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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Remembering Who We Are & the Spirituality of Surfing

This next is a little off beat - some personal, some not - but let's go with it...

In Jay McDaniel's accompanying article below what I like is how he weaves large large words and ideas like Process Theology, Panentheism, Creational Expression, Creaturely Freedom, and Spirituality into an integrated whole when selecting as his subject matter the recreational sport of surfing with its deep passion held by many having the blessed acumen of balance required to enjoy wind and waves.

Though I never had an opportunity to learn this sport a very distant relative of mine had, so much so that he has held the world championship record for surfing for many years. Who? You might have guessed it... its easy enough... Kelly Slater. Neither he nor I know one another yet we're from the same family tree out of Rhode Island through our common relative, yet another famous personality in his day, known as the Father of the American Industrial Revolution, the American Factory system, and of the American Sunday Schools. This same had established the Black River Valley textile industry throughout the New England Colonies which served the clothing needs of colonialists and an early nation growing up.

His name? Samuel Slater of Pawtuchett, Rhode Island, whose early textile factories spawned complex manufacturing machinery to meet the burgeoning needs of a populace fortunate enough to have one pair of clothes to their name. If you had a fire in your house the first thing you grabbed was your clothes. They were that rare or hard to come by. When we visited Pawtuchett several years back we drove through block after block of heavy textile factories - think Ford Motor but on a massive Textile scale and you get the idea. And when finally finding the Slater Mills, discovered the US National Parks Monuments had an immense museum, guided facilities, tours, movies, and public discussions ongoing through the year. Amazing. Who knew?

Image result for Workers at a mule spinner making thread hd
President Andrew Jackson: “I understand you taught us how to spin, so as to rival Great Britain in her manufactures; you set all these thousands of spindles at work, which I have been delighted in viewing, and which have made so many happy, by a lucrative employment.”
Samuel Slater: “Yes Sir. I suppose that I gave out the psalm and they have been singing to the tune ever since.”
- George S. White, Memoir of Samuel Slater
Anyway, Kelly and I are from this side of the family, come from England, whose descendants had migrated as white refugees seeking opportunity in a land promising freedom and hope. Not unlike the millions of worldwide refugees (61 million at present) dissettled from home and family looking for a homeland to live in, raise families, and grow businesses.

At present, we are witnessing America's deep difficulty with its previously rich heritage of having been the Land of the Free but is now in the process of relearning how to become the Land of the Free as opposing forces to human dignity and creational being lurk in the shadows disrupting and destroying those same passionate fires borne within the souls and breasts of those early colonialists seeking justice while fleeing the inhumanity of religious fanaticists across the face of England and Europe. Which sounds much like today's current events, which, I'm sad to say, proves the age-old adage true, that history ever seems to repeat itself.

R.E. Slater
July 1, 2018
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



    


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​Surfing and Panentheism

​a short reflection for my son, Matthew McDaniel, a surfer

by Jay McDaniel

Pan-en-theism means everything is part of God even though God is more than everything added together. 

​Developed by process theologians in the 20th century, but with precedents in many world religions, it is the view that the whole universe is unfolding within the mind and heart of a single life -- God -- in much the way that a living embryo develops within a womb. God is a womb-like Consciousness in whose life the universe unfolds, and the oceans and waves on our small planet, along with us, are among the cells in whose Life all things unfold. 

This does not mean that everything that happens on our planet or anywhere else is God's will. The hills and rivers, the trees and stars, the oceans and the surfer -- all have their integrity and independence; all have power of their own which cannot be overridden by the divine life. God is all-loving, but not all-powerful; just as a Mother in whose womb an embryo unfolds may well be deeply loving, but not all powerful. Many tragedies occur that even God cannot prevent. They affect God even as they affect the world. God, too, can suffer. Still, just as a mother has a will, a desire, that her embryo enjoy safety and happiness, so it is with the Life in whom the universe unfolds. God is Love. God's aim is that we love our neighbors and the whole of life as we love ourselves.

Spirituality is the act of connecting with this Love. The word "spirituality" means many things, but most deeply it means becoming fully alive in whatever ways are possible, relative to the circumstances at hand, in a loving way, and in consonance with the Life in whose mind the universe unfolds. There are many moods the spiritual alphabet. Indeed, so we learn from the work of Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat in Spirituality and Practice, there is one and sometimes two for every letter: attention, being present, creativity, connectedness, courage, devotion, enthusiasm, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, hospitality, imagination, justice, listening, meaning, nurturing, openness, peace, play, questing, reverence, silence, transformation, unity, vision, wonder, X (the mystery of life), yearning, and zest for life. 

The practice of surfing can open a person to many of these moods. It may be part of a new religion, as Bron Taylor suggests, and it may also find its home in a more traditional religion such as Christianity, as the video "Spiritual Surfing" makes clear, as narrated by an Episcopal priest. Surfing is a trans-religious practice that can be enfolded into many different religions and also practiced by people who are "spiritually interested but not religiously affiliated." It is a form of meditation and faith. It is faith that waves will come, even in tough times, filled with fresh possibilities for life and love, no matter what the circumstances. And it is faith that we can respond to these waves creatively, with skill and effort and a little balance., to help build a world that is good for all, as best we can.

- Jay McDaniel







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