All of creation

Many will have seen this video of the buffalo showing up at Standing Rock. To say it is moving is an understatement. In the wilderness not only did angels show up for Jesus, but he was also there ‘with the wild animals’ (Mark’s version). Creation care is not an optional extra. Angels and animals both can find their place as we are positioned rightly.

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Prayer in Washington

Jerry Cartwright (Eureka, CA) let me know about a gathering of First Nations that took place yesterday. (Here is a link to alltribesdc.org.) Gathering in DC to release forgiveness:

We stand in the gap for those who are unable or unwilling to forgive, and call upon the Master of Life, to forgive us for harboring un-forgiveness, resentment, hatred, bitterness and rage; We repent of every curse spoken over America by our ancestors and we release the power of forgiveness to bring healing and the peace of Creator God to this land.

We declare and decree that our voice will no longer by silenced and that this nation and the world will hear our voice as we speak life and blessings over the Americas and the world.

In 2004 I with others from the UK, and with great support from friends (including Jerry) in the US walked the West Coast from Oregon to San Francisco, with one of the highlights being prayer on ‘Indian Island’ (with apologies for the name) with some immediate results. Some years prior to that I had a dream where an angel took me to a room and showed me a map of North America and across the land was written one European nation after another. (There was no border as we have today.) I understood deeply that we had raped the land, and the sins of the children are our sins.

I also followed the work of Wiconi International and although I never met Richard Twiss had some correspondence with him before his premature death. I am a strong believer that for restoration to take place, we need to see a restoration of the first nation peoples. This is not about going back, but about moving forward on a clean foundation.

When, as took place in Washington, those wronged forgive they have extraordinary power to release blessing. It was David who said to the wronged Gibeonites, ‘What must we do so as you will bless us’. Blessing is in the hands of those wronged.

These events should be provoked by repentance on the side of the oppressors and I am thankful for the many who have repented. However, if the church continues to embrace (be silent on) racism, and dehumanise other ethnic peoples (other faiths) the blessing that comes as the result of such First Nations forgiveness might indeed release more than we realise. It might, and I consider will, release the false cover over the root issues that have plagued the church – the colonialism. In other words a mess will be revealed, not a mess created but the revelation of what was already there.

In 2005 I was burdened to prophecy that the next two elections in a certain nation would leave many believers confused, and if they could not embrace the result of the first one the second would appear tougher for them. I then said the outcome would not create the confusion but simply reveal the confusion that was already there. (I am not lost and confused while driving and I suddenly realise I dont know where I am, that experience is simply the realisation I was lost earlier while thinking I was doing OK.)

So in reality I anticipate a wonderful uncovering to be the blessing released on the Americas and Europe. All such blessings must come first to the priestly responsible nation.

So a huge thank you to all First Nations people. Your humility humbles and also embarrases us.

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What does it mean?

Not sure why but been thinking over some prophetic words that had unexpected outcomes. There are so many that I am pretty sure the best way to interpret the prophetic is after the event. Peter’s use of Joel a few days before the Day of Pentecost and after would probably be quite different. Before – Joel is predicting… but after he says ‘This is that’.

In one setting I remember having a prophetic word reported to me that was given over a pastor concerning the eyes of the Lord being on him, never leaving him, the Lord travelling with him everywhere he went. Two or three days later it came out that he had been involved in an affair. At the time the expectation was that this was a word of deep comfort. Afterwards? Well afterwards it was also a word of deep comfort. Here is a God who cared deeply enough to go with this man wherever he went. Yes it would have been great had he never entered into the affair, and also better had he confessed after hearing the Lord speak to him… but in spite of ‘missing it’ that word is still a deep word of comfort assuring him of the presence of God.

I have, in a post a while back, covered how we respond to future prophetic declarations with an interpretation that comes from our expectations that have been shaped by where we have come from. (Peter in Matthew 16 is a classic example of this.) That really complicates things. We hear something, draw a straight line and then – caboom – we know what will happen.

