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, June 23, 2018

The Problem of Being


The challenge of reading the bible obliquely, or without context, is oftentimes confusing with contemporary data we know which may conflict with this kind of reading. It is a problem of hermeneutics (or, biblical interpretation) when our reading relies on traditional religious views and understanding of the bible to the exclusion of contemporary data sets we now know and continue to accrue.

As example, the Genesis story of creation becomes very different when applying an evolutionary approach coupled with historical anthropology, modern archeological knowledge, and comparative literary redaction to its pages. When doing so the question which then arises is how do I read the bible without relativising its teachings to my particular line of thinking? Or, how might I take what I believe and allow those beliefs to adapt to the challenges of contemporary studies when applying those same studies to the biblical text?

One approach is to carefully rethink how this new information might then relate to God's plan of salvation and our participation in it. Though the bible's narratival stories may provide inspiration we do not need to lose such stories when dismissing the ancient's description of their world as they then knew, understood it, and tried to explain it. Rather, we might take the substance or framework of their expression and reapply it with the same vigor for the worldly era we live in today with all the challenges that that may bring to us when we do so. For instance, the problem of the refugee and foreigner in the bible is every bit as relevant today as it was then. Our challenge is to act in a way worthy of God's love as opposed to the world's way of dismissing community/corporate/national responsibility for a problem we have no sympathy towards based upon public policies, laws, and attitudes. When differing from these societal mores we find ourselves in conflict with friends, family and  public opinion not unlike God's prophets of old when proclaiming God's Word against the indifferences and disobedience they saw occurring in real time within their own societies.

Consequently, when updating older theologies with newer content we might attempt to make a more correct application of God's Word to contemporary society by delineating not only the positive take-aways from God's mercy and love, but also the corrective behaviors to the negative actions we must desist from reproducing by redirecting ourselves towards more humane attitudes and activity. Further, some of the biblical ideas/ideals/beliefs we once held about biblical expectations might improve  our sense of being in the world while others may need to be let go as they do not add to the Spirit of God's love and grace. This is the whole concept behind re-analyzing biblical studies anyway... to act in corrollation with the Spirit of God rather than upon our own religious folklores and belief sets held in error with the Word of God.

In The Problem of Being I attempt to provide an example of how our reading of the bible might be challenged when updated with newer information within a constructive understanding of redemption. It is but a beginning point, not an ending point, as the problem of hermeneutical description and application will always require a more sophisticated approach than what we normally give to it. But then again, like any philosophical approach to older life-belief systems, we might gain immeasurably from a differing approach which might be wider than our own rather than thinking we won't be blessed if attempting another (supposedly unbiblical) approach. As baseline to biblical interpretation I might suggest the overall theme of God's Love, Grace, and Mercy as helpful guides. Or another, expressed in popular parlance, WWJD, "What would Jesus do?" On the reverse side, when these guiding principles are negated by contrary theologies, dogmas, or teaching then I would submit those resultant doctrines, theologies, religious expressions, and beliefs need to be challenged and dismissed. Peace.

R.E. Slater
June 24, 2018

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The Challenge of Reading the Bible in a Contemporary Setting

The evolution of the biologic species and habitat of Homo sapiens challenges the biblical story of Genesis depicting the ancient mindset of early human development. In every way the earth's records support the former discovery so that as a follower of Jesus one must determine how to read the Genesis story in light of this discovery. It challenges not only the process of creation - whether immediate or mediated by creational conditions - but also the doctrine of original sin as to what it is, what it means, and why the Christian gospel centers it within the biblical record so deeply. Given the plethora of evolutionary studies on group sociology and personal psychology of human beings however sin's origins we see the effects of "sin" everywhere about.

Too, the story of an original couple makes for a great narrative but the reality it seems to be speaking to in the ancient mind is that we have estranged ourselves from one another and from our Creator God. However that estrangement came to be it does seem to be a very ancient estrangement. The bible declares the causing factor to be disobedience - but perhaps from an evolutionary frame it may refer to the continuing trait/instinct/habit/behavior modes/etc of not listening to the God of Love who seeks redemption and healing in all things human and creational. So here again we see another age-old dilemma the bible speaks to time-and-again in its own way through the experiences of more ancient socieites driven by their own insights and longings.

