A new Europe?

At this time there seems to be so much fear of the ‘other’, expressing itself in xenophobia and centring in on a response to issue of immigration. There are real issues involved, and certainly there might be many good reasons for having voted ‘Brexit’ and a vote to leave cannot be blamed for what is rising negatively in Europe. Maybe though it has inadvertently made a contribution to what we are witnessing in many places of separation from and exclusion of the ‘other’.

The rise in the extreme right is not limited to the European context. Leaders have used rhetoric that has not helped and I think that there are three aspects that has resulted:

  • what has been present there already has been revealed. It is not as if the negative aspects I mentioned above have suddenly appeared from nowhere. They were there prior to Brexit and prior to the rhetoric of leaders.
  • what was there has been fed. This is a serious situation. Leadership rhetoric has permissioned what was there, and once permissioned there has been a growth.
  • it has hidden another narrative. This is an encouraging aspect and one that I had not considered prior to these days of discussion and prayer. There is another narrative, one of recognising that there is a shift to the identity of our world, that the future is going to look different, that those seeking to Europe for safety will be among those shaping the future. This narrative seeks to look at the situation with faith rather than self protection.

This narrative that is hidden has to be the shaping narrative for the church. It is the resistance to fear and an openness to the future. Prior to these days I had not seen that this narrative is present, rising from the grass roots. This is what gives hope for the future. Stories such as those from Germany of many finding faith when they have relocated should encourage the church enormously. Surely in the move from their homelands God is at work to reveal himself.

Another aspect of our praying was to see a shift from an over-Western orientation. This would impact on a shift from a male-dominated / masculine-bias to a more female / feminine approach to issues and relationships. A further shift in the economic base.

One of the aspects that we can see visibly, certainly in Spain, is that there are changes already taking place where there is a greater femininity in politics that promotes a third way beyond conflict and opposition to that of dialogue.

One of the participants read from a book reflecting on native north Americans’ experience of the Europeans who came with their different cultural values. That colonial encroachment and domination is always a provocation, but it prompted a new language. Rather than ‘then the Europeans came…’ to the concept of in the current scenario that the new Europeans ‘arrived’. There has to be a new Europe and that is more than the reshaping of an institution (EU) but is with all those who are committed to the geography, that means all of us, all of us who are arriving now – even if we have been present before. Again the concept of the body of Christ modelling this is the challenge before us.

The final aspect that I will reflect on here is that – and this is a push theologically – that we should be expecting people to rise up who are committed to doing an ‘apostolic’ job in and through society. It seems

  • our responsibility to hold the shape so that they can emerge;
  • that it is immaterial whether they are believers or not;
  • that when they get in place we need to pray for their protection. It is easy for us believers to be alert to spiritual attack (mainly in the form of betrayal in these settings) but someone who does not believe in spiritual realities is not going to be alert to this.

The photo above the article is of the parliament building in Strasbourg. The building is modelled on Bruegel’s painting of the tower of Babel.

The Tower of Babel

The similarity can be read as a clear sign that the EU is simply Babel… and it is in as much as there is Babel within all institutions, or as seems to be symbolism, the EU is a project that will never be finished, and if the attempt is simply to raise it up from the earth it is doomed for failure. A place therefore to contribute I consider.

Where to Europe?

The final four days we spent in the UK was with 20 other people from England, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Germany, France and Sweden to consider how to pray into the future of Europe with the ‘Brexit’ somewhat as a background. A very good and trusted prophetic friend had emailed most of those in the above group with a vision that she had very soon after there was an announcement that there would be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The summary of that vision was that the UK would be removed and in that time light and colour would drain out of the European continent, but at a later stage there would be a re-connection and a corresponding shift in the continent. An obvious, and possible, interpretation to the former part was that the referendum would be a vote ‘out’. And given that this vision preceded any referendum we have given it a lot of weight. The context though that our friend said was that this next season was more about the future of Europe than of the future of the UK.

Our days were less focused on the Brexit than on where to Europe. However, it was interesting that although the dates were set months ago the context of the debate and total lack of clarity was the context for our gathering.

(Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor)

We met in Ashburnham Place, a most remarkable centre, given the geography of an event that shaped England with the Norman Invasion of 1066. An event that only left the city of London free – and the origins to this day of its status that allows it to be one of the ‘treasure islands’ that can defy taxation laws. Ashburnham Place as a land is also most interesting in that it was originally part of land that was apportioned by William’s conquest but had been given away freely. The sense of the land being free was tangible and gave a real leverage point.

