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, June 4, 2012

Coming Home to Phillip Phillips "Home," Arcade's "Wild Thing's," & Guetta's "Titanium"

Phillip's new song "Home" bears an especial meaning for the Christian where God has become our rest and where we might become a "home" to those seeking God's rest as testimony to the birthing pangs of our spiritual renewal in Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.

For further background please refer to the furthering link of Devising a Meaning for David Guetta's, "Titanium ft. Sia." Here I give an explanation to mortal rebirth whereas in Phillip's Home we may find its spiritual completion.

Afterwards I thought I might also include the soundtrack to "Where the Wild Things Are," perhaps one of the profoundest movies I've watched compounding the sad tale of a lost boy feeling unloved and alone. (By the way, I much prefer Film Review No. 2 over the standard, very shallow, Film Review No. 1). When listening to both Home and Wild Things I find a tonal parallel that is reminiscent of the one to the other. Thus completing the circle started by Guetta's Titanium.


R.E. Slater
June 4, 2012

Phillip Phillips - Home



Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home.

Where the Wild Things Are --TRAILER--

Where The Wild Things Are [Music Video] - "Wake Up" by The Arcade Fire

"Wake Up" lyrics

Somethin' - filled up - my heart - with nothin' - someone - told me
not to cry. - but now that - I'm older - my heart's - colder - and  I
can - see that it's a lie.

Children - wake up - hold your - mistake up - before they - turn the
summer into dust - if the children - don't grow up - our bodies get
bigger. but - our hearts get torn up - we're just - a million little

gods causing rain storms - turning every good thing to rust. - I guess
we'll just have to adjust.

With my lightning bolts a-glowin' I can see where i am going to be when
the reaper he reaches and touches my hand.

With my lightning bolts a-glowin' I can see where I am goin'
better look out below!

Phillip Phillips - Raging Fire

Film Review 1 -

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"Where the Wild Things Are"
Directed by Spike Jonze
Warner Home Video 10/09 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG - mild thematic elements, some adventure action, brief language

The first twenty minutes of this creative, bold, and thought-provoking screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak's immensely popular 1963 children's book rushes at us in a torrential stream of images, movements, and loud sounds. Nine-year-old Max (Max Records) chases the family dog, exerts his power over a fence in an imaginary game, digs a snow igloo, attacks his older sister and her male friends with snowballs, cries after his igloo being destroyed, and avenges himself on his sister by some destructive acts in her room. At school he's shocked when his science teacher outlines a scenario in which the sun dies. At home again, he tries to get his mother (Catherine Keener) to visit the rocketship he's built in his room, but she's busy with her new boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo). Max reacts by dressing up in his wolf suit, standing on the kitchen counter, ordering her to feed him, and then biting her in the shoulder.

Max, his mother tells him, is out-of-control! The fears of childhood come out as anger. Still dressed in his wolf suit, he runs out of the house and through the woods and sails away on a boat to another world. After a frightening passage through stormy seas and a climb up steep cliffs, he discovers that the island is inhabited by Wild Things — large beasts with horns, crooked teeth, big bellies, and voracious appetites. They are both scary and endearing.

Max immediately empathizes with Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini), the wildest of the Wild Things, who nevertheless is feeling like nobody is on his side. He recognizes an ally in the fierce little boy who tries to help him knock down some houses. When the others hear Max proclaim his special powers to overcome loneliness and sadness, they decide this newcomer should be their king. "Let the wild rumpus start!" Max yells, and the whole band of beasts romp through the forest smashing things to smithereens.

Max relishes his role as the initiator. After the rumpus, they all collapse in a pile to sleep, a happy time for all which Max decides they can replicate by building a fort. It will be a Utopian place where only what they want to have happen will happen. But this turns out to be no easy task. Jealousies and competition in the community surface, which are aggravated by a mud clod war. Max's frustration builds. It isn't easy making all the major decisions as king. He has trouble with Judith (Catherine O'Hara); who is critical and negative; the goat-horned Alexander (Paul Dano), who feels put-upon and persecuted; and KW (Lauren Ambrose) who has an on-and-off -again relationship with Carol which is heightened when she brings two new friends into the community. A child of divorce, Max is particularly sensitive to their squabbling.

