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, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick’s Prayer

St. Patrick’s Prayer

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

Why I Don't Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Seamus, age 10, and his father in Drumcliff, County Sligo, where W.B. Yeats is buried.

Why I Don't Celebrate St. Patrick's Day
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Seamus McKiernan Headshot

As a kid, I already had an aversion to St. Patrick's Day. I never wore a green shirt to school on the holiday, a protest that without fail elicited pinches from my classmates -- and even confusion from my teachers. "But your name is Seamus," they'd say, dumbfounded, thinking I'd forgotten the day.

Like a lot of Irish Americans, my name offered the first lesson about my heritage. When your name is frequently mispronounced, you have little choice but to find out where it comes from. (See-mus? Shah-mus? Shameless?) My sister's name is Cáitrín (mind the accents!). That sparked our curiosity about our origins, notwithstanding the occasional butchered pronunciation over the loudspeaker at roll call.

My cultural education in Irish-American-ness came primarily from my parents and grandparents. That meant reading Irish literature from a young age. It meant pulling a Michael Collins biography down from the shelf and peppering my dad with questions about the Easter Rising. Why was the country divided by North and South? I learned that Ireland's flag, which flies outside of bars on March 17 -- the one with white between the orange and green -- was really a statement about peace between the two sides.

It meant family trips were often occasions for lessons about Irish history or current events or folklore, like the story of the famous one-eyed giant who roamed Tory Island. (I think I still believed that one after I knew the Santa Claus ruse was up.) It meant learning to play the violin and veering away from the Suzuki method to the jigs and reels. It meant studying for a summer at a school in County Donegal in a Gaeltacht, a region where the predominant language is Irish. It meant being asked to memorize William Butler Yeats' poem "Easter 1916" for a high school English class. The Irish struggle for independence Yeats writes about felt like distant past -- it was harrowing to find out that it wasn't so long ago. "Too long a sacrifice/Can make a stone of a heart," I remember reciting.

And it meant looking up to my grandfather, Eoin McKiernan, the father of nine kids (Deirdre, Brendan, Fergus, Ethna, Gillisa, Grania, Nuala, Liadan and my father, Kevin). My grandfather, a scholar who was named one of America's greatest Irish Americans of the 20th century, made it his life's work to teach Irish Americans about where they came from. To do this, he founded the Irish American Cultural Institute, which awarded grants to Irish writers, composers, artists, and Irish-language initiatives, including historical tours to the Emerald Isle and Irish language classes. (In fact, I recently learned that long before Seamus Heaney was a Nobel laureate, my grandfather gave him a writer's grant.) He was recognized internationally for his work and invited to the White House on several occasions. Princess Grace of Monaco chaired his Institute.

Forgive the family stuff, which can be boring. But I mention it because St. Patrick's Day is upon us. Today the river in Chicago is dyed green, parades are planned across the country, and people are ready to party. But when I walk around today, I won't be seeing the fullness of my heritage on display. I'm trying to keep in mind what Yeats, arguably the greatest poet in the 20th century, wrote about a sense of solidarity "wherever green is worn." I don't think he meant the annual buffoonery in sports bars in midtown Manhattan that passes for being Irish. He was talking about the deep identity that unites a people.

Figuring out who I am is a work in progress, but I think my grandfather, whom everyone called Grandpa Mór, would have understood. After all, he always said, "What is bred in the bone will out."

Chicago's Green River on St. Paddy's Day
More Photos Chicago Celebration

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Easter, 1916

by William Butler Yeats 1865–1939

I have met them at close of day   
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey   
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head   
Or polite meaningless words,   
Or have lingered awhile and said   
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done   
Of a mocking tale or a gibe   
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,   
Being certain that they and I   
But lived where motley is worn:   
All changed, changed utterly:   
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent   
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers   
When, young and beautiful,   
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school   
And rode our wingèd horse;   
This other his helper and friend   
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,   
So sensitive his nature seemed,   
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,   
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,   
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone   
Through summer and winter seem   
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,   
The rider, the birds that range   
From cloud to tumbling cloud,   
Minute by minute they change;   
A shadow of cloud on the stream   
Changes minute by minute;   
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,   
And a horse plashes within it;   
The long-legged moor-hens dive,   
And hens to moor-cocks call;   
Minute by minute they live:   
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.   
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part   
To murmur name upon name,   
As a mother names her child   
When sleep at last has come   
On limbs that had run wild.   
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;   
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith   
For all that is done and said.   
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;   
And what if excess of love   
Bewildered them till they died?   
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride   
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:   
A terrible beauty is born.

FOOTNOTES: September 25, 1916

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

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My Ambivalence About St. Patrick's Day
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by Bill Stieger
Writer from St. Paul, MN

Given my surname, I feel mixed about celebrating St. Patrick's Day. I am Irish; in fact, three quarters so. I am descended from the Lennons, the Abbotts, the McCarthys, the Eagans. My cousins include the Kanes, the Runyons, the Flynns and the Russells. I am as Irish as an American can be, except for the German name inherited from my father's father, who had married Catherine Eagan.