With reference to the loss of light and colour for some time we have considered that this loss is embodied in the rise of xeno- and other phobias, the demonisation of ‘immigrants’, the rise of fascism and the like in almost all European nations. This suggests that there has to be a shift in the UK if there is to any level of re-plugging to bring about a change in Europe. Prior to meeting I would have been very negative about any such change being possible, but having been in England for these past two weeks. But I am convinced that there is a real (and maybe still hidden) shift taking place as I sensed the biggest spiritual change in England in the 10 years we have been in Spain.

Whether the Brexit is abandoned or not is not the key issue. The EU has evolved and has many flaws for sure, though with the vision of being together to avoid the horrors of war, my strong preference would be to see it reformed from the inside. The primary aspect of the future is not reversing the Brexit but for something to rise that is inclusive of the ‘alien, widow and orphan’ so that a new Europe can arise.

Rather than prolonging this post I will post again tomorrow…

A pre-Christmas post!!

This post will not have much to do with Christmas, just flagging up that I have made it well through December and hardly posted at all, but this will be in cyber space before Rudolph and his partners are in the air.

I am sure I could have posted these past days, but we have been ever so busy. Twelve days in the UK. Probably the longest stint there in these past 10 years, taking in Chester, Leicester, North London, Leatherhead (family) and Ashburnham Place. It was a really great time and I probably won’t be able to do it justice in this post.

The diversity of the body of Christ is always a joy to touch, and there is, I am sure, more to come of the diversity. In Chester I had some personal time with Andy and Sue Glover who have faithfully held in at many levels for the health of the city. I was also there (unplanned) for the last prayer breakfast before one of the key families relocated to France. An expansion of boundaries for sure.

In Leicester I was privileged to address in the morning and early afternoon church leaders, followed by an evening in a prophetically orientated Anglican church. And down in Ashburnham Gayle and I met with 20 others over 3 days to pray into the future European shape, partly in response to the ‘Brexit’.

The above is a brief ‘what’ and ‘where’. It would not be possible to recount blow by blow each place so I will rather summarise a few points below.

In the various times of coming to the UK over the past 10 years I was convinced this time that there is something ‘brewing’ in England. There is an increasing apostolic call and mantle. This will manifest in a diversities of ways. Encouragingly I was given very positive statistics of growth in London, mainly among Afro-Caribbean and Anglican churches. There is a new wave of activity there. There will also need to be a turning to society where there is an apostolic release also coming (more below). When in Chester Andy asked Sue (as I was coming silently down the stair case so that we could leave): ‘I wonder if he is ready?’ I jokingly said that was such a penetrating question! But I quickly sensed the Holy Spirit was saying that England is ready. (We will also feel unready, things not done that we should have done, and of course that is the case, but there is a real readiness in the nation.)

Before coming over I had a dream in which I went to a place where there were many good things happening including miracles. I was told of the clarity of voice and direction. However, when I looked out I saw that the people were all pretty much the same colour of skin and of ethnic background. I had to then say that God can speak through a donkey, or a white faced person, and that what was said was the word of God, but that the richness of his voice is as the sound of many waters and that until there was a reflection of the diversity of ethnicity there will never be the fullness of God’s voice. His fullness comes when the diversity means we cannot easily hear but are deeply impacted. (In Leicester I also prophesied that there was coming now an increased move of the Spirit among the Asian community.)

The second aspect was that of being called to ‘straighten the spine’ of England. I did not realise that in Leicester the discovery of King Richard’s body was confirmed by the fact that the skeleton’s spine was twisted. The spine must become straight but flexible. A strong but flexible spine will mean that the body can extend further than ever.

I will post another time to reflect a little more on our time in Ashburnham, but will simply note one element here that has been something strongly on my heart for some time. It is that God is not simply looking for forerunners for the church, but that there will be those who will open up space for true forerunners to rise up in all the areas of society. Gayle and I have come home with the increased provocation to pray for their protection. They are vulnerable. If we (believers) have some understanding of spiritual opposition we might be able to withstand some of the attacks, but for those who do not know Jesus we now sense we have a greater responsibility to stand for them. There is an apostolic (foundation laying) mantle coming for society. In the chaos of Brexit and the European scene this might not look likely, but of this I am convinced. Those with a wisdom who see a third way through the extremes, deeply practical but with vision. They are coming… and as many of them will not profess faith we can be the ones who raise a shield around them.

