Thursday, May 27, 2010

Children and the Holy Spirit in the World today

This is a very brief splurge..........

Why is a children and family pastor at a theological conference on the Holy Spirit?
What direct application does this have for my role?
Why was my church so kind to let me go in work time and pay my train fare?
(to shut me up?)
(to get rid of me for a few days?)

No way. Wasn't for those reasons.

I have accumulated some head knowledge about God through studying, but in addition I have spent the last six years teaching and modelling things to children and more so teaching my teams who teach children the things God has taught me. I have, in particular, been watching the signs of how young people are responding - and watching the signs of what God is doing over the nations of this world through the young.

Since 2006, I have been talking with my equivalent staff members in centres of outpouring and powerful renewal moves such as Bethel and TACF. I have visited Toronto twice. I have had the Toronto guys in Scotland to minister to my families. I have studied theology and in particular church history as it pertains to children and young people. I have looked at biblical instructions to families in the OT and NT. I have read how eminent theologians saw children (early church fathers, the Reformers - check out any Marcia Bunge books). I have read scholarly reviews of how faith develops (Westerhoff and Fowler) and combined these with educational theory (Bronfenbrenner) and studies on nurture (Bushnell, Wilhoit/Dettoni)

Then I have looked at the trend of children leaving the church in swathes Britain and in the USA (Christian Research findings, Barna Organisation, empirical observation). I have watched how families respond in church (must have toys or edible distractions for all non-puppet moments). I have listened to the thoughts of hundreds of children under my pastoral care (literally) in two churches - how they have expressed their experience of faith; their hopes for the future and their faltering fear of not making it through 12 years of education with their faith still in place.

Readers, its time for the church in Britain to stop giving birth to children whose experience of faith causes them to feel like victims. Where they are picked on and ashamed of having a faith. Where they are marginalised in their classes because they go to church. With all my heart I want to teach and train pastors, leaders, parents and children that children were created to be victors, not victims. This is *not* about triumphalism. This is about children understanding that those who love Jesus are invited into the most loving and accepting community - the Trinity!- that they could ever find. Those who are hidden in Christ become one with Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit! As much as I need the Father and the Son, I need the Holy Spirit to empower me and give me hope just when I feel I'm running low.

Pneumatology has a place in the spiritual formation of the young. We talk lots about Jesus and tell all his stories, but we also need to tell stories about the work of the Holy Spirit! I posted elsewhere on this blog: how can children love someone whose name they haven't even heard? Right now, in this nation, boys and girls are going to churches where they are taught either nothing or half-truths about the Holy Spirit. How can they keep on, keeping on without the precious Holy Spirit? I don't say this flippantly, but if I spent seven years in primary education being told the same stories again and again, engaging the head without the heart being touched by the phileo - demonstrated love of the Father - I'd be off out the door too.

And its through the Holy Spirit that we release our children into the supernatural - there is no junior Holy Spirit! It's exciting to be a Christian! Not meant to be dull and one-dimensional, but to be felt, experienced, laughed, cried, tried and practised. And dare I say - played with? Yes! It's fun listening to God! Praying for others! For more on this, read anything by Heidi Baker and how God uses the young in Mozambique. Or Visions Beyond the Veil
by H A Baker. <--- That one will get you!

I don't say any of this flippantly. I am absolutely serious about the fact that I know the set of circumstances that led me to leave a secure teaching job to do the job I do now, to labour under a second degree, to have the opportunities to influence some kids leaders and pastors in this little nation here, are all because of what is coming. Most people doing the kind of job I am doing did not intend to do it. They were involved in other work, secular or otherwise. This fact is substantiated by Becky Fischer in her book "Redefining Children's Ministry in the 21st Century".

With all my heart I believe that we will once again see children flooding through the doors of the churches who have repented of the wrong attitudes and are ready to receive a little child. I believe the hearts of fathers and mothers will be won through many, many children and we are in a season of "getting ready" - to disciple children who in turn will disciple their parents. I wrote a paper on this for Alpha at one point in the past. I also believe that theological trainers and church leaders need to weigh what I have just said: if it is true, or even possibly true, then every major church growth initiative/minister training school should have some component somewhere that looks at children and family in the Bible, looks at discipleship amongst children and families and most important of all, examines their own heart towards children. I have found these statements here to have been the most requested material I have ever written.

