Explorations in Theology

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Here we are – 2022

In this video link I am making my contribution to a ‘where are we’. When COVID kicked in I, as per many others, saw it as signifying a reboot. I also said that although there would be a measure of post-COVID that 2022 would be much more troublesome. Little did I know that we would be looking at a full scale war where the map of Europe is being re-drawn, and the desire to see a nation obliterated. This was recently released by the Patriarchate of the Moscow Russian Orthodox Church:

You are a Russian Warrior. Your duty is to defend the Fatherland from Ukrainian nationalists. Your task is to wipe the Ukrainian nation off the face of the earth. Your enemy is an ideology causing sinful damage to human soul.

The main sight I had on 2022 was that there would be a series of events, probably containable if there was only one of them but cumulatively they would cause immense problems as they both followed one another and came together. I see this spilling over into 2023.

In the video I seek to give the sight I have, but want to emphasise that at the beginning of this year I saw a series of doors before us (I saw ‘four’) and that we could go through whichever we wished and the other side we would find that God was there waiting. Those opportunities might be huge, or we might consider them small (after all the small act of the 2 coins made a huge contribution the ‘end of the age’ in AD70). Large or small is not the important element. We might have (physical, relational, geographical) limitations on us but a very distinct before and an after. Opportunities are here. We look for them amidst neighbours, colleagues. We are all carriers of that reconciliation spirit that comes through the reconciling of the world to God through the cross.

Interpreting what we see is always a challenge – expectation often cocks up our interpretation. Back in 2010 I wrote contributing to a book on what do we see for the decade. In there I put that the dollar would no longer be the currency of international exchange. It still technically is… though I suspect that before the end of the past decade that was already shifting, things were already in motion. (Not trying to justify myself…) the fig tree died when? When it was visibly dead or when Jesus spoke the word? Sometimes what we see is something that is set in motion, and we assume it is completed. It might have started but behind the scenes, invisibly. A number of years ago I had a word that a woman who had not been able to conceive would have a child that year, but although not able to conceive had had a miscarriage. It was the first Sunday in January. I prayed for her. [I will make a note below on such ‘words’.] In April she saw me and told me she had not conceived. My response – this is not your problem, this is mine. I took it seriously. All kinds of ‘words’ like that should be rarely given… and never are they to be carried by the one that they are given to. They have to be carried by the giver and with full accountability. (What happened to all the words about Y2K bug and how we were to prepare for it, complete with planes falling out of the sky… more words were given than apologies, and discovery of why they were so wrong.) We have too much wishful thinking, a ‘what would I say / do if I were God’ is totally inadequate as a way to think – it presupposes we understand God. That is a journey of a lifetime… and beyond a lifetime. In prayer the Lord said to me ‘do not call this a child when it is in the arms’. That is not the normal outcome of ‘you will have a child’ (read scripture to see what is consistently normal). Christmas eve she was confirmed as with child. My point is we understand so little, we quickly make assumptions and of we run, and sadly the assumptions are normally centred around either (or both) personal and national blessing. The continual focus on issues national that sees God’s favour on a particular land in a (semi-)covenantal nature is a far bigger issue than on getting predictions wrong. There are enough predictions that do not come to pass in scripture to make that a minor issue, but in a covenantal nation (the ONLY covenantal nation) they were clear enough that even a holy Temple could not save them! Focusing on the national and personal is certainly legitimate when God speaks, but outside of that we are forever in danger of releasing expectations that are based on a pre-resurrection perspective!

Here then is the video:

9 thoughts on “Here we are – 2022

  1. Arghhhh! Okay just needed to get that off my chest before responding. Sigh.
    Totally agree with your assessment. Why? Because I teach climate change adaptation and resilience. When ecosystems shift, economies are shaken, when economies are shaken, there are social and political consequences. And it isn’t going to be pretty. Governments will find themselves running from one disaster to the next. The profound level of this transformation is something I’ve tried to communicate for years in my courses and my students, naturally, have trouble understanding or imagining it all. I will try again in May when I start the next course on it all.

