Privileged immigrants

Living with integrity is always a challenge but if our ‘yes’ is to be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ to be ‘no’ we have to at least try to have a go at doing so. Yesterday we both went to the Police Headquarters in the nearby largish town, Gandia, to try and get our residency papers raised to the level of ‘permanent residents’. We left home at 8.30pm, were back home by 1.30pm to prepare one more document and finally home by 4.30pm. What did we achieve? I finally left with a permanent resident status – but we have one more step for Gayle (more below).

Back in the day when we were voting on the referendum for the Brexit a UK citizen, living long term in Spain, asked me which way I would vote. I said for me it was easy. He replied with ‘you can’t do that. It is all about the country first [UK]. And it is clear – there are two different words. They’re immigrants. We’re ex-pats.’ I was blown away by what he said. Since then we have described ourselves as ‘immigrants’. We have never used the term ex-pats, but have deliberately called ourselves immigrants. However…

We are privileged, white, middle class, accepted by others – that is the kind of immigrant we are. We have resources behind us. Any comparison with those who have come from (e.g.) Africa without papers would be hypocritical. The government can process them and give them legal status eventually – provided they have a contract for 35 hours a week. Something most Spanish citizens do not have.

So yesterday. We had with us probably around 30 documents including photocopies. We had to make one exit during the process to find the local Social Seguridad and get details of how to prove I have paid into the system for over 5 years. Then to an internet cafe to print it off, and back to the police station. Eventually (and seemingly reluctantly) I was given my new status and paper. A marriage certificate is needed for Gayle to get hers… but not any marriage certificate. So home we came and had to post it to the British Foreign office to be authorised by them. When it returns we then have to find a Spanish government registered translator (nearest office is 12 miles away) to translate the document we presented yesterday.

All the above costs… all the above demands papers in order… all the above in the context of bureaucracy. Much easier now before any Brexit. And MUCH MUCH easier than if we had recently arrived from the African continent.

Ex-pats? No way. Immigrants? Not sure now.

We have two more legal situations coming up. The most bizarre one is the tax office who want me to prove I live in Spain. Oh yes – the same tax office that takes 20x what the UK government used to ask me for in social security each month, and taxes at a considerably higher rate than I used to pay. The reason why? They have held on to money that was overpaid for over a year… then written to say they cannot pay it back until I prove I live in Spain. Bureaucracy gone mad… but we are white, middle class who know almost nothing about the red tape of government that shuts down one’s rights.

Where, how and what

A historic election took place last night in the Southern comunidad of mainland Spain in Andalucia. Historic as there was the breaking of a 36 year hold by a particular party, but more historic in the level of vote a new ultra-right party received. At one level a resurgence of Francoism, using the language of, for example, ReConquista, but positioned within the rise of the popularist and nationalistic ultra-right across Europe. Two further provocative aspects for us… the entry in the South, and the birth of the new party leader in Bilbao (the north). Some 4 years ago we went the first time to Bilbao to make a declaration that from there new thinking will come forth into Spain. We left though to pray for the richness of diversity within unity.

I had an email recently from someone who in passing asked a question about the EU, stating that I was ‘for the EU’. Maybe I am… maybe I am not. It is far from perfect, and not being a fan of bureaucracy and red tape it is not too difficult to see why anyone could find one or two reasons to resist the ‘beast’ (small ‘b’ as this applies to all power bases that control). With the EU there seems to be two choices – get out for the above reasons or try to stay in and see change. Pulling back, strengthening national sovereignty and seeing the breakup of the EU is more likely, in my opinion, to further strengthen what we saw last night in Spain. And it is the future that could spring from last night that is the concern. Living in mainland Europe it is probably not surprising that I am ever hopeful if we can hang in together that there will be change, particularly as the EU, in measure, acts as a lever to weaken the sovereignty expressed in nationhood.

I am not a political animal as I have so little understanding of how it works and what really ‘left’ or ‘right’ means, but I have many concerns about what is rising. When we pull back, when we have language that seeks to exclude all others of a different opinion, parties that seek to shut the freedom of the press then there is great concern for the future. The election in Andalucia last night certainly was an earthquake and a strong sign that the past can come back around.

We live at a point in history when the unthinkable could bite. Whatever the future of the EU, whatever finally (!!) outworks with respect to the Brexit, we will continue to pull for friendship across the borders, co-operation, a weakening of sovereignty so that borders are not shut inhumanely. One has to be optimistic when we know that we have access to prayer. Prayer to go deeper – yes we will have to go deeper – and pull up roots, and to connect with imagination for the future.

