A healthy spine?

When in the UK in December I was carrying this sense that there was an increase of apostolic authority to bring a new level of alignment. This was in particular related to England, and coming to Leicester (midlands) it seemed very appropriate for that geography but applicable wider. I was aware that King Richard’s body had been found there but do not think I knew that the confirmation that it was his skeleton was in part because he had a crooked spine.

Prior to coming across I had a dream just after setting the various dates and places. In it I was present in a Christian gathering and there were some great things taking place. People touched by God, healings etc. There was a very clear voice and the people present were focused and in harmony. A person then explained to me that these great things were taking place because of the unity of purpose. I had already observed two things: 1) that the clarity of voice was coming from one person and there was a great agreement with that voice, and 2) that when I looked out the people were of similar ethnic and class background. There was a uniformity to them.

These two elements disturbed me so I took time to respond to what I was being told saying that the voice of God is as the sound of many waters. It does not come through one language or one culture. If God can speak through a donkey he can certainly speak through a white middle class male. But the fullness of his voice has to come through the diversity, and such diversity will mean that we might not even be able to hear clearly!

Miracles do not attest a person’s authenticity. Paul does say the signs of an apostle were with him and he included miracles as part of the evidence. But by themselves they are not enough. After all Jesus made it clear that there would be those claiming to have done miracles in his name but that they were unknown to him.

The spine and the dream?

A healthy spine is not simply straight but also flexible. It is aligned but allows for movement; it facilitates multi-directional communication.

An apostolic gift must have patience as its context (2 Cor. 12:12) as it seeks to be aligned with the Gospel. Paul exhibited this as he described himself as one called to be an apostle and eschewed the title ‘apostle’. (A title would have given him authority over, the calling a mission to be accountable to.) He was not disobedient to the calling and made himself accountable to heaven for his work. He was aligned personally – he had his ‘true north’ set. If there is to be an increase of apostolic authority then it has to start with right alignment. If those with apostolic gift are not rightly aligned how can they help align the body of Christ. I am not professing to know what this might be but surely at the centre is the commitment to the spiritual and social transformation of the world (let your kingdom come). If there is that alignment in the apostolic then there can be a legitimate voice coming to the body of Christ to align in this way.

True North

A focus on other aspects will be a deviation from true north. All other directions have to flow from that. A straight spine! But a flexible spine that allows and facilitates movement in such a diversity of directions. This is where the multi- and diverse-language voices have to be heard. It is not the voice of the donkey, nor of the white middle class male, but of the multitude who are finding their direction in the light of the true north setting.

If there is to be an increase of apostolic authority that manifest in the UK / England great patience will be needed. A settling for the one voice speaks for all will not be sufficient, and even if miracles manifest there will be a falling short. The diversity might even be somewhat confusing, but the greater fullness can only come that way.

The Brexit

The above thoughts too I believe are totally relevant to a new Europe. The new Europe has to be made up of all of us who are now arriving. We all – those of us who have been established for some time in this context – and those who are more recent on the scene, all have to see ourselves as arriving to shape something new. The Brexit is to do with the reshaping of Europe. The UK (England?) has a huge contribution to make into this context. The gift has to be that of diversity. If a nation can only go where the body of Christ goes then I consider the apostolic increase is needed right now. If not then we are in for a very traumatic future. If it does there is also great trauma ahead, but a pathway through.

11 thoughts on “A healthy spine?

  1. ‘Brexit’ indicates the single-ethnic (‘white’), middle-class, baby-boomer, national(istic), selfish church, in which true apostolic alignement and fulness (plurality) of His voice is missing; and therefore Britain’s (England’s) apostolic fatherhood towards and within European regions and nations?

    England, at the angles of Europe, has always been called to engage in a spirit of apostolic fatherhood with the continent–and still is; just in the way in which ‘Holy Island’ Lindisfarne sent missionaries amongst the English tribes: a seed and a paradigm for what ‘England’, the ‘isle at the anlges’, was meant to be.

