Into the mess we go

Last post of 2021

Anyone who reads these posts on a regular basis will realise that I pretend that I am a simple imbiber of truth and then write about it… which being translated is I am a biased person who ignores any material that disagrees with my viewpoint! And if anyone reads between the lines of my posts you will also realise that I think most of us live that way.

A while back we had in our home for a few days, a Brexiteer, an advocate that humanity’s ability to create money out of nothing was reflective of us being created in the image of God, who viewed ‘woke culture’ as being negative, that ‘BLM’… Get the picture? Such a biased person, I think to myself!!! Yet, how good it was. Someone who on most of those key points would take a diametrically opposing position to my own. It was so good because when in the same space for a few days there are two options, argue and fall out… or listen.

We all operate with a map that helps us understand the territory, but the map is not the territory. The map simplifies things, and in so doing helps us navigate; but the map is not the real world, the territory is.

I have recently posted on same-sex issues and a response to that. In making a shift over the past years I have sought to listen to stories; I am well aware that there are stories to be told on both sides of the divide; stories in themselves cannot dictate how we should respond, but they help us make adjustments to the map, for they put us in touch with the territory. The danger is that the stories we select we think tell the whole story, that they map out the entire territory. They do not, and there will be days when we walk the territory that the map does not help us.

The Christian world operates by a map, a map that simplifies so much. I have commented in the past that Jesus who taught post-resurrection to the disciples about the kingdom of God clearly either did not do a good job, or what he taught (and maybe more important to for us to understand: what he omitted) exposed that we are not doing a good job when we have all the answers.

Questions. Questions often come when we meet situations we did not expect, or they encroach on our world uninvited. Questions. Where are you Adam? The inability to really answer that question meant he had no idea where God was: and there are two stories told since then as to where God positioned Godself – one told incarnationally by Jesus, and one that fuelled a lot of division. If Adam (male and female) had understood where they were and where God was the original temptation would have held no power at all. Adam, made in the image of God, stoops to eat some fruit to be like God! That was an incredible ‘falling short of the glory of God’, the glory that was present in their humanity. Failing to be human, shuts down questions.

That original temptation and Christendom line up. Move over, I am coming to the centre, being the strap line for both. A view of God, a God of power (true but not the essence of God), a God we can be like, one we can represent. Defending God… or defending the god that we believe is God.

I have been reading Paul Kingsnorth’s material on why he has come down on the side of being a non-vaxxer and an advocate for that position. ( – and two subsequent posts.) He rightly exposes the hostility and division that is present, the setting up of an ugly divide (I think most of his statistics he quotes are highly suspect… comparing like with not like, but this does not nullify what he is saying.) In it he also infers a regrettable loss of the shaping of the world that Christendom gave the West. Those days have gone, and are not coming back… thank God!

I, like many, wrote of the great re-set that was signified by the COVID-19 phenomenon, and have to look painfully at the lack of reset to the economic world. Far from being reset it has accelerated in the woeful direction of the ever-widening gap. Sad that those who are pro ‘God’s law for society’ (theonomists) don’t critique their hopes with a healthy does of true reset – Jubilee. Given that there are aspects where there has not been a reset I am torn. I could be persuaded to say – we need more to truly reset things… But that I do not hold to. The reset has gone as far as it can. An exposure of what is there is visible, and in part Kingsnorth’s articles are saying that.

Jesus came at the ‘fullness of times’, not I believe as some (past) have suggested, the time of global communication, roadways etc., but in the context of Galatians and the hostile powers (which included the law!) the fullness of times was the time when the captivity to powers had reached their peak. It was then that Jesus came.

Maybe, maybe… and again a maybe. Maybe the reset is allowing a re-evaluation of what is present. Powers that divide, that sow seeds of dehumanisation. The book of Revelation remains ever so pertinent, the beast receives a voice. The voice might be human but the beast is non-human and anti-all-things-human.

The powers might be coming to a peak. At such a time there can be a manifestation, a revelation of glory, glory being a description of what it means to be truly human.