Spike Jonze who wowed the cinema world with Being John Malkovitch and Adaptation, has stated that Where the Wild Things Are is not a children's movie but a movie about childhood. There are layers and layers to this film, and we suspect that it may take several viewings for us to unpack them all. Certainly, it is much richer, deeper, and darker than the Caldecott Medal-winning children's book, and those who loved that story and its younger Max may not have the same response to the film. While some older children may connect with the continuum of emotions Max exhibits — from frustrated fury to ecstatic joy to compassionate empathy — adults will most likely be drawn to the valid points the film makes about fear and sadness and their connection to anger and aggression.

Long ago Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics wrote:
"Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — this is not easy."
We live in times when emotional ineptitude, violence, and recklessness are rampant in many segments of society. Where the Wild Things Are presents us with a parable about emotional intelligence as the antidote to the fear and rage which makes so many childhoods a never-ending nightmare. In the alternate world of imagination, Max is able to see his own inner dramas played out in the lives of the Wild Things — especially in Carol's mood swings. Max realizes his own limitations and that he can be more appreciative of the good things he has at home with his mother and sister.

The best fairy tales and children's books help youngsters come to terms with the shadow elements of life and the tricky emotions of fear, anger, envy, and anxiety about abandonment. This movie will do that for older children. For adults, it provides a haunting and soul-stirring reminder of the need for emotional literacy in order to deal with a world that often does not live up to their expectations or dreams of freedom and power. By the end of this magical story, Max gets it, and so will you. You might even find yourself joining him and the Wild Things inside and around you in a final howl!

Phillip Phillips - Gone, Gone, Gone

Film Review 2 -

Thinking Through and Feeling Where the Wild Things Are
October 29, 2009

In my analysis of this splendid film, I want to state first off that I understand that I’m pulling some heavy interpretations that may come across like a 1:1 metaphorical statement about what the film is saying. While I believe that these insights into the film can help flesh out one way of seeing the film, I am totally open to many interpretations and understandings of it. That is a mark of good film: Debate and various parsings. What I do want to dissuade others from is a quick dismissal of the film as ‘depressing’, or ‘dark’.

When I have heard or read others’ reactions to the film including that it is boring, depressing, etc. I have not heard them relate to the film in its mythic level. This to me seems telling when the movie is essentially a step by step hero’s journey with resonances of course to pop-psych, religious, and spiritual motifs. If there are reviews of the film which include why it fails as a mythic quest, I have not seen them and I welcome being turned on to them.

So let me pull no punches. Right off I’ll tell you that I quickly saw the film taking a ‘vision quest’ or hero’s journey type of narrative. This influenced my entire viewing and once I’d locked onto that format, it was hard for me to not see it otherwise. This is the trap of all rigid worldviews, isn’t it? Well, I’m guilty here. But I will say that it made the movie flow quite coherently and endearingly so with fresh interpretations and statements about many of our contemporary conditions.

I’ll also say there’s a bounty of spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen it, stop here. Also: what’s up with people saying this is or isn’t a children’s movie? Why is that even on the radar? “Because of the book it derives its title and images from, you dullard!” you scream back. But Jonze has repeatedly said that it is an adult’s movie that is about childhood so enough of that. I would say that the youngest a person could be and enjoy the film would be roughly around ten years old.

So anywho: Max, the protagonist (and white male hero figure—haven’t we had enough of these? Didn’t Keanu kind of put the exclamation mark on that stereotype?) is a youth on the cusp of puberty and is living in a fantasy world of unbridled energy. He terrorizes the family dog, he believes that other’s attention should be unwavering from him, that his mother is an extension of himself, and that other’s should play by his own rules (the snowball fight that escalates to a level that is beyond his control or comfort). Ultimately, he is an unchecked ego in the full exuberance of childhood.

But his world is crumbling around him. His sister has developed friendships and possibly romantic interests that are consuming her attention. His mother and father are divorced and mother’s new romantic interest is invading the pacific and Max centered family unit.

