By the end of the year!

Friday the Spanish parliament passed a very important vote to exhume Franco’s body from the Valley of the Fallen. (For the objection to this for example: The Guardian.) In 2015 we prayed with Roger and Sue Mitchell at the Valley of the Fallen at at his tomb. Thursday this week past Gayle and I went to the house where he was born. We had believed there still was unfinished business… and Friday the vote!

We have realised of late that in a number of issues that we have given a good push to that we have to finish them, the ‘finishing straight’ can hold the biggest resistance. Tomorrow we will be in Madrid to put a push in prayer behind the move.

We have looked for this year to bring a few things through to a completion. The constitution was signed at the end of 1978 – 40 years ago. Although it was a remarkable constitution to move Spain to democracy, it also needs to be loosened up. At the end of Franco he proclaimed that ‘all things are tied up, well tied up’. So… A time to untie we think.

These past 2 weeks we have been off road – without electricity, only very occasional internet. So getting home (Thursday?) will be great, but also the slow process of working through emails. For those who have written and there has been no reply… either an apology or the gift of patience!!

I will probably put up in a few days some reflections. Particularly with reference to Burgos and to Ferrol. Two major cities that we spent time in.

We have travelled exclusively in the north of Spain. It is our break, but also to get our feet in the land, hence the off road camping. We are also in the process of getting sight on the next 30 years… Might not have another 30 years, but there are those who died in faith whose voice still speaks, and maybe there are those who are alive whose voice does not speak any more. So seems faith is important.

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Can we see in colour?

I have referred to an open vision that someone sent us – along with others – many, many months before the UK referendum on EU membership. In it she saw, and no one was even close to predicting this at the time, that a hand would come and withdraw the UK from the map of Europe. The result was that light and colour drained out of Europe, she saw it going down something like a hole in the south of France. We did endeavour, with those she sent the vision to, to close the hole by travelling there some two years ago.

I appreciate that for those within the UK there is divided opinion on the merits of the (less than perfect!) EU. I voted to remain as an embracing of the continent has always seemed very important to me spiritually – and of course one could vote ‘leave’ and still hold the importance of being together relationally. I also voted that way as I see NO reason from Scripture to suggest the evil beast of Europe – if only it was that easy!! The beast is a lot more subtle and more widespread than anything Brussels could ever compete with. Anyway enough of that and back to the vision…

In these past weeks I have been thinking about what a draining of colour would mean, and realised that colour is diversity. In the diversity of the light spectrum came the promise of God’s commitment to the world. In the diversity of the oft-four times repeated (and varied) phrase in Revelation: ‘every tongue, tribe, peoples and nation’ we find that God is glorified.

The history books that will be written of this period of time will I suspect reflect on a battle for the future of Europe and its identity. Either the future could be more diverse (with the wonderful challenges presented by that) or there could be a shutting down and an exclusion of what looks different. Colour or monochrome?

I think it is very rare that God says, close the door!! It seems he usually says open the door and make room. To do so necessitates that we come out from under the fear narrative. Many in Germany have done just that and we hear wonderful reports of those who have fled there, with no faith or with faith in a God other than the Lord and Father of our Lord Jesus, who have come to faith. It would not be the first time in history that God has revealed himself to those fleeing imperial power.

While reflecting on the vision it becomes apparent that the response of the UK is very important. More important than a referendum on the EU, important as that was and is proving to be, is the willingness to embrace at a deep level diversity. Easier said than done, but an open heart to travelling unknown paths is a starting point.

It is interesting living life in a land that is not one’s birth land. I cannot claim to understand being an immigrant – I am probably a hypocritical one. (Hypocrite was ‘actor’ in Greek.) Gayle and I have privileges. we can live here legitimately. We are not in fear of someone banging on the door and we are deported – and even if we were we are not being sent back to a dangerous situation. We refuse to live as ‘ex-pats’. We are immigrants. I was told by one of my more honest neighbours recently – so you have lived here 10 years and your Spanish is a disgrace (OUCH!). We are immigrants, but only slightly on the outside. I guess all we can do is continue at the hypocritical (acting) level and maybe we will so get into the character that we become more genuine. We can only give what we have and what our situation allows us. That is our very small contribution into the plea for colour to be present in Europe.

Our contribution is small – all our contributions are small, but maybe in the context of the future of Europe those living in the UK might just have a big say. Bring on the colour!!

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Don’t forget Badajoz!

In our travels around Spain this year, covering all-but 5000 miles, to pray into the Muslim expulsions we planned the end of the travels to be in Gibraltar being the point of entry in 711AD. We realised that our focus would be much wider than that, and focused a lot on economic issues. Maybe the exposure of the ‘Paradise Papers’ have some relationship to that time; maybe the continual flushing out of corruption in Spain (where did 40billion euros of public money disappear?); maybe finally the acknowledgement that M. Rajoy in the Caja B (illegal / supposedly hidden) accounts of the government is indeed Mariano Rajoy – though the judge who was clear on this has subsequently been replaced…!!!!

While preparing for the final trip in Gibraltar we were in the most southerly point of Continental Europe (Tarifa). Liminal places (and experiences) are very key and while there I had a dream that was extremely helpful and full of insight. One part of it though contained a dialogue with a \’neighbour\’ who eventually said he understood what we were doing, but pleaded that we did not forget Badajoz. Badajoz is in the West of Spain very near the Portuguese border, and although orignally we had no plans to go there, we felt obligated to include the city in our journey.

We were probably not quite prepared for what we found there. We were hit very hard with the \’forgotten\’ state of the city. There had been much blood shed in the city, one of the most recent being in the Civil War when some 4000 children, women and men (all unarmed) were taken to the bullring and slaughtered. Since then a new city building has been built there with a focus on the arts. Outside is a sculpture that was placed there to honour those who were slaughtered. There is no plaque on the sculpture, nothing to indicate what it was. I even asked someone who was walking there dog if he knew what it was, and he only vaguely realised there was something there, but confessed he did not know. When the sculpture was initiated there was a gathering of families who had lost people in that event. It was unveiled with no speech, nor acknowledgement of what had taken place. Forgotten…

We do not think we have been to a more forgotten place. We prayed, wine on ground… left heavy.

This week Pablo Iglesias has been in the same place. He has been speaking in the building (Palacio de Congresos). He is calling for the memory to be honoured, that Badajoz will not be forgotten. For us very moving to see and hear. We called for singers to sing and push back the spirit of death and forgetfulness. Pablo’s first thanks to the artists – to the singers.

Pablo professes no faith in God, though indicated that his grandfather who grew up in Extremadura would have really like the current pope.

Moving… also a provocation to us. Keep pushing.

Also so in line with what we believe. The body of Christ must open the way, the ones stepping in might not be those who identify with the body of Christ. The \’priesthood\’ theme is so central in this phase.

A footnote: increasingly we are looking at the so-called years of transition, 1975-78, and the need to engage with the centre to get a shift for the land as a whole. A privilege but also battle.

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This is what we are up to

2017-03-19 14:30:37

This post is a kind of an update as to our main focus. I will try to make it short, but not likely to succeed!

The big focus for us now is the pull to pray into the ReConquista. The ReConquista is the description given to the period of history in Spain when the Moors (Muslims) were finally driven out and Spain / Portugal were reconquered for ‘Christianity’. We have heard on the street when listening to guides the shorthand description of: ‘We were Muslims, now we are Christians.’ That is quite a worldview!!

We have done some prayer work into the expulsion of the Jews (the Shephardic Jews both of the OT and of more recent history). We have also been deeply encouraged by those who have done so over years. We are sure that the shift in response from the Spanish government has been as a result. The government will now give back Spanish citizenship to those who are genuinely of Shephardic descent. It is often not too difficult for Christians to repent for what has been done to Jews in terms of abuse. There is both a right connection (‘because of the patriarchs’) and also at times a false connection (confusion over the centrality of Jesus), but the result is repentance and for that we are grateful.

But repentance into Islamic history? That is another aspect all-together.

The ReConquista was the re-conquering of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) for the Christian rulers and the driving of the Moorish (Islamic) kingdom out of the land. It began in the north and over centuries it eventually completed its goal when the final stronghold of Granada fell in 1492. Into that scenario why repent?

Repentance does not mean that we want to turn the clock back and see Islamic rule restored!!! It is crazy to write that but better be clear than leave any doubts! But neither are we looking for some kind of ‘christianized’ rule, the sad effects of the Constantinian paradigm. The alternative to Sharia law is not some form of Christianised law, indeed we consider the root to the Islamic spirit is Christendom.

The original taking of Spain by Islam occurred in 7 short years in the 8th century with a smallish Islamic invasion taking place through Gibraltar. (Gibraltar – a physical reason for the entry there but also this is contested land spiritually.) Generally speaking, though, the Islamic rule was benevolent. Christians and Jews alongside the Muslims were allowed to co-habit and work together. The level of the arts and education was high. A huge question we have is:

The ReConquista (the ReConquering of Spain)… but for what?

We do not for one minute suggest that the Islamic rule was good and the Christianised rule that replaced it was worse. The issue is that what was done in the name of Jesus carries such weight and ‘we’ have to take responsibility for that. The ReConquista had as its vision that of militarily restoring the lost lands to their version of Christianity all the way back to Jerusalem. We consider that vision to be deeply anti-Christian.

We also consider now is the time for the push and it will entail us getting on the road visiting some of the key places. If we do not do this then the land is very vulnerable to terrorist attacks. We consider that where there is a Christian push to see Islamic people as the enemy and dehumanise them that the effect is not to strengthen defences against terrorism but to seriously weaken them. In recent months Dayesh have released videos particularly featuring Cordoba and Granada with the warning that they are coming for their lost lands. The Western end of the Islamic world was once Spain, the Eastern centering in Constantinople.

1492 – quite a year!!!!

This year saw:

  • the fall of Granada,
  • the edict for all Jews to convert or be exiled (and if not persecuted), and
  • Christopher Columbus sailed off to the New World to conquer it for King and Queen, pope and for the power that appointed them to rule: God and his sovereign king, Jesus. That mission to the new world was accompanied by those who proclaimed the sovereignty of Spanish royalty and the one true God. Proclaimed in the Spanish language those who were ‘privileged’ to hear the message were given the opportunity to respond! When they did not respond the conquerors were then free to do whatever they needed to to extend the boundaries of both the Spanish domain and the domain of Christendom.

There are times in history that are ‘full’. Obviously the coming of Christ was at the fullness of times. A threefold cord as we have discovered in 1492 puts that year truly on the radar. The possibility of the effects of praying into that culmination seem amazing.

We have prayed into the issue of Columbus day and have been glad to see the greater level of unrest that has been visible since. We were able 18 months ago (probably under the watchful eyes of security cameras) to place a piece of art, calling for a shift on the issue, right under the largest Spanish flag in Madrid in Columbus Square on the eve of the large military parade that passes through there. We did not understand the link of the three fold cord of 1492 back then.

Then into the mix… last year we travelled through the Celtic lands of Asturias and into Galicia. So wonderful to get to the furthest north point of Spain and then the most westerly point of mainland Spain on that journey. While travelling through the land Gayle was very stirred (her Celtic blood!!) with the Celts and Christianity. ‘They have been here’, she would say. No concrete evidence, such as Celtic crosses or the like, but her conviction persisted. The land is Celtic – and for the historians the concensus is that the Celts came to the lands of Britain up through Spain.

Making some enquiries about the presence of Celtic Christianity has opened up something incredible. Well that can be the next post…

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The Sykes-Picot agreement

Well if you know the content from the title you have one over on me. I read this article this morning by Giles Fraser (‘loose canon’, of ex-St. Paul’s Cathedral fame) in the Guardian that explains all. There is never a sufficient explanation for evil (‘the mystery of evil’) but there are factors that can be tracked in terms of what is sown in one generation producing fruit in subsequent generations.

Fraser’s last paragraph hits things pretty straight on:

Yes, there is much more to Isis than the desire to undo the century-long effects of British and French colonialism. But that’s a key goal. And if Iraq ends up splitting into a Kurdish, a Shia and a Sunni bit, and if Syria ends up splitting with an Alawite strip along the coast, and a Sunni bit further east, then Islamic State may end up getting precisely what its name proclaims, even after it has been defeated. These new borders will be based on ethnicity and religion rather than 100-year-old imperial design. And, this time, I don’t think western intervention can stop it.

‘Imperial design’ are strong words. Yet this is the nature of empire. The myth that all who comply will benefit, but the reality that the few at the top shape what is to be, promising benefits, but with the real benefits flowing back to the centre / top.

My guess is little real (identificational) repentance has been undertaken in the situation regarding the stitch up (betrayal) by the imperial powers of the day. And it remains a critical issue with regard to the gospel as to whether the problem is that we have had bad people at the top and all we need is to work it so that we have good people (the born again ones) at the top, or we have a fundamental issue that is contra the gospel that has to be opposed: imperial power whether the emperors are good or bad. My vote is strongly with those in the latter camp.

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves (Lk 22:24-27).

I suggest there will be a number of tracks that will run and run. IS / Dayesh might well become a lesser player in the immediate years ahead, but that is to misunderstand what is going on. An organisation can rise but unless there is something deeper that is healed the ‘starfish’ phenomenon will continue. And parallel to the rise of all despotic rule, God will continue to answer prayer for transformation and the increase of his kingdom. The result of this will be (theological) debate with regard to the gospel but the real issue will be over the fruit of the gospel – a people who rule top down or serve without asking for recognition. We can disagree over theological details but over the fruit we have to be clear.”,”post_title”: “The Sykes-Picot agreement”,”post_category”: 0,”post_excerpt”: “Well if you know the content from the title you have one over on me. I read an article this morning by Giles Fraser that explains all. There is never a sufficient explanation for evil (‘the mystery of evil’) but there are factors that can be tracked in terms of what is sown in one generation producing fruit in subsequent generations.

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