An earthquake last night? Maybe. A wake up call? Certainly. A provocation? Indeed.

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Burgos and Ferrol

Gayle and I have just returned from a 2,700km (1,600 mile) drive and camp around northern Spain. Both a great break and also time to reflect on the wider land where we are located. This included sleeping in a car park to cliff headlands, a field and also a few random days in camp sites (it is helpful to have a shower – helps when co-habiting a small space!). In those days away we took in two larger cities – Burgos and Ferrol. So rather than expand on what deodorants we used to compensate for the (few) days without a shower I will focus on these two cities.

We always love to walk around a city, to observe, pray and speak to it – sometimes of course it will speak back, usually at night time. Burgos was our first stop so I will start there. A ‘proper’, well-behaved city, with everything in place. (Photo above title: Burgos cathedral.) A place that does not overtly resist what comes in new but will domesticate it before long. The city is calling for a person / persons / corporate body that will not be owned but come with a generous spirit speaking life to everything that is truly life-giving. So willing to relate to all expressions of the body of Christ but investing into both what is young (as in age of people) and fresh. Such a person has to be able to carry humour in the sense of not being focused on what they are building but on the life they are releasing. If this can rise there will be a time to make a key response when they are offered a place at the table of respectability, and at that time without disrespect to simply to continue to focus on the margins. The city is calling for it now!

Ferrol… we visited here primarily because this is the birth place of Franco (Photo: Franco’s birthplace – where we prayed), and we visited here on a Thursday. The next day the Spanish government passed the edict to exhume Franco’s body from the Valley of the Fallen. This is both historic in seeking to resolve some of the outstanding issues from the Civil War (1936-39) and the period of the dictatorship (1939-75) and for us in our journey into the history of Spain. (Co-incidentally Pablo Iglesias (1850-1925) the founder of the Spanish socialist party was also born in Ferrol.)

It is always challenging to see a city when coming with an agenda, but for us this place carried an affluence and a pride that was just beneath the surface. A place that has to discover the gift of mercy and align to where it is going rather than hold in to a history. To live here as a believer would certainly be a challenge. Think, pray and act long term. Invest in what is at hand, staying hidden, but waiting for the openings when there can be a shift for windows of opportunity will come in this city – it cannot put up defenses that are impregnable.

In praying at the house where Franco was born we simply knew we were there to cut off a root. we have experienced on a number of fronts that we have seen a significant proposed shift only for it not to take place so are also now focused on making sure we finish what we get involved in. Although the government has passed the vote, there could still be an appeal to the courts to reverse the decision to exhume the body. As mentioned in a recent post Valley of the Fallen is located alongside El Escorial – a place that very early on we realised was a power situation where dominating power was anchored, which has greatly affected the church in Spain. We have not yet made a specific visit to El Escorial but are pretty sure the day will come.

Burgos y FerrolGayle y yo acabamos de regresar de un viaje de 2.700 km por el norte de España. Un tiempo de descanso y para reflexionar sobre la tierra en la que nos encontramos. Esto incluyó dormir en: un parking publico, los promontorios de los acantilados, un campo y también algunos días aleatorios en los campings (es útil darse una ducha: ¡ayuda al cohabitar en un espacio pequeño!). Esos días fuimos a dos ciudades más grandes: Burgos y Ferrol. Sin embargo, en lugar de expandirnos sobre los desodorantes que usamos para compensar los (pocos) días sin una ducha, me centraré en estas dos ciudades.

Siempre nos gusta caminar por alguna ciudad, observar, orar y hablarle, a veces, por supuesto, nos responderá, por lo general de noche. Burgos fue nuestra primera parada, así que comenzaré por allí. Una ciudad “adecuada”, de buen comportamiento, con todo en su lugar. Un lugar que no se opone abiertamente a lo que viene nuevo, pero lo domesticará antes que después. La ciudad está pidiendo una persona / personas / cuerpo corporativo que no sea propiedad sino que venga con un espíritu generoso que hable vida a todo lo que es verdaderamente vivificante. Tan dispuestos a relacionarse con todas las expresiones del cuerpo de Cristo, pero invirtiendo en lo que es joven (como en la edad de las personas) y nuevo. Tal persona debe ser capaz de llevar el sentido del humor en el sentido de no centrarse en lo que están construyendo, sino en la vida que están liberando. Si esto pudiera aumentar, habrá un momento para hacer una respuesta clave cuando se les ofrezca un lugar en la mesa de respetabilidad, y en ese momento sin falta de respeto simplemente para continuar centrándose en los márgenes. ¡La ciudad lo está llamando ahora!

