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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hellbound? A Review of Kevin Miller's Film, Popular Christian Positions and Dogmas


Published on Mar 21, 2012 by

This is the teaser trailer for "Hellbound?" (www.hellboundthemovie.com), a feature-length documentary that takes an in-depth look at today's highly contentious debate over the Christian doctrine of eternal punishment. Does hell really exist, and if so, what factors determine who ends up there?

Written and directed by Kevin Miller ("Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," "Sex+Money," "spOILed" and "With God On Our Side"), "Hellbound?" features interviews with an eclectic group of high profile authors, theologians, pastors, social commentators, musicians, exorcists and individuals who claim to have experienced the fires of hell firsthand. The film will hit theaters across North America in September 2012 through a combination of major metropolitan area theatrical runs and special event screenings.

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Does hell exist? If so, who ends up there, and why? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, social commentators and musicians, “Hellbound?” is a provocative, feature-length documentary that will ensure you never look at hell the same way again! Coming to theaters in Fall 2012.

Hell. A shadowy abode choked with eggy, sulfurous fumes; the stench of blackened, bubbling flesh and screams of agony from souls trapped forever in a lake of fire. A vision made all the more terrifying by the fact that God–the only being who could possibly save us from such a fate–is the one who consigns us there instead.

Such depictions of hell have gripped humanity for centuries. But the traditional view of hell also presents us with a dilemma. If God is our pure, all-loving Creator, can he really allow (presumably) billions of people to suffer in hell for eternity? To many people, it seems like we can have a good God or we can have the traditional view of hell, but we can’t have both…

Some people simply resign themselves to the mystery, hoping the logic of damnation will be revealed in the life to come. Others suggest alternate views, such as Annihilationism (the souls of the damned are extinguished after the Day of Judgment) or Universalism (everyone is eventually reconciled to God). Still others become so frustrated that they finally walk away from Christianity altogether.

Is it possible we’ve gotten hell wrong? Or are recent challenges to the traditional view a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, musicians and social commentators, Hellbound? asks why we are so bound to the idea of hell and what our view of hell reveals about how we perceive God, the Bible and, ultimately, ourselves.


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Commentary by Tony Jones
March 28, 2012

A while back, it was mentioned that Mark Driscoll was being interviewed for a documentary about Hell, being created by some of the folks who made Expelled. That documentary, now being called Hellbound, is scheduled for release in September.

Despite Driscoll’s involvement, I hear that the documentary comes closer to siding with Rob Bell.

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Message from Writer/Director Kevin Miller

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Introductory Comments and Observations
by R.E. Slater

When I first started this blog I began writing under the pseudonym skinhead but as time went on and I became more familiar with the issues that were rocking the modern day church I switched to my own name. My writing has subsequently developed as well so that my earlier posts will show a transition of topical maturity and development. Hence, my earliest posts (as seen below) will reflect a "point" versus "counterpoint" format, but over time will begin showing more my own sentiments on that particular subject as I become more comfortable with this Internet-based form of electronic medium known as blogging.

Herein I reflect on the evangelical church's modern day discussions of popular biblical topics as versus my own growth and development away from evangelicalism's doctrinal simplicities and aggressive overstatements to more of a moderating contemplation of theologic positions biblically, personally, politically, culturally, and spiritually. For it seems that today's Christianity may not be the Christianity of the Bible but one more fabricated by evangelicalism's own dogmatic preferences and personal judgments. Which makes for lively discussions but nonetheless unbiblical positions fraught with spiritual misconcerns and errant dogmas.

Hence, shock films like Hellbound? serve as reminders to Christians that perhaps not all things are as they seem to those of us residing within our very comfortable church cultures. That perhaps it is we, ourselves, who need to begin questioning everything as we once did before becoming a Christian, and begin thinking through the implications of our religious perceptions that would lend itself back to the bedrock of a biblically-orientated and spiritually-charged faith. Which is what I have attempted to do within the roll calls of this blog moving from subject matter to subject matter under the auspices of an "emergent Christian faith" that questions everything and is willing to develop better questions while not necessarily demanding complete answers in its heart felt search.

By holding to yesteryear's "evangelical Christian faith" I could not do this. It simply demanded my allegiance to a plethora of unquestioning dogmatic statements. Statements that can be misleading if not downright wrong and wrongheaded. And I suppose that after 2000 years of church history it should be about time that we of the church review all of our own positions and not hold any as sacred until we've had the time to better deduce where we are personally and corporately as the church of God. What we are saying. And how it is being perceived beyond the walls of the church. Walls that we have built very high. Very strong. And very thick. Which is unfortunate because Jesus led a wall-less life. And so should we. However, this does not mean that we devalue our church history for it is this very history that can give to us guidance and instruction so that similar misjudgments and error can be averted.

No, by utilizing church history with updated biblical studies we should be able to come to a better position of Christian statement, belief, worship, ministry, witness and community. One not closed in by religious sentiment and popular opinion but reflective towards an openness that gives hope and reality to the Christian faith. A hope that is less dogmatic. More searching and exploratory. More radical as to living out the claims of Jesus in our lives and in our church communities. Less deterministic. More real. More charged with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit long made dormant by our restrictive religious beliefs, ideologies and corporate posturings.

