Author: Derek

Resting in Father: towards a Father centered spirituality

Jesus’ primary spirituality was about His Father! That was the core of His Life, and message. We are followers of, and participants in, His spirituality; so our own spiritual growth in Him, must also eventually become Father-centric!

One of the biggest problems i see in Christianity spirituality today, is a lack of deep residing in, and knowing of the Father. Many are willing to serve with Jesus, but not reside in His Father. There is a core issue of “doing for” God, rather than being “in Him”.

The early desert fathers tried to reveal and emphasize, that being in His Nature should be our central aim, even above doing “for” Him. And the nature of Jesus leads us directly into His Father! We serve the poor in order to meet Him. We cannot really even help the needy if we are not “in Him”. And, we cannot perform our way into heaven, as one monk put it.

A Father centered spirituality brings deep knowing and peace. That peace which comes from being fully seen, loved, adored, even engulfed in Father God, just as Jesus is! And, this is the space to cultivate. This space between Jesus and His Dad, is our home! When we find that “space”, we are home already, as St Paul was, and are willing to “do” whatever. Love God, and do whatever, as St Augustine put it. Van Gogh, a former pastor, comes from the other side: “The way to know God, is to love many things deeply.” We need to develop a father-centric spirituality. When we do, we will manifest the fruits of His Spirit, and live in a Peace which passes all understanding. And we will grow in faith towards a deep knowing trust in The Father.

There is a great patience, even towards ourselves and our own development, in The Spirit of The Father, and great knowing that is able to just be, down here, and allow Him to form Himself more fully in us. There is no tension in Father, but rather a residing knowing in love. When we move out from His Bosom, we bring this Peace to others.

So few creatures are comfortable just being in their own skin, their own contours. We minister, we serve, but we seldom rest in Him. Just allowing Father to enjoy us, and the contours of the poems He made us to be. It is for His Pleasure that we allow Him to just dwell in us! When we do, we become little praise poems about Father God. Little testimonies about His Nature. We start to move into an evangelism of being. When we are truly ourselves, we are testimonies of who God is.

Animals often teach me the most about what it’s like to just be. They are just being themselves, and in doing so, they reflect back on who their creator is; as Merton said—when we are being ourselves it is a praise to God. By being ourselves, we actually praise God!

Are we resting in our Creator, are we resting our being in His Being? For Strong is His Hold, as the american poet, Galway Kinnell puts it. We are those called to enter Jesus’ own spirituality which was and is centered on His Father! And our particular pathways and callings are founded and grounded, eternally in Him already!

People struggle to find their “callings”. But the fact is, the pathways prepared beforehand to be your way, is already there in Him! (Ephesians 2:10) Our “task” is to abide in Him! And to be found in Him at the end.

Am I manifesting the fruits of His Spirit and spirituality, is the best way to measure spiritual growth! His Spirituality is centered on His Father, so ours should be also. Then we will be increasing in all the “fruits of the Spirit” progressively in Him. We are ones who enter another’s spirituality—Jesus’, and His spirituality was entirely focused on His Father!

As we progress in a father centered spirituality we progress from just faith into true trust. This progression towards a true trust in Father God creates an inner solidity and knowing in our lives which becomes a pillar to all those around us.

Through the years, I have been privileged to meet many people who are sitting more fully in the Spirit of The Father. The first woman to really speak deeply into my life was one. She prophecied over my whole life and activated my spiritual calling in me—to be a father to very unique special ones who few could reach etc. Her home was the most peaceful space I had ever been.

Since, then I’ve met many other elders in His Spirit (both women and men) who really model that constant abiding in The Spirit and Ways of The Father. I pray myself to become one who dwells more constantly in the Heavenly Father. The parts of me which resist it, are slowly dying. To become a spiritual parent requires us to know and be known by The Father. When we do, we start to manifest His Presence in a remarkable and tangible way. We become a place of His Peace for many! A portal of His Ways.

Many of us in my generation have had few fatherly examples. Yet, as we enter the spirituality of Jesus Himself, we are immediately turned towards The Father, and start to desire His Ways. We no longer need the validation of others to feel complete. We enter into His praise and adoration of His Son. We take part in The Father’s love towards His Son. As the dutch priest Henri Nouwen put it, we become part of the Beloved. There is no escaping The Father, if we are in love with His Son. His spirituality becomes progressively more and more our own. Or as one priest told me, “you will feel less and less of your own pain, joys, desires, and more and more of His!”

Many of our tensions come from not sitting with and in The Father who is always at Peace in Himself, concerned but not worried, caring but not frantic, in charge of all, but still constantly kind and loving. Let us come to know and be known by Him ever more.

One of the hallmarks of a father spirituality i have seen, is this “bright grief” which the American catholic priest, Richard Rohr speaks of. There is a concern with particular sufferings while at the same time having an awareness of an all engulfing love. Each suffering is a particular example of the general suffering brought about by sin. We care specifically about each person’s pain, and yet are not depressed by it, knowing The Father, and His enormous heart for each person.

I’ve seen this characteristic over and over in truly mature saints. They deeply and genuinely care, but are also not overwhelmed with worry. There is a future light burning in their eyes already, and it brings peace and healing into each particular instance of pain and suffering. In this way, they are able to minister hope and even joy into the darkest of situations. It is the characteristic of a person who has become centered in the relationship of Jesus with His Father. And there is the greatest Peace ever in that space between them.