Ferrol … Lo visitamos principalmente porque este es el lugar de nacimiento de Franco, y visitamos aquí un jueves. Al día siguiente, el gobierno español aprobó el edicto para exhumar el cuerpo de Franco del Valle de los Caídos. Esto es histórico al tratar de resolver algunos de los temas pendientes de la Guerra Civil (1936-39) y el período de la dictadura (1939-75) y para nosotros en nuestro viaje por la historia de España. (Coincidentemente, también nació en Ferrol Pablo Iglesias (1850-1925), el fundador del partido socialista español).

Siempre es un reto ver una ciudad cuando se viene con una agenda, pero para nosotros este lugar tenía opulencia y orgullo justo debajo de la superficie. Un lugar que tiene que descubrir el don de la misericordia y alinearse a donde va en lugar de aferrarse a la historia. Vivir aquí como creyente sin duda sería un desafío. Piensa, ora y actúa a largo plazo. Invierte en lo que tienes a mano, manténte oculto, pero espera las aperturas cuando pueda haber un cambio de ventanas de oportunidad que llegará a esta ciudad: no se puede poner defensas que son inexpugnables.

Al orar en la casa donde nació Franco simplemente supimos que estábamos allí para cortar una raíz. hemos experimentado en varios frentes que hemos visto un cambio significativo propuesto solo para que no tenga lugar, por lo que ahora también estamos enfocados en asegurarnos en terminar en lo que nos involucramos. Aunque el gobierno ha aprobado la votación, todavía podría haber una apelación a los tribunales para revertir la decisión de exhumar el cuerpo. Como mencioné en un post reciente, el Valle de los Caídos está ubicado junto a El Escorial, un lugar que desde el principio nos dimos cuenta de que era una situación de poder donde el poder dominante estaba anclado, lo que ha afectado enormemente a la iglesia en España. Todavía no hemos hecho una visita específica a El Escorial, pero estamos bastante seguros de que llegará el día.

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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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Memories remembered

Just under a year ago in our journeys around Spain we visited the city of Badajoz, in the west of Spain just a few kilometres from the Portuguese border. We were provoked to go there during the many months we had travelled seeking to pray into the history of the Muslim expulsions in Spain. We aimed to finish in Gibraltar as that was the entry point in 711AD, and were there over the weekend of September 10th. We had not planned to go to Badajoz but in a dream we had a passionate request:

But do not forget Badajoz and the life threatening storm that is coming there tonight. (Post on the dream in Tarifa/).

When we went to Badajoz we were not ready for what we experienced. It was truly the ‘forgotten place’, and we were more deeply impacted than we realised. Even a local did not know what a sculpture was representing – it represented one of the most brutal massacres of civilians in the whole Spanish civil war. It was opened with an invite by the town council and many of the families affected were gathered – and it was opened without any speeches!!

The place of forgetfulness is the place where memories are kept alive – in the sense of they have not been healed so can be pulled on so that history can repeat / rhyme.

What does one do in those places? Gayle and I are pretty clueless. We walked, prayed, poured out wine and salt. We even tried to sing!!! If anyone knows what to do please send answers on a postcard. If I were to send in my answer it would be ‘stand clueless, and stand until you can move on.’ Probably a pretty rubbish answer.

We were deeply moved when a few months later Pablo Iglesias came to Badajoz and in a public speech spoke of the history and how it will not be forgotten. I wrote about this:
Don’t forget Badajoz on Dec. 2nd last year. So often there is a follow up by someone in some measure of authority to stand where someone who did not know what to do but stood there in the name of Jesus stood before.

Just yesterday we came now across this article in: El Diario outlining guided walks that bring to remembrance the slaughter in Badajoz. The bullring in the photo is where we focused when we were there. It is no longer there and this is where the ‘forgotten’ sculpture is placed.

To say we, the clueless ones, are blown away is an understatement. Let there now be an unlocking.

