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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A change, how much of a change?

How much has changed with the passing of the Queen? The honour that has been forthcoming is more than an expression of sentimentality but seems to come from the awareness of her life of service. For many reasons I am not of a royalist persuasion (and theologically believe God chose David, ‘a man after his own heart’, to end kingship… not prolong it… another post one day), but as we live in a world in which all forms of government and hierarchies are present this is not the most pressing element in my small life!

Something though has changed, beyond that of the death of a monarch. It seems significant that we have moved from male Prime Minister, who was prophesied to carry a Churchill anointing, to a female PM, who at some level is embodying what Maggie Thatcher carried; conversely we move from a female head of state to a male head of state. Signs of the pressing nature of how we respond to issues male and female / maculine and feminine.

[At one level I am troubled by prophetic words that proclaim (e.g.) ‘this new leader will carry the anointing xxx of and restore Britain to her glory…’ Troubled because they seem to be based in a belief that the future is all down to who is present in No. 10 (or the equivalent). Seems so opposite to Scripture – Luke 3, the entire thrust of Revelation (esp. ch. 5), Jesus’ words that it was the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to a bunch of nobodies… etc. At another level I think there is often some revelation in the words, but the expectation that is added is skewed. I do think we had a ‘Churchill’ in No 10. Great news is he did not last very long! The expectation of restoration of ‘Great’ into ‘Britain’ was not fulfilled… and now we have a season of female strength. I believe in leadership, the issue is not leadership it is the style, and maybe a style is appropriate at one time (war – Churchill… maybe!) that is not appropriate at another. And when the season changes what has been and is desired, and desired by believers in particular, has to manifest to be finally emptied out.]

In a time of significant change there is an old ‘covering’ that is removed. Hence I do anticipate these next 7 months will open up the land to confusion, chaos and a number of backlashes.

An aside: Defender of the faith? Or…

The history of the term was that it was given to Henry VIII by the then pope (Leo X), before he abandoned the Catholic expression of faith. A tad ironic as Henry took the title with him and was no longer there to defend the Catholic faith, his marital status influencing which expression of faith he would defend. However, my objection goes a little deeper than that. The only defence for a monarch having the title can be rooted in a ‘I vote for Christendom’ perspective. So count me out on that one. I have no doubt the Queen had personal faith, and in line with Paul we should ‘wish that all (royalty and rulers) present were as he was’ (i.e. with faith in Jesus), but their task is not to ‘defend the faith’! We are to give a defence, an explanation, a witness to faith, but any legislation or force that defends the faith? No, not in my books.

If there is a title, defender of faiths, would be something I would be more comfortable with; but probably defender of freedom, of justice, of human kindness – all of that would sit better. So without disparaging the title-giving former pope, I hope there will be some shift on these issues.

Royalists (I hear there are some Christians who are in favour) and non-royalists alike, we simply need to be ready to be re-focused. Some titles might go, some will stay, but all of it is not nearly as central to how I live. I can raise my placard (what placard and in Spain!!!) and if I feel strongly enough there is public space for that, but if my objection to royalty is an objection to hierarchy, elitism and the like I should not raise any placard, not until I have dealt with the issues of the heart. If it is a time for something fresh to come forth regarding male and female, that has direct implications for me in my household.

The Gospel – all about changing the world, how can it not be when the claim is that the Imperial powers had stolen the very word? The Gospel – all about the micro of my responses.

There are some ‘tough’ election results being counted in Sweden and whatever the outcome the far-right xenophobic party with neo-nazi roots will have made major gains. Painful. And very painful to Maria and Bjorn who have stood with, created jobs for, challenged the powers, with regard to those driven from their nations and ended in Sweden (the sentence does not begin to tell the journey). What does it mean for those that they love, those that they have taken into their household / family? That is a very real issue. If the woman who threw in her two coins brought down a most luxurious Temple (a Temple that occupied around 25% of Jerusalem, that was spoken of in Rome as a building that just has to be seen), then I know that Bjorn and Maria have continually put 2 coins into the system that ‘robs widows of their houses’. The election is painful. Faithfulness is what catches the eye of God. (Even the disciples were focused on the incredible building – has nothing changed? Jesus meanwhile saw the widow.)

There are huge changes I believe that are here. They will unfold.

4 thoughts on “A change, how much of a change?

  1. I was startled when I did my PhD in history to find out that many historians consider hierarchical arrangements for humans, natural, normal, and desirable. Many see hierarchy as a means to avoid conflict. Everyone knows their place and if they will just shut up and stay there, all good.
    Does that work? Of course not. But its soothing to think about. If we will all just bow our heads to the inevitable. . . elites over the rest of us (you have to determine how you create and maintain the elites) male over female, white people over those of color, humans over all other species, then conflict ceases and we all get along. Certainly Europe tried that method historically.
    The problem is humans, like many species, have a strong sense of justice and fairness. And hierarchy is rarely just or fair. Then violence, often state initiated and supported, has to be used to maintain the status quo.
    What to do? Is change coming? Far beyond our imaginations. The world will be a very different place in 50 years, 100 years. And unfortunately, the elites often, too often, work hard to maintain their status quo. That means the transition and change threatens to be messy, violent, unjust and unfair.
    Everyone has the same job right now. Do whatever you can to make the inevitable transition and change decent for as many people and other species as possible. Build those arks. Build those vehicles (metaphorical) that will enable people and other species to get to the other side of this transition in the best shape possible. The boat you build may be small. . . maybe wilding a backyard, or growing food and sharing it, or befriending refugees. Whatever. But we all must do what we can. It is the only moral response. The transition is occurring and will continue. We can be a problem or a solution. Its up to each one of us to choose.

  2. It feels like we have been in a liminal space, waiting and longing for change for a long time. It seems that many are contesting the change that is poised to happen. “Making America great again, Britain, Canada…”. We hear these slogans all the time. In a way it shines a light on why we need change. Many cannot accept “the other” and we all struggle to be allies rather than being the ones with the answers. We know we need to see change to eradicate patriarchy, imperialism, racism, colonialism, capitalism, whatever has become of democracy and definitely change in how we use and abuse the earth. I’m starting to understand what and why. The “how” continues to be a struggle. I’m sad that our culture is still so invested in the status quo that we are not preparing for the dismantling that will come. In the meantime we will continue to look for ways we can begin to implement ways of giving dignity to the poor and disenfranchised, leave behind our entitlements and grow in beefing allies to the other. Thank you for the encouragement as always Martin.

    1. Thanks Connie… Maybe been to much beefing going on in our relationships!!

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