Alignments for the future

Some while back we had a confirming word sent us while we were focusing on the removal of Franco’s body from the valley of the fallen. It was during the time when the process seemed stuck. We had begun to home in on the release of three groups of people: the students (youth), the women and the pensioners as key in that process and the wider picture of Spain. After a number of weeks without knowing about our focus Michael Schiffman called us to say we needed to release 3 distinct groups of people and the shift on Franco would come.

Today Greta Thunberg will arrive in Spain and will be present at the climate crisis change conference in Madrid over the coming days. She is a sign in these times. A young woman. And with her are rising an army of youth. It is their future that they are calling for. Recently while presenting a small paper on politics and theology I touched on the ‘touchstone’ issue for many Christians, the issue of abortion, which for sure is a major issue, yet I suggested there is a spectrum that it sits on which has to include that of creation care (also war, nationalism and immigration are on the same spectrum). Both the issue of abortion and climate care are to do with the future and how we relate to those not yet born and those who are yet to live – true life being defined as becoming those who contribute to others, that being the real test of how much glory is present.

Columbus Square

Some years back we made a small visit to Columbus Square where the adventurer(*) is honoured and it has become one of the centres for nationalism (Spain Day), the military and power displays. Since our little venture into that square we have noted some wonderful shifts in the response to such celebrations of power. And just after that time this wonderful focused statue of the woman has been there. And in this photo with the juxtaposition of the woman and the Spanish flag surely speaks loudly! Love for nation and nationalism are not one and the same. It is the same as equating evangelism with seeing people as objects to be evangelised… no good news there!!

The woman, the feminine. There is a future that is held at this time in the hands and hearts of women. In the same way as there were good men at the time of Jesus, so there are ‘bad’ women today, who use power and ungodly position for their own ends. Yet Jesus died as a man – he nailed where the central corruption of humanity lay. So I suggest there is a new centring in of hope to be found in and among women in this time.

In Spain since 2003 there are over 1000 women who have been killed in domestic violence situations. Many more physically and emotionally beaten. Yes there is a violence that at times has gone the other way, but this is not a level field.

In parliament yesterday

Pensioners. Some who have made their contribution, have lived through trauma to help give a future (and some of course who have not been contributors over their years). Care for the elderly. Honour those who have walked before, otherwise there is little genuine hope for a better tomorrow. Many pensioners are going to find a new lease of life. Their time is not over, even if the money (in Spain) set aside for them has been raided by previous governments. (Not a surprise when so much financial basis is founded on debt, the way to ‘create’ wealth!)

Yesterday in parliament – yes still no government here, and a total police barricade so we were not able to get to the building yesterday – Agustin Zamarron (70+ and still seeking to serve as an MP) with great dignity spoke of the responsibility to Spain and the deep embarrassment he felt that to date there has been no success in forming a government.

An army that is different. That has a different spirit. I am looking at this when I think of the 2010 -2020 dream and the final level playing field. I am not a student, nor a woman nor a pensioner… but I am and need to be involved. There is though a centre, and maybe it is just Spain but there is something congregating around youth, women and pensioners.

Madrid, with the work of the last mayoress, despite reversals being activated by the new administration has seen pollution drop by 20%, the most of any major world city. The climate conference is here, and the TV news spoke of this conference and ‘the planet is looking for her salvation’. That is a quote from someone I read… where then are the daughters and sons of God? And maybe we also have to ask who then are the daughters and sons of God? The opening day one of the biggest Spanish polluters of the environment were on the front page of most of the main papers. Money can buy publicity, as always. It buys elections. Power wins. Or it has, but here comes 2020. A level playing field. Could love find a way?

Before 2020, comes tomorrow (literally). The streets will speak once again in Spain, so we need to be there as wisdom cries out in the public square. Walking boots on and with many thousands others we will walk.


