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, August 3, 2017

The Authentic Rigor of the Bible as a Literary Narrative of the Ages

To read the bible is to read of its composition at the hands of many many authors and editors. As has well been said, the bible is a literary composition not a literal composition when we read its pages. To me, this makes the bible all the more authentic over the contrived "inerrancy" movement which would say otherwise. If this literary authenticity was not found in its pages than the bible would simply pass into the archives of history as another mythical narrative elicited from ancient civilizations long pass.

To that end, the biblical legends that arise from the bible's pages are a common narrative theme bespeaking cultural relevancy rather than historical irrelevancy. When compared to other literary narratives it is a very common argumentation derived from the human breast linking past to present. Even today, in our postmodern cultures, news services and social media, contemporary interpretations of the news continually purports to "interpret" God's hand in human affairs as did the "divines" of yesteryear from the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

No less was this narratival work done by other, more ancient civilizations, bespeaking God's "favor" upon their actions through war canons, documentaries, and cultural legends. Today we do the same. It seems we cannot avoid thinking in nationalistic terms when interpreting our past and present actions. Revisionism lies everywhere to the uncritical, inward-evolving human story of pathos in event. It is how humanity tells its story to itself and other peoples and nations though its story may not be God's story of redemption but a more earthly form of "redemption" a civilization may wish to cling too.

This makes the Bible authentic. It was never written as a creedal tract but as a theological narrative relating the difficulty of faith in the streams of popular beliefs and actions. And in many instances, as a-less-than-godly narrative from the lips of God's people steeped in lore, legend and legacy. For many a faithful one, it required standing up to one's culture to challenge its common misperceptions. And when done, receive for their efforts shunning, excommunication, libel, and perhaps death, when speaking out. Today, popular examples abound in postmodern civilization as both church and government, communities and individuals decide who or what is worthy to be heard. It bespeaks the ancient disease of sin in the hearts of the faithful wishing to be valiant but finding their works but filthy rags needing Jesus' atoning redemption.

As such, this historical-literary feature of the Bible makes it all the more interesting and relevant to today's postmodern cultures grasping how to interpret God's Word in a day-and-age when all claim "knowing God" but really are living far-far-away from His Heart, Word, and Spirit. And no, I am not speaking of the world here, but of the today's fundamental and conservative churches and faith claimants clamoring about to the truth of their messages yet finding their dutiful work, preaching, and outreach nowhere close to God's heart and mission. Thus religion is bourne away from faith to idolatry, away from good intentions to evil, without any questioning of its truer, darker heart held within the human breast casting eyes ever outwards rather than inwards. So the bible tells us let us examine ourselves first, our faith, and our commitments, and learn to be wise when seeking truth and fellowship. Amen and Amen.

R.E. Slater
August 3, 2017

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A Few Facts Christians Should Know About The Bible’s “Canaanite Genocide”
July 31, 2017

In recent years the issue of violence in the Old Testament has become a hot topic of discussion in many Christian circles. While there’s plenty of violence in the Old Testament worthy of wrestling and discussion, one particular event seems to come up a lot: the Canaanite genocide.

There’s fewer stories in the Bible that create the problems the Canaanite genocide creates. How could “God’s nation” completely slaughter an entire people group? How is it loving to one’s neighbor to kill all of them? Why would God make them do such a thing?

All good questions. Atheists have pounced on them for years, while most evangelicals have had to engage in cognitive dissonance as the modern concept of inerrancy has forced them to now find a way to justify an event (that if true) isn’t morally different than the holocaust or other genocidal conquests we’ve seen through history.

This discussion has been re-sparked by recent news that scientists have discovered that the Canaanites were not wiped out. This study reports:

“DNA retrieved from roughly 3,700-year-old skeletons at an excavation site in Lebanon that was formerly a major Canaanite city-state shows that “present-day Lebanese derive most of their ancestry from a Canaanite-related population, which therefore implies substantial genetic continuity in the Levant since at least the Bronze Age.”

In light of this study, here’s some important facts that Christians might want to know about the Bible’s Canaanite genocide:

Fact: The Bible itself ultimately makes it clear that the genocide did not happen.

Later in the Bible we find out that there are, gasp, still Canaanites. In fact, Jesus actually heals one of them in the Gospel of Matthew. So this idea there was a genocide where all of the Canaanites were destroyed? We know just from reading the Bible this isn’t true.

Fact: We already knew scientifically that the genocide didn’t happen.