A brief homily on being authentic:
“The way to share about your faith (whatever you actually believe in), or what keeps you spiritually centered, is to tell your story. Be authentic. Be real. Be yourself, and tell the truth about how it’s been. The reality is that this way, breaks through religion; of course, we don’t have to be embarrassed by moving in the Spirit of the Jewish God, but we need to be real about it. We need to be real about our own experience of it. Then that integration happens between our real lives, our expression and our spirituality-our “testimony”, or outer expression, becomes authentic! And that is contagious, and a clearer reflection of whoever we are serving. Get out of the way, like John the Baptist, by being real. Authenticity creates a true platform for sharing about deeper things. When we are being ourselves, the poem of who we are comes out, and attracts people to whatever, or Whomever, we are moving in, regardless of where we are on our journeys. Authentic identity is a form of evangelism. We are all in the end stories of Grace, but not all of us are being honest about it. Things become beautiful when they are being themselves.” (an interesting and challenging sermon i heard this week)

Little meditations from the airports…

Living in the full circle already!
We live already in a full circle, but only see part of it manifested on earth each season. Still, we are meant to live as if the whole circle were already present, for in some sense above it is. Each of us is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, and a particular circle which is ours to sit in. Live like that already, and you will not struggle with belonging or context while here.

Blessing the earth itself.
The animals and earth responded to the cross. They were in Peace. The earth was effected physically by the new Adam sacrificing His life for the shalom or wholeness of the whole. I would love to do a painting of that instant in history, but to focus on the earth and animal kingdom at the moment of the Cross. Few people think of evangelizing the earth itself, but isn’t this the gift of the 2nd Adam, and the renewed Eve-her womb would bear the Life which overcomes death? He reverses the curse on our relationship with the earth, and allows us to bless it into place again, to call forth life and fruitfulness. We do so, in Him, with people—speaking words of life and calling forth real life in them. Why not also the earth?

Baptizing things into the whole of The Trinity:
The grand commission Jesus offered, was to baptize things into the identities of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was a holistic calling. To baptize the whole person, place or thing into the being of God through The Son, and His Spirit. It was never just about religious information, it was to baptize them into The full Names of God-to introduce them to the three Persons of the Trinity. To be agents of fuller Lordship of His Being over all of creation. To be portals of His Kingdom onto the earth, and to bring all three Names to peoples.

So then, we ourselves must know all three Names, and carry them in our own beings. Different parts of the church tend to emphasize one or another of The Names. But we are meant to carry and be with and in, all three. This is part of discipling the nations. Seasonally, we tend to be getting to know one or another of the Names. The Father is often not the main One we know and carry to others. But Jesus Himself pointed His entire life towards the Father, just as the Holy Spirit points entirely to Jesus. Holistic baptism is to know, love and embody all Three.

Walking blamelessly…
The journey begins with owning our blame. I’m in the wrong, I need to make it right. I can’t, but One has. That’s the gospel. That’s what Adam and Eve, our parents, couldn’t do. And yet…
Keep me on “the blameless way”, David writes. Nice line. Paul echoes it later with, that we may be pure and blameless on that day. Then, Jesus, without blemish or blame (spotless, sin-free) tells us we are His siblings. Ok. Getting that word.
We don’t become blameless through religious practice! But through union with the blameless One who is also, the blameless way.

Adam blamed Eve, early on, and Eve blamed the serpent. All the types and ways of sin are revealed in the story of our parents in the garden. We, too tend to blame something else for our troubles-our parents, our situation, our oppressive leaders etc-but then there is this blameless way or One. So we stay near to Him and walk into the final room blameless. That’s the way to blame free living. The blame game never works anyways.

Approaching God:
Now all the people perceived the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the smoking mountain, and as [they] looked they trembled with fear and fell back and stood afar off.
And they said to Moses, You speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die.
And Moses said to the people, Fear not; for God has come to prove you, so that the [reverential] fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.
And the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:18-21)

This little passage in the grand narrative re-captured me yesterday in travel. So many great midrashic streams oozing from it. Why are the people afraid to approach? Why is God “in the thick darkness”? Also such a great sensory description of what its “like” when God shows up-smoke thunder lightning and trumpet sounds! Yes! Powerful little passage from the Torah.
If we see ourselves as the people in the story: 1)We are afraid to encounter God; 2)God is in the hiddenness of darkness; 3)His Realm is like smoke thunder and lightning. If we see ourselves as Moses or the prophet (sign of The Prophet to come, the way between realms), we are allowed into the thick darkness to communicate directly with God in language. If we see ourselves as the earth in the story (which most people don’t consider a character, but which is), we are physically effected by how humans relate to their God. I love all the little doorways, windows and vistas one little passage offers when you chew on it long enough! Anyway, fun airport meditation! Things to “do” while waiting…

Jesus The Master Teacher:
In Mark 4, Jesus is teaching on a boat to those on the shoreline…
Jesus on a boat (among other boats, which makes you wonder who all saw Him teaching, and calming storms, controlling nature!) in the water teaching the masses of people (that’s enough for pause for consideration); and then breaking his teaching and methodology down afterwards to his inner circle (those who were peculiarly His!), at the same time as training them experientially during the storm, increasing their faith and understanding, and preparing them for what was on the other side of the body of water—a deliverance situation with a demonized man.

What a great story and scene from the life of Jesus while on earth! What an existential experiential teacher as well!
Again, if we enter these vignettes as little windows of understanding, the bible becomes so very rich and personal. This story is lots about how to teach and train as well. If we approach it as just a religious text or propaganda, we miss the inner meaning of the great tales in the book.
“I could meditate on any of these stories forever.” one great early desert father said. “If you just gave me half of one of the stories in the bible, i could build a mountain of truths and art.” Again here, Jesus’ most often used practical metaphors—farming, finances, fishing and family…what a great teacher! Very down to earth with his metaphors. Wanting to be understood clearly. Hard to ignore what a master teacher He was, even if you, as many have said, “have problems with His followers!”

