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 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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Terence Fretheim - The God Who Enters Relationships


Terence Fretheim: God So Enters into Relationships That…


by Tripp Fuller and Tom Oord
November 16, 2020

I just saw Tom Oord’s tweet that Terence Fretheim passed away while I was reading his new book God So Enters into Relationship That… It is always shocking to hear how a live conversation partner you deeply value must shift to the page and these recordings. I can’t exaggerate Frethiem’s role in my own intellectual development.

While at Wake Forest University’s Divinity School I took a Biblical Theology seminar with Phyllis Trible (a legend) and she had us each write 25 pg papers and present on a different Biblical theologian. I choose Fretheim and sent him the paper I wrote.

He replied with a kind, encouraging, and detailed response, suggesting I consider PhD work given my ability to connect threads in his writing he hadn’t noticed. Dr, Trible gave me a B-, my worst grade in grad school. When I mentioned that Fretheim responded so positively to the paper and encouraged my work she said, “Terry takes the relational nature of love so seriously it may cloud his judgement.” What a compliment!



Biblical theologian Terence E. Fretheim weaves key insights from Scripture with theological reflections on the nature and activity of God, God's relationship to the world, and the natural order. Relational language and images fill the various forms of communication that ministry leaders must use to speak about God and God's presence and activity in the world. Fretheim shows the importance of using this kind of language to speak to the realities of life and faith. Each chapter of the book will explore a unique aspect of God's relationship with humanity and the world, including God's faithfulness, concern for our entire selves, promise to be present in both good and bad times, willingness to listen, sharing of power, and desire to allow an open future for all. Filled with authentic reflections and helpful insights, this is a must-read for all want to know and experience more about the nature of God.

Dr. Terence E. Fretheim was the Elva B. Lovell Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., where he taught for over forty years.


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AUDIO PODCAST INTERVIEW

with Terence Fretheim - 

https://trippfuller.com/?powerpress_pinw=32017-podcast



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ORT on Fretheim w/ Tom Oord and Tripp Fuller
Feb 22, 2019

Comment: I have listened to Tripp and Tom's
podcast and found it easy to listen too, humorous
at times, and very information on the beloved
theologian Terence Fretheim. - R.E. Slater


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Books by Terence E. Fretheim




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Terence E. Fretheim

Jump to searh

Biographical Information

Terence Fretheim was first connected with the Luther Seminary faculty as a teaching fellow in Greek in 1958-60 while he was still a seminary student. He returned as assistant professor in 1968 and became professor of Old Testament in 1978. He was dean of academic affairs (1978–88) and also served as acting chair of the Old Testament department (1977–78) and chair of the curriculum committee (1976–77).

He was an instructor in Old Testament at Augsburg College and Seminary, Minneapolis, in 1961-63, and assistant professor of religion at Augsburg College in 1967-68. Ordained in 1968, Fretheim was pastor of Dennison (Minn.) Lutheran Church in 1968-71. He has been visiting professor at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and both visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Fretheim received the Fulbright Scholarship for study in England, the Lutheran Brotherhood Seminary Graduate Scholarship, the Martin Luther Scholarship, the Fredrik A. Schiotz Fellowship Award, and the ATS Scholarship for Theological Research.

A graduate of Luther College (Iowa) (B.A., 1956), Fretheim earned the M.Div. degree from Luther Seminary in 1960 and the Th.D. degree from Princeton Seminary in 1967. He has also studied at the University of Durham, England, the University of Minnesota, the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford University in England, and the University of Chicago. As a Luther College alumnus, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1995.

He is a member of the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature and is Editor of SBL Old Testament Monographs. He has served on the Buddhist and Muslim Task Forces of the American Lutheran Church, was co-chair of the Theological Consultation for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has been president of the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools, and Old Testament Book Editor for the Journal of Biblical Literature.

Works Published

Fretheim has published numerous books. More recent titles include: The Pentateuch (Abingdon, 1996); Proclamation 6 (Fortress, 1997); The Bible as Word of God in a Postmodern Era (Fortress, 1998; with K. Froehlich); First and Second Kings (Westminster, 1999); About the Bible: Short Answers to Big Questions (Augsburg, 1999); In God's Image: A Study of Genesis (Augsburg, 1999); A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (Abingdon, 1999), with B. Birch, W. Brueggemann, and D. Petersen; and Jeremiah: A Commentary (Smyth & Helwys, 2002). God and World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation (Abingdon, 2005); Hope in God in Times of Suffering (with Faith Fretheim) (Augsburg/Fortress, 2006); Abraham: Journeys of Family and Faith (University of South Carolina Press, 2007).

