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
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
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

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Review: The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries




I'd read these if I could afford them; it would take some time but would offer a great insight into understanding early Christianity's antecedents and development across many historical perspectives. This is to say the bible was not dropped out of heaven already pre-formed but is a commentary on the lives of ancient societal knowledge struggling with the meaning and import to their lives. More simply it boils down to "Who is Jesus and what do I do with Him?"

R.E. Slater
December 22, 2019


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In The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries, Chris L. Keith, Helen K. Bond, Christine Jacobi and Jens Schröter, together with an international cast of more than 70 contributors, provide a methodologically sophisticated resource, showing the reception history of Jesus and the Jesus tradition in early Christianity. The three volumes focus upon the diversity of receptions of the Jesus tradition in this time period, with memory theory providing the framework for approaching the complex interactions between the past of the tradition and the present of its receptions. Rather than addressing texts specifically as canonical or non-canonical, the volumes show the more complex reality of the reception of the Jesus tradition in early Christianity.

Core literary texts such as Gospels and other early Christian writings are discussed in detail, as well as non-literary contexts outside the gospel genre; including the Apostolic Fathers, patristic writers, traditions such as the Abgar Legend, and modifications to the gospel genre such as the Diatesseron. Evidence from material culture, such as pictographic representations of Jesus in iconography and graffiti (e.g. the staurogram and Alexamenos Graffito), as well as representations of Jesus tradition in sarcophagi and in liturgy are also included, in order to fully reflect the transmission and reception of the Jesus tradition.

Volume 1 provides an extensive introduction and, in 18 chapters, covers literary representations of Jesus in the first century, featuring gospel literature and other early Christian writings.

Volume 2 examines all the literary texts from the second and third centuries, across 40 chapters, examining both gospel writing and other texts.

Volume 3 examines visual, liturgical and non-Christian receptions of Jesus in the second and third centuries, across 24 chapters.


About the Authors

Chris Keith is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St. Mary's University, Twickenham, UK.

Helen K. Bond is Professor in Christian Origins and New Testament at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Christine Jacobi teaches at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany.

Jens Schröter is Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology, and New Testament Apocrypha, at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany.


Amazon Link - 

Reflections: Winter Solstice Day + One



The contemplation of nature means that we see all things, persons and moments as signs and sacraments of God. In our spiritual vision we are not only to see each thing in sharp relief, standing out in all the brilliance of its specific being, but we are also to see each thing as transparent: in and through each created thing we are to discern the Creator. Discovering the uniqueness of each thing, we discover also how each points beyond itself to him who made it. So we learn, in Henry Suso's words, to see the inward in the outward: “He who can see the inward in the outward, to him the inward is more inward than to him who can only see the inward in the inward.”
Bishop Ware, Kallistos, Bishop of Diokleia, The Orthodox Way, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Kindle Edition


Christ Be Our Light




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Winter Solstice:
A Crisis of Growth Amidst the Darkness
by H. Coverston.

Jesuit mystic Teilhard de Chardin observed processes of evolution taking place all around him in a world in which all is moving toward an Omega Point of reunification with the One. For Chardin, writing amidst the horrors of WWI, all events play a role in the evolution of our world. Even dark times like our own were necessary parts of the larger picture.

On this Winter Solstice Day when the darkness holds the northern hemisphere in its deepest grip, it is comforting to consider that even in the midst of our most anguished moments as peoples living in unsettling times, we shall not perish. No evolution can occur without the leaving behind of that which has preceded it, the new creation transcending and leaving behind those aspects of its former self which are no longer viable while transforming and bringing forward those aspects which continue to be useful to the new creation.

This may well be “a crisis of growth” we are experiencing, but even that is “more reason to hope.” For far sighted prophets and their words of hope, I give thanks this Solstice night.

“Whatever disorder we are confronted by, the first thing we must say to ourselves is that we shall not perish. This is not a mortal sickness: it is a crisis of growth. It well may be that the evil has never seemed so deep-rooted nor the symptoms so grave; but, in one sense, is that not precisely one more reason for hope? The height of a peak is a measure of the depths of the abysses it overtops.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin