My story starts in late summer.
I was minding my own business, enjoying a good nights sleep in a big country hotel called, Ettington park Hotel - paid for by the lovely people at Seedbed Trust, whom i worked for at the time, when suddenly, at 3am exactly I awoke bolt upright. I sat in the darkness for about 3 seconds, wondering: what the heck; then there it was; that familiar sick feeling in the deepest well of my stomach. I could feel the hair on my neck arms standing on 90 degrees - reaching into the air, as if it was trying to escape its terrified host. The air was thick with lazy ancient menace. My mouth was dry as the Negev desert and I tried to speak but out of my mouth came nothing but dust. I had the impression something very large and utterly evil was in the room staring at me - staring right through me.
Next, just as my eyes were trying to focus on the big black thing, this absolutely humungous 27 inch television at the foot of my bed switched on, by itself. In a split second, the fire alarms then go off in the building.
Ok, now, whatever it was, had my full attention.
I tried to remember every prayer from my old pentecostal days.
Next, I tried to remember old hymns, choruses. Then, keeping with my spiritual habit of late: I tried watching comedy TV, that made it worse - even the comedians looked demonic. Then, as any native of islands would do, I then went and made a nice cup of tea. Sigh, No, it still would not go.
It took hours with the light on before sunrise and then, it must have had its fill or got bored - but anyway, the room was at peace again.
Hey, I'm a post-modern cool christian, i understand Hegel and I've done a whole bunch of theology and colourful stuff like, 'the theology of club culture and media' - at both Edinburgh and sheffield Universitites, for goodness sake I thought to myself...
I don't do demons anymore - I do social justice and the politics of Jesus.
What the heck is this thing doing in my hotel room? why now? what does this mean? why did it not respond? years ago it would have! I've lost something , I thought; something utterly utterly precious.
Morning arrives, I came down to breakfast - white as a sheet - as you do when you've seen a ghost. All my friends from Seedbed Trust are around a table, chatting away over issues about funding christian groups and organisations around the uk; new ways of challenung the powers that be, supporting action around justice issues and arts, prayer and cross-city joint action and learning - all stuff i'd spent years giving my life for - and usually I would dive into the conversation and banter like jumping into a warm bubble bath - but this morning, things were different somehow. I told my friends of my encounter and they kindly went with me to the room - we said a prayer for me - perhaps i've brought it with me, whatever it is, one offered. I sensed he was right, I nodded, but just in case, I mentioned a ghost sighting to the hotel management and politely asked for another room.
Thing is, this was no ghost. I knew enough scripture, and from past encounters with alien / malevalent influences as a child and in highly unromatic exhausting sessons trying to cast out malevalent biblical 'demons', and in countless testimony from others : both believers and non; people of all backgrounds and faiths - I've heard testimony and reports of similar experiences.
No, I'm afraid, I knew they were all too real. I just never liked any i met - I didn't want to have to deal with them. I preferred the christian life of social stuff, arts, creating better cities, thinking theologically about issues and trends in the world - i don't want that other stuff. I was exhausted being in situations where I had to engage these things, night and day sometimes, while fighting with dodgy practitioners, cult formers, nutters and spiritual cowboys in the 1980s. After that decade, I wanted to get out of dodge and put my feet up, paint some pictures, do some nice middle class helping stuff in a housing estate project, write some choons...normal everyday stuff that the world does.. and talks about... I just wanted a rest
Well I realise now, God heard my cry: I got that rest: a 20 year rest. But now - it seems, they are back! I realised ofcourse, that to my horror, that I was in no fit state to fight or confront them.With that realisation, I began to sense a feeling of utter loss.
In case, christian, you are thinking: O the dude left God and went off to take drugs n stuff. Sorry, I wish it could be that simple, but it was quite the opposite... read on Macduff...
In my mind I was following Jesus. Up to 2011, I still taught and organised prayer, and theological learning and searched continually with others about how to follow christ via action together in the city, grappling with the big tough issues that face christians in many tough places around Britain. But my inner thinking was: I'd not slowly fallen away from Yeshua/Jesus but instead: I've 'grown' up into Jesus; grown from baby fundamental christian - to teenage alternative worship leader type - to adult follower of Jesus. I'm now a mature Christian dude, I have emerged with 2 post graduate degrees in theology in of a host of modern issues: from media to club culture to politics and economics. I travel the country distributing funding to all kinds of exciting cutting edge projects and initiatives and choice wisdom from the big theology cupboard in my brain to all and sundry.
I was proud that I was not like those un-evolved church-goers singing songs and not caring for the poor- but i was out there taking on the world and its fallen powers, I knew about the politics of Jesus; I did base communities and alternative church and mission - of the coolest most cutting edge kind...
but a thought cut through the misty ruins of the burned village of my beliefs, like a burning sword from heaven...
I have betrayed Jesus..
It cut me down - i was ruined, I realised my new beliefs about christianity, I'd grown into over 20 years, since leaving the fray in Aberdeen, like a city under siege - had been burned to the ground.
Like peter - I simply ran away - the fight got ugly and I ran. I left my christian brothers and sisters up there to fight alone: in reality I'd left Him and them in the middle of the fight.
the beliefs I'd contsructed - alternative worship, new church and emerging church movements and lately new apocalyptic-marxist forms of christian thought - were places to live in for a while - but they are burned to the ground -utterly bankrupt and void of the Spirit of God; counterfeit fallen ones and angels of light inhabit those places now...
So this began my search again for something utterly precious which I'd left behind - all those years ago.
A thought formed in my mind - the best way to go back to where you lost something is to go back to where you lost something.
For me this involved 3 things:
1. I had to return to aberdeen
2. I had to return to the beginning
It's not enough to go back to the first shoots of my emerging christian beliefs as a 20 year old - the rot started long before; the streams of serpent like new christian thought began in the 1830s; but its real roots begin in the garden of Genesis: I have to begin at the beginning of the beginning if I'm going to be equipped to deal with it:
i already felt strongly, instinctively, that I had to spend some time traveling with the the hebrew Jesus of the 1st century , to see through his eyes: at scripture, at the world, at the future and the at past..even to us - in His warnings to us in Matthew 24 just before his execution (fancy taking time to think about us 2000 years later - while he is about to be tortured and murdered - must be very very important)
I had to begin with how Jesus as a hebrew understood our origins as a species as Adam / humanity
so i began there with Jesus in Genesis... and what happened next - what i saw - blew me away. (later post)
3. I had to return to Him and put my full weight into trusting His provision
I needed to hand in my notice at seedbed Trust - suddenly all my belief in it has gone...
with everything in my heart beating wanting hoping this one thing...
that I would stand once again in his tent of meeting and He would greet me and pour out His Spirit on my head like warm oil, and I would hear His voice ..
that night demon, nephilim, succubus, or whatever the heck it was, went to far - he inadvertantly awoke me out of my sleep , there are many more nights of visitations even worse than this to come but - too late...
now I aint going back...