What if there are prophetic words about God using a person as a wrecking ball? Expectation might be that s/he will wreck what we want wrecked and perhaps wreck what they are seeming to aim at. But what if the wrecking ball is on the religious self-preserving walls we have built and not on the evil secular house that we despise? Why would God do that? Judgment? Maybe but I think we always have to see what we think of as judgment as being merciful. That pastor who received the prophetic word about the eyes of the Lord was not so that he would forever fear (be afraid of) God, but that he would receive the unconditional love of God for only that keeps us focused on the right path.

If there is a wrecking of the religious walls it is because of love. Jesus did not prophesy the end of the temple because of some anger issue he had not dealt with. Something that had been allowed for a season, that God had appeared in, would no longer be a suitable channel for what was coming. Sadly we find it hard to let go of such things so find it very hard to embrace the enlarged expression of God. I do think there is something being wrecked at this time. The ball is swinging. But to see what the ball is hitting we need to look a little closer to home. Old political allegiances upheld by religion are being hit. I think we should be assured there is something else – not something perfect – that is on the horizon to connect with. And any connection will leave us softer in two directions – to God and to the world.

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The mistaken prediction?

Peter Enns had Christopher M. Hays and C. A. Strine explain the thesis of their book When the Son of Man Didn’t Come which (I summarise) suggests Jesus’ prediction about his return indicates he expected it before the end of the first century. In that sense he was mistaken but only if we understand prophecy as prediction. Prophecy is rather conditional and hence:

The Kingdom has not been fulfilled, as Peter explains, because people dropped the ball. Therefore, everyone should bust their butts to speed up the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

I of course have hardly done the book (or indeed the three posts) justice so here are the three posts:

peteenns.com/on-why-jesus-hasnt-come-back-yet-and-the-answer-may-shock-you/
peteenns.com/guess-what-prophecies-arent-predictions-of-the-future-you-can-look-it-up/
peteenns.com/why-jesus-hasnt-come-back-yet-according-to-the-new-testament/

Hays-book-200x300My purpose in picking this up is not to cover the book – the material looks excellent – but to suggest that the coming of the Son of Man is not primarily referring to the parousia and thus I am not convinced that Jesus was predicting that event. And given that I do see prophecy as conditional (and there are unfulfilled prophecies in Scripture – John Goldingay has some great examples of that) and that I am pretty convinced about Open Theism the ‘solution’ presented in the book is not an issue for me. However… here is where the posts began:

“Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power” (Mark 9:1).

He assured them, “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place” (13:30)—“all these things” apparently including reference to the “Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”

In light of that promise he adjured them again and again, “keep alert . . . keep awake . . . keep awake” (Mark 13:33-37), for “truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matt. 10:23).

Admittedly, he said that nobody would know the “hour or the day” of his return, but in general terms, Jesus definitely prophesied that he would be back before the end of the first century.
And since we are still here, it seems like he was pretty wrong!

The coming of the son of Man does seem to be rooted in the Danielic vision of chapter 7:

I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

If we give these verses a Christocentric interpretation then this could be a future vision of final judgement. In the context it is probably giving great hope that a representative will indeed be granted by God to rule when the beastly oppressing nations are judged. If Daniel, in the form we have it, is essentially placed in the Maccabean period then we have here great hope of God’s intervention. In the NT the hope is taken beyond that to the hope of Jesus as Messiah’s rule. I think a question we have to answer is when does that take place? Or maybe does is there one and only one future event that will indicate that has taken place? (Incidentally in the above scriptural quotes from the posts, the Matt. 10:23 one of ‘before the Son of Man comes’ does not even use parousia type language. Jesus uses the verb erchomai probably just referring to his reunion with the disciples in the very near future, after the twelve disciples have gone out in his name and before they head toward Jerusalem.)

Jesus said to the High Priest that in Mark 14:62:

“you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

This is surely not a prediction concerning the parousia but that if they have eyes to see the resurrection will indeed be evidence that Jesus is vindicated and is coming with the clouds of heaven not to earth but to the Ancient of Days.

In the Olivet Discourse we have in the three passages:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24: 29-31).

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Mark 13: 14-27).

