures that have come on the body of Christ in these past years. Also maybe some of the crap that has also arisen has been because we have not given serious attention to those things and been too pre-occupied with our own self-preservation.

I will follow up this post, as I am outwardly on a different track than the one that I began to go down in 1998. I have probably changed but I like to think I have only developed the beliefs I had back then. Maybe…


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An up and coming speaker

I am posting a video below of a speaker who if he continues in this vein I think will become very well-known. He speaks in Italian but you will be able to get sub-titles. Yesterday I posted on the dancing at valle de los caidos. Of course some with a religious bent (more likely a […]


I am posting a video below of a speaker who if he continues in this vein I think will become very well-known. He speaks in Italian but you will be able to get sub-titles. Yesterday I posted on the dancing at valle de los caidos. Of course some with a religious bent (more likely a political bent) have really objected to what was said, and the dance has not been received as an ‘apology’. However one priest Joaquín Sanchéz from Murcia wrote an open letter to the two in the video. Originally published in el diario it is now on different web-sites such as:

Some quotes:

Soy Joaquín y soy sacerdote de la Iglesia Católica. Me dirijo a ti de esta manera porque siento un profundo respeto por los ideales que defiendes y proclamas abiertamente. De hecho, veo con frecuencia El Intermedio y he comprado uno de tus libros. Me siento identificado en gran parte por lo que expresas y aquello por lo que luchas. Lo haces, junto a Dani Mateo y el resto del equipo, desde el humor y te lo agradezco porque es una bocanada de aire fresco.

Their humour – a breath of fresh air… he goes on to write about what is a true offence to ‘religion’, giving an extensive list, centring on the social effects visible in society, including 28% of Spanish at risk of social exclusion. He actually writes that the valley of the fallen contradicts true religious sentiment and should be transformed to a place of peace:

La propia existencia del Valle de los Caídos es una ofensa contra el sentimiento religioso, debiera transformarse en un lugar para la paz.

And he ends with:

Quiero animarte y animaros a seguir en esta línea tan necesaria cuando el miedo y la mentira han entrado de lleno en la sociedad y en el mundo periodístico.

Un abrazo.

“I want to encourage you to continue in this direction, so necessary when fear and lies have entered so fully into society and the media world… An embrace.”

Not sure if his view is shared by the hierarchy but very sweet.

And one more piece of good news. Madrid have removed at the request of Germany a Nazi plaque honouring pilots who were involved in the blitzing of Guernica in 1937:

Now to the up and coming speaker… he probably would endorse Joaquin, the priest that I wrote about above!


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Dancers who dance on injustice

We have laughed and laughed but have not missed the prophetic nature of the dance from Dani Mateo (a commentator and comedian in Spain). He rejected Valley of the Fallen as a place of reconciliation (would a graveyard with Jews and Aushwitz guards be appropriate?). He called it a piece of mierda (rhymes with ‘hit’) […]


We have laughed and laughed but have not missed the prophetic nature of the dance from Dani Mateo (a commentator and comedian in Spain). He rejected Valley of the Fallen as a place of reconciliation (would a graveyard with Jews and Aushwitz guards be appropriate?). He called it a piece of mierda (rhymes with ‘hit’) and then when threatened with court action against him he has made an ‘apology’ calling it el baile de los caidos (the dance of the fallen!!). He also has explained that there are different crosses and that the one at the valley of the fallen is not recognised by many Christians as a true cross (Dani if you read my blog – well done!!!!).

Enjoy!!!!! And I hope that Rog and Sue also enjoy – we had an awesome time there with them giving it a kick 2 years ago…


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