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

Monday, January 2, 2012

Emerging Church, Version 2.0

According to Ryan Bolger, from Fuller Theological Seminary, and Steve Knight of Knightopia.com, we are involved in a game-changer known as "social networking." This is no surprise, actually, when considering tech sites such as Facebook and Xbox game sites that are involving users in personal interaction. But Ryan makes an astute observation when declaring that churches should better involve their fellowships in a personal, participatory nature, in all phases of its ministries.

Also, in an end-of-year post I made a number of observations about the Emergent Church from a personal perspective entitled "Becoming Emerging, or Emergent, Christians." This article may help in thinking through what Emergent Christianity has been from a personal perspective and what its version 2.0 form could become. It should be quite exciting to see in the years to come!

Finally, according to Bolger, we may now say that we are no longer within a postmodern era but a post-postmodern, or participatory era, or even an authenticising era of flux and change which the Church must step up into and figure out how to do ministry, worship, instruction and community in the opening stages of the 21st Century. Interesting. I was just getting adjusted to trying to think in postmodern terms!

R.E. Slater
January 2, 2011
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by Steve Knight
December 11, 2011

In an op-ed piece in this Sunday’s New York Times, former NPR correspondent Eric Weiner describes his feelings as he faces the holiday season as a religious “none,” as in “none of the above.” Weiner is currently “unaffiliated,” but he writes, “We Nones may not believe in God, but we hope to one day. We have a dog in this hunt.”

That hopeful note is followed by a description of the kind of religion Weiner would like to see in the world (and particularly the United States):
“We need a Steve Jobs of religion. Someone (or ones) who can invent not a new religion but, rather, a new way of being religious. Like Mr. Jobs’s creations, this new way would be straightforward and unencumbered and absolutely intuitive. Most important, it would be highly interactive. I imagine a religious space that celebrates doubt, encourages experimentation and allows one to utter the word God without embarrassment. A religious operating system for the Nones among us. And for all of us.”
I would like to suggest to Weiner — were we sitting together at Starbucks or Caribou having a conversation over a cup of joe — that for more than a decade, the emerging missional church movement has been seeking to agitate for and begin to construct such a path. My friends and colleagues who have been the architects and thought leaders of this movement may not be so bold as to claim that title or status as “the Steve Jobs of religion,” but I’d like to be bold enough to say that Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne, and Peter Rollins (among others) have each, in their own way, played this role to some extent.*

Besides acknowledging the Jobs-like work that has already been done, I’m beyond ecstatic to hear this clarion call from a self-described “None” for “a religious operating system” that will serve both the Nones/Unaffiliated and the rest of us. This is what fuels the work I’m doing with Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation and TransFORM Network.

And I’d like to suggest that faith leaders — from across denominations and traditions — need to begin reflecting deeply on this idea of participation. What Weiner calls “highly interactive” and “experimental.” It’s essentially the same message that Landon Whitsitt wrote about earlier this year in his book Open Source Church, and it’s an idea that Dr. Ryan Bolger, from Fuller Theological Seminary, has been playing with recently, as well (see video below).

In an interview with Luther Seminary, Bolger suggests** that we are now living in a post-postmodern era that is characterized primarily by the participatory nature of the Internet and technology culture that has shaped it:

Bolger says, “The shift from postmodernity to participatory culture means people find their identity through what they create as opposed to maybe what they consume. … Our churches are still structured in such a way that we do it to them, not inviting them to create worship with us. So, if that’s the case, there’s really no space for people who’ve been formed by our participatory culture in our churches.”

Bolger’s provocative comments, coupled with Whitsitt’s book and Weiner’s op-ed in the Times, beg the question: Who will create the religious communities of the future that will engage participatory people?

That’s a revolution I want to be a part of.

* Yes, I’m very aware that these are all white males, and that has been the legacy of the first 10 years of the emerging missional church movement. The next 10-20 years promise to be far more rich and diverse, with broader participation from women and people of color as this leveling of hierarchies provides greater opportunity for developing platforms for greater influence. Stay tuned …

** Forgive me, Dr. Bolger, if I’m putting words in your mouth! I think my interpretation of what is said in the video interview is accurate, but it is my interpretation and may not reflect the actual views held by Dr. Bolger. In other words, results may vary.

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For additional reference see - Becoming an Emerging, or Emergent, Christian

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2011 Books of the Year

Jesus Creed Books of the Year
January 1, 2012

An article in The Atlantic on writers and their books, an article well worth your read, sets the right tone for our annual list of Books of the Year. That article in The Atlantic appeared on one of the days I was clearing out my library. I’ve already packed up more than fifteen boxes of books — and some of these boxes are big honkin’ boxes — and probably have another fifteen to go. I came to this conclusion: for nearly every book that gets put on a shelf one has to be taken off. But this post is about Books of the Year.

These are my choices, and I have no claim to have seen even all of the most important books or to have read adequately in all fields, so go ahead and make your own recommendations. I’m woefully unread this year on Old Testament books, so nominate some books.

At the end of this post (after the jump) I will announce my Book of the Year.

J.J. Collins, D.C. Harlow, The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism
Timothy George, gen. ed., The Reformation Commentary on the Bible

New Testament:
N.T. Wright, The Kingdom New Testament
James D.G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels
Morna Hooker, Holiness and Mission
J. Beilby, Paul Rhodes Eddy, Justification: Five Views
Craig Keener, Miracles
Rodney Reeves, Spirituality according to Paul

Hans Boersma, Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry
M. Volf, Allah: A Christian Response
Theresa Latini, The Church and the Crisis of Community
Roger Olson, Against Calvinism, and Michael Horton, For Calvinism
Alan Padgett, As Christ Submits to the Church

The Cape Town Commitment

Eugene Peterson, Pastor: A Memoir. [Kris and I were gone for a week and I haven't "checked" my list for some time, but somehow I forgot to put this book on the original list. This book was my rival to Christian Smith's book for Book of the Year.]
Kara Powell, Sticky Faith
John Dickson, Humilitas
The Collected Sermons of Fred Craddock

Church History:
Michael McClymond, Gerald McDermott, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards
John Fea, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?

Science and Faith:
Richard F. Carlson and Tremper Longman III, Science, Creation and the Bible
Karl Giberson and Francis Collins, The Language of Science and Faith
Deborah B. and Loren D. Haarsma, Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (This is a new version of their book reviewed a few years ago, now aimed at a general Christian audience.)

Current Trends:
D. Fitch, The End of Evangelicalism
Brad Wright, Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World
Christian Smith, Lost in Transition

World Issues:
Carolyn Custis James, Half the Church
Lee Camp, Who is My Enemy? Questions Christians Must Face about Islam and Themselves

Rob Bell, Love Wins

Jesus Creed Book of the Year

Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. In spite of being panned by a few notable evangelicals, Smith is one of America’s finest scholars of evangelicalism, knows theology, and has poked populist evangelicalism in the eye — both eyes in fact. He has laid down a challenge that must be met: How to read the Bible in a way that does not lead to pervasive pluralism but leads to conclusions on which we can agree enough to say “Thus saith the Lord.” Until that happens, we’ve got too many lone rangers claiming “Thus saith the Lord.” What good is it to say we’ve got the very Word of God if we can’t agree on what the Word says?