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

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Advent Season - Afflicted by Hope




"When God “afflicts us with hope” we become people who look at the world with “a steady, honest, unflinching gaze." We see the world just as it is and yet, because we trust in God’s goodness, we still believe good triumphs over evil. This is the hope that lies at the heart of Advent [which celebrates Jesus' birth into a world of sin]. A hope that doggedly persists despite pain and suffering and deep, deep grief. A hope based on a promise that Jesus will not leave us alone but, instead, comes to us over and over again [in this life as the next]." - Teri Wooten Daily


A Beacon of Light: A City on a Hill Full of Light & Peace



The Risk of Birth
by Madeleine L'Engle

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honor & truth were trampled to scorn--
Yet here did the Savior make His home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn--
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.







The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:1-15 (NASB)

2 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. 2 [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is [e]Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a [f]manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men [g]with whom He is pleased.”

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the [h]manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

*The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.






Days To Come
Isaiah 2:1-5 (NRSV)*

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!

*The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.






The Hour Unknown
Matthew 24:36-44 (NRSV)*

Jesus said to the disciples, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

*The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.







The Downward Slope to Hope & Humanity




Wednesday, November 27, 2019

HBO Series Watchmen - A Compendium of Everything: Season 1


Image result for hbo watchmen poster

Let's take a brief break from daily life and consider all we know, have interacted with over our lifetimes, and perhaps even discussed here at Relevancy22. The HBO series Watchmen might be the perfect time to consider where we are, have been, and might be going in the Age of Pluralism, Disruption, and Imagination.

R.E. Slater
November 27, 2019

* * * * * * * * * * 


Damon Lindelof has created a new series that is much less complicated than his blockbuster TV show LOST that I enjoyed so very much but promises to be every bit as fun and perplexing. Expect some violence as the 1986 comic series it is based off was quite violent as was the 2009 movie as they seem to be asking the question,

“Does violence beget violence or is it a necessary evil used to survive?”

Context is everything. And for a writer, an artist, or even a film producer, having context that has matured with perspective allows the subject matter to be formed (or re-formed) into a more beneficial mode of discussion for societies struggling with confusion, doubt, and fear. All infamous hallmarks, I might add, under the "golden age" of Trumpism.

Having not read any of the 12-part comic series (completed between 1986-87) but having recently watched the 2009 movie series Watchmen for helpful context, I am finding HBO’s Watchmen series a great understatement to approaching the questions American society has been struggling with. Questions such as whether black lives matter (they do!). Or, whether domestic policing can be racist (they can be!). Or, whether our allegiance to Flag and Country can be rightfully questioned against a nationalised patriotism that doesn't recognise the Constitutional rights of all elements of its society (it must be!). Even so, I suspect Damon Lindelhof of twisting the elements of this most modern and yet oldest of tales to address these politic factors of human justice and individual psyche in a way which might help any constitutionally constructed postmodern society in facing up to failures and opportunities for redressing those failures in constructive fashion.

For myself, I fell into Watchmen without any idea of what it was about, who wrote it, or what it was attempting to say. It was an act of happenstance which caught my attention as it addressed issues such as white supremacy, the struggle of human rights over technocratic democracies moving towards soulless consumerism, to corporate governance over the rightful public governance of government, and so forth. I also had read not long ago of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, murders of the 1920s when noticing that the Watchmen rightfully started with this  event based on the actual history of the harm done to 900 black residents of Tulsa of whom 100 were murdered and the other 800 suffering injuries and lost of all property to racist neighbors. When I next discovered Damon Lindelof’s name attached to the series I immediately knew it would be starkly different from the older comic series or the movie by the same name. At that point I was interested and motivated to give it a deeper look as if looking in the mirror of self-reflection asking rightful questions of meaning, purpose and identity.

So here we go, Easter eggs and all. Enjoy!

R.E. Slater
November 27, 2019


Image result for 2009 watchmen poster hd



INTRODUCTION - "The Backstory to the Backstory to the Beginning"


HBO Series Trailer


Before watching HBO’s Watchmen here’s what you should know about the comic...


DC COMICS 1986-87 LIMITED SERIES
Wikipedia:


The History of the Watchmen


Did Dr. Manhattan Create the DC Universe?