Prayer scanning over Europe this week!

This week, I’m practicing prophesying over the nations-mainly Europe- again (just some notes to fill in later, take what hits your heart and spirit! Still, downloading; excuse the all over the place-ness of this entry-I have spiritual attention span deficit! I’m just roving over Europe this week in His Spirit!)

Little word over Paris in prayer:
Oh Paris, I want to speak over your fountains for purity. That a stirring is already starting in them, which will purify your public parks and places of meeting. That conversations will then suddenly turn to God and His ways through The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will waft out through this poetic city and purify its dormant plagues. I will turn their hearts towards service again, especially serving the poor and downtrodden. Many will be lead to fight poverty in this city, the nation and Africa and the middle east. A pure heart for justice and human dignity will be restored.

Confess first your sins to Me. Confess and heal from where you were raped and in return shut down your heart towards others, became insular, exclusive and proud in your own beauty; relying not on the Source of all beauty, but were made an idol of your own self and elegance or wit even. These skills were meant to bless others. Take down, take away your mirrors, and turn them outwards as you open your gorgeous heart to Me, Your True God, The Great Artist of all beauty and kindness. Then, I will heal her, and she will shine in tremendous glory, as she serves the nations.

Paris you were a poem i made about myself one day. If you turn, i will cause your heart and glory to return, and you will once again hypnotize people with your visual intelligence and awareness, but in true service. As you humble yourself, your streets will be perfumed again with the fragrance of my presence meant to attract people to Me. You are the perfume I wear when going out. I will make you sweet again with complexity and balance-enough to attract a whole continent of people to your restored caring heart.

You are also Europe’s older sister, so as you are restored, the whole family will be cared for by your beauty and graciousness. And you will no longer be called alone. You will dance with kings again, but not in resentment, but as an adorned, truly seen and adored one. Be frank with me, you are not trusting me enough yet. You have not torn your skin in crying for others in years. But your heart will know a caring justice again. Care for the poor again, and you will discern your true king. And be given your wedding clothes again so all can see how breathtaking you really are. Share your beauty freely to all those in need, it is a gift from Me. You carry the glory of a woman ready to suffer for others!

Norway I see you, strategic prophetic mystic. Here I come. Put up your sails for winds of knowledge, sight and strategic vision are coming from Me.

Scandinavia, in general, prepare for revival. You are one of the hopes for europe as well as Africa. Africans will come into leadership in many sectors on the main continent of europe, including my church and give back to their spiritual parents without bitterness, but in depth of heart, resuscitating europe’s heart.

But be a look out for europe Scandinavia—pray that her heart will turn in just the right time to be revived! Watch over her from your position of rarefied cloud like sheer vision. Watch for Me and I will misty wave over you at night, and turn the night into all day Days. Depressions will be broken by more light!

In Scandinavia, Watch for miracles which are not demonic in nature. Learn to discern the difference between the demonic and The Holy Spirit’s signs. Watch and listen for a tone of kindness in the miraculous-gentleness, the fruits of His Spirit accompany true miraculous events. This in order to discern from the demonic stunts, sorcery and the false magics which are now still very present on your lands. Do not worship the earth or technology, but the maker of the earth, and the one who made you in His Image so you could create technology. Meet Him in Silence, seer friend.

Central europe: character is formed in the furnace of conflict. Suffer well and keep your heart open, or open it again, past fear of victimization or fear of rape. You will be my heart, once your’s awakes. Do not fear false authority, move in and receive His True Authority, and you will be firmly established as a great place of holy dialogue again. You will be my levites and scribes, noting the grandeur of My Convergences and conversations with humanity. And I will polish your gold to cause you to shine again even brighter than at your own historical bests. Thanks for keeping the books and prophecies of my visionaries. For preserving My words through man. You are a truth teller and preserver. Now I will give you even higher things to write down in gold and blue inks. Royalty will be restored, as you return to the Royal King, who woos you again, and your glory will be re-shined and seen by many peoples as a sign to all, her King has come upon her again.

Borders of europe, towards the “middle east”-really center globe- be bold, your loving filtering will winnow, hollow-remove the weights of many, you will welcome many of millions of those seeking asylum or in need. As they come to you, dross will be blown off. Stay true and faithful in His Strength. Who has seen the Arm of God! Bear witness to the many being purified in their hearts as they pass through your gates, and be purified and strengthened by their courage and clarity which comes in displacement and through suffering. Oh strength of My strength. Stay firm and tender of heart, bear hearted ones. You will be called mighty ones in My lands. So throw off in His Strength your fear and hatred of others—other ethnicities, religious and cultural backgrounds..for many are coming to your gates seeking His Life, and a new life for themselves. Do not turn them away.

Israel, daughter of my own. Come to me, turn from your own strength to Mine, and I will call you favorite again. Stop relying on yourself and your own armies to guard your borders, rather allow Me, Your God to establish the pleasant lines of your inheritance again.

Do not hate others in your midst. What is in your womb will flourish if not rejected. For your womb is Mine.

back to europe:
Finland, again, revival! You will be a first if…you turn more fully to Me alone.

Overall, be looking towards the east, europe—your hope and refinements come from that direction; even as glory washes back over you from the west heading eastwards,
once you are prepared. And suffer not your children to come back to you bringing forgiveness and passion for you. Relieving your guilt, and thanking you for your gifts—receive your children already coming to you, oh destined parent. I will allow you to bear fruit again in your old age, and it will astonish, even yourselves again. Be welcoming, be great in hospitality. Many strangers will come to bless not to curse.

