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...
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Clear Air

Clarifying: resetting the atmosphere

We had a short note today that said ‘now I get the concept of the façades’ word. In the light of that and the time we find ourselves in I thought I would put a few points down here that will make everything ever so clear (as if!!).

It was from a dream that indicated there were many influences that shaped public life as we now have it, and a time came when the inside of institutions were made visible, however in response to the situation believers sang (I do not use the word ‘worship’ in this context) a well known ‘worship’ song with the result that the façades all closed back up.

Here then are my comments.

How we respond at any given time is key. There is a time for all things said the writer of Ecclesiastes. What is right in one context is wrong in another. We see that very clearly when God says he hated the festivals and sacrifices – yet the people could have defended themselves with ‘and who told us to do this?’

In the dream it was singing, and as mentioned above singing can be worship but in the wrong context it is anything but worship. Worship is to live and act in a way that declares our faith that God is ‘worthy’. When the façades come up God is looking for our engagement not our resorting to singing. (Jo Storie put this so well with the need to ‘see’ what God is up to.)

I believe that God ‘rules’ but a) not by power but by love and b) there is a distribution of that rule with the body of Christ as absolutely the key. In the all-but one world government (past) of the Imperial world of Rome John presents his vision of the throne room of heaven (Rev. 4 and 5) in such a way that the readers / hearers had a huge choice to make: is rulership coming from Rome, or from heaven via a Lamb that has been slain who has given authority to those who follow the Lamb? We are in deception if we think the key to the future is a White House, a #10, a Moncloa, a Brussels or wherever. Important as those places are we will one day find that we have been in deception if that has been our belief and passion. Rather how the body of Christ responds is what shapes the future. I hold to that with a) the choice of ekklesia as the governmental word used to describe those people; b) the call to be a royal priesthood (exercising authority for change through laying down our rights); and c) the principle of seeds among the followers of Jesus relating to fruit in society.

Hence what are we to do now at this key time? To resort to the familiar (for example, sing ‘Jesus is Lord’) and not to see that we are in a major ‘leverage’ moment for change through our self-abandonning involvement will mean we miss this opportunity, maybe for a life-time.

The coronavirus crisis is exposing all kinds of issues (side note: corona = crown; there is currently a huge exposée of the royal family in Spain taking place at this time; one opposition party leader saying ‘to question the royalty is more lethal for Spain than than the corona virus’!!!). Personal issues such as ones of fear, self preservation, our values concerning the weak and vulnerable, health care for all or for the privileged; economic issues – goes without saying, but putting it in the biblical context there are ALWAYS major economic shifts when there is a spiritual shift; nationalistic issue with borders becoming racist legitimisers (the ‘Chinese’ virus!!!!). We should be thankful that Scripture has a relevant perspective into all the above and many other issues.

We are at a moment of RESET. Creation has had enough, give it all a REST so that we can get a reset. Creation always cries out and looks to those who are being fashioned into the image of Jesus to give a response. (Creation’s voice also being heard through the feminine – inevitable theologically as we are all from ‘mother’ earth… not gaia, but Genesis the book of origins makes this clear. The last voice on the streets of Madrid before the silence that speaks loudly right now was the voice of the International Day of Women. Wisdom clearly cries out.)

A reset means there is good news… if we are not one of the elite. That is how it was in Jesus’ day. There being neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, nor male and female. Good news if one was a Gentile, a slave, or female. Bad news (?) if one were Jew, free and male. Not really bad news, but solidly bad news if one wanted to hold on to privilege. But great news if willing to travel the path of repentance and lay down privilege. It cannot be any different today.

Most readers of this blog are from the privileged 5% of the world. There is a reset that can take place. Choices we – the privileged and those who are to be through whom the life (rulership) of Jesus the slain Lamb is to come – can and must make. Not ‘me first’, nor ‘my nation first’… but a prayer, a desire and action that allows the huge reset to take place. If the personal resets cannot take place, and we resort to the familiar…

The elements of privilege: that encompass gender, economics and faith / chosenness are being challenged at this time. It might not be easy to journey through the issues being presented but the path has to be trodden by those who refuse to live as elite. Once that is done there are corresponding choices we will make, but for sure we cannot simply join our voices to the former songs. There are songs at this time but they are the songs of creation.

OK maybe the above is clear?

10 thoughts on “Clarifying: resetting the atmosphere

  1. “A reset means there is good news”

    and therein lies the cultural gulf between left and right.

