Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
Volume 2 Significant Other and Volume 3 A Subversive Movement now also available!
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We still dream

In looking at Pentecost and the background of the tower of Babel narrative there is the implicit message of a boundary being removed. God inserted a boundary at Babel so that there might not be a level of unity whereby ‘whatever they put their mind to they will accomplish’. He did this through the confusion of the languages. At Pentecost where everyone heard them speak in their language there is the gift of languages so that there might be a working, a planning together so that what was in their hearts might indeed be accomplished. Pentecost unlocks the imagination so that possibilities open up.

The imagination is so important. The ‘I have a dream’ speech of Martin Luther King resonates because there is something so strongly of God’s character in it. The dream is of a different future:

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.

As believers this is what we bring to the table. Something not based in the Enlightenment ideal of progress, nor in the Marxist ideology of change through conflict, but based on faith in an ‘optimistic’ life-giving God who demonstrated this in Jesus. What we bring is more than a good idea, or simply an ‘imagine all the people’ that Lennon invited us to. We are to bring a faith that true imagination unlocks the activity of heaven. Paul put it like this:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3: 20).

God can do, but we have to do something too – it begins in the imagination, in the asking. What God does is in proportion not to his power, but in proportion to his power that is working among us. That power is not simply measured by how many miracles we can testify to (though that is important) but how much the power of God is transforming our lives from self-centredness to God- and world-centredness. As that takes place and there are imaginations fuelled by God’s loving, redemptive agenda so God shows up. I am convinced it was that intangible, yet very real presence of God that provoked non-believing, with a lot to lose, people, the Asiarchs, to connect to Paul in Ephesus.

If we can move beyond that of ‘saving souls to get them their ticket to heaven’ and see that God is in the business of rescuing people from life as it has been sold to them, to enabling them to engage with his dream and activities of aligning the world with a visible manifestation around us of heavenly values. This is what Luther King articulated.

There is now an incredible battle on for the soul of the world. Conformity, monochromeness that obliterates difference has incredibly become an agenda that wins votes. We were made for difference and it is fear that is the fodder that turns those votes. When the media is in the control of the elite it should not surprise us that it can quickly be labelled the ‘enemy of the people’. Any activity that challenges the status quo becomes sidelined and illegal.

There is something bigger at stake than Britain leaving the EU… the bigger is the reshaping of Europe regardless of levels of government. For any reshaping to be redemptive I consider that the wonderful body of Christ needs to dream again. The future context (and the one that is already here and has been for well over a decade) is so different to the one in which ‘Toronto’ occurred. But ‘Toronto’ prepared us for this. We have been prepared to go places we have never gone before, to no longer exercise in the playground at the set time, but to live with a soul bared, wind in face, looking the conflicts in the eye and proclaim – we still dream.

A while ago I declared a new media is here. It will come. It cannot be silenced, for God is a communicator. I declare today the dream is on. It cannot be stopped. A shift of time is literally now on the EU agenda. From the shift of time comes the setting of ‘true north’. The setting of direction for journey. People have been moving at an alarming and unprecedented rate these past years. The issue now is the setting of true north for people movements in Scripture indicate a great shift in time. There are political and economic decisions that will have to be made… but first has to come the unlocking of the imagination about a future that has not yet been shaped. For this we make room for the artists, the cartoonists, the graffiti-ists, the writers. They will both articulate and make room for the imagination.

The adverse winds are blowing… but I think the dream is still on.


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8 thoughts on “We still dream

  1. So timely Martin, seeking to support emerging artist and makers, encourage them, provide safe community as an incubator for what is not yet in a small town in the back end of Wales. Some have faith, others not so, but they all have dreams and even though it’s early days something is sparking. Am convinced artists and makers are essential to community transformation and the release of potential in others and land, especially the derelict town centres, hollowed out by the economic addiction to growth. Believing that all things are possible with an open hand.

    1. Thanks. Debs – love the little I know of what you are doing. Many years ago I had a word that when we learn to re-value art it will re-value the housing market (and by implication economics). I don’t think that is simply art = £ but it is art and what is its value… what is its purpose? When that can be discovered then we have to invest in art / artists so that communities can break free and economies can be touched.

  2. I like

    ‘If we can move beyond that of ‘saving souls to get them their ticket to heaven’ and see that God is in the business of rescuing people from life as it has been sold to them, to enabling them to engage with his dream and activities of aligning the world with a visible manifestation around us of heavenly values. This is what Luther King articulated’

    And that the King of all kings and queens (you me us) belonging to the royal priesthood dreams BIG,
    What if kingdom agenda has always been about us helping to restore reclaim lost, broken identities..
    Heres to the so much more of seeing heaven’s perspective, love transforms as we be loved to take the spheres by storm..
    Yes being drafted into places and to forge the way ahead for the now and the next it goes beyond fish and yet every place that our sole shall tread is already ours…
    I believe diversity shall be the way forward for true unity, it has to start with the body where right now so many divides and it is not in the name of the father son and holy spirit.
    We need to allow ourselves to be sons and daughters no longer sinners or paupers,
    Thanks M as ever for your insights..

    1. Thanks M..
      I realise much of the hard ground can be in the church yet the Godhead is breaking ground for the body not to get stuck, we need to do it differently not as we did before.
      I don’t have the answers, I don’t have a theology, all I have is love as a laid down lover.
      I think whilst these times are and ahead shall be challenging of an era in the history of, they are yet the most exciting and for pioneers, explorers, adventurous..
      As we step into places and with people we have judged and labelled as unlovable, untouchable, unworthy… it will be like putting our necks out on the block, going out on a limb, yes there is a cost, yet what if for the brave hearts and lives laid down, ground breaking stuff to come…

      Whatever wherever I think for those who shall go – nations are at stake in the shake and perhaps it is going to be the most radical reformation we did ever know in our generation and to come from where it was..
      It is love let loose and all he asks of us is ‘follow me footprints to whatever project, assignment I am with you and you have all you need LOVE’
      As with all I offer, I could be mistaken and thats ok 🙂

  3. So encouraging Martin it’s great to listen and watch for the wind of the spirit to stir and take us into realms we could never have conceived, imagined or thought possible. With so much changing in the landscape it’s great to reimagine and rewrite the systems that have dominated and battled against each other to find approaches that join together and find solutions for our communities to flourish. Thank you for your continued words of encouragement – let’s step with boldness, hoping for what we cannot see – surely the promises that God has given us to bring light and life to the land and people …….

    1. Hi Nicky
      Thanks… and so much of what you are doing and where you have been called might never have taken place without the wild days. Those winds have taken you right to the key points to raise up those without a voice. And you have faced the adverse winds but have learned how to ‘tack’ and even they have taken you on the course you are on. More power to you!!

    2. Thanks Martin your encouragement means a lot and your lives laid down and poured out has been an anchor during the ups and downs of the journey. I am so glad for your updates and to get a sense from others where the wind of the spirit is blowing. I agree – the wild days were fundamental to the way our journey has unfolded – I remember shaking the old mind sets off and the shackles that went with them and God just increasing my faith pouring in vision and hope. I remembered you talking about taking responsibility for the land and stewarding – I never looked back and so appreciated the times we had. So then to moving into a place of filling the gap, being able to run ahead to see what’s coming and then prepare the ground – it has been what’s made us who we were meant to be. I so long now to see the heavens shift and the breakthrough to come……..roll out the musicians and artists and the important role they play In setting the scene x love you both x Nicky

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