We can resist mess by bringing all people to our side of the table. Or we an cohabit the same space and listen. If, I as a three-times vaccinated person, and pro-vaccination it is not because it is the godly way to go. Life is a compromise (look at Paul in Romans, the theological text-book to read about compromise!). There can be good reasons for, and there can be good reasons against a given position. Governments have some hard decisions to make, but we do not need to jump on a conspiracy to shape the map we use to journey on the territory.

We have entered new territory. The vaccine issue might be one sign of that. However, for us as believers we have to see beyond the simple right / wrong judgement (I think there might be something early on in the Bible about that being a real mistaken path?)

Mess is here. Dialogue needs to be companion for us all. Jesus is coming again to teach us about the kingdom of God. We will have so few notes from what he teaches. We will hit situations that we don’t know how to respond to. We will have trances that we think will be simply a test to hold to the proven buy history to be the right response, only to discover that God has moved on. And yes, I mean that last sentence (nothing to do with God ‘growing up’, or ‘changing a set of beliefs’, but everything to do with where we have set up camp.)

We will continue to use maps. Maps simplify. They can find the statistics that are needed to prove the rightness of the map; the stories will underline the grid I use. But the territory is the territory… and it is messy.

Who would want to be like God? S/he is where we are, hence the tarnishing of reputation that takes place. There comes a time though when, for the future of the planet, God moves on and invites us to move position. These are not absolutes, as in now step here as this is where the TRUTH is. The movement is incremental. Hence ‘let’s just go back to normal’ is not acceptable. Let’s stumble forward, get our feet dirty.

And as a footnote: the mark of the beast is something much more sinister than a vaccine chip. More subtle and more damaging. Speaking with a human voice… yet listen to the language for the voice dehumanises.


Get ready for what? Now and there

Once a year I have had an event on the same date in August. (Kind of repetitive?) I’ve had quite a few so maybe I will move to an every-other year marker. Why not? Anyway… I kind of enjoy it as it is always a time for a few reflections, and also realisations. I have enjoyed getting older, and also realising that it is fairly irrelevant that I am a slow learner, some people might just enter the second half of life at an appropriate time, but I am certainly not ready for that yet. Too much to kick, and simply glad that God works with our attitude of ‘give that a good old kick’; seemingly well able to sort it out. The future of the world does not depend on my maturity!

Anyway been some good days. The presence of God – always present – but ‘felt’ presence is always wonderful, and in that presence there often comes sight.

Nothing new in what I am writing but the sense of ‘preparing to inhabit the future landscape‘ is what is on my mind and heart. To inhabit is to live in it comfortably, not challenge-free, but also not reluctantly. (By landscape I am more indicating the ‘spiritual’ reality than the climate issue of landscape… with wild-fires and record temperatures we certainly face a challenge and a verdict of neglectful stewardship.)

Change… the image on this post is of a river. The philosophers raised the question – can one step into the same river twice, or has it changed since the last time? This was responded to with a further question, ‘can one step into the same river once?’ Constant change!

In writing about change there is always a proviso. Much continues as before when change is announced. Saul’s kingdom ended ‘this day’ but he was still king the next day, and the next, and the next year… and the next decade. Nothing changed, but everything changed that day. I am not about to announce that all has changed ‘this’ day, but in this season (marked by COVID) all is / has changed.

I had some very profitable Zoom calls yesterday. One into a city in the UK where there is a battle on for a redefining of identity and direction (those two are related). I have prophesied there concerning innovation in the University, and that the clock that had been stopped is no longer stopped, yet in spite of that there are delays – that was the nature of the call yesterday. As we talked it became evident that the issue was for a healing of the corporate memory. The ‘stones’ are crying out we can’t go with change! (Land being the reservoir of the corporate memory.) Memory is a wonderful gift, and an amazing terrorising captor – in equal proportions. We see this with God instructing people ‘not to forget’ and to ‘remember’, while also telling them (in the context of radical hope for change) ‘do not remember the former things’.

Memory can inspire us to rise again. Or can become the ruts that prevent a new direction. This is certainly one of the great danger with a rehearsal of ‘revival’ history; the memory can dictate what the future expectation is. The only common factor between past and future is ‘God’, ‘who is, and who was and who is to come’. The order of the three time related phrases seem important, and the change of phraseology, thus indicating direction in the last of the three phrases seem important. The connection between past and future is God, not that of a repeated event. God might (reluctantly) allow a repeated event; we might jump up and down… God might sigh.

