Reimagining the UK post Brexit – Education

imgresI have waited a while to write this post. It follows on in the series I started on this topic. It seems clear that the Brexit vote was about three key elements: taking control (whatever that means) of our own money, our own laws and our own immigration. I hope to write another blog on those three things another time, but in this time of transition, we must ask ourselves some questions about the kind of future we want to co-create.

 

imgresI have to say that when I look at our education system, I am both heartened and dismayed. I am heartened by the amazing quality of teachers across the UK, but I am dismayed by how they are treated as a profession by our mainstream press. I am heartened by the quality of our children and young people and the hopeful possibilities they carry, but I am dismayed by the increased burden of mental health problems many of them suffer. I am heartened that there is so much great thought around education and a shared learning between nations about how to release the potential in each child, but I am dismayed by the lack of application of this learning within the UK. I am heartened that there is an increasing realisation that Ofsted reports can offer only a small snapshot of what goes on in any school and are not a fair representation of all that goes on in any one institution, but I am dismayed by our growing measurement problem. By this I mean that the constant scoring and grading of our children and young people and the comparisons made between our various schools is so detrimental to their development and achievement that we ought to seriously consider the weight it is allowed to carry in our education systems. When our children and young people are some of the least happy in Europe and live in a country where the gap between the richest and poorest, both in terms of economics and educational ‘outcomes’ is one of the worst in Europe, we have to ask ourselves some searching questions.

 

So, in reimagining education, let’s reaffirm that every child is unique, beautiful,images worthy of love and full of potential. Let’s also recognise that our education system now is one of the few things that has not evolved since the time of the Industrial Revolution and is itself in need of serious renewal and transformation. In Germany, they have managed to elevate practical skills and knowledge to that of intellect. This has given them the ability as a nation to have a much more diverse economy, especially investing in green technologies and manufacturing in a way that cares for the future. In Finland, they have a reverence for the teaching profession that we would do well to adopt here. We need to think of teaching as a sacred gift and it needs to be taken this seriously by those who pursue it as a career. A Head Teacher I know recently told me that she no longer needs teachers who see themselves as having a job, but those who understand that teaching is a vocation and a calling. It is about being willing to parent a generation, not just fill them with knowledge.

 

Our educational environments must be places where we teach our children how to think, not just what to think, how to converse, not just what to say and how to listen attentively not only hear. We must help them learn about their own personalities and gift mixes. We must help them to think about the values from which they live, speak and act, helping them therefore to shape their behaviours in line with this (Steve Peters). We must allow them to question some of the damaging ways we live (war, pollution, work-patterns) and dream of and learn to create futures of peace, sustainability and wellness.  We need a vision large enough to ensure that each generation creates a seedbed of opportunity for the next.

 

The danger of becoming more ‘in control’ (as per our Brexit wishes) is that we become more controlling. The purpose of education is not to control but to release, not to maintain the status quo but to attain a brighter future, not to perpetuate hate and violence but to breathe love and peace, not to tear down but to build up and encourage,imgres not to divide but to build community, not to prepare human beings to be fodder for the economic machine but to ensure the economy serves them to be live a life of hope-filled potential. As with healthcare, we need to de-politicise the education system, hold dear in our hearts those given to teach, caring for their wellbeing and minding how we speak of them. We must partner with them and entrust them with our precious caterpillars as they hold them through the great metamorphosis that is learning before they spread their wings and make their flight to shine like stars in a future sky that the rest of us will never see.

God, Power and the Western World

In this blog, I am exploring how traditional views of God have dominated western thinking about the nature of power, sovereignty and systems. I am drawing heavily on three brillaint thinkers: Thomas Jay Oord and his book ‘The Uncontrolling Love of God’, Brad Jersak and his book ‘A More Christlike God’ and my great friend Roger Haydon Mitchell and his book ‘Church, Gospel and Empire.’

 

 

I agree with Richard Dawkins that there is an utter God delusion. But I disagree with him utterly about the nature of that delusion, which I will come on to. So much of Western thought has been shaped by “Christianity”, or perhaps more accurately, Constantine“Christendom”, and has very little to do with the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The dominant story, as we have it now, took it’s shape in the fourth century, under the partnership of the Emperor Constantine, and a theologian by the name of Eusebius. At this particular point in history, the message of Christianity was spreading like wild-fire throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. It very much challenged the status quo and the power dynamics of the Empire, calling for people to change the way they thought about who God is (a loving father, not a dominant emperor), to consider all people equal, to undo economic oppression and follow the radical way of love, partnering with God for reconciliation, healing and peace. This view of God didn’t suit the Emperor, nor the philosophy of Empire.