In the article we can read:

La memoria es un ejercicio democrático. El conocimiento del pasado es necesario para no cometer los mismos errores. Las visitas guiadas quieren fomentar la conciencia histórica para avanzar hacia el futuro, señala José Manuel Rodríguez desde la asociación AECOS.

La Matanza de Badajoz sigue suscitando mucha controversia, y las rutas abogan por visibilizar la memoria de la ciudadanía pacense. “Consideramos que es un hecho histórico que, de manera interesada, fue invisibilizado y ocultado. Manipulado”, destacan desde la organización.

Memory is a democratic exercise. Knowledge of the past is necessary so as not to make the same mistakes. The guided tours want to promote historical awareness to enable forward movement, says José Manuel Rodríguez from the AECOS association.

The massacre de Badajoz continues to provoke a lot of controversy, and the routes promote making the memory of the citizens of Badajoz visible. “We consider that it is a historical fact that, in an interested way, was made invisible and hidden. Manipulated “, stand out from the organization.

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A shock to unlock the future

(Image sourced at: 20minutos.es.) When in Prague one of the things that struck us was the ‘sign’ of the metronome, a tool not to measure time but to repetitively maintain a rhythm, I suggested that truth (and that always has to mean ‘my understanding of truth’) can anchor is to the past. There is of course great value in that and the alternative of being blown by every wind that comes is far from a viable alternative. However, there has to come moments when the we move from simply being anchored to the past to embracing the future. This is done when the imagination kicks in , often in the context of a shock to the system.

Yesterday the Spanish parliament was in session all day debating a no-confidence motion against the president, following on from one one of the biggest cases that exposed huge financial irregularities and illegal payments in his (PP / conservative) party. Rajoy (current president) put up a strong fight in the morning, then was absent for the remainder of the day. After a few hours it was discovered that he was in a nearby restaurant, where he remained for some 7 hours! Headlines said ‘bunkered in’ which we found very interesting as these are the very words we have been using when praying with regard to getting the institutional injustices exposed.

A common word used throughout the day yesterday was ‘shock’. A shock to the system indicates the possible break of the institutional memory and default behaviour. We are on the verge of something new opening up, though at any time of change unless there is sufficient true vision to fill the vacuum there is only one possibility and that is a change of faces but no real change. This now is where we are at. The best part of yesterday was a measure of reconciliatory language toward the Basque and Catalan communities.

We are optimistic… and ever so watchful. A shock is where it begins. It can also sadly be where it ends.

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The judiciary – time for a shift

Before making a few comments on the issue of the judiciary in Spain, and how it has been a prayer focus for us since late last year, I will pull wider to explain (hope not to justify!!) why we would be praying into this. Personal faith, and enabling people to discover real personal faith is very important to me, but over the years understanding that a) the Gospel message is much wider than that, and b) the body of Christ has a responsibility to enable the world to be the ‘best, though fallen, world it can be’ has pushed me to a context beyond the church, and an emphasis in prayer beyond ‘salvation of souls’. (I tend to use the term ‘body of Christ’ rather than ‘church’ as the latter often communicates a specific model with a focus on congregation and gathering. ‘Body of Christ’ is much more fluid, and I suggest is often more useful terminology as it cannot be colonised by a specific model.)

I believe in a spiritual world that involves demons, the devil etc., though my belief is more practical than theoretical. In other words even if that world does not exist as per classic charismatic understanding and there was no personal devil, I would still believe in spiritual powers. Those spiritual powers operate in and through the institutional constructs, so we have powers in the heavens above and powers on the earth beneath (maybe as Wink expresses: the interiority and exteriority of powers). Those powers will oppress people so that they are unable to find their true calling (sin = the tragedy of never discovering why one was born), and to blind the eyes of those who do not believe so that they cannot see the glory of God as revealed in Jesus. Shifting the influence of those powers is beneficial in itself as it will free people up, and will reduce the influence of powers to blind. Oppression is the bais of our fallen world, but freedom and justice is reflective of heaven’s presence on earth.

I maintain then there is value in and of itself in promoting, campaigning for, and praying for a release of justice. Intrinsic value and a means of clearing the heavens for an increased revelation of God as revealed in Jesus.