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Wisdom and optimism

The mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, at 74 years old is an amazing woman. She was the co-founder of the labour law office that saw a massacre in 1977 of 5 lawyers and assistants. The response to the massacre was one of the factors that enabled Spain transition peacefully from the era of the dictatorship to democracy. She came out of retirement to run for mayoress in Madrid and many social changes have taken place. On Monday this week she met with the mayors of London and Berlin. She says perhaps because she is older she is more optimistic than they are! Older, wiser and more cynical? No… Love it!! I also love the ‘govern from below’. Wisdom from the street. (Rough translation below.)

Hoy he estado debatiendo con los alcaldes de Berlín y Londres sobre los retos que afrontan nuestras ciudades, desde las consecuencias de Brexit hasta el ascenso del racismo y la extrema derecha. Quizá por tener más edad que ellos, yo soy optimista: he visto a España salir de una dictadura sin violencia y he visto cómo se ha arraigado el pacifismo, que es una idea relativamente reciente que va ganando espacio.

En las ciudades, no debemos olvidar que la única manera de conseguir mejoras es que haya solidaridad entre la ciudadanía (como estamos viendo por ejemplo con la contaminación y la movilidad sostenible). Y para ello, los políticos deben gobernar desde abajo y no desde arriba, relacionarse con los vecinos y vecinas en su vida cotidiana en lugar de colocarse en una situación de privilegio, y nunca convertir los problemas en un teatro.

Today I have been discussing with the mayors of Berlin and London about the challenges facing our cities, from the consequences of Brexit to the rise of racism and the extreme right. Perhaps because I am older than them, I am an optimist: I have seen Spain emerge from a dictatorship without violence and I have seen pacifism become established, which is a relatively recent idea that is gaining space.

In cities, we must not forget that the only way to achieve improvements is to have solidarity among citizens (as we are seeing for example with pollution and sustainable transport). And for this, politicians must govern from below and not from above, interact with neighbours in their every day lives instead of placing themselves in a privileged situation, and never turn problems into a theatre.

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O Pano de Fundo

Agradeço a Levi, que traduziu a primeira das postagens refletindo sobre o Brasil. Eu escrevi outros quatro posts. Neste momento eles são apenas em inglês. Aqui estão os links:

(Graças ao Google Translate para as frases acima! Você pode querer usar isso para dar uma tradução menos que perfeita das outras postagens.)

O Pano de Fundo

Nos próximos dias eu planejo fazer algumas postagens no blog sobre alguns dos temas dos quais tratamos quando estivemos no Brasil. São apenas perspectivas, mas é claro, muito próximas da verdade! O contexto em que estávamos ministrando era um país que testemunhou um grande crescimento da igreja, mas ainda tem altíssimos níveis de corrupção e ocultismo, e o tempo em que estávamos lá foi o período crítico das eleições presidenciais. Essa série de postagens também foi motivada pela colocação que fiz há algumas postagens atrás sugerindo que a misoginia é uma fortaleza maléfica da qual precisamos nos arrepender e que precisa ser derrubada. O conceito de “cavar” até atingir os alicerces tem estado em nossa perspectiva já por algum tempo e também vai contribuir para o conteúdo dessas postagens.

Interpretar a bíblia… há muitos princípios na hermenêutica e um dos principais é o de que precisamos descobrir a intenção do autor ao escrever. Isso parece muito claro, mas… e se Deus houver posto um significado “escondido” que só eu pudesse discernir (não estou dizendo isso de forma totalmente séria, mas talvez a ideia seja de que pode haver mais no texto do que o autor planejou inicialmente). Há também o elemento da interpretação do leitor. Ler a bíblia num idioma que não é o seu nativo é sempre interessante. As frases soam diferente e provocam novas ideias. Essa experiência me deixa mais aberto para novas leituras do texto.

Essas postagens serão um misto de pensamentos sobre o contexto, entendimentos das escrituras e algumas consequências decorrentes disso. Talvez não seja uma leitura fácil, mas espero que seja recompensadora.