Then there is the mythical figure of Satan in the mythical Garden of Eden who is blamed for all things going bad. Again, in the modern mindset this may be a metaphor for choosing not to love regardless of its evolutionary origins. Which also brings us to the idea of "free will" likewise described in the pages of Genesis by the actions of its literary figures. And yet, this struggle of will is not limited to humans alone but to those things or beings we describe as angelic or divine each striving with the other in a complex of swirling interactions and relational results. Some of which bring nurture, nourishment and well-being while other interactions deflect all that is good in life by robbing others of these precious states of being. By bringing not "heaven" but "hell" to an earth torn by our humanness when we seek our own will and purposes and not that of the other.

As such, though an evolutionary approach to the bible seems to present a great difficulty to its reading, it might also suggest that there are other ways of reading the biblical script without throwing the bible and its stories "under the bus" as we say. That in someway, with the right perspective, we might be able to gain from the ancients some wisdom to the age old problems of who we are, if there is a God, and if so, where is He/She/It, and why is this world we live in the way it is? All basic questions asked of humanity through its ages again and again and again within the dystopia of its civilizations morphing with other civilizations in heightened cycles of enlightenment and destruction.

For some, oppression, injustice, human cruelty, civil war, or revolution becomes the lynchpin to asking these questions. For others, simple comparative reading between literary-philosophic-scientific compositions does the same from the times of the ancient Greeks to modern man. But however we live this life we must live it as showing light and love to one another rather than the sin and evil which lives alongside us moving us to do otherwise. It is the most ancient of struggles and the one we think of as being the closest to the divine-human struggle to abide within as we, in our own gardens, either bring blessings or great harm to others. It is as much a moral imperative as it is a spiritual dilemma and one, should we be able to answer its challenges, might find the kind of salvation promised to us in the bible through God Himself who offered Himself up through Jesus as both example and expiation for our burden of sin that salvation from evil might be found and lived within the power of His Spirit. For alone we are unable, but with God, by God, of God, and through God we might.

R.E. Slater
June 23, 2018


Genesis 1

The Creation

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was [a]formless and void, and darkness was over the [b]surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was [c]moving over the [d]surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

6 Then God said, “Let there be [e]an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the [f]expanse, and separated the waters which were below the [g]expanse from the waters which were above the [h]expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the [i]expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout [j]vegetation, [k]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after [l]their kind [m]with seed in them”; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth [n]vegetation, [o]plants yielding seed after [p]their kind, and trees bearing fruit [q]with seed in them, after [r]their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14 Then God said, “Let there be [s]lights in the [t]expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15 and let them be for [u]lights in the [v]expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.16 God made the two [w]great lights, the greater [x]light [y]to govern the day, and the lesser [z]light [aa]to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the [ab]expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and [ac]to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 Then God said, “Let the waters [ad]teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth [ae]in the open [af]expanse of the heavens.” 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after [ag]their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after [ah]their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after [ai]their kind, and the cattle after [aj]their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [ak]sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [al]sky and over every living thing that [am]moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the [an]surface of all the earth, and every tree [ao]which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the [ap]sky and to every thing that [aq]moves on the earth [ar]which has life, I have givenevery green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Wikipedia - Homo sapiens

Homo sapiens is the systematic name used in taxonomy (also known as binomial nomenclature) for the only extant human species. The name is Latin for "wise man" and was introduced in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus (who is himself also the type specimen).
Extinct species of the genus Homo include Homo erectus, extant during roughly 1.8 to 0.1 million years ago, and a number of other species (by some authors considered subspecies of either H. sapiens or H. erectus). H. sapiens idaltu (2003) is a proposed extinct subspecies of H. sapiens.
The age of speciation of H. sapiens out of ancestral H. erectus (or an intermediate species such as Homo heidelbergensis) is estimated to have taken place at roughly 300,000 years ago. Sustained archaic admixture is known to have taken place both in Africa and (following the recent Out-Of-Africa expansion) in Eurasia, between about 100,000 to 30,000 years ago.
In certain contexts, the term anatomically modern humans[2] (AMH) is used to distinguish H. sapiens as having an anatomy consistent with the range of phenotypesseen in contemporary humans from varieties of extinct archaic humans. This is useful especially for times and regions where anatomically modern and archaic humans co-existed, e.g. in Paleolithic Europe.

