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

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.