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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Radical Theology Through the Eyes of Others: Rollins, Caputo

Paradise (pa.ruh.diz).
1. A place where everything is exactly as you want it.
2. Another definition for idolatry.
- R.E. Slater

Pyro-Theology Would Burn up the Idolatries in our Lives.
But it would also reimage the Living God in our Lives
- R.E. Slater

The Idolatry of God - Peter Rollins

Quotes by Peter Rollins, The Idolatry of God

  • “There is a deep sense in which we are all ghost towns. We are all haunted by the memory of those we love, those with whom we feel we have unfinished business. While they may no longer be with us, a faint aroma of their presence remains, a presence that haunts us until we make our peace with them and let them go. The problem, however, is that we tend to spend a great deal of energy in attempting to avoid the truth. We construct an image of ourselves that seeks to shield us from a confrontation with our ghosts. Hence we often encounter them only late at night, in the corridors of our dreams.”
  • “Love is the crazy, mad, and perhaps ridiculous gesture of saying yes to life, of seeing it as worthy of our embrace and even worthy of our total sacrifice.”
  • “Here God is not approached as an object that we must love, but as a mystery present in the very act of love itself.”
  • “Our real beliefs are generally not to be found at the level of ego.”
  • “This book is about a salvation that takes place within our unknowing and dissatisfaction,”
  • “What we see taking place in the church today is the reduction of God to an idol.”
  • “In contrast we let go of existence, meaning, and the sublime as categories to describe the object “God.” Instead these become ways in which we engage with the world. Yet, as we affirm the world in love, we indirectly sense that in letting go of God we have, in fact, found ourselves at the very threshold of God.”
  • “Truly embracing the fragility and tensions of life...brings with it the possibility of true joy.”
  • “Our religious beliefs have not provided us what they seemed to promise.”
  • “The excessive pleasure we imagine receiving from what we want most of all is fleeting at best.”
  • “For in the figure of Christ we are confronted with an atomic event that does not destroy the world, but rather obliterates the way in which we exist within the world. In concrete terms, this means that the darkness and dissatisfaction that make their presence felt in our lives are not finally answered by certainty and satisfaction but are rather stripped of their weight and robbed of their sting.”
  • “Sinful activities are whatever we do with the goal of bringing us into proximity with that which we believe will fill the void in our existence.”

"The Challenge of God." Plenary Address by John Caputo

John D. Caputo: "Deconstruction and A Religion of the Future."

Quotes by John D. Caputo

“The Right thinks that the breakdown of the family is the source of crime and poverty, and this they very insightfully blame on the homosexuals, which would be amusing were it not so tragic. Families and 'family values' are crushed by grinding poverty, which also makes violent crime and drugs attractive alternatives to desperate young men and sends young women into prostitution. Family values are no less corrupted by the corrosive effects of individualism, consumerism, and the accumulation of wealth. Instead of shouting this from the mountain tops, the get-me-to-heaven-and-the-rest-be-damned Christianity the Christian Right preaches is itself a version of selfish spiritual capitalism aimed at netting major and eternal dividends, and it fits hand in glove with American materialism and greed.”

- John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church

“Orthodoxy is idolatry if it means holding the 'correct opinions about God' - 'fundamentalism' is the most extreme and salient example of such idolatry - but not if it means holding faith in the right way, that is, not holding it at all but being held by God, in love and service. Theology is idolatry if it means what we say about God instead of letting ourselves be addressed by what God has to say to us. Faith is idolatrous if it is rigidly self-certain but not if it is softened in the waters of 'doubt.”

- John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church

“Too often, contemporary continental philosophers take the “other” of philosophy to mean literature, but not religion, which is for them just a little too wholly other, a little beyond their much heralded tolerance of alterity. They retain an antagonism to religious texts inherited straight from the Enlightenment, even though they pride themselves on having made the axioms and dogmas of the Enlightenment questionable. But the truth is that contemporary continental philosophy is marked by the language of the call and the response, of the gift, of hospitality to the other, of the widow, the orphan and the stranger, and by the very idea of the “wholly other,” a discourse that any with the ears to hear knows has a Scriptural provenance and a Scriptural resonance. ("A Prologue",Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 1.1, Fall 2003, p. 1).”

