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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

A New Natural Theology - Post-Reformed Contemporary Theology Meets World

A New Natural Theology: Post-Reformed
Contemporary Theology Meets World

In my more recent ramblings I happened to stumbled across the discourses of Matthew Segall who I am quickly learning to appreciate from a very deep level of my being. It is the kind of philosophical-theological discussions that at least allows me to think about God, the bible, and the Christian faith from a more specific Whiteheadian Process perspective. This is not to say that process thought is the only way to approach the bible but this being the year of the pandemic and climate crises of 2020 it seems I am camping down on this philosophical/theological framework.

Concentrating on a specific Christian theme would not be an unusual task for me as I have done the same over the years across a range of topical subjects such as: i) Arminianism and Calvinism; ii) Evolutionary Cosmology and Quantum Science; iii) the Church and Society; iv) Hermeneutics and Interpretation; v) Open and Relational Theology; vi) Christianity and its Social/Ecological Importance; vii) Postmodernism, Post-Structuralism, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction; viii) Dominianism, Authoritarianism and the Post-Christian World; ix) etc.

But if you were to bookmark a page this would be it. And when you complete its content then bookmark Matt Segall's page to listen to all that was missed here. When looking over Matthew's oeuvre (a substantial body of work constituting the lifework of a writer, an artist, or a composer) I believe I will subjectively start with the later renditions of Matt's videos from around 2017 and forward. It should be enough of a bookwards look to sufficiently hear what Matt is saying from a cosmocentric universe of process, panpsychism, and metaphysics. The closest I've been able to come to date to this type of discourse would be that of the philosopher Whitehead's work (naturally), philosopher Alain Badou's Being and Event, and a collection of Continental Philosophical thought beginning with Hegel onwards.

My bible training from youth through seminary coupled with 34 years of lay ministry taught me a lot about God and the bible from the Reformed perspective of Special Revelation. So much so that I needed to go into a deep withdraw and rethink of the entirety of its biblical system. What I needed was a larger God with a more expanded version of the bible's outreach of God's love and atoning redemption for creation. Through the years I began to remove every Reformed doctrinal barrier by enlarging the thoughts across every area of Reformed thinking. When finally redefining its system in some contemporary form of post-evangelic, perhaps progressive / liberal form of itself, I have now come back full circle to take all that I've written and advance forward once again. Sic, I don't miss the irony of this new undertaking in that this type of task would be a very process-type-of-thing to do: To take a past subject and increase it by a complexity of one.

About a month ago I referred to this new stage I had entered into as the beginning of Chapter 2 for me where Chapter 1 extended backwards from August 2020 to the inception of Relevancy22 around March of 2011 (excluding 3 articles I had written in 2009). Having written a series on cosmoecology this past August I realized later that evening I had come full circle and had completed what I first set out to do in 2011. When realizing this I thought to push on into new territory; topical areas that deal more concretely with today's contemporary societies and the world at large.

Having enlarged the "God/bible/faith" world of Special Revelation "from above," it really needs a contextualizing Natural Theology of General Theology "from below". Think of the first as the post-evangelic, post-Reformed world of theology, and the second as the contemporary, post-structuralist world of philosophy. From above... and from below.... From biblical eyes to academic eyes. From the lenses of Theology and the lenses of Philosophy. Better put... both theology and philosophy are inseparable from one another. Each integrally affects the other.

However in order of influence, philosophy comes first. How we look at life is how we look at God. We do not live in a vacuum. We live in societies and with nature. How we understand life from these perspectives is how we will understand God. We do not begin with spiritual abstractions and speculate outwards into our experiences. That only comes later. At first, our inner being is always affected by the relational externals of the cosmos causing us to speculate outwards into the metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology of God, self and world. Experience always leads speculation. Thus the importance of a Natural Theology. It brings structure to God, the bible, the Christian faith, and our lives.

Without a natural context it would be very difficult to speculate about God as theology qua theology. Theology always needs context. Philosophy is Theology's context. We view the bible how we view life. Our views of life becomes our views of God. It is at this point which may then begin to reflect upon our views of life once a theology of God has been obtained. Some become harsher, meaner, more cruel. Other theologies become gracious, forgiving, and hopeful. And within these reflections we may go round-and-round again-and-again. Life reflecting upon God reflecting upon Life reflecting on God. My journey beyond the classic Reformed express of God is one such instance. Having lived life, studied Reformed Theology, I now speculate that both myself, my being, and my believes need to syncretize upwards and outwards into newer, updated forms of its once existential self. And when doing, hopefully not bringing with it the old fundamentalisms of attitude, defense, and distrust with it into its more expanded form of epistemology.

And thus and thus have I transitioned the spiritual contents of my faith - and perhaps been personally transformed into a more loving spiritual sense of being and purpose - by expanding a past philosophical framework of Reformed philosophical theology towards a new framework and firmament of Post-Reformed metaphysics of God, self, the bible, and the cosmos. Let's call this more recent personal and structural development a "New Natural Theology" of sorts for me. Where a theology of Revelation (bible doctrines) have been enlarged and expanded. Where now a theology of Creation (the sciences, arts, and humanities) might now be included, enlarged and expanded. Where once I viewed creation in classical terms now I may look at it on evolutionary terms without losing God but having gained an expanded appreciation for God's handiwork. Where once I viewed Christ in very personal terms of salvation now I may see Christ's atoning work in an encompassing salvation for the entirety of a freewilled cosmos without end, predetermination, or spiritual devolvement. Where once I might understand Dispensational or Covenantal Eschatologies as a futile ends I may now throw those out for an open future pregnant with possibilities of constructive wellbeing and societal generation ordained by God if not very sacrament itself.