    Brexit does to England what Henry VIII did to Lindisfarne when he sold the monasteries for a few bucks, and rendered England a national fortress, cut off through violence from Europe in the middle of the sea; and his daughter Elizabeth followed in her father’s steps rendering Britannia a Protestant, and racist, global empire. Civil War and Thirty Years War followed as fruits. No apostolic realignment, no fatherly repentance, in England; and–as repeatedly in the past–England will pay a little, and the whole continent will pay a lot more for it. However, it will be those ‘fathers’ by divine calling–even by their nation’s history and geography–who will be held accountable by the Father in heaven.

    Crooked-spined Richard was the last pre-imperial King of England, when different English regions were at war with each other since they could not find a unity which would have been better than abusive controle from an overpowering centre. How times repeat themselves.

    I understand your message, Martin, is a call to overcome, as in Revelation 2-3. But who will hear it?

    1. A final thought: The missing Christian community and general population on Lindisfarne today is an indication of what is to become of the British Isles if there is no repentance over what (in the Church) made Brexit happen.

    2. Thanks for the contribution from a continental European with a heart for the UK. Whatever the ‘final’ outcome of the Brexit that connection between the island of the UK and continental Europe has to become stronger.

      I am maybe a little more optimistic than you are? I do understand that there were reasons people voted to leave – the EU is far from perfect. I likewise understand why Catalonia wishes independence. The ‘big centre’ is always dominating and wrong. I have friends who voted out who would certainly not be racist or wishing to exclude the other. Probably most would have voted to remain if the EU could be reformed. Statistically (as I understand it) the ‘church’ was not on the majority side to leave.

      My optimism though is based on two things. The Brexit has covered over something at grass roots pulling for reconciliation and a future that is not demanding ‘sovereignty’ – it is harder to see this as the Brexit has given permission to some ugly manifestations. The second reason for my optimism is that whatever occurs in parliament these next few weeks it is not over. If the Brexit goes through then I am still pulling for a re-connection to take place (and of course I would love for it not go through).

      Whatever occurs we – across the continent – have to be pulling together. There are so many challenges, particularly with the rise of the hard right that wants to exclude anyone who is different, which, as you write, will exclude the fullness of his voice.

      1. Maybe my main contribution is that ‘prophetic and apostolic people’ in England must reconsider Britain’s relationship and responsibility in terms of apostolic fatherhood, with history offering the precedence and paradigm with Lindisfarne as a root of English Christianity, as much as good Christian council in politics.

        I agree regarding many problems with the EU; but would contend that Britain across the years of her membership was a significant contributor to stopping necessary reforms and passing problematic ones. At the heart of this, I see the selfishness of a man who disowns his lover and children, in effect, rendering Europe fatherless. In his letter, Jeremiah admonished the exiled elite to bless ‘Babylon;’ they had been exiled for a reason–and for a purpose!

        Behind ‘Holy Island’ England failing her apostolic (fatherhood) reponsibility towards the continent–becoming that thuggish dad–is not just selfishness; but in addition a fortress spirit problem. The Tudors started creating ‘the Empire’ by replaced Celtic-church foundation prayer centres all around the British sea border with military fortification (including Lindisfarne and Bamburgh). Consider also what community war memorials and Remembrance Sundays do to the British (‘English’) mindset (across the country, the Church facilitates this!); and consider how the Westminster Xenotaph (Remembrance Day) locks the Downing Street government into an ongoing state of war with Nazi Germany, even Napoleonic France (the Xenotaph’s is aligned with Nelson Column!), and now obviously ‘Brussels.’

        Please excuse me for being outspoken, and not ‘nice’ and conciliatory. My concern is that another chance of focussed repentance and sincere intercession will, again, be missed by those who would know how to do it. ‘For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there.’

