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

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Book Review - The Color of Compromise


Amazon Link

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about
the American Church’s Complicity in Racism

January 7, 2020

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically--up to the present day--worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response.

The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don't know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.

The Color of Compromise:
  • Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America's early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War
  • Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today's Black Lives Matter movement
  • Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration
  • Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action
  • Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners


The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality.

A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to stand up now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God's people. Starting today.


Editorial Reviews

lecrae

“My friend and brother, Jemar Tisby has written an incredible book. It’s powerful.”
- Lecrae, Grammy award-winning artist


ta

“Jemar points courageously toward the open sore of racism-not with the resigned
pessimism of the defeated but with the resilient hope of Christian faith.”

- Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor, Anacostia River Church


latasha morrison

"The foundation of reconciliation begins with truth. Tisby encourages us 
to become courageous Christians who face our past with lament, hope,
and humility. This is a must-read for all Christians who have hopes of
seeing  reconciliation."

- Latasha Morrison, author, Be the Bridge


Soong Chan Rah

"With the incision of a prophet, the rigor of a professor, and the
heart of a pastor, Jemar Tisby offers a defining examination of
the history of race and the church in America. Read this book.
Share this book. Teach this book. The church in America will
be better for it."

- Soong Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary


About the Author

Jemar Tisby (BA, University of Notre Dame, MDiv Reformed Theological Seminary) is the president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective where he writes about race, religion, politics, and culture. He is also cohost of the Pass the Mic podcast. He has spoken nationwide at conferences and his writing has been featured in the Washington Post, CNN, and Vox. Jemar is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the twentieth century.


Product Details

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Zondervan Reflective (January 7, 2020)
Language: English


Catherine Keller - "I Can't Breathe"


Police and court officers stand guard in front of Manhattan Criminal Court as
protesters demonstrate against the the death of George Floyd. | Source: AP

“I can’t breathe”: The whole Earth
echoes the cry for justice

by Catherine Keller
June 8, 2020

Sometimes a metaphor turns into a metaforce. “I can’t breathe” — the cruelly literal words of Eric Garner turned into a metaphor for the condition of black lives in 2014. When those words were repeated by George Floyd, the repetition of the same pattern of police brutality unleashed an immediate and unrelenting national uprising, unprecedented in its global solidarity for racial justice. Its metaforce will not be contained.

Look at what the very phrase contains, working subliminally, with an eerie depth resonance: “I can’t breathe” writes itself across mass demonstrations at a moment of mass death by a disease that kills by asphyxiation. We’ve known for weeks that COVID-19 kills with an obscene discrimination — African Americans are dying from the virus at three times the rate of white Americans.

The fact that George Floyd tested positive for coronavirus does not alter the charge of murder. But the coincidence is rife with epochal meaning. It amplifies the mounting cry for a justice that would not just check police violence, but transform an economic system in which black and brown people disproportionately lack adequate medical care and live in asthma-producing neighbourhoods with polluted air, zones of greater industrial pollution and fewer trees to absorb the excess carbon.

In its specific American manifestation, but also at its origins, the virus presents not just as a medical but as an ecological crisis. Of course, at this moment the pandemic has fallen into the background of the demonstrations. The masked marchers are taking a knowing risk. But they are not being reckless; theirs is the courage of a priority. If the virus spreads from these mass gatherings, the tragedy of this epoch will be intensified. But the virus will not quell the metaforce of a race, a people, a world, running out of breath.

Do the discriminatory brutality of the police and the racial impact of the pandemic together warn of the suffocation of our very world? A global eco-asphyxia? It turns out that breathlessness is no mere metaphor for the dangers of global warming. Many of us do not realise that there is a profoundly discomfiting materialisation of breathlessness on the horizon. We may not know that phytoplankton — microscopic organisms forming the oceanic base of the food chain — produce at least half, and possibly 85 per cent, of the oxygen we breathe. The phytoplankton seem to be steadily succumbing to ocean acidification driven by climate warming. “I can’t breathe” could be the cry of the entire human species by the end of the century.

My point here is precisely not, “Never mind the issues of one race; save the human race.” It is rather that the metaforce of breath will not go away. And neither will the resistance to the systemic mechanisms of suffocation, symbolic and material, that control much of what we call civilisation. That resistance is becoming insistent. The more mindfully it can carry the intersections of race with ecologies human and nonhuman, the more powerfully the metaforce can materialise.