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Maybe Matthew’s addition of ‘the sign’ of the coming of the Son of Man is significant, but even if not the coming of the Son of Man is not primarily a coming of Jesus a ‘second’ time from heaven to earth, but of the Son of Man coming to the Ancient of Days, as per Daniel. If we think fluidly, such as the Christ Event being the Incarnation – Baptism – Ministry – Cross – Resurrection – Ascension – Return we can likewise suggest that the ‘Coming of the son of Man’ predictions are not tied into the commonly understood return of Jesus but refers to all evidences that the Son of Man has indeed come in the clouds to the Ancient of Days. The sign and the reality are there to be seen.

In the light of that I do not think we need to posit that Jesus was mistaken. I do though suggest that given the conditional nature of prophecy that we can ‘hasten the day’ of his return. We do not build the kingdom, the New Jerusalem does not rise up, but comes down from the throne of God from heaven to earth, but I tie together the building materials of 1 Cor. 3 and the materials of the New Jerusalem and suggest the delay is because there is as yet insufficient building material for the cosmic temple, the New Jerusalem, the transformed earth. So to quote from the posts I do agree that:

Therefore, everyone should bust their butts to speed up the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

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Travel with San Lorenzo

spain_2016

The above map is our main drive that we took leaving the East Coast on August 25th and returning 6th September. We stopped off at some key places en route, and meandered a lot(!) covering in total some 4000 kms (2.5k miles). The last few days we stayed in Vigo, Galicia on the West Coast, stopping one night in Madrid before dropping off some paintings at a gallery in the centre of Madrid (don’t ask how we ended up doing this… but all a part of friendship…), then home. Always good to come home but the time away was just awesome. A little insight first (and an aside in reality) but we had the name of ‘Jose’ to drop the paintings to. Now how many Joses are there in Spain I hear you ask? So just beyond the Prada Museum in morning rush hour we find the approximate address – a back door on one of the main streets. We pull round into the street, security guards and police in evidence. Gayle has window down – ‘Jose?’ she shouts. Then we spot the real Jose 100 metres further up the street waving. ‘Lo siento…’ Gayle says, we drive on, now no option but to cross the bus lane, park in the bike lane and overlap the bus lane. Jump out. ‘Jose?’. ‘Si’… Seven paintings all wrapped up over the rail, into the black back door. Security guards now moving up the street. Jump back in and home!! Maybe an appropriate way to end our time – there is a huge back story behind why we did that, but enough that life is an adventure for now.

We had so many highlights. The north west – Asturias and Galicia – are Celtic lands. We carried with us a Celtic book of prayers and they seemed so powerful each day. Without the Gospel of course the Celtic lands of Europe resort to superstition, religion and the occult. We even encountered a small village called San Lourenzo complete with chapel one day on ‘a how many bends does this road have’ drive.

Perhaps though the two big highlights were getting to the most northerly and the most westerly points of mainland Spain on consecutive days. We have been praying for the past year that Spain will be stretched out so this was amazing places to pray. Spain has been contracting in the sense that everything is pulled to the centre (Madrid) and this is presenting a lock up scenario. When I finally get to recording the couple of videos on the generations and how life flows I will try and explain our journey a little more about the contraction of Spain.

On the West we went to A Coruña. A few years back I had a waking vision of a man lying back down across Spain. His head on Bibao (north and the language area of Euskadi), his right arm on A Coruña (west and language area of Gallego), his left arm on Barcelona (and language area of Catalan), his right ankle over Cádiz where we were living at the time, left ankle over Malaga, with the lower centre of his back over Madrid. We have now been to the north twice to pray for new thinking (the head), and feel we hit that in a big way last year. Barcelona we have been to, but the main place where we felt we needed to get to was A Coruña to free the right arm. This is the arm of blessing, and although it is all figurative, were very keen to get there. We found the city very dominating, imposing, not releasing a freedom. Anyway those are good places to have a bit of a battle. And so we did.

So what about travelling with San Lorenzo? We encountered the history of this saint (martyred 258AD, August 10) when in Madrid around 18 months ago. We felt a deep connection due to how we were led to the church named after him and the obvious connection of his death being on my birthday. Subsequent to that we went one year ago to Huesca where he was born. While there we had a real struggle to break through, but left the city with a vision to be more mobile and to go where the wind blows our ‘coracle’ to pray across Spain and indeed Europe, to connect with those who feel, and maybe are, in Exile. So we subsequently bought a small van (una furgoneta in Spanish)… It is our mobile accommodation, our coracle of the road. So as we travelled we had no plans, we came to the most northerly points and westerly by ‘accident’. We have affectionately named it ‘el furgo de San Lorenzo’ and will probably put it as a logo on the van – a good talking point?

