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

Friday, July 31, 2020

Christian Humanism - John Lewis: Love in Action

John Lewis and John Cobb on Love

by Jay McDaniel

John Lewis

I think sometimes people are afraid to say I love you. But we’re afraid to say, especially in public life, many elected officials or worldly elected officials, are afraid to talk about love. Maybe people tend to think something is so emotional about it. Maybe it’s a sign of weakness. And we’re not supposed to cry. We’re supposed to be strong, but love is strong. Love is powerful.

The movement created what I like to call a nonviolent revolution. It was love at its best. It’s one of the highest form of love. That you beat me, you arrest me, you take me to jail, you almost kill me, but in spite of that, I’m going to still love you. I know Dr. King used to joke sometime and say things like, “Just love the hell outta everybody. Just love ’em.”


I think all of us in life, not just in the Western world, but all over the world, we need to come to that point. We need to evolve to that plane, to that level where we’re not ashamed to say to someone, “I love you, I’m sorry, Pardon me, Will you please forgive me? Excuse me.” What is it? Have we lost something? Can we be just human and say I love you? I think so — so many occasions we think of love as being romantic and all of that, but just love because it’s good in itself, just love living creatures.

But the teaching, the training, the reading, and coming in contact with great teachers. Martin Luther King Jr. had a tremendous influence on me and the reading and the study of Gandhi.

When I saw the film several years ago of Gandhi and saw the march to the sea, it reminded me of the march from Selma to Montgomery. That there come a time where you have to be prepared to literally put your physical body in the way to go against something that is evil, unjust, and you prepare to suffer the consequences.

But whatever you do, whatever your response is, is with love, kindness, and that sense of faith. In my religious tradition is this belief that it’s going to work out. It is going to work out. It’s all going to be all right. And people will ask me from time to time, “What shall we do, John, during the sit-ins or during the freedom rides?” And I would say, “We need to find a way to dramatize the issue. We need to find a way to get in the way, but it should be in a peaceful, loving, nonviolent fashion.” Hate is too heavy a burden to bear.

- John Lewis interview with Krista Tippett in On Being

John Cobb

​One wonders whether history must always be like this, with "us" feeling that we are justified in taking any action that will support our side against "them."  We process folk say "No." All of us are composed of our relations to our own past but also to the myriad of "others."  We are truly members one of another.  The wounds of others wound us. Their genuine fulfillment fulfills us.  This is true not only of those we call "friends."  It is true of those we call "foes."

Whitehead noticed in the extraordinary "Galilean origins of Christianity" an emphasis on "the tender elements in the world which slowly and in quietness operate by love."  A Hindu, Gandhi, noticed that Jesus called us to love our enemies, and he incorporated not only love of the British but also Hindu love of Muslims and vice versa into his successful struggle to free India from British rule.  A Christian, Martin Luther King, learned from  Gandhi that we need not treat Jesus' teaching as simply impractical idealism, and he broke his people out of segregation.  Another Christian, Nelson Mandela, invented a truth and reconciliation program that also expressed a realistic love of enemy. Indeed, if we search through history, alongside the thousands of instances of treachery and cruelty, of deceit and revenge, here and there people have attained freedom and justice while expressing love for their oppressors, 

​This has two advantages.  Hatred and violence toward others may win a battle here and there, or even build an empire, but the hatred engendered in the defeated festers in them and endangers whatever may have been gained.  Killing leads to more killing, but the independence of India has not resulted in a bitter Britain.  Whereas even today the scars on the white Southern psyche from the Civil War corrupt American politics,  the desegregation of public facilities is genuinely accepted by most white Southerners without rancor,  It is hatred, deceit, and violence that are unrealistic solutions to human problems.  They are leading the world toward the suicide of the human species. Love is the realistic answer.

-- John Cobb, Love is the Realistic Answer

John Lewis — Love in Action

The On Being Project:
We take in the extraordinary wisdom of Congressman John Lewis on what happened in Selma on Bloody Sunday and beyond — and how it might inform common life today. A rare look inside the civil rights leaders’ spiritual confrontation with themselves — and their intricate art of “love in action.” (Original Air Date: March 28, 2013)
About the Guest:
John Lewis is a member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia’s 5th District. He is the author of “Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement,” “Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change,” and “March,” a three-part graphic novel series.
Visit our website to read the transcript, download the episode, or listen to the unedited interview: https://onbeing.org/programs/john-lew...
Visit our On Being Classics Library, where this episode is featured:

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FILE - In this Thursday, May 10, 2007 file photo, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, R-Ga., in his office on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)AP

John Lewis: Good Trouble - Official Trailer

Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.

Rep John Lewis’ Speech at March on Washington

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John Lewis: ‘Good troublemaker’ and tireless activist
a look at the life of the civil rights icon

by Catherine Park
July 18, 2020 | NewsFOX TV Digital Team

John Lewis  - the good troublemaker and the conscience of Congress.

ATLANTA - Rep. John Lewis was known as one of the foremost prolific advocates for securing civil liberties, protecting human rights and building what he called “The Beloved Community” in America, according to his biography.

After a battle with pancreatic cancer, Lewis died at the age of 80 on July 17, but his legacy left an indelible mark on the history of the nation.

The representative from Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, known for getting into “good trouble,” was outspoken on civil rights issues, spending a large part of his life peacefully protesting and seeking justice and equity for the underrepresented.

