Friday 23 July 2010

BBC Series Victorian Pharmacy : Managing Change

Victorian Pharmacy is a brand new, quality BBC Production which recreates the social history and environment surrounding pharmacies in the Victorian Era. It is one of those programmes that is pleasing on many levels at once. The presenters are animated and enthusiastic. The research is second to none, and consequently presenting how remedies were made and applied is both accurate and amusing. Camera work and lighting, as you see from the stills are immaculate. But even more is revealed as the pharmacy is put into its context of a unique society. The information and pictures here originate from Episode Two.

Victorian society is unique in this way. Perhaps it was the last truly "old-fashioned" society, based on customs and mores from time immemorial, while the new scientific thinking was just breaking through into people's consciousness. In other words, many stupendous discoveries were just starting to be made across all the disciplines of science, but they were as yet too new to have made too much of an impact. Yet from this time on, the empirical approach resulting from hard science would gain ground, and out of this the very way we live our lives, which really hadn't altered a great deal for centuries, would completely change.
So studying a pharmacy isn't quite the narrow study you would expect.

Here are some elements.

As new science emerged, a new understanding of our daily world emerged too. Ideas behind health and healing would changeand consequently medicines would change.

The secondary element covered by the programme was traditional and the placebo effect. Traditional medicine did not disappear and still hasn't. Some of the tried and trusted herbal remedies still exist for a reason. They work. Others continued to be used because they were traditionally thought to work. Some of these, which have no rhyme or reason to them whatever, continued to be used because of the placebo effect. They were confidently and authoritatively dispensed, so for that reason alone, and with no basis in scientific fact, the purchaser would confidently take them expecting to improve, and they did.

A third element had more to do with what was fashionable. In today's society firms have to be very careful how they word their sales pitch.But still today, as then, items were purchased simply because it was fashionable behaviour. "Because you're worth it!"

One of these customs surrounded the fashionable feminine behaviour of swooning. Who has noticed that ladies don't generally do this any more....unless extremely excited by the presence of pop stars.s!

The habit of swooning, feigning swooning or threatening to swoon was the socially acceptable and attractive( to males at any rate) way of demonstrating their position as the weaker, dependable sex.

The pictures show how pharmacists prepared smelling salts : white ammonia salts collected from stale pee and smelling of such, in a solution which was then soaked into a sponge, (in order that less was used,) topped up with something to disguise the bad smell, like essence of lavender. This was then sold with a high price tag.

I wonder if any regular blog readers have already caught where I am going with this. If I was part of the "Discernmentalist Mafia", I would be comparing swooning with Toronto Manifestations. And dubious clips do appear on Youtube. But there are also great clips, such as the one where a baby goes straight out in the Spirit. (How many mums and dads are thinking I'd like some of that at 3 am in the morning?" )

But no, this post is about managing change in the Church and although triggered by the analogous changes demonstrated in Victorian Pharmacy, it turned out more than usually prophetic of 3 occurrences last week. Firstly, a surprise initial visit to our house from our University friend Mike Terry who was at Exeter University with Christine and myself.
A former naval commander during Falklands, he has just passed a Theology degree, flabberghasted us all by marrying (even later than me) and both he and his wife,American Nicky Sue, run separate local Anglican churches. Bear in mind that as a piano tuner and salesman I either tune or have sold pianos to many ministers of all denominations in the not a few acquaintances are familiar to both of us.

The second element was hearing a podcast (No.10)between Darin Hufford and Frank Viola,two names pretty synonymous with Emerging Christianity in the USA.

The third element was my first ever meeting after 11 years alongside Christine with Peter Stott, who is effectively the senior overseeing pastor of Havant Church. He kindly spent 3 hours of his time with us and some basis of relationship was taking place. These 3 occurrences are entirely relevant to the subject of Managing change in the Church worldwide.

So let's work out from the Victorian Pharmacy.

  1. New science was emerging, so new treatments and more hygienic behaviours were appearing.

  2. Traditional pharmacy was often slow to change even if, from a scientific point of view,it could be proved to be of no use at all.

  3. The placebo effect was often king.

  4. Some practices were not just pointless, but both the remedies and the "conditions" in the first place were totally spurious, only existing for another reason entirely : to drive an entirely manufactured form of social interaction. Fashion.

Every stage of corporate and individual Christianity has its wineskins. Its attendant structures.