For the essence of Christianity must be re-examined yet again as can be seen by the many articles contained in this blogsite www.relevancy22.blogspot.com searching for a greater openness of reflection, orientation and direction. And though I try to give guidance on the various topical issues facing the church, overall I have ultimately left this task to the reader to ask better questions of her/himself, of their church, and even of God Himself. For I am confident that God can cause us to better hear Him through His Word as we seek Him in our daily lives and livelihoods. And though this blogsite attempts to give a basic framework from which to begin these tasks it does not necessarily provide any final answers so much as to point us towards more helpful solutions that may work within the postmodern transition of today's emerging church and that of our emerging Christian faith. A faith that must come out from the wilderness of dogmatic religiousity, modernism and bonded service to a promise land of milk and honey. And even though this land may be filled with giants that would give evangelical Christians pause from attempting so bold an attempt, even still does God command us forward into His promises that He is there in this postmodern land of good things. Hence, we begin the task of  deconstructing and reconstructing a faith that should be criticized, critiqued and even categorized because of its many current forms and posturings. But a faith that ultimately must lead to spiritual health and transformation, personal development and growth, that cannot come unless it be willing to submit to God's Spirit in our lives.

Consequently, I give below a partial list of current discussions under the topics of "Hell" but with the allowance that I have grown spiritually through each separate response and find in their totality a basic awareness of today's more popular perceptions while admitting a more open response of inquiry through each submission. Rather than requiring definitive statements on each subject matter I am more willing to allow God's revival of my spirit and attitudes by releasing Him from mine own doctrinal prejudices when they have been found to be less than biblical, less than helpful to His overall message of love and salvation in our lives. At times discussions here will be academic. At other times inspirational and devotional. Or even personal commentaries from guest blogs that I consider helpful to our emergent journey. It is a small attempt to re-orient us back to the contemporary message of Jesus for our 21st Century. And though we bear an old message apparently it needs reframing and revising to our 21st Century ears long grown dull and unconcerned with the message of the Gospel jangling in the background but making no headway in our hearts.

Consequently, I have marked in red those articles which may be more helpful than other articles but would advise the reading of each (perhaps date wise, beginning with the oldest first). Overall, I suspect that our modern understanding of hell will be transformed into a postmodern conviction of heaven and earth becoming joined together in this life. Joined by our conviction that God is real and reaching out to all men everywhere through the work and ministry of Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. That our choices matter. And that they matter in ways that we cannot even begin to fathom or understand within the universal design of the Kingdom of God come to Earth through us, the church. That with those choices (or, lack of choices) come consequences of our of acts and actions as sublime as the air we breath and as revolutionary as the breaking in of the Spirit of God upon the kingdoms of men. And if the article is too long, or too short, or too technical or even uses words that are too big then move on to the next. My favs will be highlighted.

At the last, this life matters. This time in which we live matters. Even our choices matter. They matter because everything and all things are related and spiritual and as much earth-bound as they are heaven/hell-bound. For the question isn't one of destiny to either heaven or hell but of the transformation of the earth to be more heaven-like and less hellish and more focused upon bringing God's redemption into the very fabric of the cultures and societies of man. Ultimately this task will be that of the Returning Christ as the coming King-of-Kings, but until that time we live and breathe, work and act, minister and preach a hands-on gospel of submission, repentance, redemption, transformation, and Spirit-empowerment until our King returns to divide and conquer man's kingdoms; judge and condemn sin and death; and incorporate God's will upon this Earth.

This present moment counts. And it begins now. So let's us serve then as gracious prophets and priests of God's almighty rule in this present day and hour. Serving in love and goodwill, peaceably and without prejudice, to any man or woman lost in this wicked world of sin and death such as we were before Christ came to our heart wooing our spirit and nurturing our soul with love and mercy. For our prejudices and unloving spirit can withhold the gospel even now when voicing exclusionary dogmas and doctrines, though laced with good-intentions as obedient servants to God and Scripture.... A gospel message that can be a confusing - even ostracizing - message to the world of men beyond the walls of the church if we do not let go of our many self-righteous statements and fears, church laws and undimming barriers. Barriers grown large even to our very selves when living the Christian faith through our own biases and fears and man-made religion. Even as Jesus rebuked the priests of His day when they used the Law to withhold God's grace and love from His people, let us not do the same with the Gospel of Christ as the church of God.

R.E. Slater
June 20, 2012

(Red - articles more pertinent to subject title)

The Origin of Sin, Hell, and Universalism
What does the resurrected Jesus say about the afterlife?
Is There a Protestant Purgatory?
LOST in Purgatory? Parts 1 & 2
NT Wright - What Is Hell Like? Does It Even Exist?
The Biblical Doctrine of Hell 2
The Biblical Doctrine of Hell 1
No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked
McKnight - A Critique of Love Wins 5
The Many forms of Hell