A timeline of his life’s work showcases Lewis’ commitment to the tireless pursuit of equality over more than six decades, from the early days of the civil rights movement to 2020.

Feb. 21, 1940

Born in Troy, Alabama, John Lewis grew up in a segregated society where, even as a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the larger civil rights events that happened in his home state.

1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a 13-month protest that started in December of 1955 when John Lewis was 15 years old, ended with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling segregation on public buses unconstitutional. Lewis cited the impact of the boycott, along with the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as some of the key elements that pushed him to get involved in the civil rights movement, according to his biography.

"It was during the Montgomery Bus Boycott that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then a young preacher and the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, emerged at the forefront of the movement for civil rights and social justice in America," Lewis said on the 59th anniversary of the boycott. "Today the work that Rosa Parks began and Dr. King directed is studied by non-violent activists all over the world, who use it to discover the ways and the means they can use to challenge injustice in every corner of the globe."

"We are fortunate that the example of Rosa Parks and Dr. King are so accessible to us as Americans. They are no longer with us, but the ideas they stood for define a great legacy and the work they have left for us to do still remains... What they did and how they did it can inform the activism of today and help push our nation forward into the next phase of our destiny until we reach the day when this nation becomes a truly multi-racial democracy that values the dignity and the worth of every human being."

1960: John Lewis and others organize citywide sit-in to end segregated lunch counters

In one of his first notable demonstrations during the civil rights era, Lewis organized a sit-in as a student attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in response to the segregated lunch counters across the state on Feb. 13, 1960.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), to which Lewis was was appointed chairman, was largely responsible for organizing student activism during the civil rights movement, including sit-ins and other activities.

1961: John Lewis and the Freedom Riders

During the Freedom Rides, which began in May of 1961, Lewis volunteered to help challenge the segregated interstate bus terminals across the South, and even risked his life on more than one occasion.

Lewis, then 21 and already a veteran of sit-in protests, was the first Freedom Rider to be assaulted, according to Smithsonian Magazine. While trying to enter a whites-only waiting room in Rock Hill, South Carolina, two men set upon him, battering his face and kicking him in the ribs.

Less than two weeks later, he joined a ride bound for Jackson. "We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal," Lewis said. "We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back."

A mug shot of civil rights activist and politician John Lewis, following his arrest in Jackson, Mississippi for using a restroom reserved for "White" people during the Freedom Ride demonstration against racial segregation on May 24, 1961. ((Photo by Kypros/Getty Images))

1963: March on Washington

By 1963, John Lewis was named one of the “big six” leaders of the civil rights movement. At the age of 23, he helped organize and was a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, according to his biography.

“A first draft of Lewis’ prepared speech, circulated before the march, was denounced by Reuther, Burke Marshall, and Patrick O’Boyle, the Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C., for its militant tone,” according to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

“‘In the speech’s original version, Lewis charged that the Kennedy administration’s proposed Civil Rights Act was ’too little and too late,’ and threatened not only to march in Washington but to ‘march through the South, through the heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did. We will pursue our own ‘scorched earth’ policy’. In a caucus that included King, Randolph, and SNCC’s James Forman, Lewis agreed to eliminate those and other phrases, but believed that in its final form his address ‘was still a strong speech, very strong,’” the Stanford MLK institute continued.

According to Stanford, the march pressured the John F. Kennedy administration to introduce a strong federal civil rights bill in Congress.

“After the march, King and other civil rights leaders met with President Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House, where they discussed the need for bipartisan support of civil rights legislation. Though they were passed after Kennedy’s death, the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 reflect the demands of the march,” The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University wrote.

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., (center) is escorted into a mass meeting at Fish University in Nashville. His colleagues are, left to right, John Lewis, national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Committee and Lester McKinnie, on of the leaders in the racial demonstrations in Nashville recently. King gave the main address to a packed crowd. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

1964: Mississippi Freedom Summer

In June of 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer, according to his biography.

When SNCC activist Robert Moses launched a voter registration drive in Mississippi in 1961, “he confronted a system that regularly used segregation laws and fear tactics to disenfranchise black citizens,” according to SNCC. It was during this time that Lewis helped create political momentum for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, according to his biography.

1965: March on Selma and Bloody Sunday

Lewis, as well as Hosea Williams, along with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led over 600 peaceful protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.

They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state, but marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a violent confrontation that came to be known as "Bloody Sunday."

Dr Martin Luther King Jr., arm in arm with Reverend Ralph Abernathy, leads marchers as they begin the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march from Brown's Chapel Church in Selma, Alabama, on March 21, 1965; (L-R) an unidentified priest and man, John Lewis, an unidentified nun, Ralph Abernathy), Martin Luther King Jr, Ralph Bunche, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Fred Shuttlesworth. ((Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images))

News coverage of “Bloody Sunday,” outraged the nation. Lewis, who was severely beaten on the head, said: “I don’t see how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam—I don’t see how he can send troops to the Congo—I don’t see how he can send troops to Africa and can’t send troops to Selma,” according to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

Despite more than “40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence,” his biography stated.

A sign marking the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march is seen on March 5, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

1966: John Lewis becomes director of the Voter Education Project

John Lewis left the SNCC in May of 1966 and continued his commitment to the civil rights movement as associate director of the Field Foundation, participating in the Southern Regional Council's voter registration programs, according to his biography.

He went on to become the director of the Voter Education Project (VEP) and was instrumental in adding nearly 4 million minorities to the voter rolls.

1977: John Lewis appointed to ACTION

John Lewis was the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize in 1975 and in 1977 and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the umbrella federal volunteer agency that included the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), according to his biography.

“In 1971, the VISTA program was transferred from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the former Federal agency ACTION (the Federal Domestic Volunteer Agency). In 1973, Congress enacted the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (DVSA), the VISTA program's enabling legislation,” according to the Federal Register.

The VISTA program continues to retain its purpose, as stated in the DVSA, “to strengthen and supplement efforts to eliminate and alleviate poverty and poverty-related problems in the United States by encouraging and enabling individuals from all walks of life, all geographical areas, and all age groups, including low-income individuals, elderly and retired Americans, to perform meaningful and constructive volunteer service in agencies, institutions, and situations where the application of human talent and dedication may assist in the solution of poverty and poverty-related problems and secure and exploit opportunities for self-advancement by individuals afflicted with such problems.”

1981: John Lewis elected to the Atlanta City Council

Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1981 after leaving ACTION, and during his time serving on the council, he was an advocate for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation.

One notable action Lewis pursued during his first year on the council was to preserve the neighborhoods in Atlanta by opposing the Great Park plan

.Lewis was convinced that the road would negatively impact the neighborhoods through which it would pass, as well as the city as a whole, according to The Atlanta Weekly. He believed it would clog up downtown traffic and would further deprive the poor, black inner-city communities of opportunities. "I don't think the people in the mayor's office ever really thought about what this would do for Atlanta," he said. "To this day, I don't know anything that would justify building it."

"Almost from the first day of council I got in trouble, what I call good trouble," Lewis said in a 1982 interview with The Atlanta Weekly. "I think it was the first session of council, I introduced a resolution saying that 'Atlanta will go on record opposing a four-lane road through the Great Park.' It was passed unanimously by council, and the mayor signed it. Then one and a half, two months later, word came down that the mayor had a plan for a road. I was surprised, dismayed," Lewis told the newspaper. "I don't know, but my feeling is that even before the plan came into being, the mayor had made a commitment to President Carter and to [Department of Transportation Commissioner] Tom Moreland, that he was locked in and had to tell planners to include the road."

In the end, the Great Park plan, including the road, passed the City Council, with Lewis, Bill Campbell and Myrtle Davis, the three newly elected black council members, voting against it.

A smaller version of the road would eventually become Presidential Parkway, later renamed John Lewis Freedom Parkway in August of 2018.

1986: John Lewis is elected to Congress

Lewis was elected to Congress in November 1986, and had served as U.S. representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since then.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., stands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in between television interviews on Feb. 14, 2015. Rep. Lewis was beaten by police on the bridge on "Bloody Sunday" on March 7, 1965, during a march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery.

He was the Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party and was also a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, according to his biography.

He was also a key sponsor in many bills, including, but not limited to:
-Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 5067 114th)
-Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 (H.R. 4994 111th)
-National Museum of African American History and Culture Act (H.R. 3491 108th)
-Selma to Montgomery National Trail Study Act of 1989 (H.R. 3834 101st)
2001-2002: John Lewis awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and the NAACP Spingarn Award

In May of 2001, Lewis received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and in 2002, he was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Award, which is given “first to call the attention of the American people to the existence of distinguished merit and achievement among Americans of African descent, and secondly, to serve as a reward for such achievement, and as a stimulus to the ambition of colored youth,” according to the NAACP website.

2011: John Lewis awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

On Feb. 15, 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Lewis the nation’s highest civilian honor, the 2010 Medal of Freedom.

"John Lewis is an American hero and a giant of the Civil Rights Movement," a statement issued by the White House read.

Obama echoed the sentiment. “There’s a quote inscribed over a doorway in Nashville, where students first refused to leave lunch counters 51 years ago this February,” Obama said during the medal presentation ceremony in 2011. “And the quote said, ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’ It’s a question John Lewis has been asking his entire life.”

Rep. John Lewis is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event at the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

“It’s what led him back to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma after he had already been beaten within an inch of his life days before,” Obama continued. “It’s why, time and again, he faced down death so that all of us could share equally in the joys of life. It’s why all these years later, he is known as the Conscience of the United States Congress, still speaking his mind on issues of justice and equality. And generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind — an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”

2019: John Lewis diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

It was announced in a statement on Dec. 29, 2019 that Lewis had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

“I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis said in the statement. “This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed. While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance. So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross,” the statement continued.

“To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime. I will return to Washington in coming days to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks. I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey,” Lewis said.

2020: John Lewis lends his voice to the calls for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death

Lewis urged protesters seeking justice in George Floyd’s killing to embrace nonviolence and called on President Donald Trump not to crack down on “orderly, peaceful, nonviolent protests.”

“You cannot stop the call of history,” Lewis said.

Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day. The moments leading to his death were captured on camera and spread across social media, igniting a chaotic, historic and emotional few weeks in the U.S.

The video showed Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground and pressing his knee into his neck as Floyd repeated that he could not breathe. Floyd eventually became unresponsive and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Protests broke out across the nation and around the world, demanding justice and police reform in the wake of Floyd’s death.

What started off as peaceful demonstrations turned violent in many cities across the U.S., with one of the more notably violent riots breaking out in Lewis’ own city, Atlanta.

“Despite real progress, I can't help but think of young Emmett today as I watch video after video after video of unarmed Black Americans being killed, and falsely accused,” Lewis said in a statement on the protests. “My heart breaks for these men and women, their families, and the country that let them down — again. My fellow Americans, this is a special moment in our history. Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and all backgrounds, creeds, and colors banded together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in a peaceful, orderly, non-violent fashion, we must do so again.”

“To the rioters here in Atlanta and across the country: I see you, and I hear you,” the statement continued. “I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness. Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive. History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve.”

In an interview with local media, Lewis quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Hate is too heavy a burden to bear. The way of love is a much better way.”

“During the ’60s, the great majority of us accepted the way of peace, the way of love, philosophy and discipline of nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living,” he continued. “There’s something cleansing, something wholesome, about being peaceful and orderly.”

“We’re one people, we’re one family,” he said in the interview. “We all live in the same house, not just the American house but the world house.”

Lewis also expressed support for H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, that passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 236 to 181 on June 25, according to a news release from his office.

“Many may seek to mischaracterize this legislation. Some will ignore the opportunities that this bill presents to improve our communities,” Lewis said in a statement. “For example, I greatly appreciate that the authors included my proposal, the Law Enforcement Inclusion Act, which permits Federal grant funds to be used to recruit and train officers from the neighborhoods they are charged to protect and serve. H.R. 7121 also provides law enforcement with the help and training they need to address mental health, drug use, and other complex societal issues. These proposals are partial solutions to the historic disconnect and distrust between communities of color and law enforcement.”

“Others may argue that the bill does not go far enough,” Lewis continued. “This legislation addresses one Federal part of a complicated puzzle of entrenched, systematic bias and inequality, and we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Going forward, we must demilitarize law enforcement and establish empathy in our justice system. Make no mistake – much more is needed from cities, counties, State, and Federal authorities in every corner of our country. Our work is cut out for us, and our mandate, from those whom we were elected to represent and serve, is clear.”

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Rep. John Lewis
quotes in a long life of activism

by The Associated Press The Associated Press
Updated July 18, 2020, 7:35 a.m.

Rep. John Lewis spoke to the crowd at the Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing reenactment marking 55th anniversary of Selma's Bloody Sunday on March 1, 2020 in Selma, Alabama. | JOE RAEDLE/GETTY

In a long life of activism, Rep. John Lewis never shied away from speaking out. A few quotations:

“To those who have said ‘Be patient and wait,’ we must say that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now. The time will come when we will not confine our marching to Washington. We will march through the South, through the streets of Jackson, through the streets of Danville, through the streets of Cambridge, through the streets of Birmingham. We must say ‘Wake up America! Wake up!’ For we cannot stop and we will not and cannot be patient.”
- During his March on Washington speech in 1963 
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“As I was growing up in rural Alabama, I saw all around me the system of segregation and racial discrimination. The visible signs in the little town of Troy, the population of about 7,000, we saw the sign that said ‘colored only.’ White only. Colored waiting. .... In a little 5&10 store was a civil fountain, a clean fountain for white people to come and drink water, but in another corner of the store there was a little spigot, a rusty spigot, (that) said ‘colored drinking.’ And I became resentful of the sign and all the visible evidence of segregation and racial discrimination.”
- Interview conducted for “America, They Loved You Madly,” a precursor to the 1987 documentary “Eyes on the Prize.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“You saw these men putting on their gas masks and behind the state troopers are a group of men, part of the sheriff’s posse, on horses. They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks, trampling us with horses, and releasing their tear gas. I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick. My legs went from under me. I don’t know how I made it back across the bridge but apparently a group just literally took me back.”

- Recounting the Bloody Sunday confrontation of March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, in an oral history interview conducted by the House historian, Dec. 11, 2014.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Selma is a place where we injected something very meaningful into our democracy. We opened up the political process and made it possible for hundreds and thousands and millions of people to come in and be participants.”
- Oral history interview conducted by the House historian, Dec. 11, 2014.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“When I look out over this diverse crowd and survey the guests on this platform, it seems to realize what Otis Redding sang about and what Martin Luther King, Jr. preached about: this moment in our history has been a long time coming. But a change has come. We are standing here in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln, 150 years after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and only 50 years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. We have come a great distance in this country in the 50 years, but we still have a great distance to go before we fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Sometimes I hear people saying, ‘Nothing has changed.' But for someone who grew up the way I grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama to now be serving in the United States Congress makes me want to tell them, ‘Come and walk in my shoes.‘”

- Speaking during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013

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“He was my friend. He was my hero. I loved him. He was like a big brother.”
- Reflecting on his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during interview on Jan. 17, 2015.

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

“History will not be kind to us. So you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, to speak up, speak out and get in good trouble. You can do it. You must do it. Not just for yourselves but for generations yet unborn.”
- Commencement speech at Lawrence University in 2015
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Our goal was true freedom for every American. Since then, America has made a lot of progress. We are a different society than we were in 1961. And in 2008 we showed the world the true promise of America when we elected President Barack Obama.”
- Campaign speech for Obama in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 6, 2012.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“My dear friends: Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”
- Speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 6, 2012.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“This is unreal. This is unbelievable. Some of you know I grew up in rural Alabama, very, very poor. Very few books in our home. I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, some of my brothers and sisters and cousins went down to the public library trying to get library cards and we were told that the library was for whites only and not for coloreds. And to come here and receive this award, this honor. It’s too much. I had a wonderful teacher in elementary school who told me, ‘Read my child, read.' And I tried to read everything. I love books.”

- When accepting an award from the National Book Foundation in 2016
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“The future of our democracy is at stake. There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action to protect and preserve the integrity of our nation. I believe — I truly believe — the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come. To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”
- Speaking on the House floor in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings against President Trump in September 2019.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
- Remarks atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020.

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

Credit...Illustration by Nicholas Konrad/The New York Times;
photograph by Nashville Police Department

John Lewis Risked His Life for Justice

His willingness to do so was essential
to the quest for civil rights.

by The Editorial Board
July 17, 2020

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

Representative John Lewis, who died Friday at age 80, will be remembered as a principal hero of the blood-drenched era not so long ago when Black people in the South were being shot, blown up or driven from their homes for seeking basic human rights. The moral authority Mr. Lewis exercised in the House of Representatives — while representing Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District for more than 30 years — found its headwaters in the aggressive yet self-sacrificial style of protests that he and his compatriots in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee deployed in the early 1960s as part of the campaign that overthrew Southern apartheid.

These young demonstrators chose to underscore the barbaric nature of racism by placing themselves at risk of being shot, gassed or clubbed to death during protests that challenged the Southern practice of shutting Black people out of the polls and “white only” restaurants, and confining them to “colored only” seating on public conveyances. When arrested, S.N.C.C. members sometimes refused bail, dramatizing injustice and withholding financial support from a racist criminal justice system.

This young cohort conspicuously ignored members of the civil rights establishment who urged them to patiently pursue remedies through the courts. Among the out-of-touch elder statesmen was the distinguished civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who was several years away from becoming the nation’s first Black Supreme Court justice when he argued that young activists were wrong to continue the dangerous Freedom Rides of early 1961, in which interracial groups rode buses into the Deep South to test a Supreme Court ruling that had outlawed segregation in interstate transport.

Mr. Marshall condemned the Freedom Rides as a wasted effort that would only get people killed. But in the mind of Mr. Lewis, the depredations that Black Americans were experiencing at the time were too pressing a matter to be left to a slow judicial process and a handful of attorneys in a closed courtroom. By attacking Jim Crow publicly in the heart of the Deep South, the young activists in particular were animating a broad mass movement in a bid to awaken Americans to the inhumanity of Southern apartheid. Mr. Lewis came away from the encounter with Mr. Marshall understanding that the mass revolt brewing in the South was as much a battle against the complacency of the civil rights establishment as against racism itself.

On “Redemptive Suffering”

By his early 20s, Mr. Lewis had embraced a form of nonviolent protest grounded in the principle of “redemptive suffering”— a term he learned from the Rev. James Lawson, who had studied the style of nonviolent resistance that the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi had put into play during British colonial rule. The principle reminded Mr. Lewis of his religious upbringing and of a prayer his mother had often recited.

In his memoir “Walking With the Wind,” written with Michael D’Orso, Mr. Lewis explained that there was “something in the very essence of anguish that is liberating, cleansing, redemptive,” adding that suffering “touches and changes those around us as well. It opens us and those around us to a force beyond ourselves, a force that is right and moral, the force of righteous truth that is at the basis of human conscience.”

The essence of the nonviolent life, he wrote, is the capacity to forgive — “even as a person is cursing you to your face, even as he is spitting on you, or pushing a lit cigarette into your neck” — and to understand that your attacker is as much a victim as you are. At bottom, this philosophy rested upon the belief that people of good will — “the Beloved Community,” as Mr. Lewis called them — would rouse themselves to combat evil and injustice.

Mr. Lewis carried these beliefs into the Freedom Rides. The travelers described their departing meal at a Chinese restaurant in Washington as “The Last Supper.” Several of the participants had actually written out wills, consistent with the realization that they might never make it home. No one wanted to die, but it was understood that a willingness to do so was essential to the quest for justice.

The Ku Klux Klan did its best to secure such a sacrificial outcome. It firebombed a bus at Anniston, Ala., and tried unsuccessfully to burn the Freedom Riders alive by holding the exit doors shut. “Walking With the Wind” describes the especially harrowing episode that unfolded on the Freedom Ride bus on which he arrived in Montgomery, Ala.

The terminal seemed nearly deserted, he wrote, but “then, out of nowhere, from every direction, came people. White people. Men, women and children. Dozens of them. Hundreds of them. Out of alleys, out of side streets, around the corners of office buildings, they emerged from everywhere, from all directions, all at once, as if they’d been let out of a gate. … They carried every makeshift weapon imaginable. Baseball bats, wooden boards, bricks, chains, tire irons, pipes, even garden tools — hoes and rakes. One group had women in front, their faces twisted in anger, screaming, ‘Git them niggers, GIT them niggers!’ … And now they turned to us, this sea of people, more than three hundred of them, shouting and screaming, men swinging fists and weapons, women swinging heavy purses, little children clawing with their fingernails at the faces of anyone they could reach.”

Mr. Lewis’s fellow Freedom Riders tried in vain to escape the mob by scaling trees and terminal walls. “It was madness. It was unbelievable,” Mr. Lewis recalled “… I could see Jim Zwerg now, being horribly beaten. Someone picked up his suitcase, which he had dropped, and swung it full force against his head. Another man then lifted Jim’s head and held it between his knees while others, including women and children, hit and scratched at Jim’s face. His eyes were shut. He was unconscious. … At that instant I felt a thud against my head. I could feel my knees collapse and then nothing. Everything turned white for an instant, then black.”