The Constitutional Court, Madrid

We have been aware that in Spain the judiciary has been corrupted. Appointments made by the government; cases against the government and judges can be moved off the case. The checks and balances are not present. One of the top lawyers, globally recognised, Baltasar Garzón, was disqualified of judicial activity, for overstepping his boundaries (or pushing hard into government scandals!). To date we have gone to all the national courts in Spain, the most recent one being the Constitutional Court, to pray. As always it is not possible to draw a straight line proving effectiveness. That is one of the wonderful aspects of prayer – it might have happened anyway, and it might have happened because of some other activity…

Four recent nationally impacting events have encouraged us greatly (I posted two of them as ‘news snippets’):

1) The Valley of the Fallen where some 30,000+ are buried, many of whom were prisoners of war, or died in the Civil War, has been a focus for us. We visited there in 2015,and were very happy (as well as highly amused) when Danny Mateo went there and danced where we had prayed. It is amazing when one looks for fulfilments in the world to what has been declared (‘dancers who dance upon injustice’) rather than to the church, how many fulfilments there really are. There is now a significant move forward in removing the bodies and re-burying them in family plots.

2) An impromptu road block was made to one of the roads into Catalonia. The result was arrests with the charge of ‘terrorism’. There was no violence involved, it was a protest. Terrorism would carry up to a 30 year sentence. Crazy… but that is the level of control. The result was the judge through it out. Come on you judges, justice is your standard not control through sentencing.

3) Madrid is a major focus of course for us (still waiting to hear if we will be able to buy the apartment there we looked at – all 18 foot x 13 foot: but in the Spirit a spacious place). There have been some great shifts in the city, with evictions from homes to the streets not occurring unless there is alternative accommodation,a nd the city debt has been reduced year on year. (We still have more work to do on that as the government has now taken a large part of the debt the mayoress and her team have worked hard on to reduce and claimed it as their own to be redistributed where they choose.) Madrid, the Communidad (wider area around Madrid, one of 17 divisions of this type in Spain), had a very politically strong leader. A short while back she was exposed as having a CV (resumé) that claimed a Masters degree that she did not have. Past history would tell us that she would ride the storm. Even when this first came out, we were told repeatedly by Spanish people that corruption is endemic and that this will not shift, and she will not resign. She held on for 36 days and then resigned. A small sign of a shift.

4) A case has just been closed relating to 5 men who repeatedly raped a young woman of 18 years of age in Pamplona during the San Fermin festival of 2016 (the ‘bull running’ festival). One of the judges wanted the men acquitted, and the outcome was that this was not rape but sexual abuse – reason being rape has to involve both violence and intimidation!! There has been such a massive public outcry with the streets erupting. The verdict is a disgrace, but something is rising, and (sadly) the redemptive element of this atrocious verdict is that there is a push from the streets for justice.

Gayle wrote to Roger and Sue Mitchell who were with us during some of the above situations:

The streets filled immediately. Particularly Madrid and outside the justice courts. Full of young women, and old, and men declaring the end of this crappy patriarchal system that violates woman. The images very moving.
I thought of the woman Menina statues going out all over MADRID and then real living women out everywhere in the thousands. So moving.
The government is going to re-look at the case due to public pressure. The movement is strong. So alive. So angry and raw. And so going to bring about change.

Prayer releases street movements for justice. Together they bring about change in the powers (heavenly and earthly). In this we rejoice and gather fresh energy.

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All Locked Up

Yesterday was to be the day when finally the Catalan situation in Spain would return to normal. October 1: independence referendum (deemed constitutionally illegal). Thousands of companies have moved headquarters, the Catalan parliament dissolved, with direct rule from Madrid imposed. A number (still) imprisoned, the former (next?) president in exile in Brussels. Legal elections on December 21 returned some shifts, but basically nothing changed. Yesterday (Jan 30th) was the final piece in the resolving (did I write revolving?) process. The president for the government would be installed and off we would travel as one happy family into the future.

The spanner in the works was that the only candidate was Carles Puigdemont. The former president who has been in Brussels for the past months. So here we are a lock up situation. The speaker for the new parliament, Roger Torrent (pro-indepedence and has handled himself with dignity throughout), announced that any inauguration will wait saying that Puigdemont is the legitimate candidate. Tuesday morning just hours before the due time he said:

We don’t accept anyone telling us that the Catalans have voted incorrectly because we didn’t do what they wanted.

Neither the [Spanish government] nor the constitutional court decides who will be president; that’s for the democratically elected members of parliament to decide.