- John D. Caputo

“Marital life cannot be easily represented in art because it is the small, invisible, quotidian growth of the day-to-day, where outwardly nothing happens. Romantic love is like a general who knows how to conquer but not how to govern once the last shot is fired. Unlike the aesthete, who knows how to 'kill time' , married people master time without killing it. Marital time is about the wise use and governance of time, setting one's hands to the plough of the day-to-day.”

- John D. Caputo, How to Read Kierkegaard

“The name of God is the name of the chance for something absolutely new, for a new birth, for the expectation, the hope, the hope against hope (Rom. 4:18) in a transforming future. Without it we are left without hope and are absorbed by rational management techniques.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“A world without love is a world governed by rigid contracts and inexorable duties, a world in which – God forbid! – the lawyers run everything. The mark of really loving someone or something is unconditionality and excess, engagement and commitment, fire and passion.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“I do not recommend ignorance and I am not saying that there is no truth, but I am arguing that the best way to think about truth is to call it the best interpretation that anybody has come up with yet while conceding that no one knows what is coming next. There are lots of competing truths battling with one another for their place in the sun, and the truth is that we have to learn to cope with the conflict. The skies do not open up and drop The Truth into our laps.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“Nutshells close and encapsulate, shelter and protect, reduce and simplify, while everything in deconstruction is turned toward opening, exposure, expansion, and complexification, toward releasing unheard of, undreamt of possibilities to come, toward cracking nutshells wherever they appear.”

- John D. Caputo

“The Enlightenment dared us to think, but there will always be a religion and a God for those who wouldn’t dare.”

- John D. Caputo, The Folly of God: A Theology of the Unconditional

“Remember that St. Augustine's famous “conversion” did not exactly lie in giving up sex and romance, which was only its most sensational side, but in giving up his disposition over himself, his attachment to his own career and ambitions as a rising rhetorician who stood to get a comfortable and important post in the Roman government. His conversion occurred at the precise point when his self-possession was displaced by a possession by God, when his love of self gave way to a love of God. It is only when he had broken the spell of self-love – you know that I love you, Lord – that he was visited by the question, but what do I love when I love my God?”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“The old debate between mind and matter is fast becoming as antiquated as a debate about the relative merits of various sorts of fountain pens. “Matter” is going out of style. The electron is turning out to be the Cartesian “pineal gland” which mediates in the obsolete opposition of mind and matter as the lines between these two antagonists in the ancient dualism are blurred by the electronic revolution.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“The truth of the event does not belong to the order of identificatory knowledge, as if our life’s charge were to track down and learn the secret name of some fugitive spirit.”

- John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

“The critique of the domesticated Jesus has a long pedigree, perhaps the most notable being Dostoyevsky’s chilling account of Jesus having the audacity to show up and disturb the machinations of the crusades in Seville (which, in fact, Jesus doesn’t disturb at all precisely because his nonviolence can be so easily silenced).”

- John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church

“Nietzsche had it right when he said we lack the courage for the truth, that the truth will make us stronger just so long as it doesn’t kill us first.”

- John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church

“Would you rather stand before God as a learned theologian who is full of pride or an unlearned man with a head full of superstition who worships in spirit and in truth?”

- John D. Caputo, Philosophy and Theology

“Postmodernism thus is not relativism or skepticism, as its uncomprehending critics almost daily charge, but minutely close attention to detail, a sense for the complexity and multiplicity of things, for close readings, for detailed histories, for sensitivity to differences. The postmodernists think the devil is in the details, but they also have reason to hope that none of this will antagonize God.”