 

UnknownThis allowed an understanding to develop that God is actually quite like a Sovereign Emperor who rules the whole world, a God very much like the one Richard Dawkins describes in his famous book – and why would anyone believe in a “jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” God like that?! No thanks! But this is the kind of God that Empires depend on. This is the kind of God that those with power through the centuries purported God to be like in order to hold onto their own power, making Jesus the great warrior and God the threatening one to be feared. Constantine understood that harnessing the message of Christianity gave him more control. The church leaders understood that partnering with the empire would mean greater safety and prosperity for themselves.

 

But God is not at all like the caricature painted by Dawkins. As Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” God is exactly like Jesus. He is the antithesis of a dominant Emperor. He is a loving, kind, creative, healing, perfect Father, who rather than anihilating us for our rebellion, allows himself to be utterly misunderstood and seemingly defeated by the might of Empire, only to overcome it through love, breaking forever, the power of all that stops us being truly human and inaugurating a new way for humanity – what some of us now call kenarchy, but more traditionally referred to as the Kingdom of God (a term which now has so many other difficulties that it needs reinterpreting).

 

If God is exactly like Jesus, then he is essentially kenotic, in other words, he is first and imgresforemost about self-giving, others-empowering love, and therefore he cannot be like the God caricatured by Richard Dawkins, nor can he be a fluffy grandpa, a doting dad, a domineering dictator or an amalgamation of all of these, dressed up as Santa Claus. That means that the Christian scriptures have to be wrestled with and studied carefully with this lens firmly in tact. It also utterly changes the whole idea that Christianity could ever become a “state-religion”, uphold the divine right of kings (or indeed presidents/republics etc that behave in the same ways), or the support the propping up of political ideologies that lead to the oppression of the poor, marginalisation of the other or rejection of any person based on any part of their identity.


For me, the Gospel narrative is not that God made the whole world and we then messed it up, offended his sovereignty and so he needed someone to die in our place so that his wrath could be appeased. No, the narrative is something far more profound and beautiful. Brian Zahnd explains is beautifully in his ‘gospel in chairs’. My faith lies in a God who invested himself in the evolutionary process, creating a world of order and randomness in which human beings emerged, in his image, able to choose how we would relate to God, each other and the environment in which we find ourselves. But rather than choose this way of self emptying, others empowering love, we have time and again made God in our own image of power and self-centred free will. In doing so, we have wrought destruction to ourselves, to one another, to those weaker than ourselves and to the ecological systems in which we live, move and have our being. And this is why we have different versions of God painted through the pages of scripture in our desire to understand what God is like – and we must wrestle with ourselves as we read. What do our interpretations of the bible teach us about ourselves? What kind of God are we looking for?

We had so misunderstood and misaligned our very expectations of what God is like, that he came as a human being, especially as a male, as maleness needs utter redemption from the stereotypes we have created, somehow encapsulating the male and female in one body.

The incarnation is therefore not about God changing his mind about humanity, but about giving humanity the chance to change its mind about who he is and what he is imgreslike. This human Jesus, stood at the pinnacle of the Roman Empire, proclaiming himself the son of God in direct contrast to the empires of the day. But humanity did not like this image of God and so we killed him. But in his death, he took upon himself all that is broken in us and in our world and nullified its power, overcoming death through his endless, self emptying, others empowering love, and released the potential for new hope, creation and life. To me, this is the story of salvation, that out of our own selfishness, we can be re-activated into a place of love, in which we are free to choose to benefit others ahead of ourselves and bring this shalom or wellness to those around us, sometimes seeing miracles and sometimes not, because although God is good and more powerful than any other force or being, shit still happens; and because he is essentially kenotic, he is therefore unable to just intervene whenever he feels like it. He is unable to be untrue to his nature and in Him an uncontrolling love comes first. 