*I very generously described Columbus as an adventurer. Read the stories as he left in the service of God and Spanish crown, accompanied by a priest who preached in Spanish, giving all an opportunity to respond to the message of salvation (I know some preaching is hard to understand but this takes the cake!), then those who did not respond were ‘legitimately’ killed or enslaved. I called him an adventurer, and I do that not to excuse him, but to allow the challenge to be ours of clearing up the mess, for those who have conviction that something is wrong surely must be those who seek to shift the effects of what has gone before.

4 thoughts on “Alignments for the future

  1. I cannot count the number of times I have stood in my living room addressing god/the universe/whomever and pondered why men seem to hate women. What is it that causes them to abuse, harm and murder us? It’s constant. And in my 62 years of life I think it has actually got worse. I tremble for the young women I teach. The Guardian had an article yesterday on the 30th year remembrance of the 1989 Polytechnique shooting in Montreal where 14 women were assassinated simply because they chose to study engineering. In the article it was noted that a woman or girl dies in Canada due to male violence every 2.5 days.

    Today we see the rise of the alt right globally. Underpinning much of their ideology is hatred of women. They are an extreme form of patriarchy – elitist and misogynist. What is the answer? How do we level the playing field? What would cause men to reject economic and political systems that protect them, ensure their entitlement and give license to murder? The most dangerous place for a woman is her home. The most dangerous person in her life and the most likely to harm or kill her is her male partner. Human trafficking is escalating because the men who rape such women think its okay to do so and will pay for the privilege. How do we change that?

    To be honest, while I celebrate how women keep rising up, continue against all odds, work to create a better world for their children and others (and no, not all women are saints but why would we demand that?), I despair of it ever getting better. What would it take to change? Look at Greta Thunberg. She is another one I tremble for. How many men have chosen to issue threats against her, to deride her and call for harm or death for her? Why? What threat is a 16 year old girl? Are they bigger men for doing so? It may be pathetic but we have seen the rise of the online communities that cater to male grievance. In Toronto that ended up with a young male driving a van down a street and seeking to kill women. All because he was told he was entitled to a woman when he wanted one and felt rejected.

    We are back to patriarchy. An entrenched system that privileges maleness. It entitles masculinity and seeks to enforce that privilege economically (even with maternity leave women get less than men), manage women and especially their fertility, and in many places of the world continue to deny them education. All meant to keep women in their place, a place of service to men. A few weeks ago in the comments to a post it was asserted that since patriarchy is what we see around us it is what will be. It is a default system for human organization. If so, then this post has little meaning. Your vision Martin must be incorrect. And if you are going to say Jesus believed this too then surely he was missing something.

    When I read this post Martin I see a call to overturn patriarchy. I see a declaration against capitalism because youth and pensioners are considered unproductive and therefore are discounted by the system. I see a call to care for the poor – disproportionally made up of women globally. A level field would be amazing. Not sure I am yet that hopeful. It is going to take men to make a lot of those changes, or at least support them. Is every male who reads this blog willing to go there? It would be a small start.

    1. Thanks Ann for the comments. History nor the horrendous statistics are fodder to create optimism. And I think it is valid to have different perspectives – glass half empty (or only 3% full?) to the glass is half full. Also I think we all stand at a different point in our lives. Some starting out – Greta. Others battling for years and no progress visible around them or for them and those they are in contact with. If we hold to an (even if vague) eschatological vision then every contribution that aligns with heaven’s values will ‘come through the fire’. My huge respect is to those who have no transcendent faith but are sacrificing for the future.

    2. On a climate note – here is a quote from an article in the Guardian about the meeting in Madrid. Nations still are not grappling with reality yet. We need better than a level field, much better –
      “We must bend the curve next year,” he told the Guardian in an interview, citing stark warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Next year is the year of truth. The year when we must move decisively to an economy that really starts to reduce investments in fossil fuels.”

      2020 is it. We need to turn this ship around and head in the right direction on the economy, climate, justice, women, youth etc, etc. Much to do. No time to just sit and lament. We all need to be engaged. Doesn’t matter how we see the glass. For the sake of future lives we all must engage and engage fully. Hope is something that is born out of action. Engagement creates hope. Every small action counts and pushes us to larger, collective actions. Time to get a move on.

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