Revolution and Spiritual Transformation

Yesterday we were at the house of some of our best friends and I picked up their copy of the New Statesman. Given my last blog, you would think I had already seen it!  So I was excited to read from a selection of contributors what “revolution” means to them. Noam Chomsky starts by quoting Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘eloquent critique’ of Leninist doctrine: “a true social revolution requires a spiritual transformation of the masses degraded by centuries of bourgeois class rule”. Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick give a powerful rebuttal of those like Stalin and Mao who stole the concept of revolution in the pursuit of power and control. They are equally scathing of trivialising the very idea of revolution in the west by a pathetic misapplication of the word to things which matter very little. But they show that these things have not discredited the true idea of revolution, just as 2000 years of Crusades, child abuse, warfare and oppression perpetrated in the name of Christianity have not discredited the social revolution of Jesus Christ.

To my mind there has never been and will never be a more revolutionary person than Jesus. And if it is true that revolution requires a spiritual transformation of the masses, in my view, it is to him that we should look. Jesus had no qualms about deliberately setting a political course which utterly undermined the bourgeois class of his day. When he declared himself to be the son of God, he was directly challenging and undermining both the religious and political authorities. He came to declare that God can not be put away in a temple or related to by only a few special people, but is here to be known by everyone, whoever they are and wherever they live. He came to demonstrate that God has nothing to do with empire in any of its forms and is in fact the antithesis of it. He came to reveal the priorities of God lie not with the rich and powerful, but with the poor, the broken, the marginalised, the sick, the refugees and asylum seekers, the oppressed – in particular women and children and those in prison. His life was one of extreme love and his leadership was that of servanthood, quite different to the image of God many of us conjure up in our minds when we think of the divine….

His death was not caused by an angry God needing retribution for all the ways we have offended him. His death was the result of a life laid down, loving other people, which so challenged the status quo that they wanted rid of him. And in the moment of his death, instead of calling for retribution on his oppressors, he makes a public demonstration of how appalling human behaviour and the powers can be at times, calling us instead to the way of forgiveness. In his death we find the forgiveness for all our fallen humanity, all that seeks to control, abuse, and destroy ourselves, our communities and the earth we live in. But in his resurrection, we find hope that love is in fact stronger than death. So, when we set our lives in the way of this revolution of overcoming love, even if we lose our lives in the process, they are not lost. The ‘ruling powers’ have already been defeated by this way and one day all things will be made right, every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more war. And the fruit of our toil, no matter in what arena of life we work will be seen in those days. Jesus never came to found a religion. Nor did he come to make himself emperor. Slowly, after centuries of believing some contrary things about him, we are coming full circle to understand just how utterly radical he is.

His invitation is still there for us to stop living for ourselves, change the way we think and to follow him.  To make his priorities our priorities and in so doing to transform the world we live in. And better still, he doesn’t leave us alone, but has given us the same spirit that is within him, to be in us, so we can also recover what it means to be fully and truly human. We can be healers, reconcilers, forgivers, servants and revolutionaries just like him. As I have followed Jesus, I have found my life has been utterly transformed and I am finding the grace and power to live in this radical way. By no means am I perfect and by no means have I made it, but in him I find the hope for transformation. You can believe whatever you want to and go wherever you want to go, but if we want to see a real revolution that changes the world for good and forever, I commend Jesus as a really good place to start.


Ok, I can’t sleep. I’ve been needing to write this for ages. I know my voice is small and I live somewhere in the north of rural lancashire in the UK, but I want to add my voice to the growing song that is rising in the hearts of the multitude. We need a revolution and we are in the midst of one, but we don’t fully know it yet. It is stirring in our hearts, the yearning for something truly and radically different. Russell Brand gave voice to it, in his interview with Jeremy Paxman. You can see it on youtube.

I watched question time the other week, and I nearly threw my shoe at the television. I was filled with such indignation at the lack of real debate.The ‘right’ and the ‘centre-left’ may as well be saying the same thing, the odd difference in policy, but a maintaining of the status-quo. We cannot and must not allow the wool to be pulled over our eyes. We cannot and must not allow ourselves to be hypnotised or enslaved in our thinking and believe that things cannot and will not change. Part of my job description at the moment is to try and help save/cut 70 million pounds from the health budget for the Morecambe bay area. Save 70 million pounds! I ask you! When there are billions of pounds in off shore tax havens?!

You see we do not dream of a future in which we allow competition and greed to drive us. We do not dream of a future in which our african children starve to death or our afghan brothers are killed by our european ones. We do not dream of a future in which our children are commodities, eaten up by an economic system that pitches them one against another. We do not dream of a future in which we value our children by their grades and devalue education to the degree that we measure success by literacy rates at the age of 16. We do not dream of a world where healthcare is about profit and the ones who need it most cannot access it. We do not dream of a world where we continually rape the earth of her resources and leave an unsustainable planet. We do not dream of a global economy in which the rich are protected and given more and more privilege whilst the ‘feckless poor’ are punished and scapegoated. We do not dream of a world in which girls are slaves within a sex industry. We do not dream of a world in which there is such disparity between rich and poor. We do not dream of a world in which we spend trillions of dollars on war because we have such a skewed idolatry of nation states. We do not really believe that war will eventually bring real peace. We do not dream of a world in which billions of dollars are siphoned into tax-free havens so the rich can build their super yachts and we have to cut back our public services to the extent that the only other alternative on the table becomes to privatise everything and increase yet more competition whilst sacrificing our very souls. NO!

We dream of something different. We imagine a very alternative future to the dominant reality of our time. We hope for something far more beautiful. We are in a change of eras and we must not be scared. We must not be silenced and we must not give up. Something is stirring in our hearts and we must let it stir us more into love and action.

Can you imagine a world in which we didn’t send young men and women off to war, but instead trained them to rebuild cities that have been devastated, like Damascus, or taught them to irrigate deserts so that streams would flow there and there would be no need for starvation? Can you imagine a world with multiple economic systems based on gift in which the primary drive was giving and receiving instead of buying and selling? Can you imagine people living where they want to, not only where they can afford to? Can you imagine excellent healthcare available to all people everywhere, not just in the rich, developed lands, but given freely to all who need it? Can you imagine a radical overhaul in how we create energy? Can you imagine a government which doesn’t dominate or control and isn’t in the pocket of multinational corporations, but rather serves the real needs of the peoples and partners with other governments to ensure everybody has enough, through a sharing of resource and ideas? Can you imagine businesses which are not driven by greed, but by the needs of the communities around them? Can you imagine laws that really free us to live and breathe and have our being, but protect the most vulnerable rather than exploiting them? Can you imagine education that celebrates difference, creates a genuine love of learning and inspires the next generation to go even further in love and creativity? It’s not beyond our imaginings! It is the longing of our hearts. It is what God gave life to us for……to love, to create, to heal, to steward, to tenderly care for, to enjoy.

There are many solutions to explore. There is much co-creating to be done. We must end the commodification of human beings and the earth and treat one another and the land as friends. We must resist the temptation towards violence and hate. We can dismantle the old oppressive systems whilst building together a wholly different future. Do not be put off by a seeming lack of answers. If we ask the questions, more questions will come! And from more questions, we will together discover some answers we hadn’t thought of before. The earth is calling for it, our hearts are longing for it, the spirit groans for it. It is time. It is time for a deep and long-lasting revolution of love.