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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ed Dobson's Story of ALS - Preaching With My Son in His First Pulpit At Mars Hill Church

Ed Dobson preaching at Mars Hill, Grand Rapids, MI | 2011

Pastor Ed Dobson says survival with ALS is mixed blessing;
he's sustained by faith and hope

Charley Honey | The Grand Rapids Press
Posted: 12/11/2012 4:38 PM

Ed Dobson is on the podium, preaching the gospel as only he can.

Dressed in a gray cardigan and loafers, he’s preaching to Mars Hill Bible Church on the first Sunday of Advent. His son, Kent, Mars Hill’s pastor, listens as his father speaks of the comfort that Scripture, his wife and family give him in times of despair.

Kent Dobson preaching with his father Ed
I find my greatest hope comes from the people around me,” says Dobson, who’s surrounded by thousands right now.

Then he takes a seat in an easy chair at the corner of the stage. He tells Kent, “I’m going to sit down and go to sleep. So if you want me to say something, wake me up.”

Without missing a beat, Kent replies, “Well, I went to sleep in many of your sermons.”

The Mars Hills crowd roars with laughter. This Abbott-and-Costello bit comes amid a father-son preaching lesson at the church where Kent this fall was named pastor. They make a great tag team, Kent preaching with the biblical insight and restless energy his dad displayed in his 18 years at Calvary Church, Ed interjecting plain-spoken wisdom.

But the comic moment doesn’t disguise the hard reality that everyone in the room realizes: Ed Dobson has ALS, and one day it will take his life.

It has been a dozen years since Dobson was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which generally claims people within two to five years. Why Dobson has survived so much longer is as much a mystery as why he got it in the first place.

But his survival is a mixed blessing. As he tells the Mars Hill crowd, his arms don’t work well. His wife, Lorna, helps feed and dress him. His breath is shorter and he speaks more slowly than he used to.

That may be so, but what I hear from Dobson this morning reflects the strength and unwavering faith he’s exemplified from the day I met him nearly 20 years ago. Picking up on Kent’s Advent theme of hopeful expectation, Ed admits that silently waiting on God is a struggle for him.

Ed Dobson with son Kent
I spent most of my life working hard at helping people rearrange the furniture in their lives,” says Dobson, who retired from Calvary in 2005. “But now, I have no agenda. I am weak. And waiting on the Lord is a challenge. [It's] a lot easier to say ‘get ready’ than it is to wait on the Lord.

“But this one thing I know: God has brought me this far,” he says, his voice quavering slightly. “The God who brought me this far will deal with today and tomorrow. So I can rest in his coming into my life to rearrange my furniture.”

He sits back in his easy chair, and the congregation sings “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”

A few days later, he’s sitting on the couch of his and Lorna’s Kentwood condominium. Out the window they admire three deer grazing around the ravine of Plaster Creek. Their airy two-level is filled with photos of their grandchildren, framed biblical quotes and the aroma of Lorna’s baking shortbread.

Always wiry, Ed’s frame has been thinned by ALS. He was a star soccer player growing up in Northern Ireland. A coach at Liberty University, where Dobson was an administrator, once told him he could have turned pro.

As a man of deep faith, Ed Dobson believes God could heal him of ALS. So, I ask, why do you think God hasn’t done that?

“There is no good answer, so I’ve never asked it,” he replies. Adds Lorna, “If you’re always obsessed about having to have answers, you can’t really live.”

But Dobson grapples with the question in his new book, “Seeing Through the Fog: Hope When Your World Falls Apart” (David C. Cook). In its 145 pages, which he dictated by voice to his computer, he recounts his journey with ALS from the moment he first felt a twitching in his eyelid on his 50th birthday. Nearly a year later, just before Thanksgiving 2000, a University of Michigan doctor told him he had probable ALS.

As Lorna drove him back to Grand Rapids, he writes, “I felt like my life was over. I felt like I had been buried alive.”

With such unstinting detail, Dobson traces the painful path he’s walked since, as well as scenes from his life before ALS. Through it all, with Lorna ever at his side, he’s held fast to faith and “a hope that comes with strength: the strength to keep living life, despite its challenges, and to continually give thanks for the blessings we have, even in the darkest of times.”

It’s easy to lose hope when he thinks about his future, Dobson says. So he thinks about today, counsels other ALS patients and watches “The Three Stooges” to make sure he laughs. When he gets down, he repeats God’s assurance from Hebrews: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Most of all, he gives thanks for the many blessings he still has -- especially Lorna, their children Kent, Daniel and Heather, and their six grandchildren. Soon they all will gather for the holidays.

After he was diagnosed 12 years ago, Dobson thought that Christmas would be his last. This year, he looks forward to another one – and hopes for many more.

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