Memory is tied to the past, we do not arrive at the future from the past alone. If we try to do that we simply continue to live in a ‘rutted’ present. There has to be a journey first into the future so that it can then enter the present. Thankfully there are catalysts that come our way to facilitate that.

Change is constant, but not all change takes place at a constant rate. There are accelerated times of change, such as we are experiencing now. Those changes are going to affect politics and economics. They have to be affected as those are the ‘sign realms’ whenever there is a major shift spiritually.

How do we prepare?

I saw this year as (falsely) bringing things back to normal, and expected that to be the case in the latter half of this year. I still anticipate that with economic pick up, measure of travel restored and some ‘best trading year yet’ reports. I wrote ‘falsely’ not because the reports or the figures are not accurate, but because the report is based on what can be seen, not what is unseen.

I don’t know how hard 2022 will hit, but it will certainly signal that we are not out of this crisis.

How do we prepare?

I have always found that any shift external has to be initiated at a shift internally; and gladly that what we do, for example, with what is in our pocket affects the big purse out there – after all the context of the widow who put the two coins in the treasury Jesus seemed to tie to the demise of the grandioseness of the Temple edifice, certainly Luke, the observant writer on economics, seems to make that connection.

Here then are a few areas where maybe we will need to give attention:

  • Memory and the aspects that have rutted us into an expectation.
  • Money. ‘Losing’ money strategically will be… strategic! In other words it will be a strategy to unlock our personal economics (unlocking does not necessarily mean ‘increase’ but certainly means liberating of us) and if so to release something wider that will unlock a flow related to justice. I strongly suggest, particularly in new areas to keep one’s eyes open for where we deliberately do not profit from what might have been possible, that which was our ‘right’. Entry to the land was marked by this (Jericho, Achan etc.)
  • Politics. Yes I vote, but the party leanings that I have are not an endorsement of their kingdom alignment. God is not ‘party political’ aligned! But politics is simply to do with shape of society (polis: Greek city / city state). Eyes outward. How far? To the neighbour. ‘Who is my neighbour?’ is a question we have to answer. Amidst political extremes we are to be political, a love for our neighbour.
  • Health. Yet there is something bigger than health that gets threatened. It is that of whether we choose life. I have just completed one more calendar year on planet earth, and have worked out that I am probably(!!) more than half way through my life. The higher call is not to live in health but to live, to choose life. To choose life we do not orientate ourselves in trying to avoid death. Avoiding death is never the instruction. The kingdom of God does not orientate itself around the negatives (there are some) but the orientation is around the positives – eat of all the trees was the first instruction. Life is never defined (unless Adam is the model) by what happens inside, but by what happens externally, as ‘felt’ by the neighbour.

I picked out those four elements (memory, money, politics and health) as there are very real corporate threats around those. The external (big world) is related to the choices made in the small world (my life).

We are in a phase where things can be confusing. Where is God?, not in the sense that s/he can’t be seen, but sometimes s/he is being seen where we did not expect to see God, and sometimes not seen where we expected to see God. Maybe the question is not ‘where is God?’, but ‘why is God present there?’ and ‘why in reality is God absent here?’.

We are truly in the (to you, your children)… and to ‘those who are afar off‘. This will result in mixed responses. God is there (great)… oh no it does not fit my box.

The future is messy… and not just for a short period of time.

The small world is the key.

If we are worried about where is Jesus in all this mess out there, there is an internal question to be asked, that question being far more important than the external question.

In this mess, there is a new bumper (Gayle’s current sense) environment. All it is asking for is for those to walk in the mess there with Jesus. Encounters with Jesus are to take place there.