- John D. Caputo, Philosophy and Theology

“If you do not love God, what good are you? You are too caught up in the meanness of self-love and self-gratification to be worth a tinker's damn. Your soul soars only with a spike in the Dow-Jones Industrial average; your heart leaps only at the prospect of a new tax break. The devil take you. He already has. Religion is for lovers, for men and women of passion, for real people with a passion for something other than taking profits, people who believe in something, who hope like mad in something, who love something with a love that surpasses understanding.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“Religious people, the “people of God,” the people of the impossible, impassioned by a love that leaves them restless and unhinged, panting like the deer for running streams, as the psalmist says (Ps. 42:1), are impossible people. In every sense of the word. If, on any given day, you go into the worst neighborhoods of the inner cities of most large urban centers, the people you will find there serving the poor and needy, expending their lives and considerable talents attending to the least among us, will almost certainly be religious people — evangelicals and Pentecostalists, social workers with deeply held religious convictions, Christian, Jewish, and Islamic, men and women, priests and nuns, black and white. They are the better angels of our nature. They are down in the trenches, out on the streets, serving the widow, the orphan, and the stranger, while the critics of religion are sleeping in on Sunday mornings. That is because religious people are lovers; they love God, with whom all things are possible. They are hyper-realists, in love with the impossible, and they will not rest until the impossible happens, which is impossible, so they get very little rest. The philosophers, on the other hand, happen to be away that weekend, staying in a nice hotel, reading unreadable papers on “the other” at each other, which they pass off as their way of serving the wretched of the earth. Then, after proclaiming the death of God, they jet back to their tenured jobs, unless they happen to be on sabbatical leave and are spending the year in Paris.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“I am wounded by theology, unhinged and uprooted by the blow it has delivered to my heart. Theology is my weakness, the way one has a weakness for sex or money, what I secretly desire, or maybe not so secretly, even as it desires everything of me. Still, with all due deference, like Johannes Climacus speaking of being a Christian, I would say that on my best days I am working at becoming theological.”

- John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

“The desire for God—that is the root of the trouble I have bought for myself. I have taken God, the name of God, what is happening in the name of God, as my subject matter. With or without religion,3 with or without what ordinarily passes for theology, the name of God is too important to leave in the hands of the special interest groups. That is why I freely own up here to a certain theological gesture, to a theological desire and a “desiring theology,” as Charles Winquist would have put it,4 which is undeniably a desire for God, for something astir in the name of God, a desire for something I know not what, for which I pray night and day. I am praying for an event.”

- John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

“Who am I? I am one who finds his life a question, whose life is always being put in question, which is what gives life its salt. We seek but do not find, not quite, not if we are honest, which does not discourage the religious heart but drives it on and heightens the passion, for this is one more encounter with the impossible. We may and we must have our opinions on the subject; we must finally reach a judgment and take a stand about life, but my advice is to attach a coefficient of uncertainty to what we say, for even after we have taken a stand, we still do not know who we are.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“The great religious symbols and figures have always been figures of suffering, for the love of God always comes to rest upon the least among us, upon the ones who suffer needlessly. If anyone is indeed “privileged” by God, it is the underprivileged, because with God the last are first. The name of God is the name of the One who takes a stand with those who suffer, who expresses a divine solidarity with suffering, the One who says no to suffering, to unjust or unwarranted suffering.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“The world bars strangers or makes them present their papers—but the kingdom offers them hospitality and invites them to the wedding feast.”

- John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

“Faith is faith that there is something that lifts us above the blind force of things, a mind in all this mindlessness. That there is something – like the Force in Star Wars, which is, as we have seen, a bit of a transcription of the Buddha nature – or someone, as in the personal conceptions of God found in the great monotheisms, who stands by us when we are up against the worst, who stands by others, by the least among us. Faith is faith that we can say that certain things are wrong, are evil. Faith is the memory of evil done, the dangerous memory of suffering that cannot be undone, and the hope of a transforming future.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“A name is a promissory note that it cannot itself keep.”

- John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

“The religious sense of life kicks in when I am rigorously loyal, “religiously” faithful (religio on still another etymology, meaning “scrupulous” or “in a disciplined way”) to the service of something other than myself, more important than myself, to which I swear an oath, which has me more than I have it.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“The best interests of theology lie not in God in the highest but in the depths of God, something deep within God, even older than God, or deeper than God, and for that very same reason, deep within us, we and God always being intertwined.”

- John D. Caputo, The Folly of God: A Theology of the Unconditional

“The name of God is the name of the impossible, and the love of God transports us beyond ourselves and the constraints imposed upon the world by what the Aufklärer called “reason” and Kant called the conditions of possibility, transporting us toward the impossible. Today, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud are all dead but God is doing just fine, thank you very much.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“To the great astonishment of learned despisers of religion everywhere, who have been predicting the death of God from the middle of the nineteenth century right up to Y2K, religion in all of its manifold varieties has returned. Even to say that is misleading, since religion was reported missing mostly by the intellectuals; no one outside the academy thought that it had gone anywhere at all. Religion has returned even among avant-garde intellectuals who have given it a new legitimacy by discrediting its discreditors, suspecting its suspectors, doubting its doubters, unmasking its unmaskers.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

“Secular intellectuals, poor things, cannot win for losing. Even as contemporary philosophers move more and more beyond the modernist, critical, and reductionist habits of thought that grew up in the old Enlightenment, which was keyed to the old new science, the new technologies have simply created the opportunity for a new religious imagination.”