In the end, if you want to believe in a God who is first of all omnipotent, ie limitless in his power, you can find that kind of God in the bible. It’s a bit like needing a dominating form of government, and world order in which you are free, until you challenge the Sovereign. When this happens, the nice, good, caring government has unclear about copyright on google imagesbehind it the immense threat of the nuclear bomb, which I suppose you could liken to hell. Our view of leadership, our view of how government should behave, our view of the role of the state is actually pretty messed up, and I am arguing that it is messed up because it was shaped by a very warped view of God, who mostly cares for us, but has the great threat of eternal punishment for those who don’t believe quite correctly. That is not to say that all will be part of a heavenly future, but I would say that those who pursue the way of love are actually following the way of Jesus far more than those who follow the way of their version of the truth. The truth will set us free, but the truth is: (as Belinda Carlisle – that great theologan told us) in heaven, love comes first!! So when people pray the Lord’s prayer – ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ – this looks very little like our current practices of government or nation states and the ways they behave in the earth.

But if self-giving,  others-empowering love is the ESSENTIAL nature of God, then this must images-1change the way we understand everything. The glory of God is not found in might, power, dominion and sovereignty. No, it is found in his cruciform nature. And if the earth can be filled with the glory of God rather than the ‘glory of empire’, where love is the antidote to fear, joy the antedote to debt, goodness the antedote to control through law and peace the antedote to violence, then together we might begin to taste a little bit of heaven.

How might we live and organise ourselves differently? How might we live politically? How might we shape economics? How might we heal and educate? How might we care for each other and the environment? How might nations relate to one another if love and not autonomous power comes first? There is a revolution much more profound than the violent overthrows of the past. It is the revolution of love.

Questioning Our Foundations

I am increasingly aware how much we believe, simply because we are told it. We are educated in schools of thought, rather than taught how to learn and how to wrestle with ideas. I am so grateful for some brilliant teachers in my life who have consistently challenged me to think outside the box. If we are scared of questions we will never find the future we hope for.

I believe if we are to reimagine the future we have to be able to faithfully question some  of the streams of thought that we have taken on hook, line and sinker into our corporate soul. To me it is clear that much of western thought has been shaped/is under girded by a Judeo-Christian theology of God and scripture that does not align itself with the way of love and peace that I see in Jesus. How is this so?

In this 15 minute video blog I unpack (in no great depth) some ideas from a fantastic book I read (and kind of wish I had been clever enough to articulate and write!) by a chap called Derek Flood. The book is called ‘Disarming Scripture’ (well worth a read – whatever your faith perspective).

In future video blogs, I hope to unpick some more about the currencies of empire and how they are still foundational in our western thought, but utterly opposed to a reimagined future of love and peace……

Sacred Economics – Gift 2

Eisenstein uses his opening chapter on Gift to set a contrast for the rest of Part 1 of his book. He is introducing us to the notion that economics and the use of our money, in particular, is a sacred thing.

Charles paints a picture using the natural world around us to challenge the perception that evolutionary biology is a cut throat, competitive business , which is all about survival of the fittest, driven by our “selfish genes”. He argues that in nature, “headlong growth and all out-competition  are features of immature ecosystems, followed by complex interdependency, symbiosis, cooperation and the cycling of resources.”

The violent, competitive, growth-driven, accumulative, oppressive, marginalising and hoarding economic of today is an aberration. It is time for humanity to enter a new phase of life. It’s grow up time! “Money may not disappear anytime soon, but it will serve a diminished role even as it takes on more of the properties of the gift. The economy will shrink (do not fear this!) and our lives will grow!”

It is crazy that money was originally a means of connecting gift with need. Yet now we often find ourselves in deadening jobs out of economic necessity, with crazy phrases like “I can’t afford to do that,” or “the cost of living is so high.” But CE goes to town on this! “Our purpose for being, the development and full expression of our gifts, is mortgaged to the demands of money, to making a living, to surviving. Yet no one, no matter how wealthy, secure, or comfortable, can ever feel fulfilled in a life where those gifts remain latent. Even the best paid job, if it does not engage our gifts, soon feels deadening, and we think, “I was not put here on earth to do this.”

The day of falsely separating our world out is over. There is no sacred/secular divide, everything we do and touch is sacred, because life is sacred and we need to start viewing both work and economics as truly sacred things. In the next blogs I will explore what Charles calles the ‘Economics of Separation’, its main components and how it has landed us in the mess we find ourselves in.