Many years ago I had a word that God was going to give some people two homes. I am not talking of a nice holiday home, or two luxury pads. A home in Scripture is not first (nor last) implying a building, though a building can be home. A home is a place where there has been a reconciliation, it is the return of the prodigal; it is a place where heaven and earth meet. Money might say to some, ‘OK’ it is easy to have two or more houses… but it is not easy to have two ‘homes’. That requires faith and grace. I now see a further element. Two homes. Home in the ‘clean’ place, where no-one swears (as if!) and a home in the ‘dirty’ place. HOME. In both places where there is a reconciliation of heaven and earth.

The bumper time is here. Explosions. But there not here. I probably should not bother with another August event for the next 8 years. That is the season that is here now / the season that is there now. The timing is consistent (now) the place is not (there).

Tight Rope Decisions

The post below is reproduced by permission. It is posted anonymously and was published in an internal privately publication. It speaks deeply beyond the situation concerning decisions that have huge ramifications, and as it relates to the current pandemic speaks right into now. Knowing people who have lost loved ones to the virus, others who are still struggling with symptoms months after being tested positive, as well as those who have had the virus and recovered, all underlines how difficult an epoch we are living in. In difficult and easier times decisions that have ramifications remain.

The young girl in the back seat of our car stares out of the window. Her long hair frames a petit face that is almost completely covered by a large, surgical mask. A sad and strange silhouette in the encroaching darkness. This morning she was in lock down with her mother. Now she is being driven miles away from her home town by my husband and I. To the girl, we are surgically masked strangers, labelled foster carers. A Covid 19 related cardiac arrest has changed this 12 year old’s world in seconds.

Arriving home we view our small house and single bathroom. Protection from the virus is going to be impossible. We cannot wear PPE equipment 24/7. We cannot wear it in the bathroom.

We take our masks off and the action becomes a symbolic moment for me. Our exposed faces and the threat of the virus shows me, more clearly, that we have never been wholly in control of our lives. I also wonder how free we ever are from the false, ego masks we choose to wear. Masks that hide our truer selves from others.

The girl says, “I think it is my fault my mother died… If only I had called the ambulance earlier.”

Her self accusation and extreme loss, alongside our agony of not being able to physically touch her, is heart breaking.

We light a candle and pray together. The flickering flame mirrors our vulnerability and seems to connect us a little. For me, this quiet togetherness is both honouring and humbling.

The girl has a slight temperature and we offer her paracetamol and a hot drink before bed. I ask her if she has anything belonging to her mother with her. Something she can take to bed. Something of her mother’s she can hold. She says she has her mother’s rosary and then she climbs the stairs to her new bedroom.

I clear the kitchen, the death of the girl’s mother and the possibility of one of us falling ill or even dying is on my mind.

My teenage son looks into the kitchen and says, quite cheerfully, “You realise there are different forms of this virus and the one we’re exposing ourselves to killed someone? Just saying. Good night.”

Sometimes decisions are made on a tight rope between our responsibilities. Without hindsight to guide us we balance precariously on the rope, fearful of the consequences of our choices and, also, the judgements of ourselves and others. Self-forgiveness is difficult.

I blow the candle out and knock quietly on the girl’s door to say good night.

Over the next fourteen days we remain well and people commend us for our courage but if one of us had died, what then? What would people have said then?

Watch this space

Guard the space

No not an ad for the most amazing life-changing product that you cannot afford to miss! That product comes later when I reach a level of maturity that… OK maybe a piece of good advise is don’t wait around for that to happen as a lot of life will pass you by in the meantime.

Two spaces that I think we have to watch.

My take on COVID-19

Not going away any time soon. But it is a warning to signal that we are to prepare for what is beyond it. So right through this year and into the early stages of next we will be reading the daily statistics of the virus, then…. SPACE.

2021 will be a year when there is a relief. Welcomed by the ‘back to normal’ approach as a ‘glad that is behind us now we are back where we were’. But I see it as a space opening up to breathe and get set with resources for the challenge of what is beyond. I do not see God as a destroyer who deliberately pulls things down – sometimes God does that when we stick God’s name on it and insist that it is here forever (see the Temple discourses in Jeremiah and Matthew 24). If God is not an automatic destroyer and also relates to us with a huge capacity to compromise then I see the relief as space to gather the resources for the post-COVID (not suggesting that is the right term) period. 2022 will have somewhere in it ta level of crisis that means 2021 will have been essential to give us what we need, or show that we missed it by thinking the crisis was over.

