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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

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."

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