Caliban’s Dream or God’s Reality

Normally, I never get emotional at ceremonial events due mostly to my mother’s behaviour when I was a small child. I was dragged in all weathers to see just about every ceremonial event imaginable. I remember crying in the pouring rain and freezing during the Lord Mayor’s Parade and that inner vow being earnestly taken that I would never again place myself at the kerb in a British street waving a flag to someone in a golden coach, or anything remotely similar.

Such was my surprise when I found myself watching the arrival of the Olympic Torch through the London Borough in which I work. In fact it went past my very workplace, I guess I allowed myself to get caught up in the emotion. I found myself shedding a tear as the circus of people travelled past me. Was this a spiritual moment I asked myself. Is this some God given anointing on our city that was raising the expectation and fervour of its people. The curious part of me did some research about the history of the Olympic Torch Relay, as it is known, and I was somewhat surprised to find out that the first use of the Olympic Torch was in fact in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics. Hitler had the idea that it would “stir the people” after he realised the Nazi party were going through some difficult political criticisms. Well, stir the people it certainly does. My initial thought was to check to see what political issues are on the agenda for the state opening of parliament. I mean, if a people are this easy to please I’m sure there will be someone somewhere willing to take advantage of a people willing to say yes. I don’t think of myself as cynical just very cautious when the public mood is high.

The opening ceremony in one sense was spectacular it showed us as a creative, humorous and formidable people which of course we are. However, being the Political animal I was raised to be by parents who were poles apart when it came to politics, my mother is an outspoken Conservative and my father an even more outspoken Labour supporter and a trade union man of 60 years or more, I was always going to question the politics of such an event.

I used to listen perplexed by my parents arguments and, strangely, never convinced by the leftist thinking of the Labour camp. The ideas that were portrayed during the Olympic ceremony certainly started me thinking about how ludicrous the idealism of the left really can be. Immediately I was struck by the choice of speech spoken by Kenneth Branagh, it was the famous Caliban speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It was the benign nature of the British which was captured by this bizarre portrayal of Brunel. Stereotypes were heaped on with intent to amuse and delight our foreign friends. What followed was nothing more than poorly judged and misplaced historical inaccuracies telling just one side of a very complex picture. The idea that industrialists were all heartless and despicable tyrants is nothing more that left wing propaganda. The fact that trade unions have done more harm to this country than any other organisation is more in line with truth.

The middle ages was not all about dancing around maypoles it was marked largely by ignorance poverty and extreme hardship. It marked the start of progress that produced the affluence we all enjoy today. I was almost apoplectic with rage after the portrayal of the NHS, as we all know, the way it is now is not the altruistic organisation the left would have us think it should be. I speak with personal experience of seeing an elderly relative treated with contempt and neglect until the day he died.

Sadly for me, Boyle’s portrayal of Britain is what we are now, not or what we once were or indeed could become but what we are. We are dripping relentlessly in political correctness and being crushed by clichés and sentimental nonsense where by if one person complains to the BBC about something being broadcast and then gains 50,000 complainers on twitter who had never seen or heard the broadcast to begin with makes me ashamed to say we live in a free country. We do not.

To quote Melanie Phillips “in today’s Britain, objectivity has given way to emotion. Reality has been replaced by the creative imagination. Truth has been supplanted by wishful thinking. Anyone who dissents from any of these orthodoxies is treated as a pariah.”

Incidentally, Christians have done more to further this country than any other organisation or people, that is fact. Christians started the NHS. Christians ended slavery. Christians improved the workplace and improved safety for all. Christians have been at the forefront of all things good in this nation and where was the acknowledgment in Boyle’s  depiction of Britain?

Caliban was borne of a witch and was a vile deformed violent monster and dreamt of a time when everything was perfect, he actually believed that things were wonderful and when he awoke he “cried to dream again” because he realised perfection was simply fantasy.  

We saw a piece of creative genius in the opening ceremony  but the political undertone is a dangerous whirlwind. I fear that when the public mood is as high as it is at the moment it is time to pray. We have always been attacked as a nation when the public mood is high. I fear that at the moment we are in Caliban’s dream I’m hoping that the closing ceremony doesn’t cause us to awake.

I have a strange feeling that the closing ceremony will attempt to celebrate our comic heroes. This, if it happens is a fatal mistake because most of our comic heroes are themselves failures. Instead of “crying to dream again” lets cry out to a God who can only make our dreams a reality.