Do not fear. They are not poison but a needed nutrient for your hearts. Be in a hosting welcoming mood again so you may be named among My friends again oh europe, mother of many inventions, concerned grandmother of our times, turn more fully all entirely over to me. Let me heal as you confess your sins and grieve your hurts. Let me in again and I will call you My friend. Whoever welcomes will know this to be so.

There will be a golden torch lit in Russia for all her poor to turn and know and see and believe and receive My Glory, no other types of glory matter. And true leadership can learn to be in My Service serving again. She must learn servanthood leadership, or there will be a split between people and her power. The hearts of the fathers must be turned to the sons and daughters and vice versa. A national healing. Look at the port, displaced and hungry, Jesus is there already working in Russian hearts. Who will rule you Russia? Let My people decide in their hearts, and I will manifest My True Glory at your center. Her leadership will know My Name again regardless. And be allowed to turn or not.

Eastern europe is a sign right now, and western europe will be lead to follow or not. Just as western europe has assumed leadership in the past, i will put My light or highlight eastern europe as a model and teacher, until the west turns. Learn from your eastern parts as they turn and humble themselves and shine again morally, recalling for you, your foundations in boldness, and humble yourself western europe, and then you may be allowed to lead again.

Germany, My Arm and Heart. Netherlands my prophetic teacher—stand and teach, you are not too eccentric and are loud for a reason, for My Purposes. Come to the table and interpret europe to itself. In kindness, you are gladly received and invited, as is Germany. The heart of Germany will also be repaired, and integrated once more to the mind and arm. Put back together she will for the first time both mother and father others. Not just father. Her heart will know my gentleness towards herself and others, and her mind will decide how to minister and administer from My Heart. She must receive more fully both My Heart and My Thoughts and value both in order to reach her fullest destiny in Him. The heart will restore proper pacing of implementation of the mind parts. Love will govern both and cause Wisdom to manifest outwards. Be kind to yourself and receive more fully My Love into your hearts. You are more than welcomed, you are needed at My Banquet table. Come as you are, and I will make you what you will be in Me.

Belgium, my friend in kind conversation I come to you, curious friend.
Sweden, revival, but first in Finland. Denmark be willing to release your resources for the good of the whole. Iceland, my gem, purify your ways, and I will melt your hearts into gold for the nations. Be a beacon, i Myself directly beckon you to come. But you must become thirsty beforehand. Hunger and you will know Me. I am nearby.

Sweden, also, watch your waters. Put watchmen there. Beware. I see that many of your towers are vacant. I call forth your nation’s prayer watchpeople to take their post, and even if one is not yours but abandoned to sit on it until someone comes. I, Derek, have sat on several myself and been shocked by how few were occupied. And by what I saw in her waters. I call forth my prophetic friends to take their post along Sweden’s shorelines. Listen through the fig until you hear clear bells and see distant but approaching lights. There are markers and many other things in your waters. Signs of right now, and things to shortly come. Be on the look out!

Look at the vacant space in europe to read her.

Vagrant, vacuous, seemingly vacant spaces across europe, these will show you here needs wants and desires. Learn to read these abandoned spaces to see what is coming over the urban centers. Outside of Prague for instance, in the country, revivals are kindled which will add to what God is already doing along her river in the city center. Her river is being purified of death through baptisms, but much is happening upstream. I see revivals among youth who get ignited with His Heart for her city. They will work like airfreshners throughout the city cleansing much unseen corruption and false alliances from the past.

Parts of eastern europe: specifically of Prague:

Secrecy will be truly turned to mysteries of God. The hiddenness of man, will be turned to hidden “in Christ”, and a city of deep transformative vision and holy exchange, of new ideas previously hidden to other parts of Europe. Allow revival in, fully. Work as one, and your conversations in Him will turn around the heart of europe. What happens in the unseen inner place, will alter and transform all of europe, for there will be a moral transformation starting in the heart.

And He Himself will veil your inner heart in protection and peace, and cleanse any false veils of self protection, as He enters the secret place in you mystic scribe, poet, teacher, and inner transformer of europe. Allow His deeper work within. Once healed, you will model healing and integrative processes for Europe as a whole. Truth speaker, you are.

Europe, you are My idea, turn your hearts to me, and you will recall yourself. I will take away your amnesia which the new worlds are just beginning to swagger from! (America, for instance is in confusion, leadership crisis and near insanity) Learn now, as you are in this identity crisis, not remembering your spiritual foundations, not wanting to mention My Name. Return and know yourself. I will form myself again in your unique contours and give you wisdom and My Love.

I will put the Light into your true new en-Lightenment. I will allow you to carry and share My Splendor again without pride, and in vision, and specific wisdom of how to apply your skills in service and in true Royalty. Prepare yourself dear woman, for your Groom is nearby! Humble and cry out, I am cleansing your rivers, an preparing and entrance into your hearts first and then again in your minds. Be kind to strangers until you remember yourself again. Welcome those who also bring you comfort and respect your true heart. You were an early plant, planted in suffering. My story in you has not ended. Turn your face to me, and I will to thee lovely sorter of the nations.

Prophesying backwards! Praying from the future!

Prophesying not just into, but from the future: a short unedited meditation on Isaiah 53:

In this remarkable passage about Messiah, Isaiah is confessing the sins of His People for not discerning the Messiah when He came. This is a confession from the future looking back at Jesus life on earth, and asking forgiveness for Isaiah’s people. So you have a prophet being priest here, and you have hope for future Israel, and all of us by extension! Because here is someone already confessing their sins of not recognizing and killing messiah. We did not recognize Him when He came, we did not see what God was doing through the Son—i.e. laying all our iniquities on Him, taking the blow for us all. We did not see who He was or what God was doing. Isaiah is confessing that particular sin!