Preparativos para ir ao Brasil

A Gayle foi ao Brasil com um desejo de ver mais espaço sendo aberto para a voz feminina, não simplesmente para demarcar uma concordância teológica baseada na bíblia, mas para que as profundas estruturas masculinas (e algumas vezes misóginas) fossem desafiadas. Mesmo que teoricamente as pessoas concordem com isso, é possível que não haja espaço para a voz das mulheres. Discussões e diálogos podem acontecer de uma forma que a voz feminina (e isso não se restringe à “mulher” em si) não seja ouvida.

Na Espanha há alguns grandes exemplos de feminilização da política. Ada Colau e Manuela Carmena, as prefeitas de Barcelona e Madri respectivamente, têm abordado algumas questões de forma não confrontadora, buscando o diálogo baseado no respeito e em ouvirmos uns aos outros. Contudo, no Brasil, os movimentos feministas têm se posicionado quase sempre de forma agressiva em oposição ao status quo e aos homens. Foi difícil transmitir essa perspectiva aos diversos ambientes onde estivemos, mas as mesas onde nos sentávamos para comer eram o lugar onde havia espaço e onde ganhávamos terreno, e a partir dali, conseguimos atingir contextos mais amplos.

Esse aspecto de ouvir a voz da feminilidade e abrir espaço para ela, não estava sendo enfatizado por acaso, mas na medida em que fazíamos o esforço de cavar as camadas mais profundas, o que começou a se desenvolver foi um grupo de ideias que pareciam se conectar entre si. O que vou dizer é um tanto inusitado, mas pouco antes de viajarmos para o Brasil Gayle teve um encontro com o anjo de Cádiz chamada Gadir, e ela foi conosco para o Brasil. Há um grande contexto por trás desse fato, mas nosso primeiro encontro com ela esteve conectado a uma situação onde ministramos libertação sobre as jovens de Cádiz e da Espanha. Recentemente em Cádiz tem havido algumas escavações e, sendo ela uma das mais antigas cidades ainda habitadas tendo uma história muito antiga, percebemos que sua atuação era a liberação da feminilidade e isso seria realizado através de um sério esforço de escavação.

A Jornada de Jesus encarnado começou nas alturas, foi até o lugar mais profundo, e voltou a subir. Ele fez isso para que pudesse preencher todas as coisas para o seu corpo, que é a igreja. A igreja então é a plenitude dele que preenche todas as coisas em todas as circunstancias (Efésios). Muitos de nós temos estado confortáveis com o conceito de guerra celestial e embora as práticas sejam diferentes, o que buscamos ao fazer guerra espiritual é impor limitações aos poderes celestiais hostis. Devemos ter foco nas coisas “do alto”, mas e quanto as coisas “das profundezas”? Embora não estejamos falando de alto e profundo num sentido literal, começamos a ver que havia um trabalho a ser feito para escavar as camadas profundas das estruturas que têm sido os alicerces da sociedade. Se o evangelho de fato diz respeito à transformação social (“há um novo mundo”) então esses alicerces precisam ser transformados espiritualmente.

Algo fundamental na criação foi a formação da humanidade com os gêneros masculino e feminino, segundo a imagem de Deus. Quando o relacionamento de um com o outro é distorcido, o resultado é uma falha nos alicerces. Por extensão o relacionamento entre um e outro, homem e mulher, deve ser posto no contexto da relação com todos os “outros”, sendo que o nível mais alto de cura é o amor pelos inimigos. O amor precisa ser descoberto e o que resiste ao amor, resistiu.

Pecado – não de acordo com a lei

Nossa herança teológica vem principalmente do período da Reforma, onde se enfatizava que o pecado é a quebra da lei. Normalmente compreendemos a Torá como sendo uma apresentação dos padrões de Deus, sendo Jesus o indivíduo perfeito que sofreu a punição pela culpa do mundo. Deixe-me sugerir uma abordagem diferente.

Em Romanos, Paulo parece desenvolver o conceito de que o cerne do pecado é excluir Deus, e como resultado, viver todo tipo de comportamento errado. Valores errados (enaltecer e adorar coisas erradas) foi o elemento principal da queda. A generosidade de Deus – coma de todas as árvores, exceto UMA – foi rejeitada com a insistência de que obteríamos frutos da árvore proibida. Isso foi é uma quebra de lei, mas o aspecto central desse ato é a transgressão dos limites no sentido de insistir em afirmar nosso direito de tomar coisas para nós. “Eu vi, eu desejei, eu tomei e comi”, esse é o testemunho do estado de um mundo caído. Na Torá há muitos mandamentos para não se remover os limites das propriedades, não tirar vantagem sobre os outros, não colher a safra completamente, ser contentado, dar espaço àqueles que não têm espaço… e havia implícito na lei um programa para que quando as coisas se desenvolvessem de forma errada elas fossem postas de volta em seu lugar com a libertação do sétimo ano e o jubileu a cada 50 anos.

