The second context

I posted yesterday about one reflection in two contexts. But before I go on to the second context – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JUDITH.

The first was that of education – I did OK, for others it was probably a prison that did not train them in the way they should go but by default put limitations on their self-worth and value. The second I am more tentative about reflecting on, as my reflections are more recent (and many of the reflections come as I wake in the morning, not while I am in control during the day!).

The context is that of the charismatic, new church, progressive, call-it-what-you-want expression of the Christian faith. Wow did I benefit from my experience within that kind of movement. Enormously. It has shaped me like nothing else has. Yes I love to claim to be Anabaptist, even to be influenced a bit by the Eastern strand of the historic faith, but the reality is gifts of the Spirit, prophesying, slapping on of hands, prophetic vision – all of that is inside me to this day. I love the rhetoric. I met a while back with a Brit pastor who was out here and he asked me about the EU and any thoughts I had about it and ‘end-times’. After pontificating that it had nothing to do with the end-times went on to proclaim and if it did, and the antiChrist was about to manifest in and through the EU that would be the very reason why I would vote to stay in. I love all of that. I love it when Gayle and I get to Madrid. Walk the streets of the city, the capital, the big one, praying. Even if it is fantasy I love it, it is somewhere in my bloodstream.

Strong leadership, definite direction, God has spoken and we are the ones who know what he has said. I did OK in all that and I am not about to rubbish it. I have witnessed too many incredible changes in health – many instantaneous, prayed into situations and read newspaper headlines that are verbatim what was prayed into, to rubbish it. I am very grateful for the background. I am not about to rubbish it either for I am an unashamed charismatic when I read the NT. Paul in Galatians does not appeal to a date when they believed but to an experience they had, with a continual working of miracles in their midst as his appeal that they do not abandon their direction and come under legalism. Charismatic experience is central to me, and I don’t think I just read it there – I actually think it is there to be read.

Yet I have learnt (yes I think I have learnt something) over the years that some people prosper in certain situations and others do not. Some people prosper for a time and then later find the situation to be not so prosperous, indeed the situation might become a negative context for them.

So this is my second context. I wish I had not fitted in so well. I wish I had challenged us (and this was an ‘us’ not a ‘them’) to give people more space, more room not to fit in. More room not to be committed so intensely, to explore other avenues, other expressions of the wonderful faith.

Maybe I really am maturing. I am more appreciative now of difference than ever before. I appreciate the liturgical – so much so I did it for 5 whole days! I also have to be true to my roots, believing it is the way God led me, and it is how the Scriptures resonate with me. Being true to my roots is to try and live outside the box, with more respect than before for those who are being true to where they find life. I want to be a more objectionable voice to the self-assured structures that promise life, rather than release people to their destiny. When I do hit 61 at least I will have a focus.

I was quite happy the other day. I had to visit the bank. In discussion with the person behind the desk, eventually letting them know that money is not what motivates us, she let out a good strong Spanish swear word at quite a volume, calling on me loudly ‘just do something’. A small success, frustration that I would not do something that indicated that we could fit in. All structures, gifts and ministries are here to serve the people not the other way round. That is my voice that if true will be objectionable.


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