Further info here: Can Children Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?

And so I need good theology. I need to be well taught. I need to read and reflect because I am often so busy "doing".. I need to rest from work so that I can work from rest (HT to mark stibbe for that line!) for I think I am to help other people catch this vision and therefore I am deeply grateful to my church leaders for allowing me to go.

I am really blessed to be in a place where resources are released to me when I need them, where the leaders are permissioning, where the young are considered, even though I am probably a pain, but please do read as a last word the prophecy by Jean Darnell. I don't just believe it's coming but I believe I am witnessing some of it now.

Splurge over. This all kind of flowed out in a oner so I may just delete it in the cold light of day.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Holy Spirit in the World Today (Part 2a)

I arrived for early morning prayer to find stacks and stacks of people there - the Scottish squad lost the ability to watch the action straight on from middle aisle seats so we found ourselves in some side seats (not so good)..nevertheless HTB is good on space to move around/flex the joints so we figured we'd survive. Survivor mentality and all that.

Jane Williams opened with a homily on Matthew 12:22-32 and took on the brave topic (briefly) of grieving the Holy Spirit by what she called "deliberate, clear-eyed cold hearted acts" against the Spirit of God. She made it clear that this is not something you do by accident, and that if you mind about even the thought of having done it, then you haven't done it.

She described it as a cruel attempt to trash anything that God is doing or working out in people. "A deliberate rejection of the good". Jane was at pains to say that this was rare, and that it manifested itself as rejecting the flourishing of other people.

She drew our attention to John 16; that the Holy Spirit gives "judging power" to allow us to see (judge) the truth. And so we often say the Holy Spirit helps us to judge people (where they're at) but this can often cross over into criticism. the church? Surely not!! Tear the sermon apart? We never do that! Yet...if someone else is "flourishing" through that sermon/ministry - shouldn't we just shut up?

She encouraged us to seek discernment; the judging gift of the Holy Spirit - which is to help us see the Father and transform this broken world. A practical tip was to look for Jesus in everything we see - a good test is: where are people working for human flourishing? This is not exclusive to Christians. I loved this point and it has really made me think over the past few days.

One of my favourite TV programmes is Secret Millionaire. There are some remarkable charities working in multiply-deprived areas doing amazing work to lift people's self-esteem and life chances. I always watch avidly for even a tiny hint that the charity is a Christian one and it doesn't look that many are - and so I will now re-look at this as a sign that Jesus is in the world - there are individuals in that little rented unit working for human flourishing - this is what Jane Williams called "a sign of Jesus" - and she encouraged us to rejoice and give thanks for that.

"Praise is a better way to change the world than condemnation" - such challenging words. I found this homily brave and bold in tackling a sensitive pastoral issue (what does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit?)

and then Jane got all the women on the platform to say the grace so that she could claim "loads of women spoke from the front at the Holy Spirit in the World Today conference!"

I need to blog about the awesome Prof Ford. Later in the week!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Please do connect and comment. I loved the collegiate approach taken to discussions during the Holy Spirit in the World today conference.

I often spend time overseeing what goes on in other places other than the main auditorium on Sunday mornings and miss out on end of service chat in my day job so it's been great to have some theology chat here and down in London. I've learnt lots through it!

There have been thousands of visitors to the blog over the last four years but a bit of a hiatus in comments so any encouraging/kind/constructive comments are very welcome and feel free to read back or click on the "children and theology/worship/communion etc" links on the left.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Holy Spirit in the World Today - Part 1(b)

After lunch we headed off into our seminars. There was a pretty wide choice and I headed off to Spirit and Mission seminar. I chose this because my church has totally restructured and reoriented in the last 8 months to missional expressions (MEs) clustered around missional foci that the members themselves came up with, inspired by the Spirit and not dictated by the church leadership. That's another post in its own right but its not for now.

Again, let me acknowledge gratefully some of the words below from Jonathan Evens who had clearly had more than three hours sleep... in the afternoon I struggled a little in the heat of the Hot, sorry, I mean, Hut, as I had barely slept on the overnight train . I remember clearly seeing Mike Pilavachi snuggling deep into some beanbags on the other side of the room!

