Archive for December, 2011

Liverpool – 2012 – Liberty Gateway

December 19, 2011

A few days ago, we were given a prophetic word for Liverpool:

“2012 is the year in which Liverpool is being called to seize hold of its redemptive calling in relation to the slave trade”

Mark Stibbe speaks around the world on the subject of the Father’s love. What made this prophetic comment particularly interesting was not that he is well travelled and influential, but the timing of this word.

For years some of us have been observing some amazing links developing with the Americas and Africa in connection with a tremendous positive re-connection of the communities which were involved in the African slave trade. A number of those involved believe that we are witnessing a tri-continental movement which will bring healing and reconciliation between races on a global level.

In the context of global change – NOW is certainly the time for Africa to rise to responsibility and partnership in world affairs.

In the current state of the UK economy, NOW is a moment of transition for Liverpool – to either slump with the loss of public sector employment, or rise up with the solidarity, creativity and entrepreneurism which the region is famed for.

In the world of internet and intercontinental travel, this is NOW the time for new international relationships and partnerships which heal old wounds, bring communities together and empower the next generation.

With social disorder and tension threatening, there has not been a more critical moment for racial, ethnic and cultural groups to show that we can work together for the good of society. This is true globally, and locally.

Liverpool played a key role in sending people to the nations when Great Britain was exporting its culture and economic aspirations. Liverpool played a leading role in the investment in enslaving people for economic returns. Liverpool has for centuries been a gateway for cultures, economic ventures and international relationships. Because of its history and reputation, along with London, Liverpool has a key role to play in representing the United Kingdom in the world of sport, music, culture and education.

The coming twelve months of 2012 really will be the season for Liverpool to seize hold of its redemptive destiny in relation to the slave trade. Not just for the betterment of Liverpool, but for the United Kingdom and the nations.

Absolutely Clear

December 6, 2011

The unqualified ‘live and let live’ approach to ethics, morality and truth leaves the public debate in confusion. Most people are weary of waffle and politically correct mumbo jumbo simply polarises debates rather than opening up dialogue. Extremist politics thrive on lack of understanding and truth. The secular humanist passion for ‘tolerance’ is a smokescreen to dumb down the argument and obscure life giving truth. When Jesus said, “The Truth will set you free,” He was not talking about mere freedom of expression in the way that an artist might be free to explore an idea. Jesus was talking about the total liberty, hope and freedom to live life to the full. To enjoy this kind of life requires that absolute truth is spoken out. We should judge our lives and actions against certainty.

Imagine developing a serious pain in your chest and shortness of breath, and going to see a doctor. Imagine if he begins by saying “Now, we must not assume that this is abnormal. This might be normal for you, let’s have some meditations to reflect on a wider understanding of normality.” This would not be encouraging! We want a clear, definite diagnosis and consequential action plan to remedy our need. A confident diagnosis followed by well informed proposals for action would give us tangible hope.

Christians believe in three absolute truths:

 Christ has died

Christ is risen

Christ will come again

 All humanity recognises two other truths: We all are born, and we will all pass away from this life.

Jesus said that no-one will come to the Father, except through Him. He is the Hope of the world.

The secular philosophers, including those who masquerade as theologians and scholars have robbed our society of hope with their empty debates and deathly deception.

Truth is not like the claims of homeopathic treatments, somehow becoming more potent as it is ever more diluted!

Truth can hurt, like an antiseptic ointment in a cut.

Truth can divide, like the surgeon who cuts out a cancerous growth.

Truth may constrain, like a splint on a broken limb.

Truth may hurt, like physiotherapy on a weakened muscle.

Ultimately, absolute truth will re-align and liberate people. Knowing the truth brings clarity, understanding and stability. All else is quicksand.

Absolute Mystery

December 4, 2011

The Graeco-Roman mindset of our day seems to demand logic, reason and empirical data. However, if there is a God who created everything we see, that God must be beyond our capacity to fully know or control.

The human race is drawn to the mystical and the sense of ‘other’ that we sometimes call supernatural or spiritual. The empirical evidence of human experience – from the grand sweep of history to individual’s dreams is that there is more than we can see or measure. Most of the people on the planet believe in a supernatural realm and a god or gods. The western secular humanist community argue against the evidence when they cling to their notion of there being no more than science and the material world.

In Mere Christianity (1952) CS Lewis put it so clearly:  “This is the terrible fix we are in. If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again….God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from.”

God is mystical and ‘other’ but He is not vague, indecisive and ambiguous in His views.

Again in Mere Christianity, Lewis challenges our thinking:

“Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger — according to the way you react to it.”

We meet Him on His terms. Anything less, and we are not considering ‘God’ but an merely an idea.


December 1, 2011

I keep meeting people who have been hurt by ‘absolutes’. It seems that many of those we interact with are bruised from their collisions with absolute truth – or rather the impact of those claiming to have simple, hard edged answers to all of life. The issue here seems to boil down to the experiences that people have had – often negative encounters.

I have observed a number of issues at play here. Some of those who offer their opinions in the form of simplified absolutes are often not as well informed as they pretend to be. The easy answer may only be a vehicle for prejudice, such as generalisations about races or cultures. Many take a political stance based on loyalty to a party or parents, rather than consideration of the arguments. When someone’s opinion is based on wafer thin understanding, they usually put it across with more aggression or vehemence than necessary. An insecure position seems to feed a wrong attitude. In response to imperialistic, dogmatic, non-consultative and authoritarian approaches, many have reacted by retreating from anything that seems inflexible or definite.

The flipside also needs looking at: We have had a generation of being told to ‘live and let live’; that all positions need to be heard. The desire to compensate for past arrogant views of other cultures has pushed us towards making a god of ‘tolerance’. Tolerance that is, of everything except absolutes.

The grave danger is that our society simply polarises: Most people can sense what is authentic, and can also smell a rat. Strongly held opinions aggressively preached by those who will not listen or engage with other views, are discouraging and repelling. On the other side, changeable and indistinct reasoning dulls the argument and ultimately frustrates those seeking answers.

We may not have a monopoly on absolute truth, but let’s ensure that with a good heart, we genuinely pursue truth, more than the vindication of our position.