Before Luther, Christianity had pretty nearly been reduced to the taking of Catholic Mass. The Eucharist. For a more in depth understanding read Frank Viola's "Pagan Christianity"

Luther restated that justification was by faith. Not works. And the ball began rolling again, as each subsequent generation started to get more revelation from the Heavenly Sanctuary, whose earthly 3D diagram was the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple layouts. This is actually what happened, and things are an awfully lot simpler seen in hindsight. The Anabaptists discovered water Baptism, but also believed in the "washing of the Word". So, without going through everything on this post, but if putting our faith in the Christ on Calvary is the same as approaching the brazen altar of God's judgment, and baptism as a believer is represented by the laver, which also represents the cleansing operation of God's Word, His scriptures......then you can pursue all manner of movements since then, like Darbyism which represented meetings where believers gather round equally to share God's Word in the manner of the Table of Shewbread, and Quakerism followed by later pentecostalism, this sense of meeting in the Holy Place, where there is NO NATURAL pure reliance on intellectual understanding, but reliance on a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

It cannot be emphasised enough how big a change has come on the worldwide church in the last 100 years through Pentecostalism. This is related also to the Holy Place.

Now each type of church usually begins in Pyramid format, with a leader and congregation, typically matures and then more and more people grow into leading roles. If a leader's vision is all about him being leader, splinter groups form underneath his cork in the bottle approach,and they then hive off with perhaps a greater revelation, to either begin the same pyramid cycle, or to learn to proliferate in a more generous and organic way.

So what happens in the Third Level? The level represented by the Holy of Holies?

Is this where we now are? Well, in the USA, it means walking out of what they call the IC (Institutional Church)and learning the whole Christian Life from scratch based on a completely new set of findings. This would be the angle of Darin Hufford and Frank Viola and many others in the Emerging Church USA.

Neither Mike Terry representing Anglicanism, nor Peter Stott representing quite a serious seeking of God -charismatic-independent church seem to have fully grasped the unusual nature of the hour.

Some of the American believers who have left IC, are still in seeking mode. Others have been in finding mode.

Through my own prayer of desperation between 1978-1987 I too was led into a completely new understanding of things, and the substance of it remains pretty intact today. See the bloglink to the 1989 message "Third Level Christianity". Events drove me out of a charismatic church to spending a whole 10 years or so outside church altogether and learning a bit about how this third level works.... or, maybe, as I have said before, to thoroughly ground me in the true 2nd level before launching into full-fledged intercessory operations. Norman Grubb calls these faith commissionings.

How do traditions change? 1st level churches had seminary trained pastors. They had national conferences around Bible speakers. These became much more colourful in the 2nd level with the ability to sing praise and worship with completely new songs, spontaneous flow, singing in tongues. Leadership became less reliant on seminary trained individuals.

3rd level stuff is even more loose, organic; based entirely around real heart relationships, not the professional ones that still existed sadly in the charismatic setups. It's more about transference of the Living Word, from out of someone's genuine life experience straight through to other people's spirits. Do we go to church? We are the Church. The Church is doing what we are doing.

How does worship work? Well it should be purer. But that's really the wrong question. Or it's a 2ndlevel question coming out of a 2ndlevel mindset.

The truth is this. The whole idea of 1st and 2nd level church is blown out of the water by 3rd level realities. It's like someone coming into the pharmacy asking for a cure for an atmosphere of bad miasma. Science had just shown that the whole "miasma" world view was complete and utter baloney.

The problem was bacteria and you needed to wash your hands, because they were transmitted through air, water and by skin contact.

Here's a typical internal shift in our new reality.

June Melanson posts this excellent quote from Martin Kronback on Facebook "NEED "MORE" OF GOD?" People are looking for "more of God" We got the ALL of God in Christ but it's a mystery. "We carry this treasure in earthen vessels"..."if the same Spirit that raised Christ that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you..." That's because you are already "United with Christ" 100%... if you are born again‎(Romans Chapter 6) Rest in the I GOT IT ALL ON THE CROSS . True Sanctification is a fruit of that rest. No glory to us, but to HIM BE ALL THE GLORY!
We recieved a perfect gift like a Pandoras box (but positive) we got the full gift once but... it opens up in new dimensions and this treasure unfolds itself in and through us. We need to rest in the gift of Salvation!!!!!!!!!!

I tried to clarify this further:

It's the unspoken side of "More of God" that's the problem.What on earth do you mean Chris?Well,included silently in the equation is you as an "independent being" leaning out over a clifftop reaching with flailing hands to try and include "more of God" into your "separation existence". And we get so annoyed when our prayers aren't answered.