Over the time we have lived in Oliva – way too quiet for us!! – we have gained new strength, there has been an impartation of youthfulness to us both. Although since 2011 we have been headed to Madrid, and will be there again from Friday this week, and wonder how much longer do we wait, we also realised while travelling that we went to Huesca, the birthplace of San Lorenzo, with the belief that it would open up Madrid to us, but left there knowing we had to be more mobile. So maybe, just maybe we have to occupy the mobile space more before we make our Madrid entry.

Timing with God counts for so much. Patience is apparently being able to pray ‘and Lord take as long as you wish on this’. Immediately after being in Huesca we were sent two apartments right opposite San Lorenzo’s church. Not happened before nor since. We know things are ‘rattling’ but the timing?

Here then a few photos:

San Lorenzo Church, Madrid

Although not a fan of buildings, this one in the Lavapies area of Madrid is highly significant for us: dedicated to San Lorenzo.

Home for us… aka known as ‘El furgo de San Lorenzo’, or ‘Our coracle’. Not huge but who would want anything more:

Home, aka El Furgo

Follow the GPS, to the north!!

To the north!

At the north we prayed by this old tree, and deposited there an acorn we picked up a year ago from Guernica.

Old Tree

Beauty and no crowds. The north of Spain and off the beaten track. A place of refreshment:

North Beach“,”post_title”: “Travel with San Lorenzo”,”post_category”: 0,”post_excerpt”: “We left the East Coast on August 25th and returned 6th September, stopping off at some key places en route, covering in total some 4000 kms (2.5k miles). The last few days we stayed in Vigo, Galicia on the West Coast, stopping one night in Madrid before dropping off some paintings at a gallery in the centre of Madrid (don’t ask how we ended up doing this… but all a part of friendship…), then home.

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Which train from here?

Gayle and I were not able to attend the recent Sparks conference at Ashburnham Place. In due course we will get some greater feedback but the little we have heard about it sounds great. We also watched this morning a video from the conference of a workshop that Brad Jersak hosted on ‘A more Christ-like God’. Worth watching…

In the presentation Brad used an illustration of being on a journey to cross (eg) London. His background, and many others of course, was that of the evangelical faith with a bias to seeing God as one who needs to be appeased. This ‘evangelical train’ can get one to the station but not across the city. There are then the options of getting out of the train but wandering in the station. Freedom at first but no onward journey. So the need is to find the next train, and one that maybe has the characteristics of ‘forgiveness’ could be an indicator of an appropriate train.

He described part of his own journey as moving from that evangelical train to seeing the value in a dispersed contemplative approach but then moved away from the dispersed aspect. Maybe similar to what Gayle and I read in Brian Zahnd’s book of Water to Wine.

I wonder if we have a bias that is hugely affected by our experience and personality (type)? I tentitively think our analogy might be more along the lines of, leave the station, take to walking, mix with crowd, learn the geography and amble across town. So we are not looking for the next train and do not think that this approach takes away the possibility of leaving the station.

All analogies are simply analogies and imperfect. Mine certainly leaves the question unanswered about intentionality of Christian community. Laying the analogy on one side we of course can defend ourselves (!!) by referring to the many meaningful and accountable connections we make with people who have been key to us over years – and we think mutually beneficial.

A deeper scenario in the current ‘train terminates here’ is probably over priorities. Does the intentional Christian community come first or is it embededness in the wider community? If we are interested in answering that I think that a whole host of things kick in. Our personality type (I can so make out how much I understand the Enneagram with statements like that!), the stage of faith we identify with, and also the context where we find ourselves. The latter should be fundamentally a gospel / mission question… And maybe God might help us find the context that fits our personality type, bring healing to us in the process and enables us to have some measure of effectiveness.

Even if none of the above is of interest (after all my comments and question is as a result of only a couple of lines in the video) the whole video carries a wonderful richness. Enjoy!!