This does not mean watering down the message of black lives mattering. It means supporting it on all sides — in its particularity. Political changes need the clarity of this particular crisis. They do not need us to get trapped in a zero-sum game of competing issues. But the choices of priority get devastatingly difficult. As a biologist and climate expert recently wrote, in view of the fact that already disproportionately more black and brown consider climate change a crisis than white people do: “Look, I would love to ignore racism and focus all my attention on climate. But I can’t. Because I am human. And I’m black. And ignoring racism won’t make it go away.”

Being human right now will mean embracing the mattering of black lives along with the living matter of our planet. A growing mass of us must be — may already be — learning to hold the intersections, the planetary connections, in consciousness, the knowing-together that fosters a broad enough coalition, and therefore a deep enough transformation.

At this point, another register of breath appears. Call it spiritual. A lot of us practice yoga, or some sort of mindfulness meditation. We know that breath is not some airy metaphor, but the rhythm of life itself. The aching force of “I can’t breathe” can be felt in the pores of your body right now, with each inhalation, each exhalation. Slow them down. Take them deep. You may practice a yoga of world-solidarity with every breath. And in the Western traditions, there lingers still the Hebrew ruach, the Greek pneuma — both ancient words for “spirit,” which mean first of all “breath.” The old Holy Ghost comes haunting our politics.

It just so happens that the President’s posing with the Bible to sanctify policies of police brutality took place on the day after Pentecost. Pentecost commemorates the moment when, as the Book of Acts tells it, the Holy Spirit as wind blew the disciples out of hiding and into the public to demonstrate. The pneuma, instigating planetary solidarity, breathed into them every known language.

The metaforce of breath inspires and conspires. It can also expire. Is it the “Breath of Life” itself — the very life of the manifold, mattering lives of the Earth — that now echoes the cry, “I can’t breathe”?


*Catherine Keller is George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She is the author of Apocalypse Now and Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World, Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public and the forthcoming book, Apocalypse After All?

A Christian Eschatological Ethos of Love



Cornell West Speaks to the Meaning
of George Floyd's Death



The Christian eschatological ethos is to love.
To stand with those who are oppressed.
To stand against those who are oppressing.

- re slater 




What is the meaning of the Kingdom of God?
It is a Kingdom of Love come to humanity.
Reclaiming this earth. Reclaiming by love.

- re slater




A Christian Eschatological Ethos of Love

 by R.E. Slater
June 11, 2020

As the US Congress gathers today to consider creating new laws to promote fairness and equality to the people of America who have endured too long the racism and brutality of their police forces I am reminded of the story of outsiders taking over the passionate vision and hope of the insider.

Too often have I had the experience of forming and promoting an idea to the betterment of an organization I was serving only to see that passion taken over by the leaders, directors, or managers and reduced to skin and bones as a shell of what it could've been.

We've had on display for the past two weeks protest demonstrations against America's police forces which have not served their communities equally or fairly by institutionalizing racism and inequality against the black citizens of America. With the racist deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd the fuse was lit and policing injustice was served on a hot plate of anger around the world.



The protesting voices are the people with a vision and hope for equality and justice. It is their own vision and hope that the outsider, such as the US Congress among many others, who will now pretend to take over and try to fix. Whose organizations will create a few laws, implement a few policies, and say "There, you are free now. There, your equality has come."

But I'm sorry to say passion cannot come by establishing more laws or more "to do items" on the whiteboard of societal ethos. No. All the actions created by the outsider has only dulled the real needs of societies by making a law, or creating a committing, or reforming this-or-that. What it will fail to do is to instill that inner drive within the human breast to live and act out equality and justice in everyday lives of bitterness and racism.

I know of no law on racism that can truly stop the human heart from expressing it. There can be no law, no ruling, no acts by committee, which can ever replace the passion in the hearts of those who cry out for social justice and equitable relationships between one another. It must be a "law" written on the human heart. A law to love. This Jesus has given to us through His atonement and by His indwelling Spirit. That of the love of God which conforms our racists hearts to that of God's love of healing and goodness to one another.


As such, I submit now, that by whatever an organization does or doesn't do - whether by enacting congressional laws, or disbanding and reforming police precincts; whether by business or organisational endeavors of any sort, that it will never be enough. Outsider laws, rules, and common orders of juris prudence is only the beginning of vision and hope but never the end of learning to love one another of all colors, creeds, genders, cultures, ethnicities, and things that make people, people. We must see the person if we are to see them truly.

Call me crazy but if the Lord does not write His love upon our hearts and souls, minds and body, we simply are living outward lies to the inner souls of our being, wishing to act right without being right. It's this societal fakery and lip service we've given to our "good works" which demeans, and insults, the very purpose of our living. And yes, the white church of America has promoted racism as much as anybody else when overlooking that Jesus spoke to the religious who can be the greatest hypocrite of all.


We are to love God, each other, and creation. To live lives larger than ourselves, larger than our Constitution, larger than our Bill of Rights. To live fully devoted beyond any concept we can imagine or think which might liberate and heal another to become greater than they are when receiving an attitude of love all the time, in every place we go, and in every word and action we commit.

Jesus called out the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He understood the corruption of the soul of humanity's many empires it lives out. He saw the common as the uncommon and named everything a study of God's love needing release through us, His people, as the bearers of God's command to love. 

We cannot legalize it, script it, create creeds and doctrines about it; nor can we live pretend lives mouthing words to it. God's love is what energizes societies to unbearable release and outcome because it must breathe lest it dies.

The message of BLM is that we breathe together as a society that we might live beyond those who would hold hostage our hearts pretending mere words and laws will help us live out what is unwritable, inscribable, uncodeable.

The word love means nothing without extending across our societies in every direction possible even as global protests have expanded this message of equality and justice across the world in vision and hope to live well with one another.

Peace,

R.E. Slater
June 10, 2020



White Evangelicalism At The Protest
Article Link

by Tim Gombis
June 2, 2020

The protest against the brutal police treatment of black people in Grand Rapids Saturday night was a profoundly Christian moment. People came together and walked shoulder to shoulder from across ethnic, racial, and gender lines, and from every social class. They peacefully and passionately advocated on behalf of the powerless to the powerful.

It was the social performance of Jesus’s action in the temple.

As we neared police headquarters, we saw that a street evangelist had set up shop. He stood apart from the crowd by a few feet and had a banner behind him. He was white, maybe 60.

When chants died down near him, he raised his hands to make his pitch. People ignored him and routinely drowned him out with cries of “No justice, no peace!” and “George Floyd, say his name!”

I’d never seen the man before but I know him well. I was raised in the same white conservative evangelical culture that produced him.

He perfectly embodied that culture Saturday night. It’s a culture that encounters Jesus and does not recognize him. It sees the social embodiment of Christian faith and wants to save it. It witnesses the gospel in action and stands off to the side. It waits for the cries for justice to die down so it can make its sales pitch.

Sarah leaned over to me and said she wanted to tell the man that if Jesus were here he would say George Floyd’s name.

Indeed, Jesus was there and that’s exactly what he was doing.

*Tim Gombis. Observations on biblical studies, books, movies, music, sports, culture, and anything and everything having to do with creatively and faithfully reflecting on and embodying Christian identity.





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



Christian humanism is not a new doctrine but an old observance from time immemorial found in the ancients, the major creeds of religions, the teachings of Jesus, and even today in BLM. It is an attitude, a behavior, a significant and important form of communication with one another. It is built around the word Love.
Too many think of humanism as replacing God. But what if it stood with God in exemplifying divine love and forgiveness? This is what is meant by "Christian" humanism. If religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism were to stay to their roots of grace and peace in God one could imagine a far better world of equality and fairness.
- re slater



Christian humanism sees people for who they are, serving where it can to help and aid. Jesus didn't say to hate the world but not to be corrupted by the world, including the corruption which comes with Christian secularity. A corruption which is silent in the face of racism and supremacy. If I was to chose between the world and the church I'd rather go it alone in God's creation than fellowship with false attitudes and doctrines. The church of God welcomes and embraces all. It does not seek to brainwash, strong-arm, place guilt upon, or shout down all who differ from its inhumane silence seeking power over God's love and weakness.
- re slater


Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity, individual freedom and the importance of happiness as essential and principal components of the teachings of Jesus. It emerged during the Renaissance with strong roots in the patristic period.
- Wikipedia


Equitable justice is the right of every man, woman and child.
If this cornerstone of civilization is removed
there will be nothing left save anarchy.

- re slater


US Supreme Court: "Equal Justice Under Law"




Mark 12:30-31 [New American Standard Bible (NASB)]

30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all
your mind, and with all your strength.’ 

31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor
as yourself.’ There is no other commandment
greater than these.”