Wikipedia - Being
[Excerpt] Being in continental philosophy and existentialism
Some philosophers deny that the concept of "being" has any meaning at all, since we only define an object's existence by its relation to other objects, and actions it undertakes. The term "I am" has no meaning by itself; it must have an action or relation appended to it. This in turn has led to the thought that "being" and nothingness are closely related, developed in existential philosophy.
Existentialist philosophers such as Sartre, as well as continental philosophers such as Hegel and Heidegger have also written extensively on the concept of being. Hegel distinguishes between the being of objects (being in itself) and the being of people (Geist). Hegel, however, did not think there was much hope for delineating a "meaning" of being, because being stripped of all predicates is simply nothing.
Heidegger, in his quest to re-pose the original pre-Socratic question of Being, wondered at how to meaningfully ask the question of the meaning of being, since it is both the greatest, as it includes everything that is, and the least, since no particular thing can be said of it. He distinguishes between different modes of beings: a privative mode is present-at-hand, whereas beings in a fuller sense are described as ready-to-hand. The one who asks the question of Being is described as Da-sein ("there/here-being") or being-in-the-world. Sartre, popularly understood as misreading Heidegger (an understanding supported by Heidegger's essay "Letter on Humanism" which responds to Sartre's famous address, "Existentialism is a Humanism"), employs modes of being in an attempt to ground his concept of freedom ontologically by distinguishing between being-in-itself and being-for-itself.
Being is also understood as one's "state of being," and hence its common meaning is in the context of human (personal) experience, with aspects that involve expressions and manifestations coming from an innate "being", or personal character. Heidegger coined the term "dasein" for this property of being in his influential work Being and Time ("this entity which each of us is himself…we shall denote by the term 'dasein.'"[1]), in which he argued that being or dasein links one's sense of one's body to one's perception of world. Heidegger, amongst others, referred to an innate language as the foundation of being, which gives signal to all aspects of being.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ten Reasons The Original Sin Doctrine is Damaging for Children

Why rewrite the story of salvation? Here are 10 good reasons to rethink one's approach. Can you think of one or two good ways to tell the gospel? Well, if you can't think of any, might I suggest starting with...

God's deep love and how this Love means and frames everything around us in our daily experience? 

Or, perhaps, the sublime story of Jesus - who He was, how He spoke of His father, or why His ministry differed so deeply from the High Pharisees of the Jewish faith.

In essence, there's a lot of ways to talk of God and salvation and its importance to humanity and why it's so important that the church display this Grace-filled God by love, sacrifice, service, and ministration both in word and by deed.

It is the entire foundation and basis of the gospel of God to humanity.

R.E. Slater
June 21, 2018

Photo by Carlos Alberto Gómez Iñiguez on Unsplash

Ten Reasons The Original Sin Doctrine
is Damaging for Children

by Cindy Brandt
June 15, 2018

I’ve talked about sin before, how the way we spoke of it in the evangelicalism of my youth was far too limited to address our human condition. Then I talked about itagain, confessing how it threw me into a state of spiritual anxiety and trapped me in false guilt.

And now I want to talk about the Original Sin in the context of parenting, namely, how it is extremely damaging for children. To recap, for those who are blessed to not have grown up with the concept, Original Sin is the theological doctrine that we are born with a sinful nature. Somehow, when Adam and Eve bit the forbidden fruit in the Garden, their act of rebellion transferred to all their descendants. Theirs was the Original Sin, and because of them, we all are spiritually wired to sin. The good news about all of this bad news, is of course, that by believing in Jesus we are cleansed from our dirtiness and also empowered to live free from sin. That is the Christian gospel in a nutshell.