When we stare the beast in the face, we will see that we are tired of its ugliness and want to be part of a movement that is far more creative and beautiful. Surely, we do not want to align our lives with something which causes devastation and destruction but rather that which perpetuates life in all its fullness. We are tired of being commodities, we want to be gifts. The way we use money will form a part of this story, as we recover together a new economics for a reimagined future of reconciliation and peace. If we begin to choose to enter the economy of gift then surely every mountain can made low and every valley raised up – an economic level playing field, where lambs can play with lions!

Reimagining Money aka Sacred Economics

For a long time I have been convinced that we cannot reimagine the future if we do not redefine our relationship with money. A number of years ago I read a book by a chap called Alan Kreider in which he was talking about how we foster community. He said that the sad truth is, until we’re able to talk about money in a free and open way and sort out our finances, we can never truly learn to be community.

Since the financial crash of 2008, I have been fascinated to watch the unfolding interplay between the banking sector and the ‘political elite’. We suffered a massive earthquake, the after shocks continue and serve as a warning that more disaster is on its way; but we have an hilarious situation in which the politicians tell us that by some weird combination of printing more money, tightening our belts or spending more (depending on who your finance minister is!), punishing the poor and ‘regulating the banks’, whilst bailing them out, we  will somehow recover from this trauma, so that we can continue business as usual. But it is business as usual that caused this crisis and it is business as usual that will lead us back into one.

I have been disappointed by the lack of alternatives discussed in the public political arena. In my mind, it matters very little which party is in power, as the general direction of all of the current alternatives is towards future growth of the economy with more of humanity and the earth itself becoming fodder to the ever hungry machine. Here in the UK, the conservatives tell us that austerity is the answer, and we must particularly blame the ‘feckless poor’ for the mess we are in. The labour party tell us that actually spending more is the answer, but the responsibility must lie with the ‘greedy rich’. The liberals are lost at sea and seem to have forgotten what liberalism is, (at least for a while) and then UKIP arrive to offer the ‘heroic’ idea that what we really need is self protectionism, independence and more patriotism. Kill me now.

And yet, we remain in an amazing moment of anomy, in which many, the commons, the multitudes are undeniably calling into question meaning and purpose at a profound level. We are at the fullness of what Foucault calls ‘Biopwer’ – the commodification of life itself. And people are sick of it. People are sick of feeling like they are being eaten rEVOLutionup like bread in order to keep the economy going, to keep the targets met, to keep the debts serviced. I see teacher after social worker after nurse after builder after sales person have breakdowns in my consulting room, because they can no longer stand under the rod of their oppressors. I see managers and directors having breakdowns as they realise they are losing touch with their own humanity and for what? Is this what we were made for? Is this the best we had hoped for? But it is in these moments that we must allow the songs of ‘Les Miserables’ to become our own – “Do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men, it the music of a people who will NOT be slaves again….”

There is a sound emerging in our hearts, there is a rumbling in the people, there is a hope rising in our hearts that this dog eat dog world of violence and suffering is not the future we must endure. There is an alternative. There is a possible future of peace and love, but raging against the machine and losing our voices shouting at it may not accomplish very much – at least that is what I am learning! I have ranted to myself and others many times, but what has it achieved? Perhaps a stirring of hearts, perhaps a rising of hope, perhaps a new determination that life can and will be different for the multitudes. But ranting will not suffice, nor dreaming alone. It is time for brave acts, to disregard the powers and to begin to be creative.

But our creativity must be both prophetic and practical, experimental and pragmatic. We call for a new future and we live differently. And so, we must redefine our relationship with money, not do away with it, but refine what we mean by ‘money’ and ‘the economy’. With that in mind, I want to do some blog posts on a phenomenal book I have just finished entitled ‘Sacred Economics’ by Charles Eisenstein. It gives voice to Sacred Economicsmany things I and others have thought about but lacked the understanding or language to communicate. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Charles believes in the creative commons, when it comes to copyright – (check out their website), so I am free to copy passages of his book where that is helpful, but I want to honour the brilliant work he has done. He gives a brilliant history lesson in our relationship with money, how it has led to an age of separation where community is broken down and we have lost relationship with one another and the earth, how we recover a ‘gift economy’ and how we practically move forward to “the more beautiful future our hearts tell us is possible.” I hope the coming blogs are inspirational, encouraging and practical.

