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
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
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)
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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The God Who Restores - Divine Process in Action



As a Christian I am always perplexed by what one makes of the evil in this world. Especially when re-thinking God not as a Coercive Force as I was once taught, but as One who is always re-creating life from that which is not life. Or beauty, or wisdom, or Order, or Peace, from all that which exists apart from God we call sin and evil.

And if God is not the coercive force who created sin and evil as I was taught, can God then be found in His steady relational love which invites all creation into diverse becoming?

If so, "What then is evil?" Which is an important question to ask when perceiving past dominant theologies to have deemed God to be an omnipotent, omniscient Force who becomes the Source of all suffering - (i) either actively as evil's agent, (ii) or by assignment by divine commission, (iii) or passively when doing nothing to prevent evil from occurring, when refraining from direct Divine intervention.


But what if God was re-conceived in His Power and Presence as a God who does not abandoned us, or betrays us, or persecute us by His Divine Coercive Power? But rather as a Guiding, Presently-Acting Redemptive Force redeeming each thing/moment which is unredeemed? Restoring each event which is broken and unrestored? When renewing all that is spiritual dead and still-born? Such a theology of God, I would think, would be something we would want to look into more closely than those which say otherwise.

If God is reconceived as a Positive Redemptive Acting Force than we know that "Love is never coercive but guiding, nourishing, nurturing, and helpful"; that events are not "predetermined" but "indeterminant" allowing for creation to respond to God's love in unique and positive ways; that actions of lament and mourning, praise and adoration, thankfulness and petitionary prayer, are the result of being actively engaged in a life that is changeable and malleable by our very own actions empowered with Divine Light, Truth, and Ability; and most importantly, that God has "emptied Himself" of all that He is so that His creation might become all that it can be through its Creator.


This is the idea behind Process Theology which offers at least two possible understandings of evil (if not more) when facing the tragic nature of evil while at the same time affirming the innocence of those who suffer. (1) One view addresses evil as that aspect of reality not yet touched by God’s lure, or that part of creation that willfully ignores God’s lure. (2) Another approach draws on the thought of the medieval Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, who acknowledges that much of what we term evil or suffering is a matter of perspective. Maimonides (speaking out of the Greek Naturalism of Aristotelian thought of his day) points out how often what we term evil is simply our personal perspective of a particular event.



As example, one might say life is full of disappointments and bitterness, but had those experiences not been lived than the individual affected may not have surmounted those experiences to be a blessing to others or a source of wisdom to events occurring later in life when encountered. Life's indeterminacy can thus be faced with a spirit of redemptive resilience or resoluteness which refuses hardship to conquer in the face of open pain and loss. Christians around the world do admit this as part of their faith described by many as the power of God in their lives to redeem, to recreate, to restore, to empower, by the force of the gospel of Christ; and blood-bought in service, reconciliation, and redemptive enablement in the Spirit of God who was emptied into the world to serve. This then would grant the sublime idea that God is with us, is for us, and is ever our God in times of need and plenty, want and provide. God is there and has empowered us through His Spirit by the atonement made in Christ and by His Spirit our constant Guide, Mediator, and Comforter.

Peace,

R.E. Slater
October 31, 2017



Psalm 85

English Standard Version (ESV)

Revive Us Again

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

85 Lord, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
3 You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.



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