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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Philip Clayton's talks about Process Theology


"No one gets to capture the flag around here... "
 - Anon


What can God be doing now?!?
 
Part of developing this blog/journal during the past year has been to revitalize a Christianity that has become boring, static, mundane, inconsequential, and unimportant to our postmodern day lives of the 21st Century. The old orthodoxies with their set definitions of God and faith, church and worship, have basically turned off many "outsiders" to the Christian faith. That same faith seems unremarkable and unrelated to what's happening in the world with its sufferings, injustices, and unfeeling regard for humanity's basic liberties and freedoms. We have inhumanized practically everything that we have touched. Creating a world that is more mechanistic than human; more dead than alive; more concerned with self, than with people beyond ourselves; more concerned with our Western cultures than with the wider pluralisms of the many non-Christian cultures around us. In essence, we have made God out to be all of these things that we basically are ourselves, calling these things "God" when in actuality they resemble our own idols of "God." So that if this is the kind of God the church is offering than no one wants this kind of God. Least of all myself.

Our favorite ideas of God
are changing...
Of course I am being unfair here and dumping all the old cynicisms and cliches that we've heard about the church and Christianity since time immemorial... but there is a large part of this that can be true when the church refuses to loosen up its dogmas and restrictive thinking to simply sit itself down upon past creedal faiths and closed theologies to plaintively cry "the sky is falling" like chicken little. With postmodernism coming-of-age we now have the opportunity to rethink, in radically newer terms, the church's ideas of "God," "faith," and "religion," in very organic ways. Not by simply creating an "edgy" style of worship, or "closer-knit" faith communities, or more "holistic" ministry practices that are street-wise and pedestrian. No, it has to go deeper than this. It has to go all the way down into our very theologies itself. A theology that must be re-created in deeply radical terms that lets go of the past and opens itself up to a whole new array of thinking about God, ourselves, and our world.

Our favorite dogmas are broken...
Consequently, over this past year we have been looking at a branch of theology called "Process Theology" and trying to understand what it is, why it is, and where it would have us go.... And for us older theologs and bible students, we have been trying to discern just what to keep, and what to let go, within this newer branch of ontology, metaphysics and economic order. For myself I have been advocating a halfway house... a place somewhere between Classical Theism and Process Theism that I have been calling Relational Theism (see links immediately below). Not "Relational-Process Theology," but "Relational Theism" that rejects Process' panentheistic (and perhaps too liberal) basis but reaches out to take all the cool relational stuff about God, us, and religion, that is transportable  from process theology; but also from classical theism's very austere, and implacable, ideas about God, His rule, and His conduct towards creation and mankind. So then, a synthesis, if you will, between the two varying positions.

Why? Because I am attracted to a God who is relational. Who is deeply involved in the process of re-creation - even within His own Being that is too often claimed impassive and stoic. Who changes like I do with every passing day, adapting to the world of men and creation, as each changes, and forms, and reforms, and breaks apart, and reforms again. Something which is dynamic, reactive, and intrinsically organic. But is also deeply connected to the past as much as to the future. Which binds all together as one as a living, breathing, process - and not a cold, impersonal, intemperate rule of governance according to a heartless plan or cold ideology.
 

Seeking a Postmodern Re-definition of Classic Theism -

Open Theism & Process Theology, Part 1/2

Open Theism & Process Theology, Part 2/2


Fear of change is in the church...
Of course this leaves open a lot of questions about what kind of omnipotence and foreknowledge God bears (or wields) which is where my old timey Classical Theism kicks in and begins to question my inherited classical tradition - asking questions that requires of it a fuller evaluation of its deficiencies and/or sufficiencies, with a better approbation of where it can, or cannot, lead when asking these more fundamental postmodern questions.  For instance, perhaps it is in God's ethical being that His divine Personage remains immutable and unchanging - for how can pure Love be anything less that itself? And perhaps when we were created in God's image and given free will God necessarily "limited" Himself (a word I no longer like by the way b/c God isn't necessarily "limited" unless only by a relationship's self-limiting boundaries, so let's substitute this idea for the word "relates" Himself) in his predestination / omnipotency through an infinitely evolving relationship that is dynamic, open, and malleable (changing). This then would affect God's foreknowledge for which a newer branch of theology has arisen called Open Theology which might provide some help in light of these newer, postmodern, ideas. Or might not (but I'm hoping it will!). And the list can go on and on... but a list that we must explore should we wish to find reasonable answers... and if not answers, than much better questions.... Which I personally would be quite content with anyway being an old "Lostie" (the popular TV show from a couple of years ago) at heart, whose viewership sought for better questions rather than straight-forward answers to each character's quantum-like time splices of lived lives.