(Bishop?) Graham Cray from Fresh Expressions drew on John V. Taylor's The Go-Between God to identify criteria for discerning the work of the Spirit in leading God's mission and the part that the Church plays within it.

I found the following quote from Clark Pinnock very thought provoking:
"our theology would improve if we thought more of the church being given to the Spirit rather than the Spirit being given to the church".

and I absolutely LOVED this quote from Prof David Ford:
"The Holy Spirit is quintessentially a gift of God and one that is not simply possessed when given, rather the mark of having received is to continually ask..."
This reminds me of the way children respond to God and ask for more of him anytime this is offered or encouraged.

The presence of the Holy Spirit stirs up desire and longing for the coming kingdom (Colin Gunton) - that's exactly how I feel. I feel as if I could burst with longing and desire for more. At the same time as processing all of this information I have been praying for a very sick friend (whilst reading God on Mute - try that for a total snotfest) and I feel a desire for the kingdom to come wake me in the middle of the night, bring hot tears to my eyes, permeate my thoughts regularly throughout the day.

Back to what Graham Cray said: Discernment involves learning of what God is doing and learning to do it with him. This means understanding the shape of the Spirit's ministry. The Spirit is essentially relational and arranges the meaningless pieces of reality until they suddenly fall into shape. (note: I feel this is what I see throughout the Alpha course. The Holy Spirit works in such power every single time so that, by NOT answering people's questions the minute they ask them, pieces which form in the guests' minds fall into shape).

The Spirit anticipates in the present, things which are still to come. The Church is, therefore, to live in each culture as an anticipation of the future. Christ-likeness is the ultimate test of the Spirit's presence and where the Spirit is making Jesus more real neither caution nor convention or reputation ought to make us resist his possession of us.

Cray's specific criteria for discernment were: charism, character, content, characteristics, community, cultivation, and experience. He mentioned that if you get your image of God wrong then you get the rest wrong. And if you have any questions about this session (which I do as I was tired), Graham Cray is about to publish all of this in a Grove booklet. I asked him about the tensions between "programmed" and "spontaneous, Spirit led" missional initiatives and Graham answered really helpfully that the Spirit often gives births to "patterns" which culminate in success and fruitfulness.

Paul Weston from Ridley Hall helpfully summarised Lesslie Newbigin's understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in mission. Now I did not study Newbigin at all in my past so I listened but didn't follow everything that was said - and if I had a criticism of this session it was that it sped by - the two speakers felt like they were "rushing" a bit. For those who are interested in what was said, here are Jonathan's notes: Newbigin blazed a trinitarian trail in thinking about mission as he responded to the changing thinking seen at the major mission conferences of the twentieth century. For Newbigin pneumatology is mission, as the gifts of the Spirit are always for mission. It is the Spirit which takes the initiative bringing the Church after, in contrast to the Church-centric focus of the 1938 mission conference in India. The Spirit brings new forms of Church into being and by doing so works towards unity which is the deepest expression of the Gospel.

Miroslav Volf posed the key question in a globalised world of whether and how religious exclusivists can live comfortably with each other i.e. is monotheism by its very nature exclusivist? He answered this question by arguing that Christian monotheism contains democratising and universalist aspects which justify political pluralism, including the Spirit of justice and of many languages/cultures, so that a consistent religious exclusivist ought to be a political pluralist.

As a Scottish Baptist, I found his view that the state to have its hands off religion convincing. It seemed to me that 90%+ of the conference attenders were Anglican (and mainly clergy) and so I understand that, having had the Archbishop present earlier in the day, the assertion that pluralism was good and indeed desirable may not have been a popular one. Volf pointed out that the state does not favour one religion over another in religious pluralism and seemed to me to be advancing the Baptist distinctives of separation of church and state and freedom of religion for all. I fought as hard against dawn raids happening in the homes of Muslim asylum seekers as Christians, for example. I do believe that if we have private Christian schools then private Muslim schools should also be allowed (I worked beside one some years ago, it was shut down for breaching standards!) We don't have the English situation of RC schools AND C of E schools so there is no direct comparison for us up here.

I liked Volf's assertion that religious pluralism means that people come in freedom to the one true God. He stayed away from going too much into the universalist question, probably due to the audience he was speaking to, but I have found Volf to be quite clear in the past that people can reject the gift offered to them (forgiveness and the forgiver).

