Sunday 30 December 2012

Von Trapped

Julie Andrews in Sound Of Music
"Nonnberg Nunnery kept meticulous records, and yet there’s no mention of Maria having attended there." writes Sue
 Von Trapped by Chris Welch
For many of us who were around to see Sound of Music as youngsters it presented to us this incredible ideal, that those of us who then later found Jesus Christ and got caught up in the rediscovery of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which swept through all the denominations in the 50s,60s and early 70s, was still some kind of signal to us of a Christian family all singing together.

I actually have clients on my round that do play music together as families. While still single for a while I was caught up in the environment of the incredible Levtov family locally here in Bognor Regis, themselves emigres from Russia in 1979 at the height of the Cold War.

Incredibly, as a player of 3 instruments myself you would have thought I'd have pushed for this myself in my own family, as I know my friend Marcus Roberts has done. But  I was never sufficiently "sold" on the idea as an ideal in its own right. And that is really the subject of this blogpost. Von Trapped doesn't just mean "affected by the Von Trapps", it really describes being "Trapped" by an identity that is not quite real.

First Bible House in New Brighton Rd, Emsworth

Winsley House,Emsworth

Living in Christian community and having a policy of daily and sometimes twice daily worship gatherings here in this Emsworth house, and later in Winsley House, we really did have a "greenhouse" for creativity. No less than 4 to 6 of us were writing songs regularly, and others did on occasions. The local primary teachers noticed the high musicality of the primary school children living in the community. This was entirely a spinoff of community Christian Life, and is similar to the launchpad given to the great American song artists by their black gospel choirs.
For those who don't know, singing together generally is a powerful thing, but singing together from the heart of deeply shared beliefs is quite something else.We actually believe God meant what He said when He commanded praise. A secular person often describes this as a weakness in God who needs to be praised. Far from that rather, it is to rescue us from our inherent default since the Fall to be locked up in ourselves, in our leftbrain,totally unable to comprehend anything beyond what is immediately within our 5 sense range. Music is a primary parameter for conveying to our senses something of the glorious Presence of heaven. So God commands that we enter His Presence with thanksgiving and praise, focussing our view on the One True Life and Existence in the Universe.

But AS GLORIOUS as a life of music is together, and in our case we were among the first generation to explore the territory Ed Miller had pressed into which is complete abandon to the worship and adoration of God, and which he, and even more so, Jorge Pradas taught in all their churches.....

As glorious as this is there is a truth to be discovered from the daughter of Baron Von Trapp's first marriage,Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp , who after spending a life on stage with her other brothers and sisters, living the image of the film, suffered a cruel nervous breakdown. It should be said she always wanted to get married, but had no personal confidence in ever meeting and living with a "male outsider".

Unbeknown to most ouside Germany it should be added at this point that the "perfect idyllic" image of family conveyed in Sound of Music is not SO FAR REMOVED from the blue-eyed blond ideal of Hitler. You see for his enemies he was the sadistic arranger of the Holocaust, but internally he was the kindly avuncular protector of his people,seeking to right the "wrongs" of the Treaty of Versailles and very much a promulgator of the "good life", of "education", of "culture" of "family". Emsworth Community was a strange mixture. A mixture of philosophies. On the one hand we were expected to seek God as youngsters. Many of us had our first living experiences with how the Body of Christ gathers round and nurtures lives as they are literally stripped down and rebuilt in God's presence. This too, I discovered was the WAY the sisters of Mary had discovered in their community in Darmstadt near Frankfurt. When I visited in the summer of 1974, I was staying with the Lutheran Brothers of the Community. One was a Canadian ex teacher who, one year after arrival was only just beginning to find himself again as God was rebuilding him after virtually breaking down in the community.

But in the hinterground of all Spirit communities is still the lingering presence of the flesh life, because in secondlevel communities they still have not been to the rock bottom of Romans 7. They still think of themselves as "someone in their own right." This hubris we picked up in the Fall. So guess what? Where there is Satanlife still going on there is also the finger of the Accuser of the Brethren. Always this feeling that if you are ever schmuck enough to actually do what you are meant to be there for and let the Holy Spirit get to the root of all figleaves, you have some how "let the side down".And this is the peculiar mishmash in first and secondlevel churches right round the globe. As Jesus said of Pharisees and Sadducees....Do as they say....but don't do as they do.
We are looking for God Communities where people have the whole blueprint of Romans. Where the leaders have been through the whole process, not just part of the process.

In real Spirit terms, it's as natural normal and understandable as a seed breaking open in the Earth so the REAL THING CAN HAPPEN.

I think it's fair to say most of those "baptised into the grace message" of Romans 3 to 5 , and freely transmitting this message among Holy Spirit churches, do not have the first clue about Romans 6 to 8, and onwards into Paul's thirdlevel descriptions of intercession, in his case with regard to his own Jewish people.

Chapters like Matthew 25 which describes the parable of the 10 virgins coupled with the Parable of the Talents in which both demand "an increase in oil" and "an increase in talents" are a real problem to them.
But to people who understand that the Jesus life in them is a naturally productive life....and that this is now the sole Life we live from, don't have any problem with these scriptures whatsoever.
But there must be a falling into the ground.
"Unless a seed falls into the ground" says Jesus.
It's impossible to make this look flash and acceptable to the Pride of Life. This is why the devil just laughs it to scorn, as he did with Jesus on the cross.
In real Spirit terms, it's as natural normal and understandable as a seed breaking open in the Earth so the REAL THING CAN HAPPEN.

And this is the issue raised by the Von Trapp family ever circumnavigating the world with this "image" of perfect idyllic family life on the concert stage, but actually preventing the life stories of each Von Trapp from fully unfolding. Instead, more like Hitler, it becomes something very sinister and haunting.

The same thing is happening in Christian families, where the expectation is of this obedient,smiley, Flanders-esque family that is ever a presentation of what life is expected to be, rather than a belief in and a trust in our own spontaneous life to ever get us to the place we'd always dreamed inwardly that we wanted to be.

If we have "pulls" to the good or the bad....we cannot simply "push them down" and carry on in hiding as though they are not real. They are real for us. That doesn't make all of them right. But we have to find Jesus here...right here...not in an image of ourselves where we would like to be. Again, while not saying, sin is Jesus, I am not saying that. But I am saying Our story is Jesus story. He took us on. He knows causally why everything about us is so. What Jesus is bringing forth in us is so much greater than the muddy soil in which it is forming....the actual flowerbed becomes irrelevant. Nobody ever says, Oh what a lovely muddy texture that flowerbed is, they only remark on the plants and the flowers.....Unless they are gardeners!!!!

People have been laughing at the "round robin" letter that has taken shape over the last few years inside Christmas Cards. They have been venting about the sort of letter that tells of how proud parents are that Tarquin has done his Duke of Edinburgh award, and that Sophie has got her place in the first violins in the National Youth orchestra....and how utterly bad other parents feel when the only accomplishment they can immediately think of is breaking and entering an enemy stronghold in Call of Duty Black Ops 50 in the shortest amount of time.The point isn't to diss the Leftovs who have done such a singlemindedly fantastic job, but there's no family I know yet who really knows how to bring up their kids according to the overall 3rd level vision of Living our whole lives as Him in a living spontaneous way. This is the way Jesus alone found Himself "growing as a flower in desert parched land", and as we become established in it we can model it more and more clearly for the next generation.

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