We are to understand that Max’s life is an island where his needs and identity rule unchecked. Even from the title card credits, Max has scrawled his name over the production houses’ logos. His name gets etched into the boat, and he plants a garbage bag flag on his snow pile like a colonizing Lord. His interest in self expression and unique spirit are not at issue here. It is his inability to be responsive to the shared social world he is slowly being birthed into. He is reaching the ‘age of accountability’, individuation from his mother, and connecting his actions to consequences.

A number of important events lead to his hero’s journey or spur him on to his crises among the Wild Things.

He learns of the mortality or changingness of all things. Everything changes, flows, dies, transforms. Marriages dissolve, sisters grow up, new relationships begin, and the childhood years of irresponsibility ultimately end. This is a core tenet to many spiritual teachings. This knowledge pushes one to focus on the bedrock values within themselves and their society. Max is faced with not only the mortality of himself and others around him, but the world and indeed the solar system when the Sun itself will transform. We must come to terms with our Earth’s future demise—and face an ethical response to it and the other life that lives on it. Will we cower at this with ignorance or apathy? Will we foolheartedly welcome it with misguided apocalypticism, dreaming of a blood drenched and sword welding Christ? Or will we dissolve ego, see past the lies of a culture of rabid consumption, and humble ourselves in compassion? Anywho, I digress. Max sees death before him, like Guatama on his chariot ride.

Max experiences fear of loss. He had given his heart (in card form) to his sister. When his sister ‘betrays’ him by not standing up for him and his defeated snow fort, he tramples on the card he had made for his sister. His destruction of the heart shaped card is intended to hurt his sister but it hurts him also. One may never lash out at another, hate another, or withdraw love from another without harming oneself, after all. With the help of mom, he performs a mea culpa and tries to restore his sister’s room to its previous condition but as we know physical damages may be patched up but the emotional and psychological effects will ripple much longer. The buildings and neighborhood of New Orleans can and will be restored, but what of the people living there who experienced the largely racialized betrayal of their government? His loss of his sister and the loss of his mother are largely connected—as well as the loss of the father we can presume who is not seen in the film. His repentance towards his sister is connected also to the third event…

Max commits violences towards his mother. Standing on a table he screams, “Feed me woman!” Is this a gendered attack that he had heard from his father? The leering wolf-suited Max stars at his mother from the kitchen table, the demanding male in a house whose status as ‘head’ is being challenged all around. After the divorce, perhaps Max had become accustomed to being the only male presence in the house and now he’s got mother’s new boyfriend in the other room drinking wine and laughing. Max then lashes out and bites his mother-the mouth that like Remus and Romulus had suckled from a wolf had nursed at his mother is now like a wolf biting her. He then runs away into the night and thus begins his journey.

Like any good mythic journey, we’ve got to traverse water—the symbol of the unconscious. He sets off in escape, or adventure? We know that his is a journey that will resolve in his return. This is a circular journey, following the Eastern narrative. The hero leaves, finds his boon, wisdom, transformation, spirit animal, or weapon and returns to his fold.

The first thing Max sees is a fire on the hill. Is this civilization? Hope? A warming fire? No, it is destruction and madness. Appropriately Max finds Carol (the Wild Thing representing his dominant characteristics) crushing bird-nest-like houses. What should be sheltering and a symbol of safety is being crushed by Carol’s actions. I won’t get into too much detail (really?) about the Wild Things, but Max finds semblances of his sister, mother, facets of himself, and presumably others there. These are his spirit animals, perhaps, or his more properly his ‘demons’ in need of taming and stand-ins for the others in his life which he must live with ethically.

Max is crowned King. Of course! This is his new snow fort, his world and he is the unquestioned ruler of it. This is the seductive power of the Dark Side, if I may borrow from Yoda. It is a human experience to want to rule, command, dictate. We may not seek CEO positions or great wealth. We don’t need to. This comes in many expressions: wanting to win each argument, defend yourself when you’re in the wrong, disregard others, etc. The Wild Things reveal that many kings have died and been eaten by them. As it is! Yes, the combat we must face daily with our desire to be right, be served, be gluttons, be God’s ‘elect’, be ‘better than’, is mortal combat. It is perilous. Max will only survive in the end by giving up his crown and declining kingship. This is the Christ teaching that we can all emulate. By accepting a crown of hardship and service to the marginalized and cast-off rather than glory we can survive and succeed in honor.

