Imperial –> Colonialism
In the early 2000’s in the European context the whole understanding of Imperial power and the need to do something about the historic Roman expression of it became clear. This understanding seemed to come to a number of people independently in the same season. A significant response to this was when Steve Lowton (one of my heroes) put literal legs to this with a team and they walked from Whitby (England), the place where in 664 the Synod brought the Celtic expression of church under the Roman authority, to Rome. Steve and team arrived in Rome on December 21st, 2005. Arriving on the shortest day of the year to prophetically state that across Europe the spiritual days would then begin to grow, the dark hours receding. This was the legs to what many of us had heard, ‘It is time to roll up the Roman road’. (Since then I have understood how reversals were signposted that day.)
In a nutshell Imperial power can be summed up as being present,
where there are a few who are at the top who decide the future, they offer to all who will comply benefits, but the real benefits flow back to the centre and to the top. (We could add as it develops that a claim to divine empowerment is often added.)
The critique of Revelation is clear on this modus operandi of Imperialism. 28 times the Lamb is mentioned, slain from the foundation of the world, with the 28 being a four times factor of that repetitve number in Revelation, the number 7. Slain for the world / creation (4) and the fullness (7) of life poured out. Everything given for universal benefit. A flow for the world, not a pulling of the world to a compressed centre. In contrast John watches the ships from his viewpoint on Patmos on the way to Rome (the centre) with all the cargoes headed that way, taken from the edges of the empire to the centre; and as he lists the cargoes he mentions 28 different items, including human lives. The contrast is explicit. A human life for the world. Life outpoured. Life to the edges so that there is no temple any more… Or, lives taken and brought captive to the centre. One throne of power that controls; the other from which, through self-sacrifice comes the unlocking of human destiny.
That Imperial spirit has run amok down the centuries, continues today at the macro level (with each manifestation eating the previous one, hence China had to move to a form of capitalism in order to eat the current order… that meal is continuing), and at the micro level with the power plays that enter human relationships.
The restoration of indigineous first nations’ people is part of what has and is taking place, and there can be no rest in the land until there is some measure of movement in that. Colonialism has to be reversed.
In a call yesterday, I suggested that if colonialism and the big brother, Imperialism, is to be reversed that it will provoke and lead to a journey behind that. Nations, divisions and hence conquest and changing of boundaries stem from Genesis 10 / 11 so we have to go earlier in that first book and come to origins, the corporate element of humanity in the image of God – male and female. Masculinity and femininity (not simply the same as male and female), how men and women relate together, is a journey that is becoming centre-focus.
A few asides…
The push for the restoration of men can be understood as a move in the right direction, but if it is to bring them to express themselves in a macho fashion we are only compounding the issue. The restoration of women also is needed… indeed what we need is the restoration of humanity. I do not see defined, prescribed roles for male / female, and in the mammoth book ‘Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’ apart from the (listen, dear reader, these posts are ‘perspectives’… although tempted to put a sub heading there ‘also known as the truth’!!!!!!) bizarre comments such as a man driving a bus and a woman will do it differently, one exercising leadership… really!! Yes, unconvicing, but what was really unconvincing was that I could not find one reference or discussion to new humanity in Christ where there is no ‘male and female’. Humanity in creation was ‘male and female’ – which can also be understood as a merism, a spectrum; but in new creation that is not how we are defined. Not surprising if we no longer categorise people according to the flesh. (Sexual attraction and appropriateness continues, wisdom is to be exercised, but NOT male is this and female is that!)
A focus, as is present in many places (and I understand the ‘biblical’ concerns) over same-sex and / or transgender issues I cannot see as central. That is a level so far different to the fundamental one that I see coming central stage – that of masculinity and femininity. When there is a shaking we can leap on to something that we think is the issue and miss the deeper issue.
Perhaps Paul in 1 Cor. 11 is writing at diverse levels which seems his way, particularly when he is quoting others. (I am referring to the Scripture on ‘headcovering’.) It is difficult to wade through with the ancient style of quoting an opponent and then refuting it. Are the statements reflections of what he believes, or are they statements that he is refuting. I consider that perhaps (probably) Paul is making a bit of a feminist comment regarding new humanity when he says:
For just as woman [Eve] came from man [Adam: creation], so man [Jesus] comes through woman [new humanity]; but all things come from God.(My additions in brackets, suggesting Paul playing with another level of understanding).
I think he is probably humorously throwing out… ‘be careful for if you push this along the lines you want to I will push for a feminised new humanity! You want to argue that maleness defines us and roles, well Jesus was born through a woman without the aid of a man so I suggest you back down with your argument.’
A growing focus
If we are seeing a reversal of Imperialism, if colonialism is being repented off (and that starts with a ‘re-thinking’) we now should expect a huge focus to come in to the frame.
Many weeks ago just as the game began to see who would replace Boris as PM in the UK as I got set in the morning I heard ‘it will be a woman’. Within hours we were on a Zoom call to Singapore. A pastor there said ‘it will be the person running third and a woman.’ As the contenders were subsequently whittled down, Liz Truss was in third position. She is now the PM. (I do have my biases, I try not to be left or right in my public statements but of course am biased) Boris was prophesied as being a new Churchill, Liz Truss who might be wonderful person, and certainly will have qualities that I don’t have, is a new Maggie. Those expressions of the masculine and the feminine have to be brought to the surface. They are part of history, but not part of the future. And, for me on the pulling down of statues (woke), it is not so much about destroying history as declaring what future do we want. (OK a bias crept out there.)
[Just after I finished writing this post the news came through of the Queen’s passing… I am not a royalist, but honour her life of dedicated service. We have a changing of the guards, and a shift in monarchy of female to male, with one of the last tasks she performed was to verify the shift at government level from male to female with the appointment of Liz Truss. We also have just entered a phase where some kind of covering has been removed from the UK. Visible confusion and conflict will be part of this next phase.]
Many moons ago, mid 80s, I declared in Stockholm that ‘Communism was over and that the Lord was now showing us that Islam was to be the next field’. I have come to understand that something being over does not mean it has disappeared without a trace… in the same way Imperialism and colonialism have not disappeared without trace, but they are over. The next field is the male / female the masculine / feminine.
I don’t know what that means, but for sure when the heavens shake, the prophets hear, but normally the first words spoken are childish words. Don’t listen too closely, let the speech develop. The prophets might shout ‘wrecking ball’ over someone… but the sentence is incomplete. Wrecking what and where will take time to understand. Thus we also need to wait and see what the developed sentences have to say.