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
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)
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
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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jefferson Bethke: Jesus, Religion, & Relationships, Part 1

"Virgil's ability to plumb the complexity of human affairs is a key to his greatness,
a key to his relevance for us today. We live in an age in which simplistic versions
of reality - simplified social and political perspectives, philosophical world
pictures, moral principles - are privileged, over-nuanced, understandings."

From an introduction to Virgil's The Aeneid, by Fred Will

When coming to the subject matter of Faith and Worship,
and having at the last plumbed its depths,
we may only stand back and say that we know nothing.
Nothing. That we have but only begun on our journey
into the Divine mystery of all that is God,
despite all the words and practices of mortal man.

- R.E. Slater, January 22, 2012


A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it's core Jesus' gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can't do your own list of rules and feel "not good enough" for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don't represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!

- Jefferson Bethke


For the sake of clarity, I did not misunderstand Bethke's point. I believe his point is that Jesus is full of grace, and as a fellow Christian, I wholeheartedly concur. My critique is of his careless use of language. He is an admirable wordsmith, but with such a gift comes a HUGE responsibility to use words RIGHTLY. I understand that he meant "bad religion," not good religion or all religion, but he did not make this clear enough, which is unfortunate for all his listeners who have found grace in and through their religion. I am not against the guy. He is talented. But he missed the mark.

So my point is . . . he can continue to preach the same thing in the same way, touch a lot of hearts, but also leave a trail of harm with his misrepresentation of religion, OR he can keep at it but improve by developing a more robust portrayal of the Gospel, which would do a lot more good for everyone. May Christ have mercy on us all.

I sincerely wish Bethke the best,


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

An Observation or Two...

Both Jeff and Kyndall have made amazing observations and have given very clear commentary as to their position on the topic of religion and true spirituality. Jeff's position is to discard religion and start over (most probably to repeat all of religion's past mistakes as well as its accomplishments). Kyndall's is to keep what we've got and to move forward trying to fix it where it needs fixing. One is idealistic. The other practical. One wants to throw the baby-out-with-the-bath-water and the other doesn't wish to recreate-the-wheel (forgive me for my cliches!). But both, from their separate positions and viewpoints, wish to see their Christian faith behave better. To recognize its strengths and its weaknesses. To create a spiritual space that connects the reality of Christianity-in-the-name-of-Jesus with the appropriate observance of that reality. And in that observance maintain a high spiritual plane of belief mixed with love, truth, justice, and hope.

The Church of the 21st Century has a multitude of voices pulling upon its heart to do a million different things... and what better than to have a million different voices doing just that... each believer tugging upon the heartstrings of God seeking Holy Spirit empowerment for faith, witness, life, breath and duty. I believe God is big enough to live up to our expectations even though in ourselves, and in the institutions we build, we may fail and may only some of God's light but never enough of who He is and what He is about.... Still, it is God's task of spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual empowerment. Spiritual victories. Witness. Transformation. And rebirth. Let us be patient with God as we must be patient with each other. There is no right or wrong if our heart is set upon God for His direction and guidance. The only wrong that can be done is if we do nothing at all. Let us therefore lift up one another in encouragement and challenge. To pray for one another. And learn to work with one another. And be confidant in the knowledge that God has many workers, seekers, followers, and faithful. They are numbered throughout the world wishing to uplift the name of Jesus. Be patient. And be faithful in prayer that gives rebirth to all the world. God will end what He has begun. He will make perfect what has been made imperfect. He is our confidance. Our power. Our Hope. Our Redeemer.

R.E. Slater
January 24, 2011


Jesus, Religion, and Relationships
Part 2 -


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