Friends, fellow St. Paulites, please consider my dilemma. I am solidly St. Paul Irish. My grandfather attended St. Paul Academy as a classmate of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and knew him. But will I proudly march with the prominent Irish families in my city's St. Patrick's Day Parade? No. I'd attended some of those parades in my early years. During the festivities, someone would invariably ask for my name, which I admitted with a shrug was McBride.

I blame St. Luke's Elementary for planting the corrosive Catholic guilt that sears across my chest as the lies pile higher. In fact, so pathetic is my neurotic attachment to honesty that the Internal Revenue Service is sole entity to which I can lie to with glee.

So, it hurts to be "Stieger" on St. Patrick's Day. The insult weaves through the miserable narrative of my life. It catches me at each station. My first wife was a girl of Norwegian heritage who was an eighth Irish, but carried one of the great Irish names. The only thing Irish about her was her temper, which seemed to have survived the cross-breeding: she was a woman who could start an argument in an empty room.

Another aspect of St. Patrick's Day that grinds does not concern my name. It is this: annually, I ask myself, Why do we Irish work so hard to perpetuate every derelict stereotype of our race on St. Patrick's Day? Stand at curbside as drunken louts in leprechaun suits stumble down Wabasha Street, blowing plastic stadium horns. March beside Elvis Presleys in Green Pompadours. Witness the bleary eyed teens as they upchuck green beer on the sidewalk.

Do you think I exaggerate? Read the messages on the horrific buttons and sweatshirts these revelers wear to degrade the tribe: "10 percent Irish/90 percent beer," or "Member of the official Irish drinking team!" Check out pervy intonations, like "Erin Go Braghless," or "Kiss my Shamrocks," or my favorite of all: "I'm starting a drunken brawl with the first person who stereotypes the Irish."

I mean, please! Can you name another ethnic group so bent on its own self abasement? Imagine any other culture or ethnic group frolicking in costumes and behaving in a manner that perpetuates the stereotypes of bigots. None do it. But Irish Americans insist on acting like the clowns at their own circus.

And what about Mr. St. Patrick himself? Patrick was born in 5th century Roman Brittania. He was kidnapped at 16 by pagan raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland. A few years afterward Patrick escaped and returned to his family in Britannia. He later sailed back to Ireland after becoming a cleric, and was eventually ordained bishop.

Though not much is known of the historical St. Patrick, the St. Patrick of Irish lore was said to have rid Ireland of its snakes. Scientists now agree that Ireland's watery isolation makes it near certain that snakes never inhabited the island, though many ascribe their absence to Patrick. Ditching the snakes was Pat's contribution to his nation? Snakes. Big deal. The story I would've hoped for would be for Patrick to come along ten centuries later and used his holy powers to rid Ireland of the British. Where was the old boy during the troubles?

So, you'll not see this Stieger joining the parades this coming St. Patrick's Day. He will, however, raise a glass in remembrance of the great Irish writers -- Swift, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, O'Connor and Shaw, among others. And, if asked, yes, I will gladly kiss their Shamrocks.

More Photos - St. Paddy's Day Parade, New York City, NY

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Everything You Know About
St. Patrick's Day Is Wrong

 | by  Christine Dalton

Posted: Updated:

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us! Typically, we associate the holiday with drinking, drinking, and drinking. Oh, and being Irish.

But there's a lot more to St. Patrick's Day than most people know. Truthfully, you've probably been living a lie. When you learn all the facts, this holiday actually kind of... sucks.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but here are 10 brutally honest facts about St. Patrick's Day....

10 - St. Patrick wasn't Irish. Historians believe he was born in what is now England, Scotland or Wales.

9 - St. Patrick's color is blue. We've been living a lie! You might want to hold off on the green face paint this year.

8 - St. Patrick's Day as we know it was invented in America. Really?! Catholic University's Irish American expert, Timothy Meagher, explains that St. Patrick's Day celebrations began in the 18th century in American cities with large Irish immigrant populations."It becomes a way to honor the saint but also to confirm ethnic identity and to create bonds of solidarity," Meagher explained. Really.

7 - March 17th is the day St. Patrick died. So you're celebrating his death.

6 - St. Patrick didn't drive all the snakes from Ireland. Probably because there's no evidence that snakes have EVER existed in Ireland. The climate is much too chilly for them.

5 - The shamrock isn't the symbol of Ireland. Sure, you can find shamrocks all over the Emerald Isle, but the real symbol is the harp.

4 - St. Patrick's Day used to be a dry holiday. Today's booze-bags look to the holiday as a great excuse to start drinking Guinness at 9 AM. Until 1970, however, all pubs in Ireland were closed in observance of the religious feast day.

3 - Corned beef and cabbage isn't a traditional Irish dish.It's just about as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs. You're better off sticking to Guinness.

2 - There are more Irish people living in the U.S. than Ireland. The population of Ireland is about 4.2. million. In contrast, there are around 34 MILLION people of Irish descent living in America.

1 - Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are slim to none. 1 in 10,000 to be exact. Ouch.

But let's end on a happy note. At least these two guys are Irish.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!