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The Big Story metanarrative

Some bible scholars suggest we should argue from the metanarrative to the particular and many not of God’s kingdom know this well.  They know the essential need of the metanarrative by human beings. That is, we all need a story to belong to, to shape our lives and to help us find our place.  Some argue that the whole nature of postmodernism has refuted the idea of the old metanarratives and subliminally and secretly engaged with a new one called ‘the global market’.  But is this true? I think it is.  You might disagree but I’m finding the arguments in Colossians Remixed (2004) again resonating with my heart.

I find myself teaching a history course in school about the “wonder of reason, exploration, the discoveries of the industrial revolution, a history of scientific discovery and the ‘fabulous’ story of how we built empires.”   These topics are symptomatic of the courses available.  It’s not that this information is, of itself, intrinsically bad and it’s important for children to know their history. And, as the teacher, I refine it and set it in an appropriate context.

It’s more that, within the material, is hidden an underlying story that’s supportive of a cultural mythology or worldview, with which I can now state (with a modicum of certainty) I don’t agree.  (Of course, this idea isn’t my own. I got it from becoming a citizen of a different country (to use Lewis’ words and imagery).

Digory and the Mallorn

Digory and the Mallorn

Then I got some more understanding from ‘Colossians Remixed’.   (There are a few books out there that have shifted my paradigms so completely I hardly recognise myself as my mother’s daughter. This was one.)  As I come back to it now, the paradigm is still valid.

CR’s authors argue that the mythological story Western Man now subscribes to is one of human progress.  This is a metanarrative I was brought up with… My mother was a great believer in it and that education was the driver that made it happen. In so many ways, education IS a good thing but I believe a different story now.  Education cannot change a human heart. It might change some minds by enlarging them or influencing them, or even revealing things, but it cannot change our hearts, which in my new metanarrative is the key, and as we are finding out over and over again, are deceitful and wicked.  Often, education can just show people how the system works and how to be more wicked within it…Sad.

Is it true that the hidden metanarrative we propound in education today is a myth designed to support a society that is full of injustice?  Our Father, on the other hand, progresses us by challenging us to humble ourselves and become living sacrifices. Whether we engage with it is also a choice.  And our choices affect our hearts which affect our characters.  The story we’re telling in schools, of a human race that is constantly progressing to better things is creaking at the seams.  It is, itself, a lie that requires faith to believe with economic growth and individual prosperity as the god. The question is asked “Can we justify the assumption that the story of progress is the answer to the world’s problems?”  I don’t believe we can.

To coin a phrase from the book, we’re “in a conundrum within our cultural analysis”.

 

 

 

mismeret:

Inspirational – we need a new level of maturity in these days…

Originally posted on Sons Of Issachar:

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Are we willing to root out of our life the idols that would otherwise keep us blind, deaf and dumb in the things of God. We saw what some of them were last time. The reason they would keep us blind, deaf and dumb is that they themselves are blind, deaf and dumb. A carved image has no life, it has no voice, it has no vision. So we will be aimless, powerless and ineffective if we do not deal with our soul. This is what God is saying to us right now.

Consuming fire

There is a verse which asks, “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” (Isaiah 33:14b). It is a good question: can we live with consuming fire? The answer is, we can’t, not without being continually burned. If we…

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Transformation

I’ve been praying out of Ps 139.23&24 for a little while now alongside Romans 12.2 asking Papa to help me look at my heart but also to change the way I think. I’ve been inspired recently to look again at what might be called ‘old fashioned’ aspects of being a Christian – character, mindset, soul, emotions etc.
This is my reason for reading Ps139. I don’t know about you, but I have a strong sense that what was sometimes permitted in the earlier years of this new century isn’t going to be sufficiently grace-filled even for the latter parts of the decade we’re 3 years into. Additionally, examining my heart and what’s in it needs to impact my mindset as well. I want new neural pathways for thinking and of thinking. I feel these will soon be necessary if I’m to live in the newly-terraformed world that’s developing.
So I pleaded with my Father to give me insight into my own heart and my goodness, did I get it! Competition, self-promotion and glory-hunting were all racked up into the scales. I went into the courts of heaven and confessed all these before Him and before the accuser. I repented and rejected these as a modus operandi… I came away covered in the Blood and Free from it all. I’d done this earlier in the year with jealousy – a hideous manifestation of darkness.
I felt about ten stone lighter, which when you’ve just lost a bit of weight, like I have, gives you a strong sense of how much you’ve been carrying unawares.
It’s recommended that we enter the courts daily, keeping short accounts with the court recorder and making sure we confess whenever and wherever we need to…
Don’t you just love the way father works in grace and not in justice? I don’t deserve any of this but I come away Free and Clear.
Just makes me want to dance with joy…!