Of course, he is also teaching us that the foundation of intercession is suffering; the foundation for all of us being made whole was the perfect suffering of Jesus. But here I want to point out that as in prayer, where we can confess the sins of previous generations, and this bring healing, so Isaiah is modeling that priestly way. Jesus is in our past present and future, so we are able to go back into earlier seasons of our lives and confess our sins and forgive others, but here in this amazing passage, we are shown that we can also go into our future and prophecy and confess and forgive backwards! We can pray in all directions in time, because of who Jesus is!

In short, Jesus is ever living to make intercession across all time. Isaiah takes us into his own future and from that place or point in time, confesses the sins of previous generations!

Now this is 500 years before Messiah which makes it cool. Isaiah is praying from the future. Isaiah saw Jesus and his historical moment, and was confessing the sins of His People. That already took place, it’s recorded. Here is a priestly prophet confessing the sins of the Jews and those of that generation, therefore they and through them we all have hope! Their sins have been confessed and seen by the prophet Isaiah!

I love this passage because Isaiah is prophesying and confessing from the future. So we know that His People did turn back towards Him, and so all the promises can be fulfilled. This is something to claim in prayer when we need real living Hope! There is the priesthood restored in the future of Israel—right there with Isaiah’s confession of their sins in not recognizing and killing their Messiah who was the one to restore all things and bless and put in order all the nations. So not only can we not write off all the Jews and their nation, but we can be assured that they will turn and Messiah did come and will come to restore all things. Great hope in this passage.

Prophesying backwards, you might say of this passage! Going and looking back from the future at a situation, and praying from that space. Isaiah is in the future and looking back at Jesus time on earth, and confessing the sins of that generation. Great hope indeed! It’s like going to the end of our earthly lives and looking back and praying from that space! What a powerful practice. This activity would probably effect how we acted today as well!

To prophecy into the future is one thing, to prophecy from it is another. He went past the time of Jesus on earth, and looked back at it—that’s what’s in this passage. Then he describes Jesus time, and confesses the sins of his own people.

Prophesying from the future. Are we being priest for our own time, from the future?
Seeing backwards from a future point, and interceding and doing priestly things such as prayer from that view? Confessing our own sins from the future! Love it.

My point here, is that Isaiah is being priestly in this passage and prophetic. He is confessing the sins of his people from a prophetic view in the future. We usually look at this passage from left to right, or from past into future. But really Isaiah is already in t he future writing from it, and looking back at Messiah on earth and his generation. And doing priestly activities from that standpoint. Isaiah was a priest prophet. We would say intercessor seer maybe.

But this passage reveals not just that the sins of Jesus’ generation are already confessed by Isaiah himself, but also it keeps focusing on who Jesus really was then and is now—ever living to make intercession, even for those who killed Him! Fantastic to pull that off in one short passage.

This prophetic stunt is almost as cool as Daniel telling people what they dreamed last night, not just interpreting the dream, but seeing the dream of another person. Wow! God is cool.

Jeremiah’s Times and Ours

Sometimes certain lenses are helpful to interpret one’s own times through, both locally and globally. I think our times can best be seen through the lens of Jeremiah’s time. There are different stories which leap out of scriptures as lenses of interpretation for particular moments in history. Jeremiah’s is one for now!

We are living in days very similar to the prophet Jeremiah’s. Just as in his times, we see weak leadership and false alliances happening out of confusion and not hearing God’s clear Voice. Some of us like Jeremiah, but not as cool, are being asked to bear witness to it (each in our own ways and domains), to fellowship with His Suffering, and to buy new land in Anathoth-to symbolize what is to come, even while what was is falling apart. Even as the city burns and new leadership is installed. To build while everything is falling apart. To invest in her future—that’s what Jeremiah did. He never got to see the full rebuilding of Jerusalem, instead dying in Egypt, but it did eventually happen.

Every part of Jeremiah’s story was symbolic, as his life became a teaching about God’s ongoing orientation to people, even in times of great judgement. We are in similar days. And certain people are asked to symbolize it.

We hope to one day get to a Nehemiah time of rebuilding and unity in construction. But now we are in a sign of hope time while the world is in tumult, while leadership is frail and false alliances are causing suffering. And while even the church is not yet unified or yet working together smoothly to be salt and light. This story of Jeremiah is a guidepost for our times.

My wife and I are re-building our house here in Austin, as a sign of hope for the future-not just ours but the city’s, and as a sign of how to grow, spiritually and physically into your next chapter, as a person or city. Rather than just abandon this city and nation, to build a sign of hope for its true identity to be recovered and redeemed one day. This is our house in Anathoth, it is our home on the priestly symbolic land which God has chosen to symbolize Himself through. Every part of this rebuilding process has been symbolic, even learning the zoning rules, and the many interactions with the city systems. Jeremiah lived as a sign, and we are trying to let this building process itself, similarly to become a teaching, a symbol.

The entire story of Jeremiah’s times are being acted out globally as well. We see not just shaking and restructuring of leadership, but panic and fear as in the last king Jeremiah served. Jeremiah’s role was to stay true to God and voice what God was saying. He warned, he consoled, he did symbolic action like buy land when the city was going down, and his people taken away. God has not abandoned the planet. Never does. He asks Jeremiah to buy land in the midst. He bought priestly land—i.e. hope for a restoration of the priestly way—which happened later when the people returned.