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Plymouth and Canterbury

I have spent this past week in the UK with a few days in Plymouth and then in Canterbury. I try and be selective where I travel and have valued my time in both of these cities. Some while back we were sent a key dream which indicated that we had to ‘consult with the man of Spain as to which European invites to respond to’. Certainly since being across the north of Spain (yes I still will write a blog or two on our travels…) we feel that by making that trip we have in fact connected, to some greater measure at least, with the ‘man of Spain’. The language sounds more spooky than the reality!

There is always a validity in travelling anywhere the body of Christ is to be found, and we know that the body of Christ is found in many settings, both formal and informal. As our focus is the body embedded and embracing Babylon most of our connections are with those who are living in ‘exilic’ situations. Plymouth is a gateway (as is the South West) and Canterbury of course has a strong ecclesiastical and Roman foundation. Indeed in the latter city one could consider there would not even be a Canterbury without the church. It is 16 months since last being in Plymouth and some 8 years since I was last in Canterbury.

(Surprisingly) I am getting older, but my first observation is that many of those engaging with the concepts of city transformation are also getting older. That is a great credit to them – still sticking with the idea that the kingdom will manifest in ways beyond the church and is present to affect every sphere of the city. It is a challenge that a younger (20s and 30s) are not engaged in this context, but I am also glad they are not engaged. Let me explain. What I consider is essential is for those in that younger bracket to be embedded deeply in society, embracing Babylon and we (whoever the ‘we’ are) need to engage with them there. The manifestation of church that impacted the likes of me when I was in my 20s and 30s has shifted. The gospel has not changed but the focus for us has – it is not about church renewal but about socieatal transformation. It is about the church being the royal priesthood, of existing so that the world might be the best world possible. It inevitably means that there are more blurred lines, partnerships that are across boundaries. The content of prayer and prophetic understanding is desperately needed across all settings, and needed in the context of where people are now embedded. But I am glad that many are not abandonning ‘there’ to show up in some of the corporate gatherings. The result is that those corporate gatherings are predominantly with an older generation.

What place can those corporate gatherings have? Well maybe they can still be a means to release something that shifts the spiritual climate. That is certainly what we were seeking to do in both cities.

Before getting to a short few paragraphs on each place a comment on this aspect of generations… and I am (or so I keep saying) going to put together two videoblogs on this in due course. All things happen in due course (maybe that is the meaning of ‘mañana’?) A wrong alignment of the older to the younger, in summary when they are viewed to be present with their energy to continue the existence of the house or ministry of the older will:

  • prolong the life literal and figuratively of what needs to give way to something fresh
  • will steal life, literally with illness, and figuratively with stunting of gifting and missing of life-connections from the younger

I would consider that a classic example of this is of Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe. We have African friends who began across Africa decades ago to pray for the shift in the dictators who ruled across African countries. 9 of the 10 were removed and they told us ‘we were unable to remove Mugabe’. I consider he literally survives from the lives of the youth, he takes the future and eats from it today. (Spain as a nation is strongly on this trajectory now and it is into this that we have focused prayer.)

The flip side is that when we rightly align that there is:

  • a release for the next generation and an increase in their wisdom
  • and an impartation of youthfulness to those who rightly align

This latter understanding I received in a dream maybe 18 months ago, and it was in Plymouth that I felt free to share this for the first time… so I am pretty sure we are about to enter a season where this will be a key element. I suspect as well where there has been a wrong alignment that we will see some major disturbances.

Plymouth has been a defensive city, being home to all three elements of the armed forces. However in the Spirit it is called to be the opposite. Gateway cities / regions are normally of course on the edge of territory and were often given the identity and purpose of keeping borders secure. Philadelphia in Revelation was positioned in this way, but it was to that city that Jesus commanded them to have sight of the open door before them. The sight can be stolen, the body can lose sight because of a focus on a lack of resources. So we pushed into this while there. Out of the South West will come hidden treasures for the nation, and a sound rising up from the multiplicity of small that sounds all the way to London and Westminster. Also there are many coming back home to the South West. They left in one way but will return with a wisdom and a settledness but will be re-energised when they reconnect with the land. The next years I believe will see a significant influx.

