Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mars Hill: Water: 20 Liters Campaign

Water is elemental. A part of us.

Without it. We would not survive.

In the United States, however, the need for clean water is something we rarely think about. We turn on the faucet, and it comes out. Yet around the world, there are one billion people without access to clean water. That’s seventeen percent of the world’s population.

That is not right.

Over the past ten years, Mars Hill has developed a partnership with World Relief Rwanda, to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters there. Through engaging village counsels, we have learned that their biggest need is simply clean water.

Whether it’s participating in water awareness activities and fundraisers, becoming a vocal advocate, or reaching into your pocket to help purchase and install more filters and cisterns—there is a place for you in this work.

Visit our partner, 20 Liters, to hear stories, watch videos, and learn more about how you can engage with this issue, and make a change for good.

If you have further questions, access our FAQs for more information.

Let's Continue to March for Dis-Unity

Here's a little bit of tongue-in-cheek cynism that I hope drives home the point that the house of God, the family of Jesus, his Church and Bridegroom, should show love and unity to one another over everything else that would get in the way. Many thanks to Rachel Held Evans and the many others who have participated in this campaign of "LOVE WINS". Who have taken a stand over the ridiculousness we can get ourselves into when "fighting for the faith" rather than "loving one another" as we dialogue about our faith. Who strive to live the Jesus-life before a lost world as a loving community of God's children seeking to serve and to share God's love.


The Origin of the World & the New Creation

Creation tells the story of a very good -- and yet incomplete -- world awaiting its redemption in Christ.

Kyle Roberts
April 25, 2011
With Easter just behind us, Christians have turned their attention to the narrative of Christ's resurrection, reflecting on themes of new creation, forgiveness, and redemption. It's worth remembering our original creation stories too, because only in their light can we fully appreciate the significance of Easter. The most prominent "origin" texts in Christian theology are found in Genesis 1-3. While they comprise two distinct perspectives on creation, together they are rich with theological insight into the meaning of creation, our human condition, and the God who brought it all into existence.

Genesis 1 is poetic cosmogony, presenting the 'six days' of creation along with the seventh as the day of God's rest. It is lofty and ethereal, cosmological and ordered, poetic in form. Genesis 2-3, the story of humanity's rise and fall at the central place in creation, is gritty and earthy and set in narrative form. (See William Brown's The Seven Pillars of Creation.)

Both texts assert the significance of human beings in God's creation, though in Genesis 1 they emerge at the end of creation on the sixth day (along with other animals), while in Genesis 2 they arrive first on the scene. Both narratives have profoundly influenced Christian theology and Christian understanding of origins: including the roles of God and the nature of God's interaction with creation. In what follows, I offer a small sampling of theological themes which, emerging from ongoing reflection on these texts, have deeply influenced Christian religious understanding—in particular as they relate to a theology of Easter.

1) Creation is very good, but not perfect.

In Genesis 1-3, creation is neither complete, harmless, nor tame. In creation, God brings order from disorder and beauty from chaos, through his Spirit, word, and wisdom. However, neither pain, suffering, nor danger is excluded from what God calls "good." Douglas John Hall, in God and Human Suffering, suggests the creation narratives make room for constructive forms of suffering: loneliness, limits, temptation, and anxiety. This is because "struggle is necessary to the human glory that is God's intention for us" (62).

The desire to provide an answer to the problem of evil and suffering sometimes tempts Christians to want to read Genesis 1-3 as laying the blame for natural suffering (and death) on original human sin. In so doing, they elevate the role of humanity's burden for what originally happened in the natural world to a height (or depth) the scriptures never accord them; it is worth pointing out, however, that humanity has greatly—and sometimes disastrously—impacted the modern, natural environment. The logic of Genesis 1-3 suggests that natural disasters are part and parcel of a dangerous but beautiful world. The recognition that creation is "very good," but not complete, provides motivation for human involvement in the preservation, cultivation, and ongoing care of the earth.

2) Human beings are significant, but sinful.

Human beings play a prominent role in both creation accounts. The "image of God," presented in Genesis 1, is concretized or grounded in Genesis 2. The adam, or "groundling" (note the play on words: adam springs from the adamah, the earth) is animated by the breath of God. The human being is created through a synthesis of divine breath and dirt. As one of my students recently noted, the creation of human beings from the ground raises a interesting question for anti-evolutionists: is it less dignified to have primitive, "ape-like" creatures as our ancestors or to be made from dirt?

No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked

Kyle Roberts
May 1, 2011

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? – Ezekiel 18:23

When I heard the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death and saw the jubilant celebrations, I was reminded of this verse. God is a God of justice and righteousness and so he calls evil and sin what they are and holds people accountable accordingly. But God is also a God of mercy and love, and desires that all people — even the most sinful and wicked among us — repent and “turn from their ways.”

So, when the wicked do not repent and turn, God takes no pleasure when they experience the consequences of their wickedness in death. I am sure that many people who lost friends and loved ones on 9/1 rightfully feel a sense of justice on this day. I wouldn’t deny them that. But there is a difference between feeling a somber sense of justice and celebrating the death of one of God’s creatures — however wicked, sinful and evil they may have may become.

At the heart of the Christian Gospel stands the truth that not one of God’s people deserves salvation – his covenant love and reconciliation – and not one of God’s creatures stands outside of the intentional reach of His love. Paul tells that God desires that everyone be saved and to “come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). I take “everyone” to mean literally everyone — even the most evil among us — even those who have done us personal, communal or societal harm. There’s no doubt God’s expressed desire for the salvation of everyone in Christ is difficult to accept, especially when confronted with the most radical of possibilities: namely, the salvation of even Osama Bin Laden. But that simply underscores the radicality of God’s grace. No one is outside of the potentiality of reconciliation with God.

What Ezekiel seems to be saying here is that every violent death is a sadness. But when a violent death signifies that a temporal life has reached its end, that dust has returned to dust, in what is very likely a state of unrepentance and of rebellion against God, then our response as Christians should not and cannot be exuberant joy or triumphalism. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; nor does he withhold his justice and righteousness. In the face of evil and unrighteousness, our ultimate hope is in God and God alone. And our response to the “death of the wicked” should be modeled after his as well.