The priestly comes first—the ark crosses the river first, then the larger masses of people can cross. Symbol precedes fuller incarnation. It’s a pattern throughout history. The artists move into a neighborhood, it gets seen, and many others move in etc.. Prayer and a recovery of the word precedes revival, in both christian and Jewish history. The restoration of the Jewish priesthood brings interpretation and reading of the word, and as the levites helped the people to understand the words-to interpret them, so the restoration of His Priesthood allows us to hear and interpret His Voice in each age.

Still, an odd time for Jeremiah to buy land, but not if someone is called to symbolize God’s orientation towards a place or a city. He interpreted the times for the kings or leaders (discernment), he comforted those who needed it, and he carried God’s heart for the whole (fellowship with God’s suffering). To instruct, warn and encourage have always been the way of the prophetic. Jeremiah lived that out for his long 40 year career, at a time of international upheaval.

Here in Austin this past year, as I said, my wife and I have been allowed to re-build a house symbolically, starting from foundations up, the entire house remodel-each part, each person, each piece of wood- has been a teaching for us of how God is orienting towards our city, and how to build not just smartly but wisely-honoring what came before, but adding to it a new level of solidity and creative craftsmanship, and vision. And planting hope for the future!

Each person who has worked with us has been hand picked and relational—that’s very true Austin. Honoring her core identity, while taking her forwards. We were asked to not abandon this city (or America in her hour of great confusion, which she is in) in her time of rapid maturation, but to stay with and help birth new chapters. This was what Jeremiah did. Even when given the opportunity to go to babylon and have nice stuff, he stayed with the remnant. That’s an example of how to live in these times, how to embody the Body as one dear friend put it to me recently.

In our own story, we have been given the resources and spaciousness to do so, coming from the faithful among the previous generation. We have done so with little help on the ground, but lots of angelic aid!Even this seeming lack of on the ground support is like Jeremiah, who after being thrown in the pit, finally had one advocate who came to his aid, and had the king lift him out of the pit and feed him. Nehemiah’s days were different, where you truly had incarnate unity. Jeremiah was alone, accused often of even coming against the national spirit. People went out of their way to condemn him. In this, he was moving in the way of Jesus.

But we, this year, have been given the privilege in our small way, of acting out something into the future, co-creating a “sign” for our city. We have also learned how God wants to grow our particular city through this process. Authentic relationships with creative builders etc. Her (our city’s) true identity, has shone through this process. We have also honored what she was, and mid-wifed what she is becoming in a way which honors her growth and core identity. We have been able to do so outside of the usual pressures of urban growth, the tendencies, for financial reasons, for unwise growth—materialism coupled with manipulation to make it happen fast and make money–this is something all of America struggles with. So, it makes sense, her fastest growing city would also!

The role of the prophetic is to symbolize God’s orientation towards the whole. We are moving in Jeremiah’s way, as are many others in our times. To symbolize what God is saying is in this way of Jeremiah. Jesus got upset with the religious leaders of His day, for not being able to read the times. We are not those who cannot read. To us He does not come as a thief in the night; we, like the wise men who found Him at His birth are to follow His Star, and be excited when it guides us to Him. Jeremiah knew His times and God’s orientation towards them.

As Jesus told His friends, but for you, it’s given to actually understand the parables of the times! We are meant to be able to read and interpret our times. Jeremiah’s times are a great lens through which to do so.

Puzzling over and into Parables!

Considering Parables today…

Someone, asked me an interesting question yesterday: How did Jesus teach. Not what did He teach, but how. Got me re-interested in parables and symbolic teachings…

I started thinking about Jesus’ method as well as His Message, which He was—in His case, the medium really was the message!

In this passage for instance in Mark 4 and 5…

The Parable of the Sower

4 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, wso that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, ait withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and ca hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

He’s talking about planting words of truth, even as He IS The Word and The Truth! Gotta love it. There’s a self irony in Jesus’ Way!

And then, this little parable is all about planting the Word as little mini-farmers!
Just the fact that symbolic stories were the way Jesus taught to people in the outer circle is cool and kind-leading them in through symbol and the attraction to know. Not just stories, but symbols, little unpack-able mysteries which have to be traced into Being.

Poetic Reality! Life outside of our habitual understanding. Life which is revealed supernaturally!

Symbols draw people into the Reality of what they symbolize, as all good art does! Riddles, puzzles, parables—what an interesting method to draw people to spiritual understanding. Someone said the purpose of art is to drawn people into Real Reality!

Not abstract truths, but metaphors which called them towards…something which puzzles the everyday habitual mind (as clowns came out, in Hopi culture, before the chiefs, to get the people ready for wisdom!), and attracts the spirit towards some deeper reality.

He shocks, shakes, calls awake and forth—listen! Pay Attention, if you have spiritual ears, hear this…then He precedes to deliver the message in symbolic story. Fascinating! Listen! Behold! Wake up—i am about to tell you something. Love that way of shaking His audience awake to receive the word! There too, He is modeling how to teach!

Love this particular parable-a gardening farming one; (Jesus used farming, finances and fishing metaphors most often—all very down to earth!).
This sowing or planting metaphor reveals our typical obstacles to spiritual growth. Could meditate on it forever.

Jesus is in a boat on the water as He teaches. You have a Master on water teaching! Water=message word, mystery; and the people are still of the flesh= land shoreline, but the ones who are seeking, come to the edge of the shore. The whole metaphor is pitch perfect.

Then He starts teaching them about their obstacles to encountering the Kingdom (and describing the Kingdom itself as that which is reproductive and fruitful), and to spiritual growth-he does so, in a way which draws them towards overcoming their obstacles, and yet, at the same time He is training His disciples with Him–modeling, symbolizing how it will be for and in them.