His 1984 book, The Suffering of God: An Old Testament Perspective is an exegetical approach to many of the themes and issues associated with process theology and open theism.



Terence Fretheim
Faculty, Lutheran Seminary

Education
Ordained (ELCA)
Th.D. (Princeton Seminary)
M.Div. (Luther Theological Seminary)

Biography
Terence Fretheim was first connected with the Luther Seminary faculty as a teaching fellow in Greek in 1958-60 while he was still a seminary student. He returned as assistant professor in 1968 and became professor of Old Testament in 1978. He was dean of academic affairs (1978-88) and also served as acting chair of the Old Testament department (1977-78) and chair of the curriculum committee (1976-77).

He was an instructor in Old Testament at Augsburg College and Seminary, Minneapolis, in 1961-63, and assistant professor of religion at Augsburg College in 1967-68. Ordained in 1968, Fretheim was pastor of Dennison (Minn.) Lutheran Church in 1968-71. He has been visiting professor at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and both visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Fretheim received the Fulbright Scholarship for study in England, the Lutheran Brotherhood Seminary Graduate Scholarship, the Martin Luther Scholarship, the Fredrik A. Schiotz Fellowship Award, and the ATS Scholarship for Theological Research.

A graduate of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa (B.A., 1956), Fretheim earned the M.Div. degree from Luther Seminary in 1960 and the Th.D. degree from Princeton Seminary in 1967. He has also studied at the University of Durham, England, the University of Minnesota, the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford University in England, and the University of Chicago.  As a Luther College alumnus, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1995.

He is a member of the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature and is Editor of SBL Old Testament Monographs. He has served on the Buddhist and Muslim Task Forces of the American Lutheran Church, was co-chair of the Theological Consultation for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has been president of the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools, and Old Testament Book Editor for the Journal of Biblical Literature.

Fretheim has published numerous books.  More recent titles include: The Pentateuch (Abingdon, 1996); Proclamation 6 (Fortress, 1997); The Bible as Word of God in a Postmodern Era (Fortress, 1998; with K. Froehlich); First and Second Kings (Westminister, 1999); About the Bible: Short Answers to Big Questions (Augsburg, 1999); In God’s Image: A Study of Genesis (Augsburg, 1999); A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (Abingdon, 1999), with B. Birch, W. Brueggemann, and D. Petersen; and Jeremiah: A Commentary (Smyth & Helwys, 2002). God and World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation (Abingdon, 2005); Hope in God in Times of Suffering (with Faith Fretheim) (Augsburg/Fortress, 2006); Abraham: Journeys of Family and Faith (University of South Carolina Press, 2007).

In addition to many articles, other published notes include:
  • “Abraham,” in New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon, 2007)
  • entries for: Creation, Angel, Lord of Hosts, God Most High, Jealous, and Heaven (Westminster Theological Wordbook of the Bible, 2003)
  • the book of Exodus (Dictionary of Old Testament: Pentateuch. 2003)
  • the Book of Numbers (Oxford Bible Commentary. 2001)
  • entries for: God, and Book of Jonah (Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. 2000)





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Obituary: Rev. Dr. Terence Fretheim

Posted on November 20, 2020

Rev. Dr. Terence Erling Fretheim
January 27, 1936 – November 16, 2020

Terry, 84, died at home on what would have been his mother’s 113th birthday. He had been diagnosed with plasma cell leukemia. Terry is survived by his wife of 64 years, Faith; daughters Tanya Fretheim and Andrea Fretheim; grandchildren Kelly, Shannon, and Emre; his youngest brother, Stephen; sister-in-law Judy; four nieces and nephews; as well as many extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents Erling and Marie, brothers Gary and Mark, sister-in-law LaVila, aunt Ada, and uncle Phil.

Terry was the oldest of four boys—his father was a Lutheran pastor, his mother, a nurse. In addition to his dad, his uncle and his grandfather were also Lutheran pastors. His first steps on the Luther Seminary campus came in 1939 when he was three years old, and his dad was attending Luther Seminary. As a high school student, Terry attended Augustana Academy in Canton, SD, and went on to Luther College in Decorah, IA, where he sang in the Nordic Choir under Weston Noble, earned his BA in 1956, and met his soon-to-be bride, Faith. They were married in August 1956, and shortly thereafter, Terry and Faith moved to the Twin Cities, where Terry took his next steps on the Luther Seminary campus—this time as a student himself. In addition to being a student, he was a teaching fellow in Greek in 1958–60 and earned his MDiv in 1960. Terry received a Fulbright Scholarship and studied at the University of Durham, England, from 1960–61. He was an instructor in Old Testament at Augsburg College and Seminary, Minneapolis, from 1961–63 and assistant professor of religion at Augsburg College from 1967–68. In between those years, Terry studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, taught Old Testament from 1965-67 as a student, and earned his ThD in 1967.