It's a similar frustration to Joshua asking the strange looking man "Are you for us or against us" and getting the reply "No!"

You can hear Joshua going"What d'you mean no? That's not an answer!" Then the angel of the Lord effectively says "Because I am the Commander of this show...and you...fall into line!"

In similar vein God would also say to us "I'm not answering your" more of God" prayers", because firstly I am not going to add my glory to your delusion of separation and secondly,I already answered your prayer 2000 years ago and you've just not been listening. I killed your delusional "separation existence" at the Cross and both raised you up and REPLACED you with how am I gonna add more of Me to your old-fashioned now out of date delusion!!!! "

Mike Terry approached things from a very interesting angle. He said that a Messianic believer

had been talking about the Bible representing both the priestly and the prophetic.But here the meaning of priestly is as in Anglican priest incanting repeated formulaic phrases into which people meditated and prayed. So Genesis 1 was more in this style, whereas Genesis 2 and 3 were more questioning, more prophetic in nature, cutting to the heart of things. The prayer of Jabez is more of a formulaic prayer, as are many many of the shared Israeli prayers. Mike stated the example of Catholic Rosary prayers and the Anglican system of using set services which people knew by heart, and could settle into with the things that were on their heart that week.

The point of singing new songs and choruses repeatedly has the same kind of meditative intent.For me personally, the routine of piano tuning has a similar meditational function, so I cannot really argue too much.

Mike also made another oft repeated point. That church history is filled with schism and why should it be so?
I have thought about this seriously this week and sought to address both topics in a Facebook message to Mike, also including information about our meeting with Peter.
Chris Welch 24 July at 16:48
There are certain structures and frameworks.Daily routine/structures of things to apportion responsibilities.The Bible calls these wineskins.The big one is Genesis 1.
No generation yet has learned how to hold the wineskins(the smaller ones)so lightly that the Holy Spirit only has to whisper and we change them.

In Genesis 3 the devil enticed us into a whole new existence where we live thinking we have a separate life from God and we make our own choices from a Tree of 2 extremes.Good and evil.

The opposite of the Tree of Life is not anarchy but order.Man is held in a form of check,a cage of the law of sin and death until they live from the Tree of Life.

Religion and politics are two fierce arms of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The pliable wineskin filled with new wine ends up shortly as the dry cage of religion's next generation.
The e-cclesia-Greek- is the called out community ...German root KIRCHE-KIRK-Church.

The church is always called out by the Tree of Life to extend the suffer outside the city and bear reproach there Hebrews13:13.

To date no generation has learned how to move with the cloud....and even those Israelites that did fell in the wilderness.
Individuals have.Derek Prince for one.So we know its possible.

Jesus said the Kingdom field would be a mess.Good seed and bad seed.All seed is known by its fruit.

He also said seed has to go into the ground and die.We as individuals do,but on a much bigger arc the Church has too.

Luther was used at the Church's lowest point to start the trek through the heavenly Tabernacle again.The OT was a poor picture version of the Eternal reality.

Luther put his flag in the soil
Reintroducing the New Covenant version of the Brazen altar.
Each move since has taken us progressively further.

No generation has studied how church works like this generation.Initially we youngsters "moved"out from where we were because we did not yet have the authority to speak into the previous move.
I personally am at a crossroads which is why your visit was so extraordinarily timed.
You see,in America,the new move which believes the things I put on that tape cassette in 1989 on the Third Level see my blog(obviously they never heard this tape but the Spirit has taught them)have all left their churches and are calling themselves "Free Believers".
I became established in these things spending 10 years outside a church1988/99....but I believe in the vision of the church local and international.So it was pretty significant meeting I just had on Friday with our senior leader in Havant.The question is...can this generation walk at home with God's fire...or does He again have too recruit elsewhere once more beginning a totally new wineskin from scratch.
Jesus said take out the old treasures as well as the new.
I think you would agree that the church take this to mean old treasures=traditions. I believe it means that which is of God that has been revealed. So for us, it is the scriptures, notable writings that are tested by tons of saints over time, and also every confirmed revelation that has come since Luther. Certainly many of the Anglican practices are not confirmed among the international body of believers. The same goes for the Catholic practices, from whom Anglicanism is largely derived.