“Burn Jim Crow to the Ground”

Two years later, in 1963, as Mr. Lewis was about to address the March on Washington, the elder statesmen of the movement prevailed on him to tone down his speech. Thrown out were the harshest criticisms of the John F. Kennedy administration’s civil rights bill as well as a fiery passage threatening that the movement would “march through the South, through the heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did. We shall pursue our own scorched earth policy and burn Jim Crow to the ground — nonviolently.”

Yet even the softened speech was radical for the context. At a time when civil rights leaders were commonly referring to African-Americans as Negroes, the Lewis speech used the term Black: “In the Delta of Mississippi, in Southwest Georgia, in the Black Belt of Alabama, in Harlem, in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and all over this nation the Black masses are on a march for jobs and freedom.”

To the dismay of many, the 23-year-old Mr. Lewis described the movement as “a revolution,” appealing to all who listened “to get into this great revolution that is sweeping this nation. Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until a revolution is complete. We must get in this revolution and complete the revolution.”

Mr. Lewis carried his faith in the power of nonviolence into the fateful Selma, Ala., voting rights demonstration — in March of 1965 — that was soon named Bloody Sunday to commemorate the vicious attack that state troopers waged on peaceful marchers. Mr. Lewis suffered a fractured skull and was one of 58 people treated for injuries at a hospital.

The worldwide demonstrations that followed the brutal police killing of George Floyd underscored the extent to which many people need visual evidence to grow outraged over injustice that is perpetrated all the time outside the camera’s eye.

A television broadcast of the violence meted out by the police on Bloody Sunday worked in the same way. It generated national outrage and provided a graphic example of the need for the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law that summer.

The linchpin part of the law required certain states and parts of states to seek federal permission before changing voting rules. This seemed almost a godsend to the civil rights cohort and at least a partial repayment for the lives of the many men and women who had died in pursuit of voting rights.

Soon after the Supreme Court crippled the act in 2013, states began unveiling measures limiting ballot access. At the time of the decision, Mr. Lewis wrote that the court had “stuck a dagger into the heart” of a hard-won and still necessary law. With his customary eloquence, he urged Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act, describing the right to vote as “almost sacred” and “the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democracy.”

The passing of John Lewis deprives the United States of its foremost warrior in a battle for racial justice that stretches back into the 19th century and the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Americans — and particularly his colleagues in Congress — can best honor his memory by picking up where he left off.

Book Review - Sheri D. Kling, "A Process Spirituality" - Breathing In New Moments of Transformity

In a word, we must share cultures of belonging. There's no mystery here. We all know this. Process Spirituality is simply a way to say,
"Hey, let's learn to get along, respect each other, try to love one another, and let societal transformation become a worldwide contagion."
Put God in the middle of all this and you have the fuller story. Again, no mystery here, but there is every reason to pursue this dream till it becomes a real and constant model for behavioral change.

R.E. Slater
July 31, 2020

*I'm sure this would be a helpful book to read but at $95 the masses will never see it. If process Christianity has anything to offer it needs to be affordable and available to everyone. Otherwise we're left to figure it out on our own. - re slater



Sheri D. Kling studied theology with an emphasis in religion and science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and then followed her passion for connecting theology and spirituality with psychology to the Claremont School of Theology (CST) in Claremont, California. Seeing deep resonances between the process thought of Alfred North Whitehead and the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung, especially in terms of creativity and transformative spirituality, she integrated the work of these two thinkers in her doctoral program.

As a public scholar-theologian, Kling works in the interdisciplinary space where worldviews, beliefs, and practices can create either dis-ease and suffering or psycho-spiritual wholeness and common flourishing. Drawing from process philosophy/theology, Jungian psychology, and mystical spirituality, Sheri focuses on communicating theological ideas and practices that positively impact humans’ relationships with God, self, and world, especially the use of dream work as a spiritual practice for divine encounter, personal integration, and widening our relationship to creation.

In the fall of 2017, Kling traveled to Prague to speak at the International Transpersonal Conference and on the way there, delivered three lectures at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic where she had been invited to be a collaborating lecturer for their program in social and spiritual determinants of health. Also that year, she participated in a webinar on Real Spirituality for the Church organized by Process and Faith, a part of the Center for Process Studies that brings resources on process theology to congregations.

Prior to entering graduate theological studies at LSTC, Kling had a successful career in marketing and communication in the enterprise software industry in the Atlanta area followed by a deeply creative period in the arts as a performing singer, songwriter, and recording artist. While enrolled in doctoral studies at CST, she served as project manager for strategic planning at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. It was this extensive background that led her to Sewanee and her first position as associate registrar for curriculum, publications, and communication. She considers her current position in the School of Theology to be the culmination of her work experience, theological education, and passion for spiritual transformation.


Other Publications and Papers


Heartland, 2005 

Amazon.com: A Process Spirituality: Christian and Transreligious ...
Amazon Link

A Process Spirituality:
Christian and Transreligious Resources
for Transformation Hardcover
by Sheri D. Kling

American culture is in a state of critical fragmentation. The author argues that we will solve neither the ecological crisis nor our social estrangement from each until we transform our perception of life as embodied and interconnected, and rediscover what is sacred through transformative lived experiences of wholeness.

Using an embodied theological framework supported by comparative, hermeneutical, and constructive methodologies, A Process Spirituality synthesizes theoretical, empirical, and practical resources to construct a hopeful and holistic understanding of God, the world, and the self. 