Canterbury – for the third time (apparently) I have brought the Scripture about the scribe trained for the kingdom who brings things out new and old from the storehouse. The new has to come out first, otherwise any ‘renewal’ of what is old will be simply re-energising it but will soon colonise it. I was glad that my connections here were small this time round – the largest get together being around 20 people. I was also glad that those who pulled me in wanted to run with a Celtic not a Roman rhythm. This is essential for the city.

In both these places and across the board in the UK it seems increasingly that we have to obtain eyes to see where the Spirit of God is present, come down to the door and then make the journey from our Joppa to Caesarea to go the path of the ‘not so Lord’ till we have our conversion in Cornelius’ house. If this does not happen… but I think a number are already there, and even those of us who are older will be able to make the journey too with the impartation of youthfulness.

Home tomorrow. Then I have time with a small group from the ‘Black Country’, then interaction, sharing, laughter, discussion and sounding board time with Roger and Sue Mitchell and finally with them off to Madrid before the end of the month.

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God is (definitely!!) where I am

We have just finished the more than excellent read ‘Water to wine’, and deeply impacted by the book. The humility and openness means there are rich pickings on the pages. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I am not about to review the book, but there is a reflective path I am taking, partly provoked by the book, and also (maybe) partly provoked that Brian and Peri are about to start the Camino de Santiago, walking 500 miles, participating along the way in various church services, eucharists etc. In contrast(?) Gayle and I have just completed 2500 miles driving and looking ahead trying to call for a future that has never been – and with a few Celtic prayer reflections too… I don’t really think there is too much of a contrast but it has been interesting to reflect.

Church tradition – yes or no?

My (I will write for me, but most will also be reflective of ‘us’) whole Christian experience has been inside the Protestant, evangelical, then charismatic (and ‘new church’) stream. I have never been exposed to the more contemplative nor creedal forms of Christianity. Anabaptism has shaped my hermeneutical approach to Scripture. The weakness (strength?) of that is conviction that draws lines as to what is right and what is wrong, who is in and who is out. If the word ‘sect’ is defined positively (as in ‘sect’ not ‘cult’) then it fits that approach, if defined negatively (‘sectarian’) then that might also fit.

I have come to respect enormously what I have found in the wider historic traditions, and come to appreciate the various ‘services’ offered to the community by those either state churches or more established local churches. I am far from dismissive of that and seek to honour those who serve in those contexts. I would be disappointed to see them disappear.

However…

I see those institutions (and I am not using the word pejoratively) as pragmatic, as very helpful. Others seem to see those as the result of a sovereign God who works in and through history so that what we now have is more or less the result of the NT foundation. Tradition might have some dangers but the church tradition, the church fathers (and they were mainly male), the church councils etc., are all then extremely valuable.

So there is some sort of divide on how we view the trajectory from the past to the scene we have today. This does not necessitate a divide of a ‘right / wrong’ kind just a divide of perspective and of course therefore of focus and passion.

I am grateful for the creeds, but also read the church councils as having a political element. Constantine (and Eusebius) of course are on the wrong side for me, Christendom, state religion also are indicators of a major wrong turn in the road, monarchy anointed to rule by a bishop, monarchy as ‘head’ of church etc… I guess you get my drift.

Having written on the trajectory from priesthood for the nations, to Temple and how Jesus came to restore the church as priesthood to take responsibility for the world, I can easily take a pragmatic approach. God is in what he even sees as in opposition – seen clearly in the choice of monarchy. Jesus did not destroy the Temple, the Romans did that, and maybe had there been a greater level of repentance that event might have been averted. But Jesus did come to sow seed that eventually manifests as ‘I saw no Temple there’ – a city without a temple.

Thank God for wonderful traditions – they have proved to be pragmatic guidelines. Thank God for institutions that serve daily and weekly. But I too have to be true to my convictions.

There are those who are true to their convictions – serving inside the ‘local’ church, serving within the state church. Some move further toward the Catholic or Orthodox traditions either because of their convictions or a mixture of convictions and pragmatism.