As Dr. James McGrath pointed out today, many of us were surprised that people are acting like this is some sort of new discovery, when it’s not:

“First of all, the Bible is very clear (in places) that the Canaanites were never completely wiped out from Israel. But second and more importantly, historians have always been aware that the Phoenicians were a Canaanite people, and so the discovery that their descendants are to be found in the regions they historically inhabited should not be a surprise either…”

Furthermore, as Peter Enns has pointed out in his own work, we know from archeological evidence that the genocide did not happen– certainly not on the scale the Bible implies.

Fact: False reports of genocide are common in the bronze age.

Should the fact that the Bible implies genocide occurred, but that modern evidence disproves this, be shocking? No, of course not. In fact, this clear exaggeration of events actually makes the Bible more authentic instead of less– and this is because at the time these passages were written, it was actually commonplace to falsely claim one had wiped out all of their enemies. Instead of shocking, it is quite affirming because it is exactly how I would expect a bronze age written war conquest to read. Had Canaanite records survived to present day, I wouldn’t be surprised if they claimed to have wiped out all their enemies, too.

Case in point, here is a short 2 minute video blog I made in Amman, Jordan when I stumbled upon a Moabite artifact that does exactly this– and ironically, falsely claims there was a genocide that destroyed all of ancient Israel:
One of the hot issues in theology today is the issue of violence and genocide in the Old Testament. Did God command genocide? Did the people of God ruthlessly slaughter their enemies? I'm here at a museum in Amman, and have stumbled upon an artifact from a Moabite king that might completely change the way you read some of the claims of the Old Testament, especially claims of genocide:
So, when we as Christians discuss the problematic Old Testament passages claiming genocide, we need to begin from a starting point that recognizes that both the Bible, and multiple angles of science, affirm the reality that there was not an extermination of the Canaanites. Furthermore, we must also recognize that these exaggerations do not call the authenticity of the Bible into question, but instead affirm it is a historical document of a specific time and place, and that it reads exactly the way one would expect it to read– including exaggerations of genocide.

Of course, this brings up other questions, perhaps the most important being: “If the Bible claims that God ordered genocide, does that mean God really did?”

That’s a question for a different day– but the important facts to remember, is that they didn’t do what we often think they did.

And that’s actually good news.

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Relevancy22 - Disclaimer, Purpose, Intention, and Goal


Relevancy22 is a collection of Contemporary, Postmodern, Critical Theology discussions built as a reference site and not as a personal blog. To make it interesting I try to interact with the material as I have time. Its contents and topics have been constructed to help users think through a vast array of contemporary issues. Using its Indexes on the right hand column will help any explorer begin acquiring the rudimentary knowledge gained from past contemporary and historical discussions required of the Christian faith in this post-truth age of rigorous belief juxtapositioned against known academic truths and post-conservative questions. It is this latter I wish to explore.

Relevancy22 does not purport to be a conservative "safe" site but one asking relevant questions to today's postmodern global cultures especially in light of who God is, what the bible is, and how the church thinks through these issues. The author, me, came to Jesus many, many years ago as a child and grew up in a fundamental church, and later, attended conservative-evangelical churches, all of which I have dearly loved. About a decade ago (2009) the Lord brought all my education, seminary training, and past ministries into re-calibration as I watched the church provide less and less relevant answers to its congregants and society. As such, I respect the past for the beauty it held but must now differ from its conclusions which I've been re-adjusting and updating over the years towards a more contemporary voice. I try to be gracious in my writing or reporting but at times do become passionate about a subject or topic as you will discover.

Relevancy22 was Holy-Spirit-borne for Christians seeking legitimate answers (or helpful directions) to their faith. In a way, I believe Relevancy22 to be recapturing the Orthodox Christian faith from the constructed one being voiced about by today's conservative churches which draw too heavily on their doctrinal commitments and not enough on an open (rather than closed) bible unfettered by traditional teachings. If the articles found within sound different, radical, or not quite conservative, they are. They've been written - or edited from other author's bodies of work - to cause us to think about difficult biblical subjects which have been overly simplified resulting in more fictional narratives of the church's faith than what they really are. In my mind, making the Christian faith "safe" from academic, scientific, and cultural examination is the beginning of all the evils of popular religions refusing to submit to, or enact, God's grace and mercy, peace and forgiveness, into the lives of both the lost and saved. Thus this online dialogue here. We need another gospel which embraces the fullness of God and His salvation through Christ our Savior.

As always, may God's peace and love flood the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.

Your brother in Christ,

R.E. Slater
August 3, 2017