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Prayer for England Final Day

Well, we’re finally here, the last day of prayer for this nation or certainly the end of this particular exercise which started exactly 6 months ago. I had no idea where this would take me and when I started I simply prayed for whatever I saw in the news or whatever touched me personally. It wasn’t until I felt God give me some direction in prayer that I started to explore the reasons I believe this nation is in such a dark place.

I do have the conviction that we betrayed Israel first and foremost, but I also feel the evidence is there to take that belief further by saying we betrayed so many other nations and people. As I have said many times in the past 6 months we all have a story to tell which makes us unique as people. We are also a part of a group story and for me my group story is the fact I am a white English male and for no other reason I am spiritually betrothed as part of the problem that white English males have been guilty of in history. With the spirit of God I can decide to own that, and become aware of the harm done to so many by so few. I can continue in my repentant lifestyle to make amends for the historical wrongs that have attributed to the moral and political decline of our nation.

I guess it is the start of a continued life journey and by using the gifts my eternal Father has placed before me to address how we might turn around and make our paths straight towards the Father’s gaze and say Father we love you and we’re sorry what will you have us do?

I shall continue to blog on occasion but on differing subjects as they arise but for now this Prayer for England blog is closing. I shall of course update you as things arise and if any further answers to pray become evident.

Many Thanks for your encouragement and support.

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Prayer for England Day 183

For the past 6 months I have became passionate about accepting responsibility for our actions and those of our ancestors. Responsibility is one of those words I have come to have huge respect for and on a daily basis I see people avoiding the very nature of it to the “enth” degree. This, in the past, has often infuriated me but on one level it is actually quite sad. People are generally wanting to blame someone else for their personal level of discomfort which was the reason for the fall of man way back in the garden of Eden; so it shouldn’t come as any shock to realize people haven’t moved away from this very basic behaviour.

Behaving at this basic level is certainly an indicator of being deeply wounded and dealing with people who are so acutely in pain needs to be dealt with sensitively. Sometimes the best thing to do on an individual  level is actually withdraw from them because the more you immerse yourself in their pain the more complicated things actually appear. This might seem a harsh way of dealing with the problem but if we withdraw in a way that gives clear reasons then you are placing responsibility back where it belongs, with the other person.

When we deal with this same problem on a national or even international level things have to be taken to a more considered approach. It is then that our need to be bold, vulnerable and passionate comes into its own. These words from John Dawson made me sit up and think how much the world in which we live needs us to be all of the above and more.

Paradoxically, the greatest wounds in human history….have not happened through the acts of some individual perpetrator; rather through institutions , systems, philosophies, cultures, religions and governments of humankind. Because of this, we as individuals are tempted to absolve ourselves of all individual responsibility. However, unless someone chooses to identify themselves with corporate entities, such as the nation of our citizenship, or the subculture of our ancestors, the act of honest confession will never take place. This leaves us in a world of injury and offence in which no corporate sin is ever acknowledged, reconciliation never begins and old hatreds  deepen.

Lets become bold for the world in which we live, lets become vulnerable so that those around us can trust and feel for the first time. Lets pray and become God for the person never likely to enter a church or open a bible. Let Him use us in a unique and amazing way.

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Prayer for England Day 182

If we are to fully prosper as a nation before God then we must realize and fully own our past in order to experience healing in its fullness. We can no longer plead ignorance and expect God to accept that we are not culpable for our ancestors short-sightedness in government. In reading Russ Parker’s superb book Healing Wounded History I have come to see how those who have got on their knees before God and accepted their past has made a difference to the world in which a nation stands. Albert Speer, the former minister for armament production, was the only Nazi minister to admit the guilt of the sins of his nation’s leaders. He said:

Things that would have shocked and horrified me in 1934, such as assassination of opposition leaders, the persecution of the Jews, the incarceration and torture of innocent men in concentration camps, I tolerated as unfortunate excesses in 1935: and things I couldn’t have stomached in 1935 were palatable a few years later. If I did not see it, it was because I did not want to see it! 

The confession of F.W. De Klerk when corresponding to a question from the floor in the Royal Albert Hall after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is in contrast to the above statement. He was asked if it was international sanctions that brought about the end of apartheid. De Klerk replied:

It was not the sanctions, but a deep self-analysis on our knees before God

As Parker notes in his book we are living in days when God is raising the voice of prophets in our nation to challenge and bring us back to an awareness and response-ability for the sins of our nation, our communities, our churches and our families. If these group sins are not healed then they will have destructive consequences, which left unchecked will damage people-groups continually as a repeated pattern of pain and destruction and ultimate judgement.