In the last daytime session, Prof Tom Greggs reflected on the day so far:-
1. that pneumatology is an engagement with theology from the middle
2. it is the doctrine with which we engage most fully with the church but pneumatology is not to be reduced to ecclesiology. We need the Spirit to have the church but we don't need to have the church to have the Spirit (I love that line!)
3. the contemporaneity and futurity of the Spirit - there are connections between the world in which we live and the Spirit. I love this idea too - the ability to be part of the realisation of God's future promise. Being able to yearn for what we were made for.
4. the holiness of the Spirit - to never reduce him in any way
5. the intensity and extensity of the Spirit - we cannot have a dividing line between the church and the world.

I was delighted to come back for the evening session which was Rev Sandy Millar (I'm sure he's got another title now, probably tending towards the bish end of the spectrum) explaining why academic theologians needed not only to know of the Holy Spirit but to experience his power. I just love this kind of evening, for those who know me know I like nothing better than time to my quiet self before God....ahem.
I sensed his presence very powerfully and it was just great to have some time that wasn't sitting down at all but allowed for kneeling and crying/shouting/singing/offering up heart, mind and body. Just a great end to Day one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Holy Spirit in the World Today - Part 1(a)

I sat down tonight to attempt to put something in writing about the conference in Holy Trinity Brompton on the Holy Spirit in the World today,. This might just be one of the most significant conferences I have ever attended, alongside TACF's International Leaders School which I have blogged on before.

Lots of things have happened to me over the last seven years for a purpose. I still can't believe how I ended up with a theology degree in what started off as the most random of circumstances. I still pinch myself that we actually took the plunge and moved in quite scary circumstances to a challenging situation and not one we would every have voluntarily put ourselves in (we felt strangely reassured by an external psychological assessment for ministry accreditation reporting that we were indeed in a testing cross-cultural situation and needed supported in this!) I'm constantly amazed with how much more I love God as I have thrown myself on him in ways I could only imagine before, in that "safe place".

Anyway, I digress.
Let me begin with some reflections on the first half of Thursday. (too much for one post!)

It was so good to know no less than five people there - the Scottish contingent! - we all studied at the same institution, so for the general part of our degrees we had studied quite a bit of Moltmann in Christology and I had read a little of Volf on exclusion. I wasn't familiar at all with Prof David Ford, but I am now, for he indeed rocked. More about the other participants later.

At this point I need to acknowledge the fantastically detailed write up from another delegate - Jonathan Evens (blogging here) and say a public thanks for permission to plagarise his words!

The day got off to the best possible start with a wonderful homily from Rowan Williams (on Romans 8:14-17, 22) in which he spoke of the Holy Spirit as desire or longing to become the new humanity for which we have been created by God. I had never heard him speak before and I was really impressed with the careful use of words - nothing superfluous, nothing overstated, but powerfully presented. Quoting St Symeon - "Come, you who have become yourself desire in me, and have wanted me to desire the unreachable you!" - and Mother Maria Skobtsova - "either Christianity is fire or there is no such thing" - he argued that the Holy Spirit is the desire in us to be where Christ is - God's child - and to become Christ-like - self-emptying. True freedom, he said, is freedom for a full humanity. Full humanity is Christ-shaped. Freedom is kenotic - for self emptying - humanity overwhelmed by the energy of gift.

And then Rowan said something interesting (I remember talking about this on Jan 3rd in a sermon) - waiting for the Holy Spirit is not a passive activity, it requires movement, active desiring and longing.

Ken Costa (author of God At Work) was up next. He talked of his theological background at Cambridge and his longstanding desire to see a conference like this happen. He shared more of his personal journey of pneumatology influencing him in the world of work. Jonathan Evans records that his friends saw Costa's talk as a necessary one for those who tend to view the Spirit as primarily working through the Church. I am reminded a little of Darrell Cosden's (a previous lecturer of mine) two books on theology and work.

Moltmann, like Williams, was simply wonderful. I can't believe that I got to hear him as I wouldn't imagine, at the age of 84, that he travels to the UK regularly! A brief initial interview by Costa revealed the humanity which informs his theology (although Kilmarnock got a bit of a bashing: Moltmann was imprisoned there during WWII) and then he spoke on 'The Church in the power of the Spirit'.