Interweaving Alfred North Whitehead’s vision of a relational cosmos with Carl Gustav Jung’s integrated, relational psyche, and a powerful spiritual praxis of dream work creates a generative matrix through which to perceive a God-world reality characterized by value, relationality, and transformation in which individuals matter, belong, and can experience positive change.

Such a Christian and transreligious vision of hope offers individuals the possibility and capacity to move from a state of fragmentation to one of psycho-spiritual wholeness and flourishing.

About the Author

Sheri D. Kling is associate dean and executive director of the Beecken Center of the School of Theology at the University of the South, a faculty member of the Haden Institute, and a visiting lecturer with Palacky University in Social and Spiritual Determinants of Health.


In this bold book, Sheri Kling offers an integrative vision for a better future. Incorporating psychology, philosophy, religion, and more, Kling weaves together a proposal to overcome division and confusion. This book is for those who want to united deep thinking and open living for real transformation!

-- Thomas Jay Oord, author of The Uncontrolling Love of God

Christianity is at a crossroads. Perhaps this is fitting for a religion whose central symbol is the cross. In the United States, more people than ever before report being religiously unaffiliated, especially young people. At the same time, more people are identifying as "spiritual but not religious." Sheri Kling's A Process Spirituality is indeed a resource for effecting the much needed transformation of the Christian religion so that it might better address the pluralistic spiritual needs of our age. With help from Whitehead, Jung, and feminist theology, Kling brilliantly diagnoses the cosmological and psychological underpinnings of the modern world view, clearing the way for a renewed appreciation of the embodied and imaginative dimensions of human spirituality.This is not just another theoretical framework, however; Kling also shares well-developed practical methods for the cultivation of dreams and healing encounters with the divine that, God willing, will help revitalize Christian spiritual life by welcoming the followers of Jesus into the more relational, inclusive, and human mode of existence that, it is safe to say, he originally intended.

-- Matthew T. Segall, California Institute of Integral Studies

This is an exquisite text joining mind, body, and spirit. Within its pages, we find wisdom to guide our personal lives as well as our lives as planetary citizens. Twenty-first century wholeness and healing must embrace conscious and unconscious, analytic thinking and dream work, and tradition and novelty. Sheri Kling provides an integrative path toward the healing we seek for ourselves and our communities. In a time in which theologians, psychologists, and philosophers often think small, Kling provides a large vision of the human adventure, capable of inspiring us to take responsibility for our own healing as well as the healing of our communities.

-- Bruce Epperly, author of Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed and Become Fire: Guideposts for Interspiritual Pilgrims

Reading through the pages of Kling's inspiring book, I found myself digging into this remarkable treasure chest that she has opened, with valuable insights from Whitehead and Jung, dreams and religious tradition, all working together to produce something truly wonderful. Here is a work well worth reading, and then reading again!

-- C. K. Robertson, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church

Kling's "process spirituality" is based on Alfred North Whitehead's cosmology and Carl Jung's psychology. Jung's psychology, she holds, "is to the human psyche as Whitehead's metaphysics is to the cosmos." Her aim is to construct a spirituality that is robust, liberative, and transformative, helping us overcome modern fragmentation and that will produce more joy, more love, more compassion, and more wholeness for those who embrace it." Central to her program is the use of Whitehead and Jung in the service of dream work. Whereas she considers her project deeply Christian, she also calls it transreligious, because it is based on the "capacity for spirituality in every individual." Kling's Process Spirituality should become a path-breaking book.

-- David Ray Griffin, author of The Christian Gospel for Americans

This is a book with an important message for our time, written with great compassion and insight into the contemporary religious situation. We need religion, says Sheri Kling, but the old symbols and ideas of religion no longer work. Contemporary people need to be shown how to connect with them in new ways. To this end, she suggests we construct an experiential bridge to religion. Kling uses the religious philosophy of A.N. Whitehead and the spiritual psychology of C.G. Jung as our guides. She argues that Whitehead and Jung can be compellingly combined to achieve the task of religious renewal that neither system can achieve in isolation. The way forward, she indicates, is to connect the metaphysical with the ground of human experience. A Process Spirituality is as convincing as it is refreshing. 

-- David Tacey, La Trobe University; author of The Postsecular Sacred

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

Sheri D. Kling 

Whitehead, Jung, and Psycho-Spiritual Wholeness

After having successfully defended my dissertation on Whitehead, Jung, and dream work as a spiritual practice for transformation at the Claremont School of Theology, I submitted two topics to the International Transpersonal Conference scheduled for September of 2017 in Prague. Its theme, “Beyond Materialism – Toward Wholeness,” fit well with my own research looking at the fragmentation in the U.S. caused I believe, at least in part, by the dualistic, mechanistic, and materialistic worldview within which we are living.

I believe strongly that the metaphysical cosmology of Alfred North Whitehead and the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung are life-giving resources that can serve our psycho-spiritual wholeness well at this time in our history. This is even truer when combined with an authentic spiritual practice, such as dream work, that leads us to what I call embodied experiences of wholeness. The reason such embodied experiences are necessary is because simply assenting to any one of the many preferable worldviews available to us now, whether process philosophy/theology, panentheism, indigenous worldviews, ecofeminism, or similar relational cognitive frameworks is inadequate because we cannot think our way into a new way of being. We are facing a climate catastrophe that can end mammalian life as we know it on this planet. We are fragmented societally, interpersonally, and intrapersonally, and better ideas aren’t enough to get us to the transformation we need to live and relate to each other differently.