- John D. Caputo, On Religion

Prof. Peter Rollins & Prof. John D. Caputo

Index - Music Videos

Index to Music Videos

Matthew Harding - "Let Us Dance!"

For King & Country - Little Drummer Boy Christmas

Miley Cyrus - The War Is Over

The Cotton Patch Gospel of Clarence Jordan

Punk Rocker and Poet Patti Smith - "Advice to the Young" & beautiful rendition of "O, Holy Night"

Just For the Fun of It - Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert, "We Were Us"

Jenny Winder: "The Music of Science: Exploring Astronomy and Space through Music"

What Could Be More Biblical, More Redeeming, than the Non-Stop, Screwed-Up World of Glee?!

Best Coin Ever Spent...

Devising a Meaning for "Landfill," by Daughter

In Jesus, We "Can't Go Back" (by the Weepies)

The Cotton Patch Gospel of Clarence Jordan

"A colloquial translation with a Southern accent" 

also known as
The Cotton Patch Version of the New Testament

Link - http://rockhay.tripod.com/cottonpatch/

Both a Biblical scholar and a prophetic man of action, Clarence Jordan lived out the New Testament in the soil of rural Georgia. A visionary during the struggle for the civil rights of all God's children, he founded an inter-racial community called Koinonia (fellowship). On this farm, folks worked side-by-side to make a living, following Jesus - a radical concept fifty years ago. They experienced a great deal of opposition, even from those who followed the same Lord. This community still exists, Koinonia Partners, even though the visionary who started it died unexpectedly on October 29, 1969, at the age of fifty-seven.

Clarence was a powerful preacher - "direct, Bible-centered, and sternly contemporary," as Edward A. Mcdowell, Jr. put it. "He spoke with the earthiness of Amos of Tekoa, the boldness of Jeremiah, but often with the tenderness of Hosea. There was something in Clarence of the asceticism and gentleness of Saint Francis of Assisi but he never deserted the contemporary scene and spoke and wrote with the dogged determination of Martin Luther." When he preached, Clarence would write his own translation of a scripture he wanted to use. "Only gradually did he realize he had hit upon a style of translation that brought the Word to the reader with a new contemporary power," McDowell wrote. "As time went by, he completed individual books of the New Testament which were widely circulated in pamphlet form. But eventually he had done enough to be able to publish The Cotton Patch Version of Paul' s Epistles."

Clarence didn't call it a translation, but a "version," for he sought to take the text out of the 'long ago and far away' and place it in the 'here and now' of those with whom he lived and worked - the task of any preacher. This Cotton Patch Version is firmly planted in the cotton fields of the southern United States, not Palestine. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, for instance, became the Letter to the Christians in Birmingham, Alabama. And the early Christian church, which struggled to integrate both Jews and Greeks, became the movement which joined "white man and Negro" within the same Gospel mission. "We ask our brethren of long ago," Clarence wrote, "to cross the time-space barrier and talk to us not only in modern English but about modern problems, feelings, frustrations, hopes and assurances; to work beside us in our cotton patch or on our assembly line, so that the word becomes modern flesh. Then perhaps, we too will be able to joyfully tell of 'that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes and have felt with our hands, about the word of life' (I John 1:1)."

Of course, this "version" has its limitations. Clarence himself wrote, "obviously the 'cotton patch' version must not be used as a historical text. The Revised Standard Version and the New English Bible are excellent for this purpose." Today's reader also becomes aware that this version itself is dated. Many things have changed in the South since Clarence's death. Furthermore, this paraphrase came before the modern concern for inclusive language. So be it. The one who penned this version would probably challenge us to put the words into the soil of our own "Cotton Patch." Even so, much of this work is remarkably current. The words still speak with great clarity, revealing the meaning within the text. [p.s. when exploring the Cotton Patch, a good place to begin might be with the introductions to each volume by Clarence, or the brief biography found in the last one - see below.]