We tell God we can't
and then try to patch things up...
At least that is how I am understanding it at this point.  But to do this we must be better acquainted with Process Theology, and more willing to adapt our old-line orthodoxies, and ingrained church traditionalisms into a more radical rethinking of basic church doctrines and ideas of God. And to not behave like the story of Humpty-Dumpty who fell off the King's wall with all his pet ideologies smashing about to then be repaired by all the king's horses in an impossible task of frivolity and nonsense. No. But to push on in re-imagining a theology that can be beheld in the footlights of post-modernism's constant glare and brighter promises.

And as if on cue, God has provided us with a new form of church movement that we've been studying called post-evangelic or Emergent Christianity, which seems to be the perfect vehicle to do this type of thinking as we look at the many newer conceptualizations and ideologies of the Bible in fundamentally altering ways releasing us from bondage of older church epistemologies into fresher postmodern perspectives of what our faith can be and become. Living, real, affective, dynamic, relational, and meaningful! At least that is my hope and expectation for Emergent Christianity.

We are left either with really good
French Toast...
Not that our faith was less meaningful in eras past, because back then it simply had adapted itself to live-and-breathe within those era's philosophical besetting boundaries and epistemologies. For within those past centuries many eons ago the church's faith was as organic and real then as what we would wish it to be now. But the church's faith of yesteryear is not going to live-and-breathe the same now as it did then in our newer, postmodernistic, and scientific era. Much like Jesus' new wine of the gospel that needed newer wineskins lest it burst, so will the faith of a newly emerging, post-evangelic church require a newer, more postmodern, gospel wineskin - one that might look more like that of a Relational Theology bearing within its bones an Open Theology of the future full of expectations and zeal. But to get there we must first understand its newer cousin, Process Theology, and from there we will be freer to synthesize our older, classical, faith into something more relevant for today. By discovering what works - and what doesn't work - in this newer postmodern wineskin we call Emergent, or post-evangelic, Christianity, while leaving the task of unscrambling broken eggs to our infinitely wise God within a nursery of fomenting ideas brimming with possibilities, hatching uncertainties, incredibilities, impossibilities, hope, and nurture. Now wouldn't that be grand!

R.E. Slater
February 8, 2012
revised October 25, 2013

Or a nursery full of new ideas and growing possibilities!
Stayed tuned....



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Doug Pagitt Radio | Philip Clayton Pt. 1 of 2






Doug Pagitt Radio | Philip Clayton Pt. 2 of 2






A Rough Outline of 
Doug Pagitt – Philip Clayton's Discussion
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/emergentvillage/2012/01/emergent-village-process-theology-conversation-preview/

January 22, 2012

A Definition of Process Theology (PT)

1.       Alfred North Whiteheadian…  John Cobb...
       Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_theology

2. Any theology that recognizes that thought about God is always in process

What Does This Mean?

"God's own experience of the world is progressing with us. He is being as affected as we our affected by creation, mankind and each other.

"Interaction with mankind changes God as much as He changes us. Our relationship with one another is like a marriage partnership that is not static but dynamic."

"God is unchangeable in his ethical being but that is a different from his changeable relationship to man."

"God’s eternal nature vs. God’s experiential nature is constantly developing or responding to the world and to every living thing on this planet whether animate or inanimate (including the universe). Therefore we have an evolving God."

  • Many professional theologians preach a static God
  • Many traditional or creedal believers preach a time-bound bible with static proof texts

Process Theology says that God is One who responds to people in genuine interaction with humanity

PT gets interesting when it meets the emergent church. Why? Emergent Christians are much more willing to update their theology; to radically rethink the church in new terms that break the old restrictive rules about God; to think in postmodern terms of dynamic understanding of ourselves, our cultures and our thought.

PT loosens up orthodoxy

To simply have newer church practices, newer worship, or newer communities is not enough... the church needs a newer theology from the current one that simply stays the same day after day; that doesn't evolve with an evolving creation.

We need radically newer ways of doing church but we need even more radically newer ways of thinking about God

God constantly engages His creation

Traditional churches with traditional theologies are not as attractive anymore; people don’t want the old orthodoxies nor do they want any new orthodoxies that were the same dress but in a different style. People don't want an institutional religion but a completely new style of faith that is liberating.

We have a saying, "No one gets to capture the flag around here…." [(not liberals, not evangelics, not even progressives.)]