    Two things. . .
    1. The land is critical and is the place where we should gain wisdom. Nurturing and stewarding the land (even if it is a balcony on an apartment) is the place to learn. If we want the peacefulness of the garden then we have to grow them, even if it is a pot of tomatoes or herbs. The younger generation with their focus on growing green things often in indoor plants are right. We need to learn from them and learn as we grow. Restore and regenerate the land, that is the task of future generations.
    2. We must identify the Annas in this moment (whoa, that’s my name!). I doubt it is that facile. However, in moments of insecurity there are populist leaders who project the power to stabilize things. People can be attracted to that as we see all too often. But notice how such leaders consistently destroy the land. They dehumanize people and destroy the foundation of life on this earth. So we must be alert and careful to find the Annas, those who are really speaking wisdom. I think those people are the marginalized, those for whom the present system has not worked anyway, who see it with clear eyes. Those of us who have been privileged by the current system may find it hard to hear and bear what the Annas have to say.

    Yes, this is a continuation of the break up of the facades. Are we heading to the foundations now? How deep do we have to go? Deeper than we think, I suspect. Find and connect with the people of peace. Grow things, not just to eat (despite the stress on harvests) but that are also beautiful and provide for insects, birds and animals. And get to know your neighbors. . . you are going to need them in the next disaster.

    The good news is that there are all sorts of people who have been working on the next thing for years. There is a global association of city mayors working on urban transformations to deal with climate change and biodiversity for greener cities that serve people better. All sorts of people in many professions have been looking ahead, taking stock, seeing where changes are and must occur. They are forging ahead even if they often are marginalized within the profession. There is a new emphasis on gardening. Agriculture is going through a major shift towards no till and regenerative farming. There are all the new technologies for energy creation and storage. There are technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere and actually using it for something. All over the world people are working on and putting a new economy, a new relationship with the earth and each other into place. Is it up to scale yet? No. Is it widespread enough yet? No. Is it clear what it should look like in the end? No. But the crises will push it there. And if you have cash to invest. . . help fund the new economy not the old one (it is a moral responsibility at this point, just saying).

    1. You are an Anna for sure! I have been pondering this post whilst trying to edit a series of documents on mitigating for biodiversity loss. I nearly cried with frustration that the Latvian government, in trying to wean themselves off Russian oil and gas, (which due to historical reasons we are still bound to, at least to a degree -they’ve been increasing their stores – or supposed to have been) announced that in moving to wind power generation they are contemplating dropping the Environmental Assessments that are done to prevent unnecessary biodiversity loss in developments. This is a case of they have delayed the transition for so long that they are losing the timing to get it right.

      It also occurred to me, like it did to you Anna, that we have to strategise to prevent unnecessary suffering. This is a call to arms of a different sort. If we are to avoid famine – and famines are not just a failure of harvests, they are a failure of society – we have to ensure the support networks are in place now. We have a warning. We save what we can, so we have food on the table later, not just for us but for others too. We diversify (at last) what we eat. We cannot rely on just a few types of grain/vegetables etc. We stop the cultivation of just grass and grow other things too that feed us physically and mentally. Here’s to the guerrilla gardeners, here’s to those who have been developing edible cities for years, here’s to the city farms bringing food closer to the people and here’s to the churches who use their land to feed people instead of having sterile backdrops.

      Many years ago, you said this

      “I will declare the future this nation must be saved and it’s going to take a radical people to see this nation saved. Convention got us here, convention stops tonight, the train saying convention terminates here, it’s revival train.”

      I declare for every nation to be saved, it’s going to take a radical people. Conventional politics and economics got us here (in this mess) and convention stops tonight, the train saying convention terminates here, it’s revival train – revival of body, mind and soul, of societies that work instead of feeding off each other, revival of kindness to see us through, revival of gardening – wasn’t that our first job as humankind?