If this sounds benign to you, it’s because it has become so widely and popularly accepted that it is normalized. But this is NOT normal, and in fact, is detrimental to children. Here are ten reasons why:

1. Separation from God. The Original Sin states that we are separated from God because of it. Danielle Shroyer says in the Original Blessing, that Original Sin “frames the gospel as a story of separation.” Children have a fundamental need to be loved and to belong. To set them up in a separation story is to unnecessarily sever a beautiful bond between them and God.

2. Self-fulfilling prophecy. If a child is told they are inclined to sin, it sets them up for failure. And when they do make poor choices, it’s self-defeating because well, they know they were born to be that person.

3. Disingenuous to a child’s experience. Kids do sometimes misbehave, but they are also inclined to love lavishly. Original Sin doesn’t make room for those expressions of love and kindness—what’s a kid to understand why they feel compassion for others if they are told they have the Original Sin?

4. Discourages intuition. If what’s inside is bad, then a child is told not to trust their own intuition. This sets them up for all kinds of abuse because they are told to ignore warning signals, the intuitive sense that something feels wrong.

5. Disempowering. There is zero intrinsic motivation in the doctrine of Original Sin—every effort to do good has to come from Jesus or other religious/parental authority because the child is told what comes from their own motivation is always evil.

6. Disregards normal development. A toddler who tests boundaries is doing what’s healthy for them as they differentiate their own boundaries and way of being in the world. Original Sin relegates behaviors that are developmentally normal as proof that children are rebellious instead of exploring children’s psychology and healthy development.

7. Gets them off the hook. Each time a child makes a poor choice, it is an opportunity to learn and do better. Original Sin gets them off the hook, because if they sin they know it’s their inevitable nature and asking for forgiveness wipes their slate clean. No real work is done to become a better version of themselves.

8. Fixed Mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck developed the insight of Fixed vs. Growth Mindset. Twenty years of research shows that the way you believe about yourself, whether that your character traits are fixed or has potential for growth, determines the person you become. Original Sin is the ultimate fixed mindset, because you’re told a sin nature is the hand you’re dealt. Any attempts to be a better person only makes you feel like a fraud or futile attempts to prove yourself worthy.

9. Antagonistic relationship to God. Original Sin states that you are an enemy of God from the get-go. Sure, reconciliation is possible through Jesus, but a baby is born waging war against God. This doesn’t set the child up for a healthy relationship with God.

10. Cheapens salvation. If we reduce the good news of the gospel to acquittal from the Original Sin, then we are withholding a far more beautiful gospel to our children—one that affirms a God who unconditionally loves them from day one, is present with them through all their joys and pain, offering steady, unflinching hope in their grittiest days. That gospel does not need the Original Sin, and neither do our children.

*This post is inspired by Danielle Shroyer’s book, The Original Blessing: Putting Sin in its Rightful Place, find a thorough treatment of this subject in her rich and accessible book and say goodbye to the Original Sin forever, for your sake and for the kids.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Amazon link
Paperback: 217 pages
Publisher: Fortress Press (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451496761
ISBN-13: 978-1451496765
Of the world's three major religions, only Christianity holds to a doctrine of original sin. Ideas are powerful, and they shape who we are and who we become. The fact that many Christians believe there is something in human nature that is, and will always be, contrary to God, is not just a problem but a tragedy. So why do the doctrine's assumptions of human nature so infiltrate our pulpits, sermons, and theological bookshelves? How is it so misconstrued in times of grief, pastoral care, and personal shame? How did we fall so far from God's original blessing in the garden to this pervasive belief in humanity's innate inability to do good? In this book, Danielle Shroyer takes readers through an overview of the historical development of the doctrine, pointing out important missteps and overcalculations, and providing alternative ways to approach often-used Scriptures. Throughout, she brings the primary claims of original sin to their untenable (and unbiblical) conclusions. In Original Blessing, she shows not only how we got this doctrine wrong, but how we can put sin back in its rightful place: in a broader context of redemption and the blessing of humanity's creation in the image of God.