In Prague, I delivered a presentation entitled “'The Terrible Need for Metaphysics’: Answering Hillman’s Challenge through Whitehead”, along with a workshop discussing the relational-imaginal theory of dreaming I’ve developed.

Upon my return from Prague, Rosemarie Anderson, one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology and a fan of Whitehead invited me to submit an article for an upcoming issue of The Humanistic Psychologist focusing on transpersonal psychology. In that paper, “Whitehead’s Metaphysics as a Cosmological Framework for Transpersonal Psychology”, I make the case that Whitehead’s thinking can offer a solid framework for transpersonal psychology “because of his:
  1. integration of subjective, objective, and transpersonal experience within one integrated cosmos,
  2. argument that existence is made up of dynamic events that are both mental and physical,
  3. unification of body and mind,
  4. refusal to bifurcate subject and object within a relational reality,
  5. validation of nonsensory perception as the basis for internal relations, and
  6. description of a participatory cosmos of creativity and freedom where novelty, value, purpose, and transformation
are universally available realities.”

But what does all of this mean for those of us who are just trying to increase the amount of wholeness and flourishing, or what Whitehead called “zest” or “intensity of experience,” in our own lives and in the lives of others?

For many years, archetypal psychologist James Hillman had a deep aversion to metaphysics because he was focused on the human psyche alone. But when he heard physicist David Bohm admit “frankly and sadly” that “physics had released the world into its perishing” through the nuclear bomb, Hillman suddenly “saw the terrible need for metaphysics.” In a chapter of the book Archetypal Process: Self and Divine in Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman, Hillman wrote,

The internal needs of the soul require that its psychology meet the soul's concerns about the nature of the cosmos in which it finds itself…Soul seeks to understand itself beyond itself; it attempts, in a strangely persistent and universal way, always to fantasy beyond; otherwise, would we have the many sciences and philosophies, the theories of origins and ends? This paranoid restlessness of the soul to be metaphysically satisfied by ultimates of meaning must be acknowledged as one of its internal needs.

It is an internal need of the psyche/soul to understand itself in relation to the cosmos in which we live. When we engage Whitehead at the level of cosmos, engage Jung at the level of psyche, and embrace spiritual practices that foster embodied experiences of wholeness, we learn in our own deep experience that we are part of a primordial, transpersonal Reality that shows us that we matter, that we belong, and that we can experience positive change.

Speaking at the recent Haden Institute Summer Dream & Spirituality Conference in Hendersonville, NC, I wove together ideas from Whitehead, Jung, and also Fr. Richard Rohr (whose recent book The Universal Christ has been getting a lot of well-deserved traction) to talk about “The Whole-Making Nearness of God.” How can such ideas offer us hope in troubled times?

From a Whiteheadian perspective, we can understand God to be both near to us and actively involved in our wholeness because for each one of us, God is present to us, internal to us, in every moment of our existence, and offers us the creative possibilities that can move us out of our painful pasts into transformed futures. I believe that dream work is one practice we can use to discern those possibilities.

This is true no matter our place of birth, no matter our current or past circumstances, no matter if we believe a certain doctrine or not, no matter our gender, no matter the color of our skin or the content of our bank accounts. It is true for every one of us because this is how the world itself is continuously created. And the possibilities offered by God are always relevant for that moment. God offers us God’s self and God’s vision for our best outcome in every moment. God and God’s possibilities for our wholeness are as near to us as our next breath.

From a Jungian perspective, the “Unspeakable” primordial mystery at the base of all life is encounterable through the god-image in the psyche he called the Archetypal Self. And that Self works toward our wholeness as it draws us on a path of individuation in which we are given opportunities to integrate shadow material and novel possibilities by holding the tension between the opposing forces within us until our transcendent function kicks in, offering us something creatively transforming. This can often be experienced as a flow of grace.

We matter. We belong. And we can experience positive change because the Big Reality that we encounter at the base of our lives is seeking our wholeness and is encounterable within us. 

Kling singing at Haden Conference: @ Robert Haden

Sheri Kling “The Whole-Making Nearness of God”

Sheri's Music Blog/Vlog -


Sheri D. Kling, University of the South

"While it is tempting to eschew metaphysics in our postmodern and poststructuralist milieu, one of the reasons given for the founding of transpersonal psychology was a dissatisfaction with existing “person-centered” psychologies that “ignored placing human beings within a cosmic perspective” (Hartelius, Friedman, & Pappas, 2015, p. 44). Even more significantly, Grof (2015) sharply critiques those scientific approaches that take “leading paradigms for an accurate and definitive description of reality” and whose materialistic explanations of reality cannot account for recent observations in consciousness research.

This paper argues that the philosophy of organism of Alfred North Whitehead provides an effective metaphysical framework for transpersonal psychology because of his integration of subjective, objective, and transpersonal experience within one integrated cosmos, his argument that existence is made up of dynamic events that are both mental and physical, his unification of body and mind, his refusal to bifurcate subject and object within a relational reality, his validation of nonsensory perception as the basis for internal relations, and his description of a participatory cosmos of creativity and freedom where novelty, value, purpose, and transformation are universally available realities."

​God's Nearness and God's Wholemaking:
Springboards for Reflection 

Sheri Kling