So watch the space of 2021.

Sidenote on not allowed to sing!

I heard yesterday that churches (UK and I think Spain and probably elsewhere) can meet but not SING. In the light of the dream I had from 2010 for the decade up to 2020 concerning how Christian singing shut back down the façades ( I find this very interesting. If we simply complain about not being able to sing (persecution???? I don’t remember the last time I went to Tescos and only being able to buy meat offered to a variety of gods… we have it easy… or of course we can see it as all foods and goods have been offered to the god of consumerism and we have been duped all those years – take our pick but not persecution, and if it was rejoice as ‘all who seek to live a godly life will suffer persecution’). If we focus on a so-called persecution and fail to lay hold of our responsibility to be agents that should hold open what the Lord has opened to expose we will so miss it. So I see the grace of heaven coming through the legislation. Nice one.

End of sidenote!

The feminisation of the future

I am writing (I think 6 booklets) and at the moment the fourth is on the egalitarian nature of the Pauline Gospel. (One of the first revelations I ever had of the land of Spain was that there was a hidden deposit of the Pauline Gospel in the land, as no other land on the basis of biblical authority can claim to have first century apostolic prayers deposited in the land.) Anyway not suggesting I am uncovering the Pauline Gospel – if I was step aside NT, Douglas, John and a whole bunch of others that I am not on first name terms with! But I am being impacted by the Pauline Gospel, and in particular I have been knocked sideways by the terse letter to the Galatians. Some crazy stuff in there, but the absolute centralising of Jesus so that everything and anything else is blasted out of the picture. In the letter of course it is Jewishness that gets the main treatment but also in the very careful change of language of Gal. 3:28 when it comes to gender difference is so noticeable.

So the space here I suggest we have to watch is that there is coming a feminisation into society. Back in the 90s I wrote a book I was very happy with back then ‘For Such a Time as This‘ where it proposed that there were no barriers to the full participation of women at any level, including female apostles in Scripture and hence today. Happy with it (then) as any book written is a snapshot in time of where the writer was at that time. The book was saying women can and are encouraged to enter the space (and my focus back then was on ‘church space’… but back then majority space was shaped by a masculinity). Now…

There is space opening, which will affect economics, politics, commerce etc., that is feminised – i.e. a different way of operating that (excuse my ignorance) will be much more collaborative than competitive. That space will be entered more easily by women but is open to men as in Christ there is no ‘male and female’.

Maybe in all the above there are connections. If the façades coming up expose a ‘masculinity in Adam’ form of the institutions that have shaped the public square, then the ‘feminisation in Christ’ can follow. As there is neither male and female in Christ of course the language is struggling to gain any real traction. Meanwhile let’s not complain about not singing. Surely we can answer the question of ‘where then do you worship’ by normally before I get out of bed, while making breakfast my heart rises to heaven, and when I come to eat I do find a real thanksgiving rise up and…

2020 – 2022

A Two year Window

In the past days I have been on a few Zoom calls and some of what I see for the next season has been pulled on. I thought it might be of some value to put it down here, some of which in bits and pieces I have shared before. It needs of course to be weighed and if there is a projection on my part of expectations those will colour what I write. Prayer and revelation is not here to give us what we expect but what we need to enable participate in any forward God movement. Finally any sight has to be supplemented by sight from others.

In the first few days of January it became clear to us that 2020 was not going to be a year that could be planned out. It would be a disrupted year, the important part was that we could not plan as per normal but would have to respond as the disruptions occurred. For many this has been a painful year and I do not write in any way to diminish that experience; we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I acknowledge the diversity of experiences but also want to give a focus to push against the hope of those who are simply waiting for things to return to normal. God makes everything beautiful in its time and we have to discover what it is that God is beautifying.

It is fairly self-evident that there is a RESET taking place. The concept of a reboot is vital for many sectors, and the use now of the term ‘essential workers’ has been a redemptive and perceptive phrase. I suspect it will soon disappear from the active vocabulary as a measure of recovery comes. Crisis has value if we change… if not!!