Views of Annihilation

If I haven't already, I would like to make plain my view of annihilation that I've spoken to many times earlier in past articles so that we understand one another more clearly....

My view of annihilation does not have God actively destroying those souls rejecting Him but by experiencing their own choices of refusing God's redeeming spirit with the results that this refusal (or rejection of divine grace) brings with it its consequences upon body, soul, and relationships both human and divine (the "4 separations of death", if you will). It is not God actively condemning a graceless soul but the sad condition of a soul rejecting God's grace and thereby living out the consequences of a truly Godless, Spiritless world. In effect, it could be described as "hell" itself with the exception that this is not a place but a spiritual condition or soul-state being experienced to its last effects of purposelessness, meaninglessness, and more probably the torment that hatefulness brings. 

Nor is God's call to come, find grace, peace and salvation, ever withdrawn from any lost soul whether living or dead. Whether in hell, in purgatory, or in this active state of annihilation. Throughout the entirety of life (though I think especially in this life) God still calls out to the graceless soul to come, be healed, and find peace. At the last, when finally refusing and rejecting God's call it can then be no longer heard as this poor soul is finally liberated from its sinful conflicts into a final estate of nothingness effectively becoming a lost soul experiencing its own final death. How sad.

As such, I choose "Relentless Love" in the above photo illustration preferring to think of God as always loving rather than actively condemning humanity to the fires of perdition or to the eternal voids of nothingness. I would call this view then "Annihilation with a corrected view of God's role in the matter." I'm sure somebody will come up with a clever name for this but in the meantime my friend Thomas Jay Oord wishes to emphasize the nature of God at all times as being loving, and showing love in every way that He can because He is love.

The Puritan view of God came from a time of strict religiosity thinking this mindset was holy and favored by God. But by these beliefs and their resultant actions Protestants and Catholics across Europe brought cruelty, oppression, and death upon one another, and to the public at large. It showed a bankrupt Christian faith more cruel in its vindications for its faith than worthy of the the Spirit of God Himself.

However, unlike the Puritan view, our Creator Father God is not only holy, but propelled by love, is love, and at all times loves. To ask the question of whether God is more holy than loving, or more loving than holy, is foolish. He is both - but it is God's love which provides the atmosphere for His holiness and not the other way around. Why? Because when we think of God as being more holy than loving than we act towards one another in unloving, unjust ways. Jesus, as the Son of God - as the very God Himself - showed to us that love precedes all else. Without love we are nothing and can be nothing and will act as nothings. With love we can change the world into His image, defeat sin and horror, and instill in others a hope that this sin-marred creation is meant for more than what we see it to be in our present state of conflict, temptation, or rapacious unholy, unloving behaviors.

Thus the importance of teaching that God is not only good at all times but that He is loving at all times. That God supremely loves and it is His love which propels all His actions towards healing the human condition become sin bound, judgmental, hateful, and merciless. It is God who promises healing in His wings. Who brings comfort to the oppressed. Who stands up for the widow, the orphan, the unwanted, the alien and foreigner. It is He who grants favor to those attempting to love by reaching out to their neighbor and doing the right thing. The Bible describes God's love as right and just and undefiled. As such, we can do no less, and by His grace must always do more as humanly possible.

R.E. Slater
June 22, 2018

Malachi 4 (KJV)
The Great Day of the Lord

1 - For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, said the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 - But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 - And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, said the LORD of hosts.

4 - Remember you the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

5 - Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 - And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How to Read the Bible After Applying Earth's Evolutionary Record


Something Weird Happened to Men 7,000 Years Ago,
And We Finally Know Why

by R.E. Slater
June 6, 2018

First of all, let me state that the research into humanity's evolutionary heritage has nothing to do with the biblical narrative of the Adam and Eve legend who may be considered as simple metaphors for the mitochondrial Eve in the evolutionary geologic/anthropologic schema of records going back 150,000 years ago when the entire homo sapien line was reduced to around 15,000 remaining members of it's evolving species. Whether due to disease, or in-fighting with our distant cousins the Neanderthals, or simply climate change, many factors had reduced this species to a remaining virulent number culling all other homo sapien differences out of the currently extant species. However, any numbers lower than this population group cannot reproduce the genetic diversity we find today's in our homo sapien populations. Hence, one man and one woman would be in evolutionary terms impossible.