THE 2009 WATCHMEN FILM
Wikipedia:


2009 Watchmen Movie based upon 1986 Comic
"The backstory to HBO’s Watchmen Series"

Note: Having recently watched this film I found it immediately
helpful to Lindelof's newer story line. Having first watched the
first six episodes of HBO's new series the movie repeated all
that I already knew but still provided a better foundation than
not having watched it at all. - res


Watchmen (2009) Official Trailer


2009 Watchmen - Ten Years Later



2019 HBO's WATCHMEN SERIES
Wikipedia:


HBO Watchmen Promo
Trailer





Wikipedia - Racism in America -


The larger context I believe is the struggle we all have with accepting others different from ourselves. In a  word, its known as pluralismBelow is a helpful video that I  loved providing  the contextual framing needed in understanding how pluralism must now become a socio-evolutionary attitude and behavior in human development in order  for large civilizations to peacefully live with one another. - res


08 Pluralism & Society


Trolling White America - https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a29565670/watchmen-hbo-backlash-controversy-white-supremacy/

GZ0 - https://io9.gizmodo.com/hbos-watchmen-wants-to-dig-into-the-heart-of-american-r-1838914665




EPISODE 1 - "IT's SUMMER AND WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF ICE"


Oklahoma, “Pore Jud Is Daid”


Watchmen Trailer 1 (WMT1)



Review of Episode 1 by Digital Trends (DT1) -

Tulsa's Black Wall Street massacre



The Tulsa Race Massacre; Then and now.


Buzztox1 (BT1)


Easter Eggs Video 1




EPISODE 2 - "MARTIAL FEATS OF COMANCHE HORSEMANSHIP"

Image result for "MARTIAL FEATS OF COMANCHE HORSEMANSHIP" hd painting hd
George Catlin, Comanche Feats of Horsemanship, 1834-1835, oil on canvas,
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.487

WMT2




Easter Eggs Video 2




EPISODE 3 - "SHE WAS KILLED BY SPACE JUNK"

Image result for millennium clock watchmen hd

Image result for millennium clock watchmen hd

Image result for millennium clock watchmen hd

Image result for millennium clock watchmen hd


WMT3





Watchmen Jeremy Irons Interview



Side Note: I found this interview intriguing as Jeremy considered his role as an
actor within the series as well as his career as an actor speaking to the many
masks he has worn personally, professionally, and within himself. I counted
five layers within this complex individual. - res


Easter Eggs Video 3




EPISODE 4 - "IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY STORY, WRITE YOUR OWN"

Image result for if you don't like my story write your own hd


WMT4




Easter Eggs Videos 4






EPISODE 5 - "LITTLE FEAR OF LIGHTENING"

Image result for a little fear of lightning hd


WMT5





Easter Eggs Video 5




EPISODE 6 - "THIS EXTRAORDINARY BEING"

 Image result for this extraordinary being hd

Image result for this extraordinary being hd

Image result for watchmen this extraordinary being breaking through window of grocery store hd


WMT6


Easter Eggs Video 6




EPISODE 7 - "An Almost Religious Awe"


WMT7


Related image
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"








Easter Eggs Video 7










EPISODE 8 - "A God Walk into a Bar"


WMT8


VUL8 RECAP –

DT8 RECAP –


Easter Eggs Video 8


5

EPISODE 9 - "See How They Fly"


WMT9

VUL9 RECAP –

DT9 RECAP –


Easter Eggs Video 9


5

SEASON WRAP UP


Collider's Interview with Damon Lindelof


Watchmen's Damon Lindelof goes
Comic Book Shopping




Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Part 4/4 - Four Topics That Intrigue Me, Part 4


Part 3/4 - Four Topics That Intrigue Me, Part 3


Part 2/4 - Four Topics That Intrigue Me, Part 2


Four Topics That Intrigue Me, Part 1




Here are my several reflections on Christianity for the 2019.


Firstly, I would like to see an updated form of inaugurated eschatology ala Oscar Cullman focused on Christ's presence in this life and throughout all humanity. But without the need for predicated end time schemes.

More specifically, I would like to write of the relentless Spirit of God reaching into humanity's willful struggle with sin and evil that through a process described in the bible as a process of salvation-history, God's  work of atoning redemption might be extended to its fullest affects into humanity's existence. That is, should it be possible before mankind brings itself to a point of extermination commonly termed by biblicists as Armageddon. Which surely will occur if the church doesn't get its act together and learn to love all sinners, serve all sinners, and include all sinners at the tables of Christ.