In response to the situation Mariano Rajoy said that any attempt to invest Puigdemont would constitute a clear violation of the constitutional court’s ruling. The warning given is certainly not veiled. In a media interview yesterday he said:

The speaker and those who support him need to be very aware of the consequences they could face.

Our personal response (Gayle and I) is to pray not simply for an unlocking, but a deep healing. When we travelled in mid-Autumn we came to one situation that both physically was a city divided and divided at a social level, and as we stood on a bridge between the two sides we asked for angels to come and sew up the divide, sensing that somehow in the immediate this was a task beyond where people can go at this point of time. That though will shift.

The genuine bridge-builders have to accept that the third way is the way that opens the proponents of such a way to be trampled on from both sides – such is the nature of a bridge. In the short term there will be political gainers when divisive wounds are opened up. Two years ago I had a dream before the national elections of candidates in their lanes from right to left running the race. The leader of a party that did not fare too well was the one in the dream I knew I had to put all my effort in to catch and prevent him grasping a pillar (establishment) the result of which would mean he would not only have made his mark but strongly re-established the status quo. At the time the outcome for his party was not so impressive… but now they are flourishing in the current conflict.

The answer is not to patch a wound up, hoping it will go away… but the process of healing is a dangerous one.

At the beginning of this year the 2 Cor. 12:12 proclamation of Paul that the signs of an apostle were done among them with great patience has impacted us. Patience is not inactivity, it is not passivity. Patience can only flourish on hope. Hope is that vision of the future, it is the cradle in which faith grows (faith is the substance of what we hope for). In many languages ‘to wait’ and ‘to hope’ are the same. True waiting is hope. It is waiting and acting because of a sure knowledge. The apostolic must be marked by patience. The seeds of the gospel of a new order for God’s world means we have to stay focused and can wait for a generation, a century or more.

Walk the land, hear the ancient prayers
echoes still resonating
disturbing the air.

Travel more silently, let the sound become clear
not a sound of despair
nor a sound of ‘listen to me’
but a sound… a sound that was heard long ago
the sound that marked an arrival in the Garden of God.

That sound still travels
still flies on the wings of the ancient prayers
holding back the chaos
even the chaos of Babylon’s order
the deception of Mammon’s reasonable voice.

Those prayers hold back
preserve space
call for a people
weak and trembling yet not shaken
nor proud as they make no claim to greatness.

Such are those who hear the ancient prayers
who cautiously take their place not knowing
if they qualify nor if they can make a difference to a world order that accelerates by day
and continues by night toward
the goal of rewarding the powerful and punishing the weak while hiding
its ravenous appetite to devour one and all until all
that was deemed good,
the image of the invisible is obliterated.

Yet the ancient prayers are calling again
the echo is clearer now, for there is a silent moment when those who pause
who wait with hope and hope as they wait will know that
there is space to be invisible yet through their invisibility will be revealed
the image
the image that points to the future and
slowly but surely pulls that future ever closer.

Those who wait will mount up
with wings
they will be renewed as they live in the now
yet not for today.

Those ancient prayers
– listen and ponder –
do they come from ancient times past
or from tomorrow?

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Let Justice roll down…

A few years ago we went up to Colon (Columbus) square, Madrid, to pray the day before the so-called Columbus Day. It is certainly a sign of power and from our viewpoint a source of power. We are happy to report that the objections to the annual Columbus day has become more public since then. (Also very happy to report that Margaret Thatcher Square (yes, really) next to this Colon square is now devoid of power!)

Supreme Court

This morning we took a visit back to that area and focused on the Supreme Court (above) and the Audencia Nacional. Our strong sense has been for a few weeks that there is now a phase coming of the judicial powers in Spain being shaken, a cleansing and an exposure of corruption, bribery and lies. So we proclaimed that today in those places. (Well after all you just got to do something, right?)

A few days ago a judge, who said clearly in a major (another major) corruption case involving the government, that he could confirm that a certain M. Rajoy who was in the PP party and had received cash payments was indeed the PM Mariano Rajoy was then removed from the case. Today a judge published a poem that not only insulted the leader of a political party, but in it used mysognist and suggestive language about that party\’s spokesperson (a woman). So we have called time on this. The unravelling of secret (and not so secret) agreements is not how justice was ever designed to flow.

(If you want to read the poem and article about it:

Indignación por un artículo machista de una asociación de jueces sobre Irene Montero.)

So Spain – bumpy ride is a-coming, but it has to and through it all something healthier for one and all.

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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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