There will be a bouncing back… it is OK to go with it to a measure, but the focus has to remain on the reset. However as the bouncing back is heralded (2021?) we should not get carried away. The reset has to go much deeper that a temporary change (everything online) and then back to a thank God here comes the normal!

For those who are seeking to find what God has in this season, as opposed to waiting for this season to end, it is not so much a reboot but a reset. The vision might need to be tweaked but the vision is the vision. A refocus might be required, but it is essentially about resetting. As in many sports there comes a point that the team needs to be reset in order to achieve the desired outcome. Perhaps the format of the team, or new plays need to be introduced. We are now in a period of reset and even when a measure of recovery comes, even if we might be able to go with it to some extent, the important element remains that the reset needs to be completed.

There is a 2 year window to push through this reset, ideally if it can be done in 18 months the better. In 2022 – I do not suspect at the beginning – I see global elements of crises appearing that will bust open the cracks. COVID-19 is serious but is also a sign of what is to come, and is signalling to us now that there is a period of time in which we can get ready for this.

The reset is to check alignments. There are alignments from the past season that will quickly prove to be energy sapping for the next. An important element to avoid in this season is filling all the space. There are also alignments that have become loose that need tightening up. However, we approach it the issue of ALIGNMENTS is key in this reset.

Also get ready to change direction. There will likely be for a number of people the sudden openness of new outlets that they have skirted around the edges of before. They will come with a fresh angle / approach and then open up.

The favour of God is going to be with those who are not giving themselves to protect the structures / institutions but invest in the people. This might well mean embracing what might seem a smaller influence, but invest small and deep and there will both be longer lasting results and also protection into the phase that opens in 2022.

At the same time God is at work not simply with ‘me / us’. We are not at the centre. We can flow with what God is doing, but the future is not being shaped for us as individuals. So I suggest that there are people now who are being loosened up from their former concepts that only got them thus far. The loosening will mean fresh sight to those people and also fresh space for new connections. There are many hubs being shaped at this time… a hidden few here and a hidden few there.

Coming clean

British Past

Back in the day so much prayer was focused on specifics such as the Berlin conference of the late 19th Century that carved up Africa for the Europeans. Alongside 13 European nations the USA was also involved. Alongside specifics a large amount of effort went into ‘rolling up the Roman road’, seeking to undo the effects of empire. We had some incredible encouraging signs and yet… But now so much seems to connect.

We should not expect that all movements that seek to address the issues are going to do it perfectly. If the body of Christ does not execute her task perfectly why do we have higher standards for the world!!

So much of history is covered over. I have found again and again that history stays hidden until uncovered through prayer. Once it is out the lid cannot be put on the box again. For the Brits among us here is a good article to check up on the British and part of our imperial history:

I am definitely not patriotic. I find that to be in direct conflict with my commitment to Jesus. I cannot give any allegiance that conflicts with my allegiance to Christ. There are of course arguments as to what was achieved through empire, the sending of missionaries etc. It has even been suggested that the ‘fullness of times’ when Jesus came was the Roman Empire, one language, roads and so the gospel could spread! The context of those verses point in a radically different direction.

God maximises all possibilities. After all he even used a king in Israel! To find some good that came through something reveals nothing about the ‘thing’ in question.

The uncovering, the reaction is not going to go away. If I can be so bold as to suggest the prayer ensures that. And once we have prayed, we cannot then push it all back in cos what came out was not what we were expecting! Prayer does not unlock what we expect, it unlocks what we need.

We have hit mid-way through this decade a governmental crisis. We have leaders who are comfortable to lie. We have hit the sign of the COVID virus that is the wake up call… behind this comes the economic crisis that will have some back and forths but will come at a new level in 2022, when as yet some unforeseen combination of setbacks will hit.

Our response? Bunker down? Or use this time to allow for some personal readjustment to line up with God’s agenda. Early on in this ‘less than pretty time’ I cottoned on to the Ecclesiastes verses that God makes everything beautiful in its time. God is never inactive, never non-redemptive. There is always activity that he is involved in.

Loads of questions in this time, but I also see it as a major shift.