In attempting this, I would also like to remove all popular end time schematas which reinforce in the church the furtility of being present in a sinful world as it awaits divine judgment. Surely it will if the Spirit cannot empower His faithful to act and work in the place of Jesus. As such, I would like to recast eschatological pessimism with eschatological hope by building on the more contemporary themes of a truly open and relational theology using process theology as its philosophical basis.

By this I mean to rid the bible of its perceived Calvinistic themes of a dipolar God who is actively judging and controlling all lives to a most dreadful end reserved for all who are not predestined or elected to eternal life. This is the crudest, most heinous interpretation of a loving God who seeks all mankind to be at peace through salvation provided in Christ. Though I do not chose the idea of Universalism, I do chose the idea of spiritual responsibility. And in that responsibility to allow all humanity to come to God's outreaching call on every level possible, made possible by Jesus' atoning sacrifice who brings healing and wholeness to all who come to God in their own way.

Connected to that thought is the healing which comes to all communities and nations of the world should they learn to love one another with Jesus' love that wars and hatreds would cease, oppression and cruelty end, that peace and goodwill to all become the operative ethic of the world. Open and Relational Theology is just such a vehicle to urge both church and mankind more favorably forward towards enacting the love of God brought to this world in Christ. It demands we do not wait to die and go to heaven but to be willfully resolved to bring heaven here on earth across all relations, distinctions, disagreements, divisions, and mistrust.

And with this idea to perceive God as the whisper on the wind; the many-hued spectra of light; the silence which runs underneath the noise of creation. Whose divine sovereignty is both weak and strong and built upon the cornerstones of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and sacrificial service to the other.

In a sense, many articles housed within this website move along these lines of thought but they all could be written again with a stronger voice underlaid with the foundation of process theology and then across all systematic doctrines, creeds, and traditions of church beliefs. For me, this perception cries out to me that God is there. He is with us. He never will abandon us. That His love is the healing balm we all need in every aspect of our life despite the distracting, if not deceptive, noise of many other beliefs, creeds, and doctrines shouting hate, judgment, oppression, malice, and injustice. This god I do not recognize and will not follow. It is a god made in man's image. An image fallen and depraved. But the God of love is the one I chose best to follow, to re-imagine, and share with those around me.

R.E. Slater
November 12, 2019



Addendum

Below are several of my old seminary books that served among many others as a basis when looking at the relationship between the testaments. To the 200 page treatise I wrote on systematic theology I also wrote a 17 page summary of the major themes found across the bible. At the time I decided there were twelve such themes under the following subheadings:

  • Two Testaments: One Bible, by D.L. Baker 
  • The Christ of the Covenants, by O. Palmer Robertson 
  • Millennialism, by Charles Feinberg 
  • Remnant Theology, by Gerhard F. Hasel
  • The Presence of the Future by George Eldon Ladd
  • Toward an OT Theology, by Walter C. Kaiser
  • The Messianic Hope, by Charles Augustus Briggs
  • Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum, by Daniel P. Fuller
  • Israel and the Church, by Carl B. Hoch
  • Christ and Time, by Oscar Cullmann
  • God's Design: A Focus on OT Theology, by Elmer A. Martens
  • OT and NT Theology: Basic Issues in Current Debate, by Gerhard F. Hasel

These subheadings I might today re-structure into the more general categories:


Subject                Description                                                          Theology               
Revelation          One God: Different Cultural Meanings                 Hermenuetics
Salvation             The God of Redemption                                        Redemption
Eschatology        The God of Healing & Wholeness                         Promise
Missional            God's People Who Speak & Act                            Message/Ethics
Relational           The Presence of God                                              Presence
Knowledge         Themes of Continuity & Discontinuity                  Meaning
Christology         The God of Hope                                                    Hope
Holy Spirit          The God of Grace & Mercy                                   Love
Community         The Fellowship of the People of God                    Fellowship
Process               God in Creation's Re-Creation                                Assurance
Teleology           God in Process                                                        Means, Methods & Mode
Apology             God in Discussion                                                   Examination

Overall God has placed creation in relationship with humanity and vice versa. Through this medium of timeful existence the bible shares God's promises through covenant, Messianic event, narrative themes related to sin and salvation, various salvific motifs of salvation-history, and revelatory word.

At the time it seemed all so clear to this young theolog but move forward nearly 35 years hence and I have more questions than answers, criticisms than solutions, reflections than assurances, and urgency than indifference.

