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

Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 Suggested Reads




The Christian life is a holy adventure.

Bruce Epperly has opened up that adventure to everyone in his previous books Process Theology, Process Spirituality, and Process and Ministry. Now he connects this adventure to ancient roots in Celtic spirituality.

This book takes a meditative, experiential approach to the complex, often difficult topic of process theology and brings it to life for everyday spiritual practice, while rooting it in Celtic wisdom. This is not the place for rigid doctrine and adherence to a set of commands. Instead, Epperly hears God's call to embrace a God who is available to us, a call to adventure, and the hope for new spiritual vistas. This spiritual journey will resonate in how we live and build community.

This is a short volume, designed for anyone to read. It is suitable for individual or group study. It aims to make both process theology and Celtic wisdom available to everyone.





How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere captures for a general audience the spiritual shift away from a God “up there” and “out there” and towards an immanent divine right here. It’s built around the personal journeys of a close-knit group of prominent contributors. Their spiritual visions of immanence, sometimes called “panentheism,” are serving as a path of spiritual return for a growing number of seekers today. Contributors include Deepak Chopra, Richard Rohr, Rupert Sheldrake, Matthew Fox, and Cynthia Bourgeault.






Hurting people ask heart-felt questions about God and suffering. Some "answers" they receive appeal to mystery: “God’s ways are not our ways”. Some answers say God allows evil for a greater purpose. Some say evil is God's punishment.

The usual answers fail. They don't support the truth God loves everyone all the time. God Can't gives a believable answer to why a good and powerful doesn't prevent evil.

Author Thomas Jay Oord says God’s love is inherently uncontrolling. God loves everyone and everything, so God can't control anyone or anything. This means God cannot prevent evil singlehandedly. God can’t stop evildoers, whether human, animal, organisms, or inanimate objects and forces.

In God Can't, Oord gives a plausible reason why some are healed but many others are not. God always works to heal everyone, but sometimes our bodies, organisms, or other creatures do not cooperate with God's healing work. Or the conditions of creation are not right for the healing God wants to do. 

Some people think God causes or allows suffering to teach us lessons or build our character. God Can't disagrees. Oord says God squeezes good from the evil God didn’t want in the first place. God uses pain and suffering without willing or even allowing it.

Most people think God can overcome evil singlehandedly. In God Can't, Oord says God needs cooperation for love to reign now and later. This leads to a better view of the afterlife he calls, “relentless love.” It rejects traditional ideas of heaven, hell, and annihilation. Relentless love holds to the possibility all creatures and all creation will respond to God’s love.

God Can't is written in understandable language. Thomas Jay Oord status as a world-renown theologian brings credibility to the book’s radical ideas. He explains these ideas through true stories, illustrations, and scripture.

God Can't is for those who want answers to tragedy, abuse, and other evils that make sense!



Thinking About Walls... Does Heaven Have Walls?




Thinking about walls... does heaven have walls? Should churches have walls? In the future, does Heaven's New Jerusalem have walls? Does the Spirit of God "wall off" Jesus to the world? We've seen and heard all versions of these from one time or another. Here's another....

And speaking of walls, let's sometime talk about apocalyptic myth and how to properly interpret them in the light of God, Scripture, and presence of His Gospel...

R.E. Slater
January 7, 2017

* * * * * * * * * * * *




Excerpt from:
No, Heaven Does Not Have A Border Wall
January 7, 2019
by Zach Hunt



"...Leading up to Revelation’s description of the New Jerusalem and its absurdly enormous wall (which should be a flashing neon sign telling us we’re looking at a metaphor) we read the story of the downfall of Babylon. Babylon is playing stand in for the Roman empire, the great oppressor of the ancient world when the book of Revelation was first written. It’s curious that fundamentalists like Jeffress recognize that particular use imagery and yet insist the rest of Revelation, including the heavenly wall, must be literal.

Nevertheless, the story of Revelation is a story of the fall of an empire, of all empires that oppose the kingdom of God. It’s the story of the dismantling of power, the liberation of the oppressed, and the dawn of new way of life, the way of like God intended the world to live.

The book of Revelation is a story about hope, hope that one day all things will be made new and the old order of things will pass away forever. And it’s right after that promise we find the description of the New Jerusalem with its absurdly enormous wall.

Why?

Because the New Jerusalem is an image of the way life should be not a sanctification of the way life is now. The New Jerusalem is a subversive image that rejects the way of the Roman Empire, a way of sorrow and mourning, death and oppression, fear and exclusion. That’s why Revelation describes a wall in the New Jerusalem.

Like the rest of John’s apocalyptic vision, the New Jerusalem is modeled after imagery its original audience would have recognized and understood. City walls were commonplace in the ancient world. They kept the scary and often deadly outside world at bay. Walls provided a sense of safety and kept undesirables away from those on the inside.

Such was the way of the Roman empire.

The way of Babylon.

But the wall of the New Jerusalem subverts the way of Babylon.

How do we know that?

Because if we keep reading Revelation’s description of the New Jerusalem’s wall we get to this critically important passage….

'On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.'

Its gates will never be shut....

I don’t know how familiar you are with walls and gates but in my experience watching Braveheart many, many times, walls with open gates aren’t particularly effective. So why would the New Jerusalem wall leave its gates over?

Because sorrow and mourning and death are no more.

God has come to dwell among us.

There is no more need for security because there is nothing left to defend against.

Nor are there anymore insiders and outsiders.

For God so loved the world.

Not just white people.

And certainly not just Americans.

So, yes, there is a metaphorical wall in the book of Revelation. But it’s not there to sanctify Trump’s monument to racism, bigotry, and fear. It’s there as a subversive message of hope. A promise that one day the walls of exclusion and oppression and fear will be torn down. And the gates of heaven will be thrown open to welcome everyone regardless of race, language, or place of birth."

- ZH