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Questions of Destiny

mismeret:

I like the easy-to-understand language Mike and Jeremy use here – very helpful. This blog resonates with me, speaking as it does into the future.

Originally posted on Sons Of Issachar:

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott -

God is doing something really exciting in the earth today: He is giving us revelation of how to step into the heavenly realms. He is showing us how we can choose to turn into the Kingdom of Light rather than into the kingdom which is in darkness. He is encouraging us to engage with what we find in that Kingdom – His presence, His power, all the resources of heaven – and to manifest those things here on the earth. That was always His intention:

Your kingdom come
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

There are a number of keys to doing this effectively:

• Know God intimately
• Know our identity as kings & priests
• Live according to kingdom principles
Rule over own sphere of authority (our house)
• Take charge over the courts for…

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Arise!

Given that I’m writing a few pieces on engaging with God at the moment, it’s possible the thought might accidentally or occasionally wander through your head regarding my own experiences of intimacy with Jesus.

Unlike some people, mine have been precise and each time so far, transforming.  For this reason, I’ve not shared many but hugged them to my heart to be treasured and relived over and over again. I return to them when void. They are the hooks of identity that I hang on to when lost or adrift in the sea of my poor choices. They remind me of his powerful love for me. You know those special days with Dad you will always remember? Yes, them.

I share this one now to help you see he is so tender, so present, so sufficient.

Standing in a room full of people, I was alone.  I heard my name called. Recognising the Voice, I turned. Nothing. All those around me were singing.  I was not.  Then I heard audibly, as I had once before when a child, an insistent calling of my name

“Jane! A pause. Again, “Jane!”

Musical Sound waves 2

I felt like Samuel hearing God call – but I had no one to ask. I stood in the echo of the Voice, resonating and astonished.

Then I heard,

“Arise my darling, my beautiful oneI am my beloveds and he is mine
For the winter is past and the rains are gone…
The season of singing is here…”

And so it was.

From that day I began to come out of a long dark tunnel into the broad sunlit uplands of his adoration…

It’s when you write words like these, you remember the sheer kindness of the Father.

Infusions of Intimacy

Starting to read Fire Within caused some friends to wonder why (out loud). Hungry for more of God, I was gently (and genuinely) puzzled by their words. Contrary to common assumptions about mystics, the description of the supernatural journeys of both Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross in Fire Within simply helped me realise how ordinary (yet extraordinary) and how grounded in reality they both were. I longed to be on a similar supernatural journey and go deeper into the Father’s heart in prayer and intimacy. Teresa talked of seven mansions and John of dark nights. In my ignorance, I aspired to both, their words encapsulating part of a journey into what’s been described in modern parlance as the ‘dark cloud of the Presence’ and by Celtic Christians as a feature of the peregrinati.

My yearning for knowing Father’s ways was increased through enjoying the antiphonal worship at IHOP in Kansas City in 2000 and for years I’ve continued to worship in that way whenever I can (thank you, JoAnn McFatter!) with a deliberate mirroring of heavenly worship… Those of us engaging then had little inkling that this worship and supernatural understanding would explode across the world. Discovering this came on the heels of a call for me into intercession through the words of Jeremiah 1.11. And, I kept finding myself in situations where both intercession and prophetic declarations were called for where things seemed to happen as a result. From the beginning, intercession, worship and mystical Christianity overlapped for me.