  2. Ann to Joanna: I’m with you Joanna (look your name is an Anna too!). We are now in a triage moment. What do we save and what can/must be let go. The decisions are going to startle some people. To promote essential biodiversity as well as climate resilience we will have to be clever, intentional and learn quickly from mistakes and changes. After all, biodiversity is affected by climate change. I tell my students this whenever we get excited about landscape and green infrastructure. Yes, a great approach. No, it isn’t necessarily going to survive climate change.

    And this all requires imagination. My students often come out of courses that tell them density is good and the suburbs are bad. I point out that all those lawns could be producing food for us and other species. They could be wonderful expressions of biodiversity – permaculture and food forests lead the way. That is a radically different viewpoint on small scale land ownership. Love your revival of kindness. I finish each course by thanking students for the privilege of working with them (learning is collaborative) and then tell them to be ‘bold, be brave and be very, very kind as the world needs much kindness’. I hope some take it to heart.

    Here’s to radical Annas. May we continue to connect and support one another and enable many more. People are hungry for this kind of change. They are ready for it.

    1. Amen to all that. I will be teaching my students about green and blue infrastructure as part of a new bioeconomy and yes many lush backyards were my thought too. The suburbs are there and we may as well make good use of them. I often wonder why we still talk about expanding the urban areas in the West when population replacement is going down and quite rapidly in places. We can start to infill these abandoned places in the city too with remediation using plants. So much possibility and sometimes so little imagination.

  3. Hi Martin,
    In all that is taking place globally, I was interested to see if you would mention anything related to the Great Reset which is currently being outworked before our eyes. This has been years in the making which Covid has now presented a ‘golden opportunity’ (in the words of Prince Charles), to accelerate this agenda of societal transformation.

    I don’t know how much you know but it is being promoted by the World Economic Forum in partnership with UN, WHO, World Bank, IMF, banking sector, Big Tech, biggest global investment companies (Vanguard, Blackrock) and other world leaders etc., many of whom have been positioned in top cabinet posts over recent years such as Trudeau, Macron, Ardern and others. They have all been through the WEF’s global young leaders programme. It is a highly influential movement among the world’s elite to “reset” the global economy using banks, government programmes, and environmental, social, and governance metrics (ESGs), plus a new digital currency with, as you say, the US$ no longer being the world’s reserve currency. Food shortages, energy crises etc will no doubt be used to show the failings of the current system and that we need to ‘build back better’.

    I personally see this as a 21st century Tower of Babel which will ultimately fail. However, I know that history shows us many wicked plans can still be outworked to a certain point. There are powers of darkness clearly involved to hinder the advance of the kingdom of God and cause untold suffering and loss of basic freedoms for many. Huge global transfers of wealth have already occurred over the past two years to the global elites who reject the existence of God and believe that they need to save the planet, whilst also preserving their own selfish ambitions.

    As you state, it’s easy and more comfortable to try and ignore these realities. However, we as God’s people do need to rediscover our voice in the world and be a demonstration of an alternative society under a different King. And I haven’t even mentioned the increasing attack on godly institutions and biblical values that we’re witnessing with critical theory and ‘wokeness’, etc.! We are living in very unusual and challenging times.

    1. Thanks Stuart (and for the generous email exchanges). Maybe for those who read the comments(?) another way of looking at the ‘plans for societal changes’ could they be the answers to prayer that have gone up over the past decades?

      Given the posts are perspectives… should we be looking for signs of prayer to be answered within the world rather than the church context? And to push it further should we expect those prayers to be answered by people who do not profess faith… or do we look for answers within the family of Christian believers but not beyond?

  4. Thank you Martin. Scary stuff but if it’s God’s plan then have to go with it in prayer too rather than resist it? One verse I have been hearing again and again lately is Jeremiah 2:13 ‘My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water and have dug out their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water’. Really speaks to me on personal level but also corporate sort of fits in perhaps . I am hoping I can be an Anna during this shaking and not move into fear! Thank you for sharing.

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