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, September 18, 2017

Why Process Philosophy Might Present a Better Form of a Liberal Democracy or Socialism

Yesterday's post showed a solid response to Process Philosophy. Curious readers "dropped in" from around the world. Small in numbers but promising a great beginning. In contrast, where I live in West Michigan there was no response. Perhaps even indifference, which was sad to contemplate. Which I suspect may be due to the lack of suffering we live with here in the Great Lakes States far from the destructive forces of hurricanes and flooding, corrupt government and with an abundance of green earth, fresh water, and ample food supplies. But isn't it curious that without suffering there can never be fundamental questions raised to a present system of capitalism which can so easily blind societies to the needs of those it harms, denigrates, steps on, or uses. As good as capitalism is it has its failures when not imposing upon itself a "generosity" of governance, business, or help to societies at large. Thankfully many capitalists I know in my area are consciously aware of the help they can bring to the school systems, the jails, the non-profits, churches, and colleges. Their generosity of spirit has left indelible marks of goodness, wholeness, and restoration throughout the lives of our community and it shows.

But if I were asked where forward thinking may now be occurring in the world it seems from the perspective of the responses I received to my process post that it is coming from those countries which suffer - and especially those which are non-Western, if not non-American. And yet, this is also where the greatest revival to the Christian faith is coming from: the non-white, non-European churches of God. And it is fascinating to behold as oppressed societies become enlivened by the Spirit of God to rise up against their misfortune to restore benevolent governments enacting merciful judgment, bring healing to war-torn or famished communities, and seek out the good and beautiful in their own way. However hard the experience amazingly humanity continually rises against its worst elements seeking life the way it was meant to be.

No less have I been amazed by the new Christian theologies of tomorrow attempting to sort out the deficiencies of yesterday's old-line beliefs, creeds, and commitments. These past recent decades have found many souls searching for a more open-and-embracing character of the kingdom of God on this earth. At present, under either capitalistic or socialistic forms of government, societal power rises on the behest of militarism or aggressive trade policies of domination. "To the winner goes the spoils," as they say. But it rings hollow in my ears, as it does to many, knowing those spoils came at the expense of lives lost to enslavement, misuse, or aggrieved when obtaining them. In a Process System of Governance and Economy power may now come to reside within a society through postmodern-liberation forms moving away from an old world system of non-process thinking. This is noticeably evidenced in the remaining residual forms of old-line modernity rejuvenated and modelling beggarly neo-modern forms of chaos and anarchy. Known as post-postmodernism, it can be seen in the results found within Post-Truth societies telling lies to their people through propaganda programs supporting corrupt, oppressive forms of government and economy.

In the world of ideas, culture and global co-mutuality, lies the continuing strength of postmodernism as it casts off the evil twins of modernity - one old and the other evolving (this latter form is known as post-postmodernism as mentioned immediately above). And it may be through the capture of the best ideas found in Process Philosophy coupled with the best of the world's religions (broadly described as "Process Religion" or "Process Theology") that humanity may discover new forms of society which might replenish the human spirit in ways never seen before in goodness and love.

Moreover, it should encourage us that the wisdom of the Spirit of God has never left the possession of the kingdom of God to the thieves of this world. Those societies which would bend all resources to their self-serving will. But to the humble and meek of this earth so harmed and oppressed through the centuries from lives which could've been magnified, meaningful, blessed, and giving back blessings to others. Human government has shown itself to be the harshest of taskmasters - one thoroughly distasteful and unblessed by the God who would heal our wounds, bind our hearts, and make whole the sickness of the world which lays upon us all.

It is the desire of God that we do not possess but restore; do not take but give; do not live selfishly but bountifully with one another. That the new society of tomorrow had better first take stock of its ugly past driven by its lust for greed, power, money, and control. To understand the world envisioned by Jesus is the one that embraces the Beatitudes of His gospel, the gracious love held deep within its core, and the merciful justice required to represent all members of society (including the animals and this earth) rather than some.

To build a new society must be to build upon something better than what we have seen in either capitalism and socialism's failed structures formed under the ideals of modernism and more recently, neo-modernism. Both systems of economy and governance have collapsed spectacularly in their own separate ways. It is in their failure the world has yet been given another chance to reclaim a better idea of a liberal democracy or shared communistic system which would place the ideals of Jesus' gospel into action within society.

So I think Process Philosophy might help in this area of societal restoration using the tools of peace, harmony, balance, respect, care, and love as its foundation stones. And thus my interest in helping people around the world grasp Process Thought. Learn it. And build upon it into the present day government and community structures within respective economies of societies. It seems to hold within it the Jesus principle of healing, and the God principal of restoration, through partnership with one another and with this earth.

To simply live the best of Process Philosophy as an attitude and way of being with one another by embedding the best of the Christian faith or World Religions into societies destroyed by its very hand neglecting Process Thought. In essence, it is a way to show others how God exists in a very different way than what we have perceived Him to be through our Western societies of dominance, imperialism, individualism, and unwise destruction of the earth. Its a way of living with one another and with this earth as we seek healing within ourselves and back to the land we have destroyed.

I think the quiet environmentalist, Aldo Leopold (of Wisconsin and the US Dept. of Forestry) would be very glad of this renewed effort should it be applied back to the land and into the lives of the people we have harmed. It cannot be stated strongly enough that God's creation, and more sublimely, the earth's care-restoration-healing, is the path back to the caring and healing of ourselves and our sick societies and religions. From "without to within". This is the principle of the "inter/intra" which is fascinating to envision and to watch reclaim the destruction we have brought upon ourselves.

As a Western Christian let me say that the Christian heaven is not the one after death so many patiently wait and hope upon. Rather, the Christian heaven is the one here on this earth. The Christian motto must be: "As to the earth so with one another." We find renewal through learning how to restore the earth. We find restoration through discovering how nature is tightly interlinked within itself. Any other form of Christian heaven is worthless in this life. It simply doesn't matter. As Jesus observed, the afterlife is not where you build God's kingdom but here on this earth. This is what Jesus taught. Not the popular teachings of today that say otherwise.

Nor did Jesus teach a Greek view of eschatology or creation-management in Stoic terms (sic, Stoicism) denying this life to build upon the hope of the next. Nor to deny the body so that the spirit might find spiritual release. These are Greek ideas propagating from its binary systems of thought which are not the Hebrew understanding of creational soul-spirit-body wholeness, oneness, or unity. Unfortunately, it is this Greek-Hellenistic form of philosophy the Christian church picked up on and built into its early Christian doctrines using (Cartesian) dualism as it next seeped into medieval church doctrines speaking to the separation of natural theology from the spiritual, and then into its present day creeds of living for the next life rather than caring for this one.

This kind of Christian faith has been destructive to the world and needs to be replaced for a more humane, eyes-on-the-ground, kind of faith that sees in the present tense both earth and humanity. Thus I find Process Philosophy to be a very good system restating the broad democratic principles of freedom, justice, and liberty in forms that can receive a very different interpretation and outcome than what capitalism and socialism's deficient structures have shown. A new Age of Globalism is dawning and it would be well that we learn how to live bountifully with one another and with this wrecked earth than we have demonstrated over the eons of our existence.

In summary, Truth will out post-truth. Love will dig deeper into the soils of the human breast than fear and oppression. Care of one another will provide a stronger societal justice than mere laws and rules. Vision will build a better civilization than its lack of wisdom. Truly Wisdom cries in the streets of humanity to hear her voice yet none answer (Proverbs 1). Sadly, it may continue to be this way as climate change, human turmoil, economic inequities, and the human Anthropocene Age of ecological destruction march steadily onwards. But we are faced with a better choice. A choice to change using a better form of societal philosophy or religious gospel lest our next efforts at creational restoration be all for nought eventuating in the destruction of our species. It will be the "nuclear test" of the Global Age that we no longer destroy all we possess but learn to give back all we have taken from one another and from this earth. This is the God/Jesus principle of co-mutuality, self-sustenance, peace, and goodwill.

R.S. Slater
September 18, 2017