During his 1967–68 year at Augsburg, Terry received a call from Luther Seminary to teach Old Testament. He accepted and was ordained in June 1968—the same day his daughter was baptized. He served the Dennison and Vang Parishes in Dennison, MN, while simultaneously stepping onto Luther Seminary’s campus as an assistant professor, wrote his first two books, and became a dad, twice. In 1971, Terry and Faith and their two daughters, Tanya and Andrea, moved to St. Paul a stone’s throw from the Luther Seminary campus. During his 45-year career at Luther Seminary, he taught Old Testament theology, had a 10-year stint as Dean of Academic Affairs, and team-taught a class with Dr. Paul Sponheim (lovingly dubbed “the Heim Brothers”) for 20 years titled, “God, Evil, Suffering.” He took sabbaticals in 1975–76, associated with Heidelberg University, Germany, and wrote The Message of Jonah. In 1982–83, he associated with Mansfield College, Oxford University, England, during which time he wrote The Suffering of God, and in 1988–89 associated with University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, where he wrote Exodus: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Starting in 1988, Terry spent weekdays in St. Paul and weekends in Chicago when Faith took a job with the Women of the ELCA at the Churchwide office in Chicago. Terry was rostered in the Southwestern Washington synod and was a member of the candidacy selection committee for more than 20 years. During the summers of 2003 and 2004, Terry associated with Tyndale House research library, Cambridge University, England, where he wrote God and World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation. In total, Terry wrote more than 25 books on Old Testament theology—including Creation Untamed: The Bible, God, and Natural Disasters and his most recent book published in August 2020, God So Enters Into Relationships That…—and countless articles which have helped shape pastoral students over the last 50 years and counting. Terry officially retired from Luther Seminary in 2013 after 45 years of service.

Terry was an advocate and leader in some key changes within the Lutheran church. As a biblical scholar he participated on the theological team that made the ordination of women possible in the ELCA. He was one of the first to help make distance learning a possibility for students who could not attend Luther Seminary in the traditional way (long before Zoom and remote learning was commonplace). And, Terry worked with the ELCA Task Force on Sexuality which opened the way for the full participation of people who identify as GLBTQ, including marriage and ordination.

In addition to receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, Terry was the recipient of the Lutheran Brotherhood Seminary Graduate Scholarship, the Martin Luther Scholarship, the Fredrik A. Schiotz Fellowship Award, and the ATS Scholarship for Theological Research. He became the first recipient of the Elva B. Lovell Chair of Old Testament in 1978. As a Luther College alumnus, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1995. In 2006, Terry was honored with his Festschrift.

He had been visiting professor at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and both visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School. In addition, he had been a visiting professor at Sabah Theological Seminary in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia, PA; Lutheran Theological Seminary Tai Wai in Hong Kong (twice); Trinity Seminary in Columbus, OH; Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt; and Candler Theological Seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The list is long where Terry was also a guest professor or had a lectureship. He particularly enjoyed his guest lecturing and stays in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Christikon, MT, and Holden Village, WA.

Joining in 1972 and continuing until this day, Terry and Faith have enjoyed reading and discussing books monthly with a group of Seminary professors and their spouses with whom they have forged life-long friendships.

Terry’s family will remember the sweet smell of his pipe tobacco wafting through his office, classical music playing in the background, and the clacking of his typewriter keys and later computer keyboard as he wrote, and wrote, and wrote…
The family requests any memorial gifts be sent to:

Terence E. and Faith L. Fretheim Scholarship
for Environmental Studies and The Care of Creation
Development Office – Loyalty Hall
700 College Drive
Decorah, IA 52101

There will be a virtual live-streaming Celebration of Life ceremony on December 5, 2020, at 11 am CST. More info can be found at luthersem.edu/news/2020/11/19/fretheim.

Please share your memories of Rev. Dr. Fretheim in the comments section below, which we are using as a guestbook.



Conference Notes: Process Thought at a New Threshold

https://cobb.institute/event/process-thought-at-a-new-threshold/


John Cobb invites the process movement to reflect on the possibility that we are at a new threshold. Maybe, at last, the thinking we have done about creative transformation and ecological civilization will capture the imagination of millions and make a real contribution to radical change of collective behavior. At this gathering we will consider how we can work together to respond to the call to save the world. It’s worth trying.

