Open Zoom: June 7

Just a little forward notice. I have been hosting a ‘first Tuesday of the month open Zoom’ where we have picked a subject and tried to host it in a way that means we can all contribute and all gain from it.

Next date and time: Tuesday, June 7 at 7:30 UK time.

We are following on from ‘what do we see / what are we noticing?’ We will have an interview with Peter McKinney. Peter is from Ireland, is a seer, an interpreter of signs and also embedded in the land! Not a combination that is very common, so there will be a great richness in what comes through. Some big picture undertandings, particularly with Ireland at the West and Ukraine at the East of Europe. And some very down to earth perspectives. I bought a book recently that comes highly acclaimed on the Suicide that Europe is committing (I will blog a response in the next few days). In it is prediction, and dare I say it, fear and pessimism. I am sure an accurate trajectory – if the past is what shapes us… It is (in part) but as believers the real shaping is ‘new creation’ and in our context ‘new Europe’. Any drifting into my forthcoming blog.

For now note the date and the link:

Time: Jun 7, 2022 19:30 London

Meeting ID: 572 803 9267
Passcode: 5GkMTA

A king… one after God’s heart

I am reading in 1 Samuel at the mo and of course have been reading of the institution of the monarchy with 1 Sam. 8 being ever so central. There were good kings and bad ones, but it is not too difficult to draw a line that by the third generation of kings (Solomon) the people have not left Egypt but headed back that way. The Queen of Sheba might have been very impressed, but we don’t have to go too far behind the public face to see the cost. The hierarchy is impressive – if one is impressed with hierarchy. Not surprising that the king who comes up to take on the northern lands comes up from Egypt and sets up some golden calves! Three generations.

Saul starts well, but it is ever so hard to occupy any seat of power and to continue well. Into that context Samuel says,

The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever, but now your kingdom will not continue; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart; and the Lord has appointed him to be ruler over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you (1 Sam. 13:13,14).

God goes where we go. You are rejecting me, you want a king… I will anoint a king for you. (This of course has consequences, but in line with the series on the cross, God will take the consequences, Jesus dying as ‘the king of the Jews’!) Into these seats of power that God never instituted and that tend to corrupt, s/he looks for someone after her/his own heart. What does that look like?

It must look like a foot washing servant who is among us.

There are many seats of power in our world that will work to corrupt anyone who is appointed to sit in them (could it be that the seat ‘the Messiah’ was no different?). We can be realistic, for God is realistic. The seats are there. And always God looks for those who will occupy those seats but with God’s own heart.

I am not a Catholic, and so no surprise that I am not convinced that the papacy has anything to do with a ‘seat’ that Peter sat in! I am not suggesting Pope Francis is perfect, but when I read of his involvement with the first nations people in Canada recently I think maybe in that aspect we have God finding someone after his heart to sit in the seat that should never have been.

And I need to take to heart the seats offered to me… white, privileged male. The seat is there – how do I sit in it, or maybe do I get up from the seat (down from the seat?) and put a towel round my waist…

Pope Francis, the Catholic church and the First Nations peoples

I had an email at the end of last week letting me know that this had taken place in Canada. Might be a long time coming, but great to read.

I don’t know if you have been aware of this but First Nations peoples here in Canada, as a part of Truth and Reconciliation, and the journey of healing, have finally had a meeting with the Pope. We have been dealing here in Canada with a very violent and sad history of institutional abuse of children. Children were taken from their families and put into church run schools, often funded by the government. The government has apologised and paid out billions. The Protestant churches – Anglican and United – also apologised years ago. But the Catholic church held back. Would not apologise and has not paid what it agreed to pay.  It was even difficult to schedule a time for delegates to meet with the Pope, though some of that was Covid.

This week delegates from Inuit, Metis and First Nations had private meetings with the Pope. They invited him and the church to walk with them on the journey of healing noting that the Church needs healing. They spoke about land and told their stories of trauma. They explained they have a shared Creator, this to a Church that had declared them non-human back in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Today the Pope apologised. He spoke of coming to Canada to visit their land and homes. He spoke a lot of land and intergenerational trauma. He hugged delegates. He spent way more time with them than was scheduled. Delegates danced, sang and prayed in their languages which had been banned in these residential schools. They gave the Pope gifts – a book of their stories, a cradleboard that symbolized all the children lost, an Inuit worked cross made of baleen, and other things.  They have asked that the Pope renounce the Doctrine of Discovery that declared the lands as empty of humans and free for Catholic nations and the church to take over. It was put out in the 15th century and fueled how Europeans treated indigenous peoples.

A big moment for Canada and the world. It makes way for a larger shift.

Come join us later

Open Zoom tonight. Ro Lavender will host, helping us reflect on how we can and are earthing the grandiose ideas of the Gospel that we find in the NT is about world transformation. A host of small acts seems to be the way.

No need to let me know if you are planning on being there. Simply log on to the Zoom link. 19:30 UK time.

Time: April 5, 2022 19:30 London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 572 803 9267
Passcode: 5GkMTA

Faith… hope… and love

Saturday morning. I did not plan to post today but I read this what a YWAM missionary from Kyev, Ukraine wrote. In a city where half of the population has left their home:

As missionaries, my husband and I never wanted to have a house or settle down too much. But these days something in our hearts sparks with excitement when we think about Jeremiah’s plot of land. It was more a prophetic act than a purchase. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:26).

I pray that all of us would have a portion of Jeremiah’s faith. Of building houses and purchasing land in a war zone. Knowing the hope it will bring and the faith it shows to the world far exceeds the price we paid. If we had some savings, I would actually go and buy a small house in the neighbourhood nearby. Just to show that I have hope. For this nation, for the people, and for God’s kingdom.

A spiritual war in Ukraine

Here are two articles that came in my inbox today. They are not giving the same analysis, but in reading either or both it becomes clear that to us Westerners that there is a major spiritual ‘re-conquest’ element to this.

Moscow has to be restored spiritually for it sits as a ‘third’ alongside Constantinople and Rome historically (Jeff Fountain’s article).

It is a synthesis of Russia’s national and spiritual aspirations. It’s not just Russia, it is “Holy Russia”, part religious project, part extension of Russian foreign policy. Speaking of Vladimir’s mass baptism, Putin explained: “His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.” He wants to do the same again. And to do this he needs Kyev back.

And in the words of Putin himself:

The spiritual choice made by St Vladimir [988AD] still largely determines our affinity today. In the words of Oleg the Prophet about Kyev, “let it be the mother of all Russian cities”.

Thank God Christendom is unravelling. It gives us hope for the future.

I am a fan

Probably better jump over the opening paragraph and photo… the real substance lies beyond!

Gayle’s family are (except for Helen – it is good to be different and to have one ‘s own ideas) fans of Liverpool. I tend to support the referee and in my dreams would love to be a referee, thinking I could cut out all the verbal dissent with a few red cards here and there… In my dreams… remember Pierluigi Collina? Now that is someone to look up to.

But beyond referees I am a fan of Authentic Lives and the work that Gayle is involved in. I am unbiased and so can objectively say she is brilliant at it… Even if there is a touch of subjectivity there the ‘testimonies’ back are awesome. All of this is to say that a face to face course is going to be put on in Ashburnham place, hosted by Gayle and Andrew. Here are the details:

If you are able to attend you will NOT be disappointed. The costs are for the accommodation, the course is delivered for free, any donation is of course welcomed.

Maybe I should put this in a separate post but I read the following this morning. Clever guy that Tom fella. I have added the emphasis, as that is my (extremely smart) contribution to the quote:

So when someone like Paul arrived in Thessalonica or Ephesus with his message about the one God and his crucified and risen son, he was not offering an alternative way of being religious in the sense of a private hobby, something to do in a few hours at the weekend. He was offering a heart transplant for an entire community and its culture.

A couple of posts

A couple of articles – one a podcast that might be of interest. Thomas Jay Oord is one of the key writers on Open Theology. Here is an article on God and foreknowlege:

If you decide to read the article scroll down to the comments also – one or two interesting bits in there, related to God and ‘timelessness’ (a concept the Greeks might embrace but not one Hewbrews could swallow).

Andrew Perriman always writes material that will necessitate a measure of re-reading of Scripture. Here is a video cast he has just released on:

How does the New Testament predict the future… So essential to grasp that we do not have a book that is helping us see we are in the ‘last days’ because of this, that and the other!! We are, have been in the last days, with some hope that there will be a ‘last day’ yet to come.

And why not throw in Peter Enns. He helpfully does a number of podcasts where he ‘ruins something’! This one on ‘Peter ruins Isaiah’ makes for a good listen:

Interview with Michael Graham

A while back I wrote a post and Michael commented on it. I realised there was much more knowledge and first-hand experience behind the comment so I worte and asked if he would like to write a few posts. Eventually we got round to connecting and ran through 3 video interviews.

Michael is a social worker and speaks to the issues of social care. His context is the UK so the content is shaped into there. He outlines where we are today in this video – how we moved from the monasteries as the centre of care to our current scenario.

Use the comment system to communicate directly to Michael and if there is more traction he is willing to engage deeper. I, coming at this with a lack of knowledge, found the historical development intersesting.