For this reason there cannot be "only one man and one woman" as originating producers of the homo sapien species as is stated in the Bible. In terms of evolution, this story is not genetically viable for what is verified by today's DNA studies. However the biblical legend as understood by ancient Hebraic tribes still has viability on a spiritual plane. As example, there is a God who created mankind (by the process we now understand as evolution); that the species has a soul/spirit which is nurtured in the Spirit of God; that living in harmony with His creative design is most opportune but when not, falls out of harmony with God's design; that all individuals, families, clans, tribes, kingdoms, nations, and government have a higher responsibility towards one another to love, show mercy, and be at all times just in our dealings with one another. Regardless of the legend, these spiritual truths are plainly evident through the story of Adam and Eve and supportable through the biblical narratives we read of.

But here, in this genetic data report below, is revealed the strange reduction of the more recent homo sapien gene pools due (again, in a sense) to patrilinial fighting and killing among competing clans some 8,000 to 12,000 years ago. These actions would have therefore occurred during the time of the last great ice age when survival was at a premium. As such, mankind's history is not only that of evolutionary survival through the eons but, from more recent anthropologic records, portrays patrilinial clans killing one another repeatedly throughout its biologic evolution up to today's present age of modernity. Which is also shown to be true within civilization's historical records through the centuries as kingdoms and people clashed with one another leading to the extermination of competing tribes, kingdoms, or nations, throughout history's bloody pages.

Looking into the future, it seems rather doubtful mankind can be anything other than what it is (or has become), and yet, humanity must change it's behaviors lest we no longer survive ourselves as a species. I find this logic therefore compelling when the biblical records insist that we learn how to work/live with one another rather than to compete against one another regardless of religion, politics, race, color, gender, etc. The divine emphasis is always towards the richness and fullness which life may bring - rather than its many evils when divine commission and salvific sacrifice is willfully ignored to our demise.

Where does Jesus come into all this? His divine example is that of redemptive deliverance from ourselves by His grace, power, and mercy. This also examples His Father-God as the God of all grace and salvation. But when we entertain warlike images of God insisting on our right to kill each other based upon religious or political dogma than I submit this God has become a graven god made in our own image and not His own true self-reflection. Which corrupted image is also included in the biblical authors' portrayal of God in Scripture as man-like with our many foibles, temptations, and evils (or as their teachings have thus become interpreted by many Christian groups of God's personage over the centuries). God is pronouncedly viewed as a God of Death rather than as a God of Life. Thus, when Jesus speaks to the Jewish teaching of divine judgment He deliberately uses Hebraic analogies, legends, and concepts of God against them to explain by word and by deed that the Living God is a Servant God who ever comes to heal and redeem mankind from its sin and evil.

In the last, this is the power of the Cross - should it be submitted to, learned and obeyed. Which thus parallels the ancient legendary records of Genesis stating humanity's most fundamental disposition is at all times to willfully go another way than the ways in which their Creator intends. When disobeying God's commandment to love one another we next will find self-fulfilling prophecies of oppression and death leading, as presupposed by many, to a final death propelling human extinction into a great end-time battle. Which most certainly may come true as civilization's historical records evidence repeatedly throughout its storied existence. Sadly, on the upside, even as we exterminate ourselves Earth many finally be delivered from our rapacious grasp of its bounty and beauty in final deliverance from our unrelenting hands of death. Hands that could just as easily be used to sow newness of life within its spheres. Hence, the promise of recreation is always present within us even as the certainty of death we might deliver to any and all realms we wish to possess. I find then this conclusion to be in sympathy with the best of the biblical records as taught by storied example through the eons. - res






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Something Weird Happened to Men 7,000 Years Ago,
And We Finally Know Why

The women, on the other hand, were fine....