The photo “revolution is taken by Tim Pierce. http://www.flickr.com/photos/qwrrty/6209634263/

The Problem with Dreams

If we are to reimagine the future, we must allow dreams of a different future to penetrate our subconsciousness and impregnate our thoughts and subsequently our actions with new possibilities. As many across theMartin Luther King world have reflected on the remarkable life of Martin Luther King in these past days, and read again his phenomenal speech of his preferred future, his dream of a different life ahead, of justice, forgiveness, togetherness, friendship, equality and love; I have been struck by the power of the actions that began to make that dream a reality. The kind of loving actions which are tough and unwavering in the face of injustice. The kind of loving action which does not lie down and take it, but turns the other cheek, demanding love on an equal footing.

I have been thinking about what our dreams might be for the future. After all the debate in the USA over gun control, we find it easy to make crass judgements about a culture we don’t fully understand. We happily point the finger, whilst the UK government continues to make appalling investment in the arms trade and nuclear weapons. It makes us feel better to focus on ‘the other’ and their problems. But which of us dreams of a future of violence? We say we want peace, but do we? Is enforced peace really peace, or is it a fear based behaviour? True peace involves taking our weapons and transforming them into tools for goodness.

Martin Luther King 2If we dream of a different future, how many of us are willing to change the way we vote around that issue? How many would refuse to vote for a party which supported any arms agreement or nuclear armament? How many more of us could rise to the great protests on the streets? Why do we not hear more political debate on real alternatives to the armed forces and to war? The problem is, deep in our psyche, we still believe peace comes through control, violence and dominance rather than through violent love. We may believe this is how God operates and so if we’re the ‘goodies’ built on ‘good foundations’ it justifies our violence…….

The gun lobby argument that the weapon makes no difference is ridiculous. The more we arm ourselves with weapons of violence, the more likely we are to use them to do violence. I don’t just dream of  people laying down arms in the USA. I want people everywhere to lay down their arms. I believe this is a dream of most people. I think the challenge to us is this: what are we going to do differently to make the dream a reality?

Kenarchy – the beginning of a series

Yoda_SWSBI was watching ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ with my eldest son a few days ago – love that film. There’s a brilliant bit in which (for those odd ones of you, who aren’t into Star Wars) Yoda (the Jedi Master) is training Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi. Luke catches a glimpse of the future and asks Yoda what will happen. Yoda tells him that the future is always moving, and so it is difficult to see. We live in a moment in time, when so much of what we have taken for granted until now is crumbling around us. The ‘rich west’ is no longer the great power that it once was. The globe is changing. Free market capitalism is failing, democracy is being revealed to be the child of empire that it really is and the nation-state project isn’t working. Yet, at a time when everything is shaking, and uncertainty taints our sense of stability I feel a deep hope that there is a future, which though uncertain on one level, due to the dynamics of human interactions, complex choices and external pressures beyond our control, could be one in which the peace and love that humanity longs for, could be more real.

There’s a guy, I like a whole lot! His name is Walter Brueggemann. One of the things he says is that “we must be unafraid to subvert the dominant realities of our time.” There are things, which we assumeWalter Brueggemann to be true, things deep in our psyche which we hold fast that are not really in line with what it means to be fully human. These mindsets, fit into three main categories – firstly, our paradigm, or worldview, secondly our praxis, politics or how we live and thirdly our personhood, or how we see ourselves. If we don’t face up to some of the ways we think and challenge those things then maybe the future is inevitable……

Over the Christmas period, I always love listening to Handel’s ‘Messiah’. I especially love that famous piece from the book of Isaiah, found in chapter 9 v 6 and 7. It says: ‘For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given. And the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of Peace there will be no end.’

Jesus was born at a moment in history when Caesar Augustus, the first emperor to call himself the ‘Son of God’ was in power, in Rome. He comes onto the scene telling people to ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near’. Repent, change the way you think about God, the world, the way you live and who you are. Think differently about the future and what is possible.

Firstly, He challenges the paradigms of the day. Who is this Messiah you wereimgres expecting? You wanted a warrior? Oh, different kind of warrior am I (I’d love it if Jesus spoke like Yoda!). What do you think it means for this Messiah to be called ‘the human one’ by the prophet Daniel? Who do think God is? You think God is a Sovereign Dominator who needs all to submit to Him? “No”, says Jesus, ‘if you have seen me, then you have seen the Father. I and the Father are one. And I have come as a servant, one who pours out his life for others.” Caesar, the one who calls himself Son of God, has not even begun to understand the nature of God. Jesus declares himself to be God and shatters any other understanding we may have.