The three basic obstacles to spiritual growth: bad soil, no roots, cares of this world. So simple and true. He uses stones and thorns as symbols of types of blocks, and really breaks the inner meaning down of each type.

He articulates each type of block to growth. And at the same time, He is training His own students through the experience. He, breaks down the riddles and puzzles-the symbolic expression for them later on the water.

Then, He rebukes the storm, again training them through symbolic action, about what is about to happen—understanding how to take charge over things which are being rebellious against His Nature, and He keeps teaching by symbolic actions!

Then, they arrive on the other side, where, immediately, a demonized man needs deliverance. He was preparing them to experience what He modeled! Great passage. The whole trajectory of the story has teaching in it, and is itself a symbol! Modeling it as your talking about it, real Mastery Teaching. This is how to sow-look for good soil! Here are the things which will block the growth of what you plant.

Even if you hate religion, these parables rock! Jesus was a good teacher. Even if you just consider how people learn and grow. Enjoying studying them again.

Take care of how you hear, He avers at the end, calls, and, nearly screams in His Tone in the text, notice, what you listen to, and how you take it in! Take care of how you symbolize and teach. Understand the resistances, and be wise. All just in one little passage. Jesus rocked and rocks. What a Way He has made and is.

Soil, Sight, Skin again..uncovered

Soil, Sight and Skin—rediscovered!

Just re-discovered this entry in one of my old notebooks. (“I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” to quote Dylan; and yet, nice insights from when i lived at L’abri, a spiritual community in Switzerland) I was thinking lots then, about where traditional Christianity was lacking or not tuned into the Divine conversation at the time:

“Soil, sight, and skin. Three neglected areas of Christ lordship and our partnership with Him, or open dialogue with the Divine understanding. These are areas, we haven’t entered the deep and practical dialogue yet, and pressing areas of concern and burn.

Areas of understanding our relationship with the earth, the healing of how we see (perception, art, symbolic—there is a poverty of the imagination in the church) therefore, interpret and know (sight is related to knowledge, if we don’t see right, we don’t know well); and our relationship to our physicality, our bodies (what to do with our tents, as one teacher put it).
He is Lord over every dimension of Life, every area. So, He is waiting to be dialogued with in each of these vacuous areas. These are also gap-zones where the vacuum gets filled by many things.

In the area of the earth, new age and paganism enter, in the area of perception, pornography and advertising and commercialism (disguised materialism); in the area of our bodies, “mass supermarket- yoga” and other partial forms of integrating mind and body. Christianity has still not properly dialogued with these three.” I must have been deep back then! Nice to discover, at least I wasn’t asleep spiritually, and was “minding the gaps”! Are we dialoguing actively and articulately with these three areas yet?

Towards a theology of Suffering

Don’t know why I’m thinking about suffering so much these days, i’m actually in a good mood, but i keep circling around and into the topic. Here are a few notes I’ve been taking as a delve around a theology of suffering.

Our little crosses are brought to His Big One, repeatedly. This is the practice (our praxis of pain) of suffering. Pain is universal, but our practices or orientations towards suffering, differ, and bear different fruits.

Unlike Buddhism (bless my many buddhist friends), Christianity is not trying to escape suffering, nor does it see suffering as an illusion (samsara), but rather to enter suffering “in Him”. We gravitate towards pain to be pulled closer to The Man of Sorrows, who is acquainted with all our grief. What I would call the mystery of pain, which leads to The Cross, and leads to true love of others in their pain. We are not trying to alleviate our pain, but rather to elevate it into His.

We are to take our little crosses-our particular sufferings–to His Big cross, so that each of our sufferings become a bridge or lens into His Larger suffering. When we do, whatever our particular sufferings are, become a window into His Suffering and labor for all those with that area of suffering.

So when we feel lonely, we come to His Loneliness, and enter His Heart for all the lonely people this hour, who need that comfort of friendship or to be tuned into in conversation. There are so many who just need to be heard, who sit alone staring at the wall. When I worked with the elderly i remember this often.

Then the times we ourselves are feeling displaced, we can pray with and in Him for all the refugees or displaced ones (which is like a third of the planet now!). We then have true authority to be useful to them. When we feel physically uncomforted, we can pray for all those who desperately need a hug today, or to be held as they cry. This is how our sufferings become a bridge into His.

We often waste our sufferings by trying to salve them ourselves—we come up with a soul solution and call it overcoming.

There is false and true overcoming! False overcoming is when we come up with our own way of overcoming our own or other’s suffering (really this is the soul elevating itself above His Spirit, which is idolatry; sort of a tree of knowledge rather than tree of Life way of going about helping others). True overcoming, is to enter His pain and victory in that area, and act from His Heart. This requires union and allows us to get to know Him more in the process, which is the goal-to know and love God with all your heart… and actually be more effective in helping and loving your neighbor (Christ’s two commandments).

Knowing how to suffer well is one of the keys to living well. Don’t waste your trials, let them become trails into Him. Anyways, I promise my next post will be about something more chipper! Somehow, there is joy meditating on suffering well however. The practice of learning how to suffer well, brings contentment, steadiness and Peace, in the constant midst of tumult, both our own and other’s.

Seeing Father more lucidly! ( baptizing our imagining of Father God)

Seeing the Father more clearly (baptizing our imagining of The Father)-that’s what this little piece is spinning on….so here we go!:: let’s run with this until we know!