    Progressives will look to disruptive change, even plague, with a sense of optimism of what could be, the conservative will fear it for what it could bring in its wake.

    I guess the weight of historical precedent has to push the impartial to conservative caution which is possibly why personal politics tend to move to the right with age (with notable exceptions in this community of course)

    I wish everyone safe passage through this plague. I hope we all acquit ourselves well



    1. Yes and that caution means slowness as we seek to think things through. The very speed of this spread is a lesson to us! And so are the photos at the top – it’s been what? Four months? And the air is clear and being restored… How amazing is that? And what happens when the Chinese factories restart because we’re (I’m) back to buying clothes again? Reconsidering! ?

  2. Safe passage… Glad we cannot be so smart as when we pray ‘let your kingdom come’ that we (read for that ‘Martin’) can with integrity determine ahead of time what that will look like. The huge issue is that there are so many losers in the current scenario (and a few winners) but if we can pray genuinely there will be outcomes that will shock us (for that read ‘Martin). Appreciate the comments above.

    1. It is the top 10% who consume the most, travel the most (70% of air travel), emit the most greenhouse gases. Yup, a reset will allow the other 90% to finally have their needs met. And hopefully, the needs of all the other species on the planet who contribute to our well being. A reset was always coming as we refused to do it ourselves. Now it is done for us. Remains to be seen what we will make of it.
      The prayer is that this reset will be a positive one not a negative one. There are all sorts of folks who look for a reset to a more authoritarian, more rigid, more racist, more elitist society. Even something they would call more Christian. If we care for the 90% and the rest of the planet those are not the folks we stand with and that is not the reset we hope/long for.
      Want to do something really positive in this – plant a tree. I mean it. Find a way to either do it yourself or donate to have it done. Trees are totally lifegiving and they are for the future. So make a way to plant a tree. It will make your self-isolation feel so much better. What better legacy to leave?

  3. Absolutely agree Martin.
    All along, I’ve been hearing Creation groaning. It’s a lesson to us how a tiny microbe can so quickly bring “our” world to a halt. I posted an article yesterday about how the dolphins have returned to the Venice canals…as I did so I thought, what an amazingly quick recovery Creation makes when we are out of the way!
    And of course, we are created too but we have lost our position (in more ways than one) and I believe, have forgotten, in our lust for power, how we should be positioned.
    I reread Lewis’s Cosmic Trilogy last Christmas and was struck by Ransom’s utter brokenness and humility in Perelandra (Voyage to Venus) towards Maleldil and His planet. Ransom could not have saved Thulcandra (Earth) without learning that.
    So where is our awareness of Him? Creation ‘knows’ what the solution is. But we are deaf and blind. Creation is now speaking…many have seen the pictures you share at the top of this blog. As you say, how will we respond to this revealing? Please God (please) – not with the familiar.
    Where’s the Reset switch?

  4. There’s a difference between seeing a pandemic as sabbath and declaring the need for sabbath to avoid pandemic…one is reactive the other is proactive…

    A phrase Nassim Taleb uses a lot in his very insightful “Fooled by randomness” or “Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder” (by the way Nassim is probably one of the MOST prophetic academics out there who in his own words “tolerates no BS”)…the phrase is “Lindy” and refers to things that have longevity in a world of constant novel ideas…for example a set of dice is Lindy, it is a gaming mechanism that has not needed to be improved upon for thousands of years because it is robust and works and the older something is the more likely it will be to remain in the future…

    He says that your Grandmas advice is much more robust that the advice of “Intellectual yet Idiots”…how many of us have grandmas that used to preach about “washing your hands”?…Lindy.

    Many of the ideas in the text come from a “Lindy” history…things like the entire book of Leviticus as a guide to remove contamination (blood was used as a cleansing agent NOT ON PEOPLE ALWAYS ON SPACES)…our Western way of thinking has been contaminated to the point that we actually sing about the blood being put on US and never about its real purpose was to cleanse the altar and make a safe COMMON ground for community.

    I have no idea how to translate these ideas into changing culture…it makes my head hurt to even try…one of the “tells” of the new corona virus is losing a sense of smell…I suspect what we are witnessing is simply an unveiling of what has always been there anyway and we stopped noticing because we could not smell it.

    My point drawn out and meandering is that there is probably sage advice about how to cleanse the cultural space and economy from the crown virus…and it’s probably quite old fashioned…to be that voice in a proactive way might be novel.

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