        Isaiah 38 is a warning I have received for Britain since the runup to the 2007 Slave Trade Act bicentenary. 2008, the banks crashed. A near collapse of global trade seems pending. https://metro.co.uk/2018/11/20/warehouse-collapses-like-dominoes-after-forklift-driver-crashes-into-unit-8160061/ And I pray that new fascism will not prevail, on the continent as well.

        On 28 May 1644, a massacre happened in Bolton, which led to the end of the English Civil War. At that point in history, one third of all the population across all communities in central Europe had died to war and famine. Will England cheer after they made the EU and global trade collapse, after they paved the way for fascism and ethnic cleansings across the continent for which they have fatherly responsibility? I pray that God will spare us and none of this will happen!

        1. Thanks Dieter. I am certainly not in disagreement with you. There is an incredible battle on for the future, and the shutting down in insularity of the UK is a major step back. My semi-optimism is not in what is seen at the public level but at what is unseen at grassroots. How many / what percentage is required? Certainly not the majority. And the results have to show in the public arena.

          In Spain we have a huge challenge and had a BIG blow recently. Given the history Fascism has been minimal but now there is a high profile rise. Happening on our watch. That is the hard part to swallow.

          1. In the full revelation and coming to fruition of the worst that people, communities and nations (and their Church) are able to produce, there always is the opportunity of an overcoming through prayerfully removing the rags of darkness and weeding out their evil roots. If this is done, the hidden gold, silver and gems should become visible again, and will shine even brighter than before.

            In every innovation and move of God, the devil tends to be given the first shot. If there is treasure in the ground–and I believe there is–then there is hope. What is eternal gold, silver and gems that is hidden in the ground, will be revealed. Anything less will burn in the testing that is already unfolding. There is hope!

            If the model of growth is no longer through addition or multiplication but ‘by the power’ operations, then sowing in weakness+hope, dying and rising from the ground must be the method.

            Concerning numbers, it will be ‘two or three in Jesus’ name’–or just a frustrated Paul who, on his own, is ‘called and set apart’, against the odds longing to make his way to Spain.

            Definitively, it’s the quality, not the quantity, of the seed that we must be concerned about. Good seeds will bring forth new beginnings and a future harvest.

  2. Sending love from sunny Rochdale, on the edge of the Pennines (otherwise known as the ‘backbone of England’ 🙂 ) The first walk I did when I came back to the U.K. was up the length of the Pennine Way (summer 2015) – right up the ‘spine’. Nice to see some pieces fitting together 😉

    1. Thanks Karen. I am sure there are far more pieces that fit together than we realise. We like to think the early church knew what they were doing – so APOSTOLIC. But I think when we read Acts it becomes clear they were not so clear… apostolic might be just getting on with it in our muddled way – but getting on with it!

      1. Have you seen that the Pennine Way is similarly shaped as King Richard’s spine? Consider that the Pennines marks the border of the warring factions in the ‘Wars of the Roses.’ There’s a lesson for the kind of apostolic connection, mutual concern and unity Jesus is asking his Church (and the British political regions) to explore today, as the alternative to the war which brought about ‘the Empire’–and which upholds ‘Empire II’ Brexiteer fantasies.

        1. This is demanding even on the English individualistic character where one is to ‘mind one’s own business,’ where everyone is essentially responsible for themselves. Genesis 4:9, however.

      2. If the Pennines are England’s ‘spine’, then perhaps the central Midlands are the hips?

        When in 2007 the Armed Forces Memorial (the classical form of a cultic ‘high place’) was dedicated in October 2007 at Alrewas (between Lichfield and Burton), God showed us that its existence would stiffen and arrest the nation and the people–by demobilising the spine?

        I then went to pray in two successive years, first time with a friend. The third year, I prayed from home. Perhaps, we were laying a trial? Despite efforts, we then could not touch base with relevant local intercessors and Christian leaders. Maybe it’s their time now to do something about it?

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