Secondly, He challenges the politics. He prioritises those most forgotten and marginalised in society. He is the champion of children, he breaks cultural taboos and promotes women. He goes to the poor and the sick. He associates with those of disrepute. He champions the foreigner and the refugee. He declares a new Houses of Parliamenteconomics in which you either serve money or you serve God. He devalues money to be a resource not a ruling power. He stands in the shadow of temple mount, and declares that ‘if you have seed as small as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mountain (this whole system established over centuries, which has ended up oppressing and suppressing people) be thrown into the sea, and it would be done.’ At a time when the romans were establishing ‘ecclesia’ as the ruling councils of their cities, Jesus establishes his ‘ecclesia’ made up of a mixed bag of the un-elite, whom he wants to learn how to steward the resources of a city for the good and peace of those who live there. He comes to a contested city, Jerusalem and declares that we are to love our enemies and turn the other cheek…….Shane Claibourne has recently written a phenomenal piece on what Jesus would say to the NRA, in the Huffington Post and it is worth a read.

Prodigal SonThirdly, He calls us to see ourselves differently. To be those who carry light into dark places, hope beyond hope to those who have lost their way in disillusionment, peace to those who are torn apart and warring, love to those filled with hate and grace to those who are broken and rotting. He calls us to recover our humanity, to become like him, the human one. To be those who forgive and so find forgiveness and freedom. To be free from all that which makes us less than human (aka sin), that which destroys ourselves, relationships, other people or the planet.

And so, in challenging the paradigms of the day, the politics (and economics) and even the person as to what it even means to be human, he challenges the powers. It turns out, the powers don’t like it. And so they kill God! And as they kill him, instead of smiting them all, Coventry Crosshe declares forgiveness, he sucks up all the ‘sin’ into himself, like a cosmic sewer, and then declares all things new. A chance to start again. A chance to live and hope for something other.  You see, the powers never counted on resurrection, but love wins! It is, as Aslan calls it, the deeper magic. Love is stronger than death. And so the one who is love, defeats death and brings life. Then He gives us the substance of Himself, the Holy Spirit to fill us and help us and calls us to follow Him, to the same radical, life-laying down love that holds no fear of death because in Him is life in all its fullness.

But something terrible happened. In the 4th century, a theologian called Eusebius and the Emperor Constantine worked together on a theology, or way of thinking about God, that led us to believe that GodConstantine is not just like Jesus, he is, rather, like an angry emperor that wants to dominate other people and have them all come and bow down. So church and empire got into bed together to try to create peace through dominance and created a mish-mash of children, including the Nation State, Western Democracy, Free Market Capitalism, Communism, but none of them come close to the radical Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of. Too often christians have aligned themselves with these things, rather than having railed against them. Too often, christians find themselves yearning or harking for the ‘good old days’ of the ‘christian nation’. There is no such thing. A nation is not ‘christian’, just because it seems restrained, or has the ‘right’ kind of laws in place. The days of ‘christian dominance’, or christendom, are over. We cannot go back. The context we find ourselves in now, is completely different. It is the future that calls us forward. That does not mean a society cannot be transformed, but top down dominance is not the way of Jesus!

Empire, in any of its forms has nothing to do with Jesus or his life-laying down kingdom of peace.

My friend, Roger Mitchell, honorary research fellow at Lancaster University calls this emptying out of power – ‘kenarchy’, a word coined from the greek – ‘keno’ to empty and ‘archy’ power. It is this that I want to explore more in the next few blogs and what it might be like if we were to embrace this way of life more fully.

What if to have a ‘God complex’ was not to misuse power but to be servant-hearted and to be a one who facilitates and makes room for others so that they can become fully what they can be? What if we were those who chose collaboration and partnership instead of control, manipulation and dominance through competition? What if business, The Futurehealthcare, education, government, finance, media etc were based on these kind of principles? What stories might be told to future generations? My challenge this New Year is to realign my mindsets again with those of the One who is Love. My allegiance is not to any flag or nation-state. I believe our hope for the future comes from embracing an altogether different paradigm, politic and personhood. It is peace I hope for, and peace I pursue and that is going to mean some radically different choices for us as humanity than the ones we are currently making. This year, I resolve to choose life.