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Prayer for England Day 181

I am intrigued by the so called acceptable decisions made in the name of politics and how these decisions go unchallenged for so long that they have become part of a collective lie that we are all expected to believe and own. Rudy and Marny Pohl writing about their native Canada draw a remarkable conclusion to some heart felt realities about collective decision making.

When one of our provincial governments or federal government violates a treaty with a native group, we don’t call that sin. When pulp and paper companies and mining companies, with tacit government approval, knowingly continue to pollute rivers which native peoples depend on for drinking water, causing disease and premature death, we don’t call that sin. When constitutionally guaranteed French language and Catholic rights were illegally revoked by the newly-arrived English speaking majority, we did not call that sin. When the province of British Columbia, with wide-spread support of the Canadian people, dispossessed Japanese Canadian citizens in the 1940’s and sent them to internment and illegally sold their properties and possessions we didn’t call that sin.

                         A Matter of the Heart: Healing Canada’s Wounds by Rudy and Marny Pohl

Well sin it is and sin that needs to be owned and repented that will be the only way our nation can be turned around and fully prospered before God. As a member of this country it is up to me and others who agree with me to take the decision to apologise to those who have been negatively implicated in the outworking of these sinful acts. There are many victims and incidents that have been mentioned over the past 6 months on this site and many more that have not been mentioned. There are those that can identify with their own wounded history which can be both an individual or group experience. I continue to pray for a supernatural revelation to come upon this nation and to own and repent of this nations wounded history. I pray that we, as a nation, can once again  rise above the iniquities of the governments of yester-century and cause this nation to once again find it’s purpose before God.

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Prayer for England Day 180

In November 1917 the British government made a pledge to the Jewish people through the Balfour Declaration to help establish a Jewish National Homeland in the territory then known as Palestine. After World War I ended the League of Nations awarded Britain the Mandate for Palestine with the Proviso that the Balfour Declaration was implemented along with “close Jewish settlement in the Land”. As difficulties arose, Britain gradually watered down her original commitment until the MacDonald White Paper of 1939 virtually closed the borders of Palestine to Jewish immigration.

In the aftermath of World War II and the Mandate in Palestine, the sun finally set on the Great British Empire, her status as the World’s superpower rapidly waned, and the nation has since fallen into moral decadence.

The failure of Britain is well documented and its appointed institutions and officials, whether military, administrative or political, to fulfil her pledge under the Balfour Declaration and her legal obligations under the Mandate are a rarely acknowledged disgrace. Britain’s political expediency and even treachery towards the Jewish people in appeasing the militant Arab nationalist movement, as well as causing the wholesale misery of many thousands of Jewish people who were turned away from the shores of Palestine in the 1930’s and 40’s is also evidence of a major miscarriage of justice.  Through the 1939 White Paper the British government also made inevitable the deaths of an untold number of Jews who could have escaped Hitler’s Final Solution, had they been able to find refuge in their ancient homeland.

I continue to pray and intercede for our nation and hopefully stir up a spirit of repentance in Britain for the nation’s reneging upon the Balfour Declaration – the forsaken promise – and obstructing the purposes of God in the restoration of Israel. There are many church leaders in Britain today who are crying out for the restoration of God’s favour upon this country, and there are some who believe that the Lord has not forgotten our spiritual heritage as a Christian nation.

I believe that when this nation finally repents of her disgraceful behaviour we will rise up again as a nation to fulfil His Glory to a world in need of Love and healing.

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Prayer for England Day 179

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the beginning of British Rule over the historic Land of Israel was the culmination of a vision for the restoration of the Jewish people to the Biblical homeland which had developed in the church in Great Britain over the previous three hundred years. This vision supported by the great Christian revivalists and Bible teachers such as the Wesley brothers, Charles Simeon, Robert Murray McCheyne, CH Spurgeon and Bishop JC Ryle, was based on the covenants of Promise as well as other prophetic Scriptures found in the Bible. Many Christians were inspired to pray for the fulfilment of the vision and prominent leaders in England and Scotland, including William Wilberforce, Lord Palmerston and Lord Shaftesbury , encouraged the British government to actively support the restoration of Israel.

The outworking of Britain’s Christian heritage was intertwined with her geo-political objective in the Middle East of maintaining access to her Eastern Empire. Just as Cyrus, the King of the ancient Persian Empire, was the Divinely appointed facilitator for the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem after the first exile, the British Empire was entrusted by God of History after the second exile to restore His ancient covenant people to the Land that He promised to them as an everlasting inheritance.

I pray that our eternal Father can raise the church in repentance and continue to call on the corridors of power in this nation to consider an official apology and day of repentance so that we can once again find our way into God’s eternal plan for the continuation of 2w His glory.

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