O pecado se manifesta quando tomamos um espaço que limita o espaço do outro. Esse foi o resultado no relacionamento entre o homem e a mulher, com o homem “dominando” sobre a mulher. Eles foram comissionados para dominarem juntos, mas o resultado do pecado foi o domínio do homem sobre a mulher. A missão compartilhada se tornou desigual, e ainda pior, o foco que era cuidar do espaço se tornou domínio sobre o outro. A batalha por espaço é a história do conflito, contada pelos que estão embaixo e é a história da escravidão; contada do ponto de vista do vitorioso e é o militar e a vitória que vem em troca.

Paulo não constrói a ideia de que simplesmente “todos pecaram e por isso são culpados”, mas que tanto o judeu com a lei e o gentio sem a lei pecaram:

Não há diferença entre judeu e gentio, pois todos pecaram e estão destituídos da glória de Deus (Rm 3.22-23)

O significado não mudaria se trocássemos “todos” por “ambos”. Tanto judeu quanto gentio pecaram e esse pecado é definido como ser destituído da glória de Deus. A questão principal não é a quebra da lei, mas não viver de acordo com o chamado criacional de Deus. Esse chamado era para sermos verdadeiramente a imagem de Deus. Somente Jesus veio nessa forma. Somente Jesus cumpriu verdadeiramente o chamado e João nos informa que contemplamos sua glória, cheio de graça e de verdade (Jo 1.14). A verdade tem que vir num pacote de graça. De outra forma não haverá glória.

O Deus triuno é revelado quando um ser humano vê outro ser humano nessa mutualidade e abre espaço para que o outro cumpra o seu destino – sem amarras, mas através de um amor generoso. Esse é o chamado no casamento, mas não apenas do casamento, e Jesus, sendo solteiro, cumpriu esse desígnio em totalidade entregando a si mesmo em amor irrestrito não por um “outro”, mas por todos os “outros”. Somente nesse lugar de abnegação é que a glória é revelada. Falhar em fazer isso é ser destituído da glória de Deus e Paulo diz que não há distinção, judeu e gentio foram destituídos da mesma forma. Uma passagem muito importante com relação à transformação que Jesus gera em nós e em nosso mundo está em 2 Co 5.16-17:

Então a partir de agora não consideramos ninguém a partir de um ponto de vista mundano. Embora tenhamos considerado Cristo dessa forma anteriormente, essa não é mais nossa atitude. Portanto, se alguém está em Cristo, a nova criação chegou: O velho se foi, o novo está aqui!

Estar em Cristo é ter uma mudança na visão. Não podemos ver as pessoas da forma como elas normalmente são classificadas: por causa de seu contexto de vida, educação, dinheiro, gênero, orientação sexual; mas de acordo com seu destino. As pessoas são vistas de forma diferente porque – para os que estão em Cristo – há um novo mundo. Há um novo mundo que ainda virá, certamente. Mas a visão é tão clara que já podemos ver um novo mundo – através das palavras de Martin Luther King, “Eu tenho um sonho”.

Há um clamor na criação, que é o clamor por libertação (Rm. 8). Esse clamor nem sempre é bem articulado e muitas vezes se expressa por meio de frustração e ódio. O clamor vem das ruas e se o que está sendo ouvido puder ser interpretado para além do gemido doloroso então estaremos ouvindo a própria sabedoria clamando. Em Romanos 8 vemos o clamor da pessoa que encontra liberdade na união com o Espírito de Deus e clama “Aba Pai”. Da mesma forma que nosso clamor foi direcionado a Deus, o clamor da sociedade é direcionado àqueles que vêem um novo mundo, aqueles que estão em Cristo. (Ao utilizar o termo “Em Cristo” não estou dizendo que o clamor da sociedade não pode ser respondido por aqueles que “não” estão em Cristo, mas enfatizando que nós que pertencemos a Cristo carregamos uma responsabilidade maior).