His perspective is a European theological voice not commonly heard in Church debates within the UK which is informed by the destruction of state Christianity that occured in Europe following the First World War but which is only slowly occuring in the UK. As a result, he is comfortable seeing the Spirit's initiative in and the need for the Church to ally itself with human rights organisations and Greenpeace, alliances over which much of the UK Church still agonises or resists. He emphasised the extent to which his theology had been a response to world events - The Theology of Hope was a response to Germany after the War and The Crucified Christ a response to the assassination of Martin Luther King - and an attempt to resource the Church for ministering in the light of those events.

'Think globally, act locally' is a lesson that the Church can inhabit and so he began with stories of the Church in Germany and his own church of St Jacob's Tübingen. His denomination has moved from being a church for the people (religious caretaking) where people attended their parish church and did not even think of travelling to attend other churches nearby, to become an inviting, participatory community church of the people where the gifts of all are trusted. The opposite of poverty and property, he argued, is community because in community we discover our true wealth the spirit of solidarity through which all our needs can be met. Such spirit-filled communities are seen in the fulfilling of Joel's prophecy at Pentecost and the descriptions of the Jerusalem Church in Acts. Such spirit-filled communities are bridgeheads to new life on earth where righteousness will dwell.

Interestingly he commented on how his church continued to grow when the longstanding charismatic pastor retired, as many other people preached and led services. He specifically mentioned that new things happened in the church as they were "led from below". This was his local concrete example of a church in the power of the spirit.

He posited three paradigms of Church - the hierarchical, the hierarchical community and the charismatic community - which equated to the Father above us, Christ with us, and the Spirit within us. The Church is come of age, he suggested, so we are no longer just God's servants or his children but, his friends. Peace with God, however, makes us restless in the world and a revolutionary Christiaity will both call the world evil and seek to change it, ultimately by reconciling the cosmos. The Spirit of God is no respector of social distinctions which divide us and awakens democratic energies for a new humanity.

On a personal note, had I not read a word of his writings, I would have been able to pick up on Moltmann's political leanings, for they came out quite strongly. He may be 84, but that didn't stop him putting what I think was gentle pressure on Ken Costa in the Q & A session when feepaying (Christian?) schools were mentioned. I think "red Scotland" felt more than a little support for his view that state schools should have as much access to quality education! That it isnt fair for people with money to have access to better education. Amen! (I write as a former secondary school teacher).

I want to reflect a little more on Moltmann and Volf in terms of religious pluralism and the activity I was engaged in during the first half of the week - what makes my denomination distinctive?

Tomorrow (or soon) the second half of Day one of the conference.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick Update

Meant to write a longer post but out of time. Who stole the first half of May??

Things have been pretty phenomenal at work but my notebook and mind are stuffed and overflowing with things that need to be done and stuff I need to check out before I can progress them. There is so much I want to do and I'm itching to be able to, to have the necessary pairs of hands to do so, the physical space to do so, the resources to do so and yet......

On Friday night I went to a phenomenal Mark Stibbe meeting and this quote from him has been sitting with me:
Don't rest from work but work from rest..........

Meanwhile.... I am away to the Trossachs for two days for a denominational residential meeting/discussions.

Then I am straight off to London to a conference here on Holy Spirit and Mission with the Archbishop of Canterbury, David Ford, Miroslav Volf and Jurgen Moltmann. If you're going, drop me a message in the comments box!

I am very excited about one of this week's opportunities and filled a little with trepidation about the other............which is which do you think?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Voting Preferences

Make sure you use your vote today!

Someone said that I nail my colours to the mast politically. I absolutely respect other people's right not to declare their voting preferences and would never sway them (a former pupil of mine contacted me last week through Facebook to ask for tips on who to vote for. I can't answer that for her. I advised her to read party manifestoes, find out information about each candidate and in particular about their experience in representing people, and to think about what issues were important to her and to her local community).