What does it mean to have a clear and accurate picture of The Father? How do we clarify our spiritual imagination’s image of The One in whom we are in the image of? They relate. As we come to see Him in His True identity, we are shown our own. Who do you say I am? Jesus asked Peter–blessed are you because you have seen Me through The Father who revealed this to you; now, I will tell you who you are, I will name you! This is the principle of true identity in Him. We see Him accurately, and He shows us ourselves accurately.
We come into focus as He comes into true focus. Jesus taught that there were typically three areas of obstacles that keep us from having a mature image of the Father–worry (unconsecrated suffering, things we do not take to Him in prayer–unsupplicated stress), getting lost in wealth and placing worth in it (materialism), and desire for pleasures above Him (hedonism, narcissism). We are called to press on into maturity in every area including how we picture God Himself. Our imagination, our visual center is meant to be seeing Him ever more accurately. Jesus said, I only do what I SEE the Father doing. He could see the Father, and therefore knew what to do on earth daily.
Prayer clarifies vision. For in prayer we are gazing with Him, through His Spirit in His Way of seeing. This is one of the benefits of prayer, it clarifies our image of God Himself. Prayer is therefore our central practice of cleansing the imagination of false images of fatherhood and authority, and bringing it into alignment with Jesus Sight or way of seeing!
The imagination is often overlooked as a place of healing. But if we get our imagination “into” Christ, we start to see who The Father is, and this vision changes every other area of our lives. We start to see the disparities between what we have experienced, and who He truly is.
I think one step towards this is to recognize our false images of Father based on our experiences of authority on earth. We have to go back to early experiences to see how we see Father, authority–forgive, confess thank God He is different than what we have known. All of us are broken here, but we can get healing from the disparities between how our father’s were, and how God The Father is. Not only, can we then forgive our earthly “fathers”, more importantly we can get a better picture of who Father God actually is. To know and love God was our commandment. Imagination is part of knowing. It is part of our epistemology. When we see accurately, we know more.
We are living in a time of crisis in authority and identity, and they are related. We rebel against authority and we don’t even know what our nature is-what it is to be human, much less our eternal names written on that white stone above! But also this is a crisis of how we view authority. Yet, God is the Author, the Authority over us–the one who wrote us into being. Fortunately, He is a loving and caring authority. But we need an accurate and cleared/cleansed image of what His True Authority looks like. When we get that, we are happy to come beneath His Authority directly, and through the authority He has placed in others who are our spiritual parents in certain areas. I know there has been much spiritual abuse in the church, but we cannot let that keep us from seeing what true authority is. We need it, to grow in Christ.
I think many really struggle now to come under any type of authority. There is this anti-law, or lawlessness increasing, as predicted. Some of this has to do with a fear of God’s authority. Will we really submit ourselves to God. Only if we overcome this anti-parental authority lodged in the strongholds of our earthly experiences. We fear what we do not understand. If we understood how loving His Authority truly is, we would gladly bow low beneath it, and grow up.
Clarifying our image of Father, is really a matter of life and death down here. This is part of the use of the spiritual imagination, to be able to picture God in a truer way–ie in the Way that He is. As we heal our image of God, breaking off the strongholds of experience of father or authority, we come to experience God as Loving Father. Caring protecting, intimately involved father. To heal our image of Father into this loving caring protective always present, with us always, One, is to come home to ourselves. When we see Him, we will see ourselves.
Spiritual growth really is our way on earth, to be becoming more “in Christ” and His Life. To trust the Father enough to complete the formation of His Son’s Life within us–this is our basic orientation. Our growth moves and is paced according to our seeing God accurately. When we do, we trust Him to form the next aspect of His Son’s Life in us. Yes, we need to hold on mentally to the facts–God is good, loving, kind etc; but also to see Him like that! Our sight, informs our beliefs. They work in tandem. Seeing is believing, and belief can lead into true sight. They inform one another. The imagination and the mind of Christ work as one, they compliment and augment one another.
Many stop growing spiritually because of one of the three areas Jesus spoke of–worry, wealth, false desires or love of pleasure. I think we must begin with a clearer image of The Father. If we saw Him as He is, we would have to worship and adore Him. He is that Great. But depending on our level of false authority image, we shy away from gazing at the Father as He truly is. This is an area, where a healed or sanctified imagination can really help us. One day we will see face to Face. For now, we are moving towards this. We are coming into focus. Spiritual perception is key.
The things of the spirit are known and revealed by His Spirit. Even our image of God is a gift of Grace. The Holy Spirit starts to form an image outside of our natural experience of fatherhood. We need to see the Father as Jesus did and does. In fact, we come to start seeing the Father through His Son! And we see the fruits in daily experience, of less distrust, and more of a desire to bless and heal those who carry aspects of His Authority on earth. We come to love our parents in short. To honor them, because we recognize the parts of them in Him. And we honor Him in them. To do so, we must start to seeing God more as He truly is!
We pray for a baptism of our imaginations to see The Father as He truly is. So we can begin to perceive ourselves and what is around us to tend and love more accurately! To have imparted a more accurate picture of who we are. If You say, we are this, then we are–help us receive our true names Father God–and thank you that you desire to reveal us to ourselves. And that You are able to complete what You have begun in us in this area of identity! And help us to see one another as we are, so we can love one another with Your Grand Heart in true sight! That the windows of our spiritual perception would be cleansed to gaze upon Our Creator more as He is. To see His true identity, is to begin to see ourselves as we really are. The better we see The Father, the more we see and are seen even as we are known. And the better we see others around us, and our world. Accurate sight allows us to act then in Wisdom and Love towards all. If we cannot see one another accurately, we distort His images. And then we can hate one another-move in racism or hatred of other cultures or genders. There are very practical implications to seeing The Father accurately. Let us seek to see, and therefore know and love Him and one another as we truly are!