For now I have but one simple thought which drives both my faith and my faithfulness and that is "Christ and Christ alone" centered absolutely, positively, 100%, in the "Love of God". When I read the bible, write, preach, teach, act, behave, whatever... all must reflect Jesus as God's mid-point of salvific history and its meaning for us today. It is Jesus who will deliver this world back to God whole and at peace. And it is our responsibility to obey. Whether we destroy ourselves in the process or whether we repent to work together to make Jesus' gift at once and at one with God, this alone is our mission. Christ, and Christ alone.

R.E. Slater
November 13, 2019





Oscar Cullmann

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Oscar Cullmann
Born25 February 1902
Strasbourg
Died16 January 1999 (aged 96)
Chamonix
Known forChristian theologian
Academic background
Alma materStrasbourg seminary
Academic work
DisciplineChristian eschatology and Christology
InstitutionsBasel Reformed Seminary, Sorbonne - Paris
InfluencedJohn Howard Yoder[1]
Oscar Cullmann (25 February 1902, Strasbourg – 16 January 1999, Chamonix) was a Lutheran theologian. He is best known for his work in the ecumenical movement and was partly responsible for the establishment of dialogue between the Lutheran and Roman Catholic traditions. Because of his intense ecumenical work, Cullmann's Basel colleague Karl Barth joked with him that his tombstone would bear the inscription "advisor to three popes."[2]

Biography[edit]

Cullmann was born in Strasbourg (then in Germany) and studied classical philology and theology at the seminary there. In 1926, he accepted an assistant professorship, a position previously held by Albert Schweitzer.
In 1930, he was awarded a full professorship of New Testament. From 1936, he also taught the history of the early church. In 1938, he began teaching both subjects at Basel Reformed Seminary. In 1948 Cullmann accepted a position teaching theology in Paris at the Sorbonne while he continued at Basel. He retired from both in 1972.
He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1960.[3]
He was invited to be an observer at the Second Vatican Council.[2]
Upon his death at 96, the World Council of Churches issued a special tribute to Cullmann to honour his ecumenical work.

Theology[edit]

Cullmann's studies on Christian eschatology and Christology drove him to propose a third position over against the popular positions of C. H. Dodd and Albert Schweitzer, known as "redemptive history" or "inaugurated eschatology". He wrote that Jesus Christ was the midpoint of sacred history, which informs general history and runs linearly from creation to consummation.[2] He stressed the objective reality of sacred history against the existentialist interpretation of Rudolf Bultmann, a fellow German theologian. Cullmann suggested the analogy of D-Day and VE-Day to illustrate the relationship between Jesus' death and resurrection on the one hand, and his parousia on the other.[4]

Selected works[edit]

Among Cullmann's important works are:
  • Cullmann, Oscar (1950). Baptism in the New Testament (trans. of Die Tauflehre des Neuen Testaments: Erwachsenen- und Kindertaufe). Studies in Biblical Theology. 1. London: SCM Press. ISBN 9780334000686OCLC 13521948. - (trans from the Zürich: Zwingli-Verlag, 1948 1st edition).
  • ——— (1951). Christ and Time: the primitive Christian conception of time and history (trans. of Christus und die Zeit: die urchristliche Zeit- und Geschichtsauffassung. London: SCM Press. OCLC 603792847. - (trans from the Zollikon-Zürich: Evangelischer Verlag a. g., 1946 1st edition).
  • ——— (1953). Early Christian Worship (trans. for Urchristentum und Gottesdienst). Studies in Biblical Theology. 10. London: SCM Press. ISBN 9780334003533OCLC 391942. - (trans from the Basel & Zürich, 1944 1st edition).
  • ——— (1953). Peter: Disciple, Apostle and Martyr (trans. of Petrus, Jünger, Apostel, Martyrer: das historische und das theologische Petrus-problem. London: SCM Press. OCLC 603801281. - (trans from the Zürich : Zwingli, 1952 1st edition).
  • ——— (1958). Immortality of the Soul; or, Resurrection of the dead?: the witness of the New Testament. Ingersoll Lecture, 1955. London: Epworth. OCLC 9538428.[5]
  • ——— (1959). The Christology of the New Testament (trans. of Die Christologie des Neuen Testaments). London: SCM Press. OCLC 301386195. - (trans from the Kampen: Kok, 1911 1st edition).
  • ——— (1965). Salvation in History (trans. of Heil als Geschichte: heilsgeschichtliche Existenz im Neuen Testament. New Testament Library. London: SCM Press. ISBN 9780334015598OCLC 17518219. - (trans from the Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1965 1st edition).