O clamor, até mesmo das feministas agressivas do Brasil, ou o clamor dos grupos marginalizados (LGBTQ, #Eu Também, Vidas Negras Importam e muitos outros) é no fundo o clamor da criação por libertação, mesmo que seja abafado ou distorcido. Não podemos silenciar esse clamor, pois se pudermos ver de forma diferente, ouviremos a voz do Espírito em meio ao barulho e à gritaria. O clamor vem “de baixo”.

Visão e som

No parágrafo anterior eu sugeri que precisamos ver de forma diferente para ouvir de forma diferente. Essa dinâmica é apresentada no livro de Apocalipse, onde a visão esclarece ou corrige o que foi ouvido. João ouve que o Leão triunfou, mas quando se volta ele vê um cordeiro. A linguagem do poder pode ser e é distorcida para justificar a dominação. A visão é vital se quisermos ouvir o som de forma precisa. Nunca ouviremos o clamor da criação se não pudermos ver o “outro”. Há um som se levantando – estamos conseguindo ver aqueles que estão gemendo, gritando, e até mesmo usando palavras de ódio?

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A visit to Palestine

Geoff Daplyn has just returned from a visit to Palestine. He wrote a while back to me that he was travelling there to see and feel first hand what was on the ground. Be assured that is not writing with a pre-bias in the sense of having made up his mind before he went. I know Geoff and he has an honest integrity. Neither is he, nor anyone else that I know, saying that there is not a uniqueness about the Jewish people. The complications of our hermeneutics and the inter-section of historical events are immense. I chose to publish this as it is a first hand report by a friend. I am aware that someone else might have met other people, other situations and the report would be different.

Here is what Geoff wrote:

I can’t think that God can be pleased with Israel right now. There, I’ve said it!

I returned from a trip to Palestine a few weeks ago and I’m still processing the experience. It’s not that I knew nothing about the situation that the Palestinians are in, but rather that what I knew was from newspapers, TV and books. The experience is rather deeper, more thought provoking; indeed just more provoking!

Of course when anyone talks about Israel and Palestine, especially in a Christian context, there are facts, myths, opinions and propaganda. One person’s facts are another person’s myths and passionate opinion easily becomes powerful propaganda. All I can offer is a personal perspective based on people I’ve spoken with, and things I have seen with my own eyes.

The burden of centuries of guilt felt by the West towards the Jewish people can’t, it seems, be assuaged. It’s not just the Holocaust, but the endless pogroms, deliberate discrimination and broken promises. It’s a European history of the confining of Jewish people within ever tighter boundaries, identity cards that shouted ‘second class’ citizen, military rule, restrictions on movement, jobs, housing etc. It was an anti-Semitic, dehumanising policy of which the vast majority of us are ashamed.

So ashamed in fact, that we have allowed Israel the freedom to do exactly the same to the Palestinians. It’s like, “we are so sorry we allowed this to happen to you….please feel free to do it to someone else. Hope you feel better soon.” Ah, but these are just opinions, maybe even propaganda.

Quick itinerary: we started in Nazareth, then to Jenin. Blocked at first military checkpoint, but managed the second. Next day on to Nablus, then Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron in the south. A hectic day walking around Jerusalem as well, seeing the sites and the thousands of people from every nation on earth, it seemed.

For the last few nights we stayed in one of the Bethlehem refugee camps. As everywhere on the West Bank, we were welcomed and cheered. They don’t see many people visiting. We saw the Wall with military watchtowers reminiscent of Berlin in the ’80s. We talked with some who had their homes demolished with 24 hours notice. (The group we were with had actually rebuilt one last year, but it could get demolished again.) We saw18yr olds looking they had just come out of school, with M16s slung over their shoulders. We saw settlements with walls which encompassed Palestinian olive groves. Yes there was an access gate, but it was welded shut. After 3 years of no activity, the land automatically reverts to the state. Facts, or just myths?

We met many articulate and highly educated Palestinian leaders, Christian and Moslem, leading community projects expressing real hope, which considering the map (above) was astonishing. Few, however, had any ambition to lead at a higher, more political level. The view was expressed that the Palestinian Authority is corrupt (not substantiated), and uses grants from various governments around the world to build grandiose municipal buildings for their ministries. I guess it provides employment of a sort, but not the wealth-generating, job-generating, self sustainable sort.

There’s always more to say. But after initially being surprised, then shocked, I think I’m now just sad. Of course, there’s another side to the narrative which focuses on security (and there was plenty of that), but if Martin is right, and spiritual powers gain authority from what has been sown, Israel could well be into reaping a whirlwind!

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