During our time with Peter, Christine and I were able to share about the good and the bad of both our times in charismatic churches. We both lived through the strict shepherding periods which came as a result of Yonghi Cho's teaching,Juan Carlos Ortiz and the Fort Lauderdale men.Peter shared the angelic prophecy given in the 50s that a "false move" would arise in Fort Lauderdale.Norita Roberts shared that one with me, and it tore me in two at the time, because what had come through Ern Baxter both in the 1975 Kansas City Shepherd's Conference, and the subsequent Lakes,Capel and Harrogate Bible weeks were SO anointed that I defend them to this day. But now that I see the 3rd level clearer through Ed Miller's eyes, I can see that most of the leaders who shepherded us were 2nd level themselves.

but without clear 3rd level dealings in your inward parts, you cannot help discipling people to you....and not to Jesus only. You also, like Jorge Pradas, will have this annoying habit of being chief apostle to a set of churches, when Jesus alone determines His own apostleship to a church, either directly by revelation,or choosing who He may from a whole raft of prepared 3rdlevellers.

At no point is an apostle in charge of a congregation. Neither is a pastor.Churches have many pastors.Jesus is the one maturing His church. ("You have not many fathers") But this is how it was in Jorge's framework, and how it was for Daniel Yordy in the Move under Sam Fife. Who knows, is that why Sam died early in a plane crash....because Jesus wanted His church back?

Ed Miller attacked this pedestal positioning of Jorge Pradas by Emsworth. People thought it was sour grapes, because Ed wanted that position. I actually think Ed had more understanding than that, because he always spoke of ministries as Taxi Drivers to the Throne of God.

To be fair on Mike Terry and Anglicanism, they also understand that ministers are not there to build people unto themselves. If bishops sense any leader doing this, they tend to get moved on in the system somewhere else. But the Anglican system actually favours the other extreme, not caring too hoots whether you are even born again. In fact in most Anglican Churches it is positively discouraged. So right there, you have the opposite extreme of cultish behaviour.

So, like the Pharmacy then, we could say that a certain amount of formalism allows for personal meditation, or we could also say it performs the function of a meaningless placibo that makes people feel better.

Please listen to the podcast of Frank Viola and Darin Hufford because it will introduce you to the hearts of these men. You will hear a more 3rd level approach when they are talking together.

They are not vying for limelight. They genuinely love, respect and honour each other's contributions and they both have one thing clear that is analogous to new science and the Victorian Pharmacy.

Both understand "Christ as us". Both talk about Jesus living our Christian life.

2ndlevellers talk about the Holy Spirit and them, or even Jesus in me. A few years ago the Elim movement ran a promotion in Britain called JIM....or Jesus in me. But the understanding is always God and a separate me with a bit of Jesus inside.

This non separate internal revelation of Christ in me the very hope of glory is what marks this new move out. Rather than even pick their way through the myriad complications of American Church life....they have upped and BECOME IT in their daily lives.

When the Catholic Church formed,(In my opinion, the Catholic Church began on February 27, 380 when Emperor Theodosius issued his edict, De Fide Catolica, in Thessalonica, published in Constantinople, declaring Catholic Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.)

and their attempt at owning the previous history of the Church is downright dishonest, many left in droves for the wilderness. Without a clear "seeing" of what it means to live by the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, as a spiritual empowerment, the religious, or Tree of Good component is SO DANGEROUS, true believers can be forgiven for running for their lives....for the Devil has been a murderer from the beginning.....commencing with the spiritual death of Adam and all those still found in him, and continuing with the King of Glory Himself.

So right now at a personal level I want to open up to a community that God is forming in Havant.If there is any residue hurt that comes from my past that sullies any behaviour towards saints, then may it be flushed out.

But I can trust Jesus on this one, because He is my Life.

If on the other hand , there is a denial going on in Havant caused by them seeing more than God in themselves or other believers, and still a separation in their thinking,

and the same sort of expressions that Jesus lived with like "Who is trying to kill you? have paranoia...or they actually said "you have a spirit"

Well yes Jesus did have a Spirit....the Holy One. And He read the thoughts and intentions of people's hearts.....and they surely did kill Jesus.

So the big question is:

Am I moving from hurt?

Are they just in denial? And using this as an excuse not to hear the "New Science"

Or both.

Is Havant just enjoying old Pharmacy medicine a little too much? Not really realising there are no miasmas, only bacteria. That a lot of their problems stem from the old way of seeing, and now it is totally totally irrelevant in the New Light God is blazing from His throne.
In the following linked article I spell out more of the meaning that I felt was being typified by the Victorian Pharmacy.


Amy Maiers said...

Now this is an interesting way to look at Victorian Pharmacy.I wonder how pharmacy schools during those time adapted to the changes of new technology.I enjoyed reading this post.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Thanks very much Amy. glad you enjoyed it. :-)