As such, if God is all-in-all then I need to see this God not only through the perspective of Himself in Christ Jesus but through the innerworkings of His creation. How humanity works at all levels between it's freewill self, with God, and with God's freewill creation, from all perspectives. Lately I've been focusing on the socio-political-ecological perspective as a result of the fall of the church during the Trumpian era of Christianity. An era that has been death to the church as it wraps itself inside-out with empire ethics and memes. It is sad to see this evangelical era end so abysmally with all societal inquisitions it has created bringing deep harm upon those it deemed godless and wicked. Not realizing they were the ones casting hell upon the "secular" lives of the "unchurched heathen" masses. Refusing to hear the refugee crying for mercy and help, to not seeing the invisible men and women on the streets, nor the impoverished, nor the many genders and races of America. The secular church has deeply failed in its mission to relieve, replenish, restore, redeem, mediate, advocate, or renew. It has become one with the empire making it three times the child of hell.

To wrap up, I would like to think of this expanded contemporary version of Natural Theology as "Post-Reformed Theology meets the World." I kinda like it. It tells me if the church, or we as Christians, are to live and minister in this world then we need to learn how to meet the world in all its complexities. To live in it and not shy away from it. To include it rather than exclude it. To be a part of it without forcing our "ideas and laws" upon society. But at all times to share love and loving outreach in practices and policies. This is God's world in its entirety and wholeness. God's world operates divinely where all that isn't divine is disconnected from its flow, energy, and processes. If Christianity is to meet and live in the world then it better know the where, how, why, and what of its faith. The Christian faith is as integrally connected to the world as the very air we breathe. But unless this faith has sufficiently holistic Natural Theology of God and world then it is hopeless at odds with the flow and energy of God's Spirit.

To each new day I wish you the very best of Christian journeys through this world of opportunities and possibilities. Enjoy!

R.E. Slater
September 26, 2020

Matt's "0ThouArtThou0" full video site -

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Matt's Vids from 2017 forward:
Topic Whitehead's Process & Reality

Whiteheadian Commentary on PBS Space Time episode
by Matthew Segall
Sep 29, 2017

Introduction to Process Philosophy
(Intro to PCC lecture 10/24/2017)
by Matthew Segall

Course Intro and Module 1 Lecture:
Ancient and Modern Cosmology
by Matthew Segall
November 28, 2017

Module 2 Lecture:
Whitehead's Interpretation of the History of Cosmology
by Matthew Segall
Nov 28, 2017

Module 3 Lecture:
Whitehead's Romantic Influences
by Matthew Segall
Nov 28, 2017

Process and Difference in the Pluriverse
Matthew Segall PCC/ESR Symposium 2017-12-02
Dec 11, 2017

Matthew Segall, Ph.D. - Whitehead, Process Philosophy, and Ecology
May 10, 2018

Alfred North Whitehead: An Introduction
by Matthew Segall
Jul 30, 2018

An Evening with Alfred North Whitehead
by Matthew Segall
Feb 4, 2019

Panpsychism Primer
by Matthew Segall
Aug 21, 2019

A Sunday With Whitehead:
Reflections on Eternal Objects, God, and Morality
by Matthew Segall
Sep 22, 2019

A Sunday Evening with Whitehead:
Creativity, Causal Efficacy, Potentiality and Actuality
by Matthew Segall
Oct 6, 2019

Whitehead's Organic Realism
(a realism of ideal futures as well as perished pasts)
by Matthew Segall
May 10, 2020

Musing on Whitehead, Art, Consciousness, and Repairing the Past
by Matthew Segall
May 10, 2020

Whitehead's definition of "experience" and Plato's "Sophist"
by Matthew Segall
Streamed live on Aug 16, 2020

TheoCon 2020 - Reflections by Tripp Fuller & Sarah Lane

Why TheoCon?

Our moment is one of crisis upon crisis. We are at a turning point historically and while we cannot simply return to ‘normal’, a growing number of people do not want to. For too long, some of the best resources and voices for wrestling with our biggest questions have remained distant from too many. TheoCon intends to address that through an exploratory project in public theology, connecting leading figures within academia with the public. Our goal is not to think for you, but with you, providing intellectual resources from multiple disciplines and then inviting you to engage, contribute, question, and help lead us out of this time.

Think of this as a hybrid style conference. Each of our keynote speakers will be sharing their talk in video and audio for you to engage. Then we will be scheduling live panel discussions in which the speakers and panelists will not only talk to each other, but will respond to your questions and to the responses to their talks. All of the talks and invitations to live sessions will be delivered via email. All you need to do is sign up here, and we will take care of the rest.

TheoCon is hosted by the University of Edinburgh, and is associated with the School of Divinity. The project is made possible by the Rapid Response Impact Grant, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh.

List of 18 Presentations + 9 LiveStreams - https://theologycon.com/latest-episodes/

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Reflections on TheoCon 2020

by Sarah Lane & Tripp Fuller
September 24, 2020

Sarah and I got to join a wonderful group of phenomenologists and bring this tag-team keynote address. It was part an event hosted by the Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience titled (Ir)Rationality and Religiosity During Pandemics: Phenomenological Criticism. We were invited to use the experience of facilitating and hosting TheoCon as a jumping off point for some of our own constructive reflection. It was a blast and honor to participate.

Of Monuments and Matter: Beyond a Return to Normal:
Keynote from Sarah Lane Ritchie & Tripp Fuller
September 23, 2020