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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quotable Quotes - Emergent Statements and Reflections

"An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come,
but for Jesus to become in our midst."

- R.E. Slater, July 30, 2013

"According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew it into God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit."

- R.E. Slater, March 30, 2016

"... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all."

- R.E. Slater, June 12, 2013
Voices of Dissent - Unfolding God's Love Within the Heart and Conscience of Humanity,

Every system has its weakness even as every system has its prejudices.
A proper epistemology should candidly tell us about ourselves and not
hide us deeper from ourselves within our presumptions and fallacies.

- R.E. Slater, November 25, 2014

"Acting on faith carries with it the aloneness of God's presence. Such an act risks losing one's fellowship finding abandonment at the moment of faith's awakening - not by God but by man."

- R.E. Slater, May 29, 2013

The biggest problem facing Christian theology is not translation but enactment... no clever theological moves can be substituted for the necessity of a church being a community of people who embody our language about God, where talk about God is used without apology because our life together does not mock our words.

- Stanley Hauerwas & Willimon

Faith is not certainty. It is the courage to live with uncertainty.”

                                                         - Rabbi Johnathan Sacks, The Great Partnership (p.97)

"Postmodernism's interaction with beliefs produces a paradigm shift of beliefs that become postmodern. Hence, postmodernism's interaction with faith results in a faith that may become postmodern (which necessarily changes our reflection upon ourselves, our view of others, our environment, and of God). So that regarded "permanent truths" of human nature and society will causally change throughout the course of history, generation-to-generation, correspondent with our denser interaction with all of the above. Thus, one may expect socially accepted reality to likewise evolve and change, thus creating a conflict within an individual's sense of faith and reality."

- R.E. Slater, December 2012
*from my interpretive reading of the French postmodernist philosopher Michel Foucault  when reflecting on how the Christian faith responds to Postmodernism's influences that produces a newer, personally resonant theology which I've been redefining as an "Emergent" Theology.

"God's grace is freely given - we don't earn it,
we just try to live in response to it...."
"...God is always coming to us in a series
of death-and-resurrection encounters...
we don't make our way to God,
He makes His way to us."

- Nadia Bolz-Weber, July 2012

"The emerging church is a  21st-century Christian movement that embraces an eclectic array of approaches to faith in the post-modern era yet generally voices disillusionment with the organized and institutional church."
- A Definition of the Emergent Church

"The compass of Emergent Christianity shares a broader, more lively connection to the postmodern world around us. It includes all the advances of the sciences as well as all the post-structuralist discussions that can be found within Christianity itself. It seeks to include as many conversants into the conversation of Jesus through the vitality of contribution and participation while authenticizing each participant via a supportive network of faith and fellowship centered around Jesus as Savior and Lord."

- R.E. Slater, March 21, 2012

"We must learn to re-learn. To translate all that we thought we knew into newer paradigms that are less restrictive and cognitively destructive. To lift up our conversations about God, and about ourselves, that would allow the bible to breathe again, while separating ourselves from our many traditional ideologies and behaviours that have restricted us from responding to God."

- R.E. Slater, March 21, 2012

What seems heretical to the enfranchised must be mandatory
for the disenfranchised in order to regain some semblance of
a living faith unsheltered from this present day world of
postmodern angst, agnosticism, disbelief, and atheism.

-R.E. Slater, November 15, 2012

"...In hindsight, my faith didn't require abandonment. No.
Simply a better resonance with what it wasn't hearing
in today's current generations of God's faithful."

-R.E. Slater, November 13, 2012

"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."

- Fred Will, an introduction to Virgil's The Aeneid

"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

"Investing the past with too much power will
divest the future its actionable power of relevancy."

- R.E. Slater, July 2, 2014

Evangelicalism’s foundation has become fragmented and is
no longer orthodox except in its own opinion of itself.

- R.E. Slater, May 18, 2012
The Death of Poetry by 20th Century Modernism, Part II

"...Mainstream American evangelicalism, as codified in the
Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, doesn’t really
know what to do with the Bible as a historical text."

“Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times, and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that prints out from the press and the microphones of his own age.”

- CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory

“Scripture is normative,
but it always needs to be read afresh and applied in new ways.”

- Clark Pinnock, January 5, 1979; Christianity Today, pp 23-29

"I have said throughout my life that I am only a success because of the experts that have come alongside me. [Experts who have] graciously and potently stretched [their] friendly hands across the divide of the brain-spirit chasm, and clasped this clergyman's hand, thrilling him with the beauty of provacative thought. We are entering an epoch whereby [new emerging studies] and faith will only serve to prove that with God ALL THINGS are possible! My charge then is to keep being Possibility Thinkers for the glory of God!"

- Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Founder, of the Crystal Cathedral

"Before Einstein, John had his own theory of relativity. The value of anything is relative... if it is taken on its own, it’s not worth much, or is dangerously deceptive. If taken in proper relation to Jesus, i.e. as a witness to Jesus, it is of great value."

- J.R. Daniel Kirk, November 13, 2011

"In general, a wide gulf continues to exist between
biblically generated theology and the theology of theologians -
and this gulf will continue to stymie the vision of bringing together
the fields of biblical studies with theology."

- J.R. Daniel Kirk, August 20, 2011

"Liberal simply means that one recognizes human experience as valid location for the theological process. Progressive means that one takes seriously the critique provided by feminist, liberation, and post-colonial criticisms."

- John Cobb, August 4, 2011

"I like “progressive” as a theological term,
because the most vital aspect of my faith is a liberating one."

- Carol Howard Merrit

"Most emergents have either emerged from an evangelical background
or against an evangelical background."

- Deacon Bo, August 14, 2011


"I would argue that one such commitment [of the Emergent Movement] MUST be self-criticism and willingness frequently to change combined with rejection of hierarchical models of leadership or absolutizing of tradition or being new and different for their own sakes. Another commitment MUST be rejection of modernity as the foundation or norm for belief and life and mission and service. Both conservatives and progressives have (often unwittingly and even against their own intentions) adopted modernity as the cultural norm even for Christianity and church life. What will that mean? It must mean an openness to new things the Spirit of God wants to do among his people that do not fit the modern box. It must mean a refusal of control, manipulation and orderliness. It must mean a refusal to reduce Christianity to either doctrine or ethics and a determination to discover it as transformative spirituality that is not privatized or individualized. It must mean attempts to discover the meaning of true community without confining structures, rules and protocols that put these before persons and relationships."

- Roger Olson,

On the fear of postmodernism -

"…this new mode of postmodern rationality is frightening to some Christians. They find it frightening because they have completely succumbed to a one-sided objectivism out of a deep-seated fear of the dangers of relativism. Without an objective and infallible source of meaning, so their reasoning goes, the truth claims of the gospel seem to be undermined. Hence, their response is to ground Christian belief in an infallible text, an infallible experience, or an infallible magisterium.”

- William Stacy Johnson, "Reading the Scriptures Faithfully in a Postmodern Age", in Davis, E.F. and Hays, R.B. (eds.), The Art of Reading Scripture, 112

Narrative Theology taps into the polyphonic uniqueness of diverse and multicultural societies to derive meaning from literary ambiguity and metaphorical expressions to create clearer communication and understanding between such diverse populations regionally, nationally and globally....

The Christian message has become lost in a wilderness of its own making that many postmodern, narrative theologians now seek to reclaim by narrating the major themes of the Bible for general public consumption...

Emergents, however, are learning to speak this message better (and I submit, more biblically!) by re-reading the Scripture's tone and import....

Narrative Theology does then indeed represent the "plurivocal, polyphonic, multilinear anthologies of so magnificent and irreducible a book" we call the Bible. A book that wishes to reveal God and His gracious revelation to mankind.

- R.E. Slater, July 24, 2012

“Cal-minians”– a position I think is inconsistent
but at least [it is] not full blown Calvinism.

- Roger Olson, October 20, 2011
that lack a clear confessional stance on God’s sovereignty in salvation,
there should be tolerance and mutual respect combined with complete transparency."

- Roger Olson, October 20, 2011

"The Bible reflects the ancient cultures in which it was written,
and this very fact proclaims the glory of God."

- Peter Enns, January 6, 2011

"If you want to argue [evolution's merits or demerits] with [trained and technically specialised scientists], you will have to argue better science that stands the test of peer review, not better ideology."

- Pete Enns, November 25, 2011

"If you want to argue theology with [trained and technically specialised biblical theologians], you will have to argue better theology that stands the test of peer review, not better ideology."

- R.E. Slater, November 25, 2011
[Adapted from Pete Enn's quote above]

"Is evangelicalism a stable, unchanging movement, or is evangelicalism open to change. It all really depends on whether holding on to evangelical identity should be our primary concern, or, whether we should pursue truth wherever it leads - even if it disrupts familiar paradigms."

- Pete Enns, November 25, 2011

"Too often we quote bible verses to one another to end conversation, when in reality, these very same verses should be used to begin conversations."

- Rachel Held Evans, March 11, 2012, Mars Hill Church

"Just because one believes a thing to be so does not make it so. The ground of our reality may be personal. It may be subjective. But the greater ground of our reality is found within the stricter confines of a more objective community that will question our opinions. Our beliefs. Our thoughts until such a time as we can reasonably determine for ourselves what makes belief a more legitimate thing than pure supposition or imposition placed importunely upon others.

"We are neither the start, nor the end, to the faith of another. Faith is God's most precious gift. To that gift we may only hope to explore it within a joined participation with each other in an endless journey of divine mystery and sacred thought."

- R.E. Slater, March 14, 2012

"The God we imagined may not be the real God of our imagination but something even greater than we can imagine."

- R.E. Slater, September 26, 2012

"Emergent Christianity embraces the mystery of the divine,
expressed without explanation to our resisting minds.
Witnessed in Jesus' paradoxical statements
having no answers but the answer of faith
that we must embrace and obey."

- R.E. Slater, March 21, 2012

"Biblicism is a theory about the Bible that emphasizes its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability.

"However, biblicism falls apart because of the exacting problem of 'pervasive interpretive pluralism.' For even among presumably well-intentioned readers - including many evangelical biblicists - the Bible, after their very best efforts to understand it, says and teaches very different things about most significant topics....

"It becomes moot then to assert a text to be solely authoritative or inerrant when, lo and behold, it gives rise to a whole host of divergent teachings on many important matters.”

- Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible

I think “infallible” does a better job than “inerrant” so long as I can explain what it means. “Infallible,” to me, means the Bible never fails in its main purpose which is to identify God for us, to communicate his love and his will to us, and to lead us into salvation and a right relationship with our Creator, Savior and Lord.

- Dr. Roger Olson, Why Inerrancy Doesn't Matter

“The problems many of us feel regarding the Bible may have less to do with the Bible itself and more to do with our own preconceptions.... I have found again and again that listening to how the Bible itself behaves and suspending preconceived notions (as much as that is possible) about how we think the Bible to behave is refreshing, creative, exciting and spiritually rewarding.”

 - Peter Enns, Inspiration and Incarnation, p. 15

"Our primary mission is to serve, to love, to heal,
to witness to the love of Christ."

                                                                                                  - Hugh Halter, Nat'l Dir. Missio, Denver, CO
                                                                                                       & "Lead Architect" of Adullam, Denver, CO

"I wonder if Christianity is rejected by many for its lack of serious
intellectual engagement with major, pressing issues?"

                                                                                                    - Kyle Roberts, Bethel Seminary, Minn., MN

"It’s really quite impossible to shake religion and simply follow
Jesus. To do the latter requires engaging the cultural and
sociological realities we call ‘religion.’

                                                                                                  - Kyle Roberts, Bethel Seminary, Minn., MN

When you judge another, you do not define them, but you define yourself.

- Anon

"Don't cry about the past 'cause it don't ever change; smile and look ahead, ya future ain't gotta look the same!"

- Pez D. Davila, April 2012
a Facebook friend with the amazing spiritual gift of evangelism

We should engage the arguments of scientific fundamentalists as a way to educate those in our religious communities. One of the strongest critics of religion says he doesn’t really blame the average Christian for holding naïve views of Bible or simple ideas of God. But he criticizes religious leaders - who presumably have been educated - for failing publicly and blatantly to disapprove of the naïve views of the masses. Christian leaders fail to act bravely [when not providing] interpretations of the Bible and views of science that oppose the unsophisticated views of those who sit in the pews.

- Thomas J. Oord, February 16, 2012

"Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics."

- Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design, pg 5

"...and by inference, neither has Theology."

- R.E. Slater)

"...But I don't feel like you're going to get that many people to change their minds. I think we're at a cultural moment where people believe what they want and become immune to information. And they can always find some credentialed expert to tell them that they're right.

"Like so many mid-career academics I share the feeling that evangelicalism has abandoned us, in a sense. It went somewhere over the course of our adult life and adopted a public face which is anti-intellectual and anti-science. It became very political and obsessed with a few social issues at the expense of the broader gospel. So I'm quite happy to say that I want to speak to audiences that have evolved past evangelicalism or were never in that community to begin with."

- Karl Giberson (one of the founders of Biologos)
September 17, 2012, Updating Our Language of Genesis

...Pursuing what I call a "radical theology." I want to be "after" God in as many ways as possible, not only after/post- the dualism of The City of God but also after/ad- the name of God that gives words to a desire beyond desire, which Derrida has subtly if enigmatically set loose in texts like "Circumfession."

- John Caputo, June 10, 2012, Towards a Radical Theology, Not a Radical Atheism: A Review of Modern Atheism, Atheology and Divine Inexistence

Deconstruction is not "critique" but an oblique affirmation.

- John Caputo, June 10, 2012, Towards a Radical Theology, Not a Radical Atheism: A Review of Modern Atheism, Atheology and Divine Inexistence

What Evangelicals do when they read the Bible and talk about what it says or means: 
  1. Evangelicals are inheritors of a belief based interpretive tradition, focusing not specifically on the meaning of the text, rather the transitivity between the text and beliefs.
  2. Evangelicals are not inheritors of a hermeneutic; rather, their adherence to literalism is a part of their belief tradition.
  3. Evangelical Bible reading is driven by a search for relevance, influenced by their belief tradition.
  4. The interpretive tradition is perennially caught between the Scylla of interpretive freedom and the Charybdis of irrelevance: too much hermeneutic freedom and the tradition disintegrates, losing its epistemological appeal; too little interpretive freedom and the Bible becomes merely an irrelevant historical artifact, rather than the ever living word of God. 
- Brian MalleyApril 30, 2004, How the Bible Works: An Anthropological Study of Evangelical Biblicism, pg. 73

Frank Schaeffer, in his book, "Crazy for God," observes that life is mainly shaped by one's parents and family, peer group pressure, and - not least - the white water of ambition. Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. I was reminded several times of one of Kurt Vonnegut's insights: "Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be."

- Jim Forest, March 15, 2008

My prayer at the start of each day, and my confession: "There are no better cosmetics than a severe temperance and purity, modesty and humility, a gracious temper and calmness of spirit; and there is no true beauty without the signatures of these graces in the very countenance."

- Arthur Helps

I find life a lot fuller when not going through it judging people or defending God. Put another way, religion is the pride of unlearned men; faith is its wonder and shame.

- R.E. Slater, June 9, 2013

"I'm beginning to wonder if what makes the Gospel offensive is not who it keeps out, but who it lets in. Samaritans. Gentiles. Women. Tax collectors. Prostitutes. The poor. The merciful. Peacemakers. Drunks. Addicts. The sick. The uneducated. The persecuted. Slaves. Prisoners. The naked. The hungry. The marginalized. The troublemakers. The oppressed. The misfits. The powerless. Children. A self-important cynic like me. An ethnic and sexual minority who, though the Bible forbade him from even entering a temple on account of his sexuality, turned to Philip and said, 'Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?'... Love need not agree or understand or have it all figured out. But love always opens the door."

- Rachael Held Evans, June 13, 2013

Jesus is the best guide to God’s character.... That said, we must interpret Scripture through the lens of Jesus.... And in light of Jesus’ teachings about love, we cannot believe in a God of hate or celebrate violence. As such, we must revise certain traditional views of God’s wrath and hell in light of Jesus.

- Roger Olson, June 18, 2013

"But all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things
alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a
thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change."

- G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (chpt 7)

"I think a lack of courage among many leaders to address these
issues in the past is one of the factors in the consequences we are
reaping today in the militant conservatism seen in some organized groups...."

- Dennis Bratcher

"What I have come to realise is that word liberal shouldn’t be used to define someone’s faith. Rather it should be used to describe their tradition and approach (in much the same way one might use progressive, Pentecostal, Reformed etc)."

- Mark Stevens

"God is holy. God is good. God is love. But the greatest of these is love. Love is how God makes one holy and good through Jesus. Not of human will but divine.

God's love cannot be preached enough. All Christian doctrine must proceed on God's love. All missions of the church must go at this sublime thought. No other church dogma must be higher than the grace of God. And all church doctrine must revolve around this one thought.

The holiness of God is meaningless without the grace of God. The goodness of God has no affect if it isn't bathed in God's atoning grace. Holiness without grace is austere. It proceeds in judgment first, last, and always. Goodness is without effect if not given in love. It is wholly utilitarian and bare of God's mindful relation to His creation if not met in love.

The love of God is the most sufficient descriptor of the Christian faith, of God Himself, and God's relationship to His creation. None else may proceed above this thought."

- 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