Then there are those who live according to their convictions, not disrespecting those traditions, living pretty naïvely that there is another path that the NT points toward. Yes that is what brought me to find a home inside the ‘new churches’ with the restoration of the fivefold ministry etc. Recently I met someone from that background, a person that I had shared the same new church family with. He asked what am I doing, what my focus was. I replied that I am still the same as I was when I was in my early 20s, still naïvely believing we can change the world!

Maybe I am so far from ready to enter the second half of life, or maybe I have one naïvety that I am not willing to let go of. And maybe the ‘tradition is where God has brought us to’ kind of people just live out their life with another naïvety. What is for sure this is God’s world, he has never given up on it, and maybe somehow in both extremes he is found. At least I think I find God where I am.

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Online and Off Road

We are having a wild time, now in the north west of Spain and with internet a few days, before driving back through Madrid and home. Once home I will try to put up some coherent notes, with a map and some photos. Thus far many surprises. We have been across the border into France as we thought that was very important. Then to the most northerly point of mainland Spain and two days later the most westerly point. Our prayer has been to stretch the land. A number of years ago I had a waking vision of a man lying on his back across Spain, with his right wrist over A Coruña (west of Spain). We had a very strong encounter in that city but have a strong witness that the right hand is now free. The hand of blessing for Spain and beyond. Our prayer these days have also been for a new government, not just in the sense of a new government to come through this time of turmoil and non-government (nothing is resolved yet from the second elections and without a shift a third election will be called) but in the sense of a new way of being together. Dreams have shown us that there are ancient pillars that have to crumble.

All in all we are driving happily! We have had the GPS inform us that we are about to enter unpaved tracks, it has thrown up literal question marks as to where we are… leaving the paved road has been very important for us in this trip. Accompanied with a book of Celtic prayers and as we are now in Galicia the resonance with the land is strong, and maybe we are not in a coracle as the Celts of old but we are discovering what it is to go where the current takes us.

For those who know the connection we made with San Lorenzo… as we ‘missed’ a turning in one place and ended up again on a 30 mile stretch of ‘over the hills, cross the bridges, and round the hairpins’ kind of road we came through a tiny village where we encountered a tiny San Lorenzo chapel. Out jumps Gayle to drink water from the spring. I hasten to add that I had pulled over! Our prayer is for Spain to be stretched but in the course of our adventure we are certainly being stretched. So in this brief post I leave you with that: for Europe to be re-juvenated there has to be a stretching out. Pulling back to the ancient will prove worse than fruitless. A broader theme I am working on is to do with a possibility of an impartation of youthfulness or the contrary will take place and what is old and decaying will be preserved beyond its sell by date but end up stealing the life from the youth.

So the now affectionately known ‘El furgo de San Lorenzo’ is resting a couple of days, then we will jump back in to complete the journey home – making for a round trip of something around 3000+ kilometres.

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OffLine and OnRoad

Thursday – tomorrow – we are off… off line pretty much but… much more important off on the road. Not totally sure when we will be back – early September. Hoping to drive north through Zaragoza, on to the north coast, then into France, back across the north coast to the extreme West to Galicia (Pontevedra), then Madrid and home again. The north of Spain holds some keys to new ways of thinking so we hope to pray into that. Immediately after our visit there last year and praying into the constitution we noted a level of discussion around the constitution that we had not observed before. We will visit Pamplona – again – and give the bull running issue another good old kick. After being there last year we noted, either, more coverage on the protests or more protests this year. Could all be coincidental but following convictions seem to be key.

We have been praying into the request of Caleb’s daughter (Judges) for the upper and the lower springs. The lower springs, the place of refreshment and meditation is where we are now, and are literally at sea level and in a place where there is a high water table due to underground rivers. Madrid – the high land – is the place we are requesting. Interesting as well that we have been focusing on one of the higher parts of Madrid in our prayers. And on the road… this time last year we visited Huesca the birth place of San Lorenzo. Had some interesting aspects there as we were met by (Saint – not really) George, but came away with we need to get mobile, sleep in a van and drive wherever we need to drive to. Well tomorrow is the first day we go off with bed in van. So we are expecting to see some shifts.

If not? Just will be good to be on the road and maybe good for us to be pretty much off-line.

We are convinced that Spain holds some undiscovered – and almost certainly some surprising – keys that ultimately will be related in some way to the Pauline Gospel.

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