We (myself and the "scribes" who scanned or typed the text into digital format as an act of love and appreciation) originally placed the Cotton Patch Version online with the permission of Koinonia Partners. Smyth & Helwys Publishing, as holders of the copyright and full publication rights to the CPG, several years ago gave permission to keep this online version available provided that we kept links to the printed copies on their website. We thank them for doing so. Unfortunately, they have now asked for these pages to be removed, writing: "As the nature of publishing evolves from print to digital, so do the requirement placed on holders of copyrights for digital products. As Smyth & Helwys now has ebooks of each Cotton Patch Gospel for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple, we will no longer be able to allow your site's open access to this copyrighted material." Therefore, we have removed the texts with appreciation for their courtesy to us for many years.

The hardcopy books are still available for purchase online. Buying them from this website helps support the ongoing mission of Koinonia Partners. The new edition of these four books (with new forewords by Tom Key, Tony Campolo, Will Campbell, and Henlee Barnett) is also available from Smyth & Hylwys. To purchase ebook versions, see Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Apple (ibooks apps for Ipad and Ipod).

By the way, Clarence has had a great influence upon many persons, including Habitat for Humanity founder,Millard Fuller. Furthermore, President Jimmy Carter grew up just down the road from the original Cotton Patch. The foreword to a recently published collection of Jordan's sermons - The Substance of Faith and Other Cotton Patch Sermons - was written by our former President.

* * * * * * * * * *

Cotton Patch Gospel
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Cotton Patch Gospel is a musical by Tom Key and Russell Treyz with music and lyrics written by Harry Chapin just before his death in 1981. Based on the book The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan, the story retells the life of Jesus as if in modern day, rural Georgia. Though the setting and the styling of the language greatly differs from the original telling of the Gospels the plot structure and the message of the story stays true to the historical recording in The Gospel of Matthew.

Using a southern reinterpretation of the gospel story, the musical is often performed in a one-man show format with an accompanying quartet of bluegrass musicians, although a larger cast can also be used. A video recording of the play was released in 1988 with Tom Key as the leading actor.

Plot Summary

The story begins with the story of a young couple. Mary is engaged to Joe Davidson ("David's Son" referring to the lineage of Christ coming through the line of David). Even though she is a virgin, she is found to be with child before they are married. This child is conceived of the Holy Spirit. Joe considers not going through with the marriage, but is visited by an angel who tells him that it is the will of God that is occurring and not foul play, so he marries his girl. Due to an income tax audit, they must then travel to Gainesville; on the way, Mary suddenly goes into labor. There's no room for them at the Dixie Delight Motor Lodge, but the manager helps Joe break into an abandoned trailer out back, where the baby, Jesus, is born: "They wrapped him in a comforter and laid him in an apple crate". Jesus grows up like no other child in Georgia with his neighbors befuddled and his parents often at a loss as to what to do. Jesus then is baptized by a wild preacher named John the Baptizer, and begins to teach the people and convince the disciples. He shares with them the love and peace he offers, and miraculously heals and feeds many. During this time Jesus gathers a band of constant followers—known as the Apostles in the Bible. This group eventually heads off to Atlanta with a mixed air of excitement and foreboding.


Musical Score

The show's unique use of the live band on stage often incorporated into the acting adds to the entertainment of the performance and creates a fun and lively atmosphere.

Something is Brewing in Gainesville
+ all song selections


  • "Something's Brewing in Gainesville"
  • "I Did It/Mama Is Here"
  • "It Isn't Easy"
  • "Sho Nuff"
  • "Turn It Around"
  • "When I Look Up"
  • "Busy Signals"
  • "Spitball"
  • "Going to Atlanta"
  • "Are We Ready?"
  • "You are Still My Boy"
  • "We Gotta Get Organized"
  • "We're Gonna Love It While It Lasts"
  • "Jubilation"
  • "The Last Supper"
  • "Jud"
  • "Thank God for Governor Pilate"
  • "One More Tomorrow"
  • "Well I Wonder"

Memorable Adaptations

The rephrasing of well known scripture into the context and colloquial language of the south eastern region of the United States is creative and is the source of much of the humor in the production lines delivered out of their familiar scriptural language such as:

The Temptation of Jesus Christ

Jesus: [after being tested by the devil] "I passed." Matthew: "And then angels appeared with a sack of chili cheese dogs for him."

Instead of: Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Jesus: "Men don't live by grits alone."

Instead of: Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’"

Cotton Patch Gospel Act 1 (Part 1 of 4)

Cotton Patch Gospel Act 1 (Part 2 of 4)

Cotton Patch Gospel Act 1 (Part 3 of 4)

Cotton Patch Gospel Act 1 (Part 4 of 4)