To boldly go

Changes, changes, changes. Who can predict the future? Post Brexit referendum the jury is still out as to what that all means. Gibraltar the clearest ‘remain’ vote (could this be down to vested interest?!!) and yet one of the biggest financial contributions to the leave vote campaign came from there. How will a year-old party shape up in France? Across the pond what is happening?

Dependent on the glasses one wears and therefore how we see the world I guess we could be anxious wanting to go back to some safe boundaries (for safe read yesterday and status quo) or we can see opportunities in the space that is opening up. I lean heavily to the latter. From a theological perspective I do so as my eschatology does not have space for a future antiChrist, but consists of an open future that we are challenged to shape in the light of the gospel of freedom; and from an intercessory perspective I see the open space as a result of prayer. Our task is to open space and let it be filled by those of positive vision for the future whether they have faith, as we define it, or not.

In some correspondence today I suggested there are three aspects of society that are essential to shaping the future at this time. I do not place them in an order of priority but suggest they are:

  • education
  • media
  • arts

All aspects / spheres of society are important but some have been colonised more than others; some have been suppressed more than others; hence I select these three as perhaps containing the greatest potential. In reverse order…

The arts. Years ago I gave a crazy prophetic declaration that when we learn how to value art the housing market will be re-valued (in many areas that means de-valued). When house prices dictate who can live where, we are not living in a free world. There are also come crazy valuations in the art world, but there are many artists (in the broad sense of that word) who are working with little return. Meanwhile there are those who make money from money… Paul was clear that those who are entitled to eat are the ones who are working, which of course begs the question as to how the word ‘work’ is to be defined biblically. I mentioned above that some spheres have been colonised, and some words certainly have. We have colonised ‘work’ along an ’employed’ / ‘unemployed’ line. Once we remove those terms from a creational context we will have very little left to pull us in a new-creational direction.

Artists are gifted to open our eyes, ears, emotions and imagination to where we could be going. There is a lament contribution that can be made that exposes the right grief about what we have done, but I think now we need more than ever a message of hope. Faith is related to what we hope for, it creates the shape for faith to develop.

The media. We have prayed for a new media. I admire the way that the media continues to push to get stories, even when so much of it has been designated as ‘fake’! The media is not unbiased, and this applies to the media that I like as well as the media that I disagree with. Thank God for social media, although so mixed, it gives access to alternative perspectives, sometimes alternative facts, but even when that is the case these are alternative facts coming from the bottom up rather than imposed from the top down.

A free media is vital. In most of our democratic western nations we struggle to really have a free media. The mainstream newspapers of the UK… the TV channels in Spain… ‘freedom’ is not the first word that could be used to describe them. But we are witnessing the same kind of shift as during the Reformation with the printing press and the release of Scriptures in the ordinary language. Controlling the press cannot and never will be absolute, and I applaud those who are committed to its liberation and doing so at personal cost.

Education. I love history, knowing the story of where we have come from is essential. The wisdom and knowledge that has got us here has great value. Animals seem to learn some aspects through instinct, but we as humans learn this through intentionality. We have the knowledge how to build a car, but imagine if you were the last human alive. I would struggle to put together a cart akin to one from ancient society. The knowledge and gifts are held corporately. We can build a cart, a car, a space rocket. Knowledge has great value in being passed on, but creativity birthed from questioning will take us further. Education is not simply teaching people what to think, it is certainly teaching people how to think, but perhaps its greatest goal is to teach people to question.

Neo-liberalism has all-but destroyed most aspects of the economic and business realms, so much so that there seems even in the Christian world very little radical thinking. Unless we have at the core the deliberate non-maximisation of profits, coupled to a strategic plan to be free from the love of money, and at least a measure of embracing the principle of jubilee there does not seem much hope for a change there. (And if this is not arrested I might well have to change my beliefs about an antiChrist – not because of the Bible but our inability to take the Bible seriously enough…)

So in this little musing coming out of this morning’s correspondence I am suggesting that the three areas of education, media and arts might be at the forefront of setting health care free from the monetary colonisation that is there… and from health care there might even be a shift elsewhere.

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Dancers who dance on injustice

We have laughed and laughed but have not missed the prophetic nature of the dance from Dani Mateo (a commentator and comedian in Spain). He rejected Valley of the Fallen as a place of reconciliation (would a graveyard with Jews and Aushwitz guards be appropriate?). He called it a piece of mierda (rhymes with ‘hit’) and then when threatened with court action against him he has made an ‘apology’ calling it el baile de los caidos (the dance of the fallen!!). He also has explained that there are different crosses and that the one at the valley of the fallen is not recognised by many Christians as a true cross (Dani if you read my blog – well done!!!!).

Enjoy!!!!! And I hope that Rog and Sue also enjoy – we had an awesome time there with them giving it a kick 2 years ago…

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A new media?

In what follows I want to communicate a prophetic conviction of the arrival of a new media. Certainly a new media presence within Europe. The old ‘woman’ of Europe can produce, and will produce a new media presence.

 

A little while back I realised the myth of the independence of the ‘spheres’ within society (education, health, politics, arts etc). The concept I had been working with was of them having their own measure of autonomy. Indeed in a healthy society that is how it should be. However…

A little aside:

  • we live in a fallen world – left to its own devices this will ‘fall’ to a place of increasing evil.
  • fallenness can be redeemed – brought back to purpose.
  • hence we do not operate from a distinct line of good / evil but fallen / redeemed (or better situations in a process toward even greater fallenness / or in a process of redemption).
  • I do not see either the future (pre-parousia) as ‘all evil, rule of antiChrist’, nor as ‘all perfect’.
  • there is ground to be gained and seasons when this happens incredibly. This does not make it permanent as ground has to be held.

And before coming to the ‘a new media?’ issue I consider that one of the deep insights of the book of Revelation (and if wanting to read it in context get a history book that shows the total domination and myth of Rome) is that of the two beasts. I have wrestled with that for a while. What are the two beasts? The primary one is that of preserving the elite at all costs (Imperial power) and the second one is that which keeps the first in place – hence it can be literal Emperor worship (the Imperial cult of the day), politics, media (here is where I am going), or finally if necessary of course military power.

Still with it?

The media – free and independent?

Probably on the whole not free and independent! We have some very challenging situations with the media.

  • The news channel most watched by our charismatic friends across the pond, one that is strong on family values…, the same media empire that ran the infamous ‘page 3’. In other words it was not serving family values but serving an agenda of thought formation.
  • The percentage of the media in the UK owned by a handful of people. 3 companies own 71% of the UK national newspaper market.
  • In Spain we have government controlled channels (and one owned by a certain Berlusconi of Italian fame) and then one independent channel. When a political party rose in Spain with an incredible growth of members – totally newsworthy by any stretch of the imagination – the journalists employed by the established media groups were banned from giving any interviews with those involved.
  • The BBC website these past few days seemed amazingly silent with respect to the material on Mr Cameron and his connection to the benefits he drew from the Panamanian company his father was involved in.

So maybe the beast has another associate – for the beast must have a voice – a servant in the media that is not allowed its own freedom, its own autonomy. BUT…

Prophetic prayer gives way to apostolic declaration – certainly that was my language of a few years back. Correct language at this point is not too important.

WE HAVE ENTERED A TURN AROUND IN THE MEDIA. A NEW MEDIA IS HERE. JOURNALISTS WHO WERE MARGINALISED WILL GAIN A PLATFORM.

Maybe this does not mean everything will disappear and everything new will be here, but ground has been gained, there is a shift.

A dream

(In all I am writing it is not to demonise certain media organisations, or as in the dream, Northern Europe, they are symbols and examples of the structures that we all find ourselves living within.)

Last night I had a dream. I needed to go to the toilet to have a pee. I was not at home but knew it was in Southern Europe. (Dreams are strange!) When I got there I lifted the seat and in the bowl was stacks of paper and some dirty clothes. Pressed in and pushed down and the bowl was all-but full. In the bathroom were two other people (!!) who noted my surprise at what I had discovered. They were from France and Germany. One of them said – ‘Oh I did not know we couldn’t put that stuff in here (meaning both here as in the toilet and here as in Southern Europe) and that it would not just flush away’.

I knew I had to empty the bowl, but being pretty desperate, first peed then got on with pulling out of the toilet all the papers and clothing that was placed there to be flushed away from sight. Not such a pleasant task – but it was only a dream!!

So waking up this morning (a regular occurrence most mornings) I consider that there has been a way that the dominant powers have behaved that might have cleared stuff out of sight for the past years, but this stuff cannot be flushed down the toilets of Southern Europe. There will be a messy process that now ensues but there are papers and clothing that are going to be brought out to light, primarily (in the European context) from Southern Europe.

The mess has arrived. A new media, and new journalists who cannot be bought.

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