But for me.... I don't care if people know ...I am pleased to have been on demonstrations and rallies and to have had a history and involvement in pressure groups. It's helped me see some things differently. I have always wanted to be around people who campaign for the rights of the poor/the asylum seeker/the lone parent/children in poverty. In Glasgow ordinary people seem to get more hands on involved in campaigning (look at Rose Gentle!), we ran all kinds of different mock elections in schools and nearly all of my friends have been on a march. I've been on many - anti-poverty, anti-poll tax, education cuts, CND, dawn raids, immigration and asylum policy. It's an amazing feeling to get out and "do". So does that make me a socialist? Does that make me a left winger? I'm trying to be a Christ follower - I want to stand up and be counted sometimes and not just about how much inheritance money I can get before its taxed.

We often want to tag one another with labels......politically or theologically (am I post-charismatic? ooooh watch and see). I have been wondering why that is. Is that so we can say: oh, they're a Conservative so I won't like them because I'm not like them. They're a Calvinist so I won't be able to work with them because I'm not like them. I've been really challenged by the hypocrisy in my own heart. I want not to do the labels thing and yet at times I so know I do it in my own heart - I desperately need sanctification!

Back to the state of Britain: I worked for three years in banking and became an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers so I am little interested in economic and financial issues. I get fed up with people slating Brown about the recession. How did it start? Banks had lent out too much money in consumer credit spending - I want I want I want - they were left high and dry, they collapsed, the FT index responded, the pound weakened, house prices fell as lending was squeezed and we know the rest. Last month we were declared as comingout of recession, meaning that this recession has been a short one. This is a VERY interesting read:

"Lord Freud, a Conservative spokesman on welfare, has congratulated the government on its handling of the recession, saying it has contributed to 500,000 people not losing their jobs.

He also admitted the British experience of the recession has been much better than during the previous recession of 1992, which was overseen by John Major's Tory government.

Freud, a former businessman who has advised both Labour and the Tories, praised the government's flexible labour market during debates on the government's child poverty bill".

Worth reading the whole article here. It's a good'un.

Disclaimer: this posting is entirely my personal views and does not represent any organisation I work for or liaise with either now or in the past!!!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Immigration back on the radar

Hmmmm, I'm a bit troubled tonight about immigration due to a pastoral issue. I have never stopped caring about this issue, but for two years now it hasn't been such a live issue in the minds and lives of the people I am around. I'm again finding my thoughts drawn back the way - to the procedures, the offhand way in which some people are treated, the seemingly endless bureaucracy to even speak to someone in the Home Office....some readers with long memories may remember this blog - a joint project with two of my friends. I'm thinking it might need reawakened.

I was part of a team who pastored men, women and children who had suffered so much....I sat with women in the offices of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. I went to solicitor's appointments and to housing associations. I am delighted to say that everyone seeking to remain in Britain from my previous church (a substantial number) in time received Leave to Remain. This makes it sound easy - for some it took many years and not a little humiliation, such as every member of the family having to report to Brand St once a week, knowing that at any time they could be taken to a room round the back, interrogated and then driven away to Dungavel or Yarl's Wood if the Home Office had decreed that they had come to the end of the appeals process (all the cases I knew well were families who had been turned down and therefore were living on "borrowed time" as their solicitors lodged appeals). Some were taken away in dawn raids but didn't get so far as being put on the 'plane back. Each one I knew personally now has Indefinite Leave to Remain and indeed, some now have full citizenship.

I never understood the inherent suspicion with which these families were treated, even, sadly, by some of the legal aid solicitors. As if these women would flee to the UK for economic reasons....when all their loved ones were back in the other country....mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers they would not be able to see for years and years....

I once flew down to Yarl's Wood Detention Centre to visit a family with four children under ten years old who were taken in the middle of the night, thrown into a van bound for Manchester and then Luton and detained for 30 days. Make no mistake about it - these places are prisons. I found that the staff though were apologetic and even embarrassed about their role in locking away this family who loved Jesus and talked about him constantly. I remember *** saying that he asked for his Bible, and the dawn raid officers who were bundling clothes into black bin bags, refused his request. Never have I been so sad to be British.

On Good Friday I was interviewed by a Radio Scotland reporter about the issues that mattered to me in the forthcoming elections. I talked about our immigration and asylum policy. I said that the way we treat people who are genuinely in fear of their lives and their futures made me ashamed to be British.

You can bet my quote is on the cutting room floor.

The God of the Old Testament is the same God today. Please pray this verse over our nation's leaders and in particular over the civil servants in the relevant departments.

'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God'. (Leviticus 19:33-34)