Conference Schedule
Process Thought at a New Threshold

October 31, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM


9:00: Welcome and Opening Remarks: John Cobb

How has the work of the process community expanded since 2015?

9:10: Center for Process Studies: Andrew Schwartz
9:15: Pando Populus: Eugene Shirley
9:20: Institute for Ecological Civilization: Philip Clayton
9:25: Cobb Institute: John Fahey

What is happening that suggests greater openness to process ideas?

9:30: Philosophy: Dan Dombrowski
9:40: Christian Theology: Thomas Oord
9:50: Spiritual But Not Religious: Damian Geddry
10:00: Interfaith, Arts, and Spirituality: Jay McDaniel
10:10: Science: Matthew Segall

10:20: BREAK

10:30: Education: Richard Rose
10:40: Economics: Mark Anielski
10:50: Agriculture: Sung Sohn
11:00: Mass Media: Philip Clayton
11:10: Younger Generation: Kathleen Jacobson Reeves

How can we respond effectively to the new openness?

11:20: Small Group Discussions
Led by Pat Beiting, Ignacio Castuera, Louis Chase, Kathleen
Jacobson Reeves, Lynne de Jonge, Carol Johnston, Elaine
Padilla, Richard Rose, Jeanyne Slettom, and Bonnie Tarwater



* * * * * * * * *




Conference Notes
Process Thought at a New Threshold


Healing people ponder things deeply


12:00    Late Start. Equipment Malfunction re Group Zoom Mtg.
             Attendance - 100

12:08    Welcome and Opening Remarks by John Cobb
             David Griffin remarked of the 21st Century that it would be the "Process Century" or 
             "Whitehead Century" begun in Russia (1970s), China (1990s), America + the World (2015).

How has the work of the Process community expanded since 2015?

12:13    Andrew Schwartz, Center for Process Studies (1973)
             Observed: Modernism = Mechanistic & Reductionistic Philosophies, Industries, Societies
              Postmodernism = An Intersection of Change led by Process Thought

12:19    Eugene Shirley, Chief Sustainability Engineer of Pando Populus, Los Angeles County
             Networks with municipalities and mid-central California counties.
             Central Focus: Creation of the "Hyper-Locality" of Ecological Sustainability
             Connected to Cal Tech University; is part of ist CSO Task Force Business to Community
             Chief Concern: Sustainability + Justice Models + Social Services

12:23    Philip Clayton, Institute for Ecological Civilization (ECI)
             Core Belief: Growing Ecological Societies which are Post-Capitalism + Post-Socialism
             Crucial to this belief: Promoting long term wellbeing for people and planet
             Book: The New Possible, by Philip Clayton
             Recommended Organization beside ECI - www.oneproject.org
             Process: Hope ---> Societal Impact ---> Build Networks of Collaboration
             No time to answer the questions:
                > What does Process mean?
                > Why does Process matter?

12:29   John Fahey, The Cobb Institute
            Process & Practice: Process Thought vs. Mechanistic/Reductionistic Mindset 
            Interest: Creation of Local, Compassionate, Sustainable Communities
            Recommended Video: Cobb Institute - PostModern Development in China


  



What is happening that suggests greater openness to process ideas?

12:38    Dan Dombrowski - Philosophy
              Process Philosophy speaks from everything from relationships to metaphysics
                    to cosmology to minority voices

              Process Philosophy is being incorporated into:
    • Analytical philosophies
    • Continental philosophies
    • PanPsychism groups
    • Comparative Religions globally
    • Metaphysics, Ontology, Epistemology
    • Physical and Social Sciences
    • History, Arts, and Literature
    • Environmental philosophies
    • Ethics, economic, and Political philosophies
    • Social Justice, Equality, Race, Gender, etc

12:46    Thomas Jay Oord, Christian Theologian and Author
              Prominent theologian of Process-based Open & Relational Theology
              Author of recently popular published title: God Can't
              Audience: 20-40 year olds; Ex-Evangelicals; Pentacostalists; Catholics;
                    Ex-Fundamentalists; Nones & Dones; Spiritual but not Religious;
                    the Disillusioned and Deconstructing of the world
              Central Theme: God's love cannot stop a world of sin without overruling
                     creaturely freewill; God can, and will, do everything possible to partner
                     and influence a freewill creation but cannot exercise His own divine 
                     agency over that of creation. This is known as the problem of evil and
                     justice (known theologically as the problem of theodicy
              Person of Note: Tripp Fuller who has been speaking on podcasts the last 12 years
              Open & Relational Theology
                     Cross-sects with evangelical open theism, Wesleyanism, feminism, et al
                     The ORT perspective is gaