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

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rebecca Trotter - The Genuis and Challenge of Christianity

The Genuis and Challenge of Christianity

by Rebecca Trotter
April 24, 2014

The genius of Christianity is that it demands you give mental agreement to all sorts of things you don’t actually agree with. Love your enemies. Every man is your neighbor. You’ll be judged by how well you showed love to the least attractive, least moral, least appealing, most repulsive people you meet. Don’t judge. All those beatitudes about the meek and the suffering and the pure of heart.

We don’t believe any of that stuff. We say we do, but we don’t really. Yet if we want to call ourselves Christians, we must affirm that we agree with these teachings of Jesus. Which creates mental dissonance. How we handle this gap between what we actually believe and what we profess to believe determines how successful we can become as Christians.

The typical way to handle cognitive dissonance is to go into denial. You continue following your gut level support of cultural norms and personal preference and just call that love. If the people you love complain that you’re actually hurting them, you dismiss it as their problem, their flaw or their lack of understanding. Some people are so committed to their denial, that they will devote a lot of time and energy to creating and promoting high-minded ideals about human nature, God’s ways and church philosophy all in service of ignoring and justifying the suffering of others.

These people will often become very involved in tertiary issues which do not have a great deal of bearing on Jesus’ teachings. Maybe they attend a lot of church or go on missions trips or memorize and quote scripture a lot. Maybe they sign lots of petitions and pass on scary stories about bad people. Maybe the adopt a strict moral code that guides where they shop, what sort of entertainment they consume and where to draw the boundaries between themselves and others.

Some people in ministry do almost nothing but help others find ways to think of themselves as Christians despite disagreeing with everything Jesus ever said.

Except the part where Jesus got angry and turned over tables and when he told that skanky woman to stop sinning. Those are often beloved parts of Jesus’ story for a Christian in denial. Not for the meaning Jesus was conveying with them. Just because they already agree with being angry and confrontational and telling sinners to knock it off.

It scares me to think of how many Christians go their whole lives practicing the faith this way. And I think it all comes from a fear of being wrong. We can’t admit we are wrong because we equate being wrong with being shamed. So we can go our whole lives, being wrong as wrong can be, and never really open ourselves up to learning all the mysteries contained in Jesus’ ridiculous, outrageous teachings. That none of us actually agree with.

The way of the Christian is to avoid retreating into denial. We may know in our head, at some level, that what Jesus says is true. But in truth, what Jesus taught is the end goal of following him. When we have been trained and tested, we will see, understand and agree with Jesus’ teachings. But we have to be trained and tested before we can get to that point.

If we are ever to be corrected, we must be willing to try, test and challenge Jesus’ teachings. Sometimes this starts by simply admitting, “this teaching is the most ridiculous, absurd, self-evidently wrong thing I’ve ever heard.” God already knows that’s what we think. He’s never been particularly impressed with our attempts at denying it. But he has shown himself more than willing to meet us right where we are. And he’s promised never to put us to shame. It’s perfectly fine to admit you don’t agree with him. Just follow up, like a man once did with Jesus, “I believe, please help me with my unbelief”.