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

Sunday, February 10, 2019

"The Uncontrolling Love of God" & "God Can't" Videos

Who is God and What may I Expect of Him?

Image result for the uncontrolling love of god
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A God of Love gave to us absolute freedom - freedom to love or to harm, to do good or not do good, to heal, help, fix, build, prevent, bring peace. Creation has also been endowed by God's love and is always motivated to thrive where it can. But once placed in process divine love cannot control outcome - control is the opposite of love. Love does not determine but plans in cooperation with man and creation. Cooperation... it is a very key element in God's love. But the idea of control demands outcome and if disobeyed brings judgment. Divine love is not controlling, determining, or judgmental. It always seeks for us to grow in God's loving plan, assisting as we can our outreach to the divine. Men, like nature, are designed to love in all that it means - to cooperate, to assist, to reach out, to heal, build, create, undo, unburden, bring peace, rest, nourishment. God's love is like that. It is not evil. It is not controlling. It allows, it waits, it promotes, it nurtures man and creation back to the God we have left. It is the old concept of the "Divine-Human Cooperative" revived from under the burden of Calvinism's tenets of control and judgment. It is the new concept of open and relational theology built upon Wesleyan concept of Armininianism. Open because our future is always open based on God's love. Undetermined. Open-ended. It can be whatever we make it to be. Relational, because all of life is relational - including time. Because God Himself is relational so is His love - and so is His creation. It cannot be otherwise. Open and Relational Theology says God loves and we should too - as we can, as we are enabled by God's Spirit in a world of unlove, unrest and despoil. We are to love because our Father God Creator loves with an unceasing love that holds eternity in His hand forever and always.

R.E. Slater
February 10, 2019

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Biblical History is Actually Biblical Story Telling in the Bible

Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC)

As far as I know, the Greek writer Heredotus was the world's first true historian who attempted to arrange history into historical accounts. But when reading Heredotus one finds out very quickly that his historical accounts might not quite add up to what actually happened during or before his time. In fact, we discover that Heredotus is really good at telling the same story in many different ways as audiences listened to his recounts. As he spoke, if he detected interest in one area more than another he would dive into that area to enlarge its script.

This is what made Heredotus a very good story teller. He went with the audience's interests. I would think the ancient biblical stories were told in similar fashion. As stories... not as histories. Why? Because remember, Heredotus in 450 BC was the first to attempt to give historical accounts of history and as you know (or maybe you don't) much of the Old Testament is earlier than 450 BC. And so, it is for us to glean what the biblical story teller is trying to tell us behind the story he is telling.

In reference to the article below, I thank Mr. Enn's for his perspicuity. Well done Peter!

R.E. Slater
February 9, 2019

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A Quick Word About How Genealogies
in the Bible Aren’t “History”

by Peter Enns

If you clicked on this post—what is wrong with you? Step back for a moment and think about it: you clicked on a post about genealogies! Seriously. Go find something to do.

If you’re still here, thanks for hanging around. Just promise me later today you’ll do something for yourself: take a walk outside, chase squirrels, talk to a human being, anything.


When the topic turns to Genesis 1-11, namely whether or not these chapters are “historical,” people will often kindly tolerate me as I go on and on (and on) about how those chapters aren’t really historical accounts but something else. Pick your word: metaphor, symbol, myth, legend, or whatever. Frankly, after you take “history” off the table, it doesn’t matter what you call it.

But sooner or later someone will ask, “But what about the genealogies in chapters 4, 5, 10, and 11? These aren’t stories of talking serpents or magic trees, but a record of names. Surely, this is a clear sign that the author intended to write history, not fiction. ”

Perhaps. And don’t call me Shirley.
The truth is, the appearance of names in a list does not mean we are reading “history.”

As tedious as it may sound, sit down one day and make a side-by-side list of the names (yes, you heard me) in 4:17-26 and 5:1-32. Commentaries and some study Bibles will correctly tell you that these genealogies are parallel (cover the same ground) but are not identical. These are two traditions that the editor of Genesis decided to keep, even though including them side-by-side like this is a blatant assault our modern notions of what history writing is supposed to look like (the nerve).

A second genealogical pair is found in 10:1-32 and 11:10-26. They are less parallel than the first pair, but they do cover some of the same ground and differently. (They also give two different accounts for the spread of humanity after the Flood, but I digress.)

Even Jesus has 2 genealogies that do not square up: Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-28. They are not completely different—they overlap a lot—but they are also significantly different.

Almost as if they did this on purpose. Which they did.

In fact, it’s the differences that help us see the different theological purposes of the Gospel writers.

Without getting longwinded, Matthew’s genealogy, divided into 3 neat segments of 14, goes back to Abraham and portrays Jesus as the king of David’s line who will bring an end to Israel’s exile. Luke’s genealogy overlaps with many of Matthew’s names, but is much longer and connects Jesus back to “Adam, Son of God,” perhaps to present “Jesus, Son of God” as a second Adam. (Note that the next scene in chapter 4 shows Jesus successfully resisting the devil’s temptation, unlike the first Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.)

I am not saying that genealogies are all automatically fabrications, devoid of any sort of historical memory. I actually think that is not the case. Some no doubt have genuine historical value in our sense of the word, but the degree of historicity in the genealogies is up for discussion on a case by case basis.

My bigger point here, however, is that seeing how genealogies behave takes off the table the common assumption that genealogies place us safely (whew) on historical ground and are indications of the writer’s intention to write history and so we should accept them as such.
But, frankly, we have no earthly idea what ancient writers intended, nor do we know what “historical” would have meant to them.

But whatever the writers were after exactly, the inconvenient presence of parallel genealogies is, ironically for some, biblical proof that their conception of “historical” differs markedly from ours.

Taking a step further back, the parallel genealogies are simply examples of a general pattern in the Bible for writing about the past: the inclusion of more than one version—like the 2 “accounts” of Israel’s monarchy (books of Samuel/kings and the books of Chronicles) and of Jesus’s life (4 Gospels).

The biblical writers were not “historians” writing “accounts” of the past. They were storytellers accessing past tradition to say something about their present. That includes genealogies.

Genealogies in the ancient world were not examples of a plain and simple, just the bare fact, recording of the objective past. They were—like the Bible’s handling of the past in general—creative retellings of the past where the line between history and fiction are blurred and often for us difficult, if not impossible, to discern.

The Beauty of An Open-Ended Life

A Short Vignette on "What Open Theism Means"...

Sixty-nine-year-old Paulo Coelho, the celebrated Brazilian writer (author of The Alchemist), was interviewed by Krista Tippett (On Being). She asked him how he would answer the persistent human question: Who am I? Mr. Coelho answered:

"To be totally honest, I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question. Who am I? So, I am a mystery to myself. I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day to come that I’m going to die . . . So what I have to do is honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim . . . who’s constantly amazed by this journey. Who is learning a new thing every single day . . . I am this person who is proud to be a pilgrim, and who’s trying to honor his journey."

For more, Patricia Adams Farmer, offers further commentary in her short essay "The Beauty of an Open-Ended Life."