Michelle Starr
May 31, 2018

Around 7,000 years ago - all the way back in the Neolithic - something really peculiar happened to human genetic diversity. Over the next 2,000 years, and seen across Africa, Europe and Asia, the genetic diversity of the Y chromosome collapsed, becoming as though there was only one man for every 17 women.

Now, through computer modelling, researchers believe they have found the cause of this mysterious phenomenon: fighting between patrilineal clans.

Drops in genetic diversity among humans are not unheard of, inferred based on genetic patterns in modern humans. But these usually affect entire populations, probably as the result of a disaster or other event that shrinks the population and therefore the gene pool.

But the Neolithic Y-chromosome bottleneck, as it is known, has been something of a puzzle since its discovery in 2015. This is because it was only observed on the genes on the Y chromosome that get passed down from father to son - which means it only affected men.

This points to a social, rather than an environmental, cause, and given the social restructures between 12,000 and 8,000 years ago as humans shifted to more agrarian cultures with patrilineal structures, this may have had something to do with it.

In fact, a drop in genetic diversity doesn't mean that there was necessarily a drop in population. The number of men could very well have stayed the same, while the pool of men who produced offspring declined.

This was one of the scenarios proposed by the scientists who penned the 2015 paper.

"Instead of 'survival of the fittest' in a biological sense, the accumulation of wealth and power may have increased the reproductive success of a limited number of 'socially fit' males and their sons," computational biologist Melissa Wilson Sayresof Arizona State University explained at the time.

Tian Chen Zeng, a sociologist at Stanford, has now built on this hypothesis. He and colleagues point out that, within a clan, women could have married into new clans, while men stayed with their own clans their entire lives. This would mean that, within the clan, Y chromosome variation is limited.

However, it doesn't explain why there was so little variation between different clans. However, if skirmishes wiped out entire clans, that could have wiped out many male lineages - diminishing Y chromosome variance.

Computer modelling have verified the plausibility of this scenario. Simulations showed that wars between patrilineal clans, where women moved around but men stayed in their own clans, had a drastic effect on Y chromosome diversity over time.

It also showed that a social structure that allowed both men and women to move between clans would not have this effect on Y chromosome diversity, even if there was conflict between them.

This means that warring patrilineal clans are the most likely explanation, the researchers said.

"Our proposal is supported by findings in archaeogenetics and anthropological theory," the researchers wrote in their paper.

"First, our proposal involves an episode in human prehistory when patrilineal descent groups were the socially salient and major unit of intergroup competition, bracketed on either side by periods when this was not the case."

This hypothesis is also supported by a finding in the European DNA samples - shallow coalescence of the Y chromosome, a feature that indicates high levels of relatedness between males.

"Groups of males in European post-Neolithic agropastoralist cultures appear to descend patrilineally from a comparatively smaller number of progenitors when compared to hunter gatherers, and this pattern is especially pronounced among pastoralists," they explained.

"Our hypothesis would predict that post Neolithic societies, despite their larger population size, have difficulty retaining ancestral diversity of Y-chromosomes due to mechanisms that accelerate their genetic drift, which is certainly in accord with the data."

Interestingly, there were variations in the intensity of the bottleneck. It is less pronounced in East and Southeast Asian populations than in European, West or South Asian populations. This could be because pastoral cultures were much more important in the latter regions.

The team are excited to apply their methodology, which combines sociology, biology and mathematics, to other cultures, to observe how kinship links and genetic variation between cultural groups correlates with political history.

"An investigation into the patterns of uniparental variation among, for example, the Betsileo highlanders of Madagascar, who may have undergone an entry and an exit from the 'bottleneck period' very recently, could reveal phenomena relevant to such history," the researchers wrote.

"Cultural changes in political and social organisation - phenomena that are unique to human beings - may extend their reach into patterns of genetic variation in ways yet to be discovered."

The team's research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.