In drawing on Teresa’s writings, Dubay is clear how, in spite of visions, public and private trances and levitations, she sought, in her day, to submit to her superiors in all things mystical. He seeks to explain what her mystic prayer life was like with particular reference to infused contemplation. Submitting reluctant words to the Inquisition and her superiors, Teresa asserted she had little to share. How wrong she was! In an example, Dubay says:

“St Teresa was given to absorptions in God so deep that she would be almost beside herself with amazement and delight not knowing what really she was saying to him…. Another time she would be struck by a “mighty impulse” which would come without her understanding the reason for it: ‘It seems my soul wanted to leave my body because it didn’t fit there nor could it wait for so great a good…. The glory of this rapture was extraordinary. I remained for the rest of Pentecost so stupefied and stunned I didn’t know what to do with myself or how I had the capacity for so great a favour or gift. I neither heard nor saw, so to speak, but experienced wonderful interior joy. I noted from that day the greatest improvement in myself brought about by a more sublime love of God and much stronger virtues.’

One of her most telling descriptions (on which Bernini based his famous statue, pictured) helps us have courage to pursue God today:

bernini_st_teresa_avila

“I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…”

Today, in support of seeking intimacy with God through meditation, R Loren Sandford says

“The single most important key to hearing from God is intimacy with him and the most important key to intimacy is meditation. Meditation is our own Christian gift of spirituality. Prophetic people must master it or increase the risk of hearing from sources other than God. It is a gift however that has been stolen and twisted by others. Most Christians hold very little interest in meditation – in part because of a misdirected reaction to Hindu and New Agers who have stolen what rightly belongs to us. The church seems to have a bad habit of abandoning good things to the enemy just because the enemy has adopted and twisted them, assuming falsely that if the enemy does something we cannot. But the enemy of our souls is not a creator and can seldom be credited with originating anything. Another influence that has made meditation a forgotten practice is our secular culture – we do not know how to be still. Meditation surrenders the rhythm of constant stimulation and entertainment to silence. More is said about meditation in the Old Testament than in the New which is another reason Christians tend to neglect the practice. Meditation is not prayer in the purest sense – we place ourselves in passive receiving mode and as we enter a state of peace the flow moves from God to us. He speaks and we receive his words.” (Understanding Prophetic People, pp121-125, my paraphrasing)

Sandford goes on to describe the two Hebrew words for meditation – hagah and siach/suach – the first meaning ‘inarticulate sounds that resonate in the soul and the throat’ and the second meaning ‘the practice of repeating a word, verse or concept, until it takes on a life of its own, taking root in the heart and bringing understanding through revelation at a deep level.’

Personally, I have come to understand that Christian meditation need not be always passive as we choose to engage with his presence and his glory. The state of peace (and more) that Sandford describes as flowing from God to us suggests a fundamental change in approach. As the Shalom, Love and Glory of God flows into us, a heavenly DNA of prayer or prophecy is released and our earthly insights are subsumed by his perspective. We no longer need to cry or sing out for heaven to ‘come down’ but, having confidence to approach the throne of God, we can step into that realm engaging with God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit in whatever way they may choose. This is close to what Teresa described as ‘infused prayer’, where she was directly engaged with His Majesty, although the intensity, clarity and frequency of her visions and experiences were awarded supernaturally after many years of practice. Some today are rediscovering how God loves to supernaturally release an infusion of his Glory!

Uncomfortable as it may be, I’ll conclude here with another quote from Sandford that we, in our particular culture, may want to remember. In the context of Teresa’s life, we have to remember that, at times, she was so sick she couldn’t get out of bed. Yet, suffering, she travelled 16th century Spain in a closed wagon planting new convents to help the poor. Suffering is an essential part of the mystical road – not to be sought but not to be resisted if it comes because it refines character. Sandford says:

“Pathema is a particular kind of suffering, the sine qua non of high calling. One who has not passed through the valley of pathema cannot assume the high calling of God. Paul wrote that he had lost everything in order to gain Christ “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings (pathema) being conformed to his death.” (Phil 3.10)

The Year 5774: Ayin Dalet

Good to know the times and the seasons… God is doing a new thing. D’you not perceive it? 

The Year 5774: Ayin Dalet.

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