Max then goes through a journey that has meaning at personal, familial, and political levels.

He tries to create a mono culture—a universal and totalizing system. He is King and his saying is final. This is the desire of egoistic systems—Hegelianism, reductive materialism, maculinist systems of power, exclusivist religious systems, etc. This does not work. Communities, relationships, and power dynamics occlude a universalized or single, easy answer.

Max tries by his design to create a Utopian community. Again, a ‘city’ (really just a bigger bird’s nest) is made with hopes that technology and progress will cure the ‘ailments’ of ethical relations. It does not. There remains in some progressive circles a believe that if only our technoscientific knowledge could be harnessed and a ‘green economy’ created, we would enter a new age of human development. However, as Max finds out, dynamics of power remain: A Wild Thing questions his favoritism of Carol and asks “Can I be your favorite color?” No matter how many solar panels we may make, we as a global community, still need to deal with and find justice in matters of class, race, ‘gender’, ‘sex’, and sexuality.

In even universalizing systems, difference must be accounted for. Difference is an important developmental step to undergo also. How does one deal with ‘difference’? Usually we call it ‘evil’, heretical, bad, impure, ‘against nature’, ‘them’, etc. Max is no different. He separates the Wild Things into Good Guys and Bad Guys. This escalates from a play fight to a real fight and real violences and hurt. Again—I want to support many interpretations of this movie and I understand that individual interior battles and national political policies have overlap and there are many ways to view Max’s interactions with the Wild Things.

Most importantly, Max finally makes his transition. This occurs, unsurprisingly enough within the belly of a Wild Thing. This is the travel into death. The belly of the beast, The Grave, the Death Star’s trash compactor, Jonah’s Whale, Christ’s descent into Hades, and womb imagery and thus ‘born again’ language is the place of transition in many myths and Max is no different. It is here that he ‘faces’ Carol and has his vision or full repentance moment. He is pulled from the mouth reborn.

His first act is to find Carol quickly knowing he must return to his ‘real family’ and not finding Carol leaves his heart again. Mirroring the risk of giving his heart to his sister and overcoming his need to have his name proclaimed, he places a “C” in a heart shape for Carol to find.

But he cannot stay here. He has transformed. Carol finds the heart as Max renounces his Kingship.

Carol, the embodiment of Max’s old childish egotism cannot meet Max. He is already sailing for home and like we all must do, Max can only see his childhood years from a distance. We cannot say goodbye to our old selves, for we have moved on before we know it. Grief, repentance, or ego dissolution can accomplish this transformation of our person and no matter how we transform we are left to look at a distance at our old selves.

And how will we relate to our old self? The Wild Thing who is a Bull, figuring perhaps as the full grown and mature personality that Max will grow into asks Max: “Will you say nice things about us?” Max says he will.

We must look back at ourselves with forgiveness and mercy. The same compassion that we must extend to all life includes our pasts. Without regret and shame.

Max returns to the real world, barking at a neighborhood dog. He has changed but that does not mean he must leave his playfulness and joy behind. One may be childish without being a boor or self important.

His mother greets him at the door and no words are exchanged. This is the triumph of a script: allow the words to be said with knowing faces. They look at each other a mother and her reborn son. The movie closes as Max now watches his mother fall asleep, experiencing his mother as a separate entity—also human, fallible, vulnerable.

So I’ve gone on too long about this movie. But I loved it. Great acting, music, visuals, script….

And it has spiritual impact upon me. I’m cool with people disliking this movie, as with any other movie. However: I beg that one who dislikes the movie first question how they engage any movie that deals with mortality and the spiritual quest that underlies ethics. For I’m of the belief that without a clear stance on one’s feelings towards death and the mythic adventurous we undertake as humans love is stunted.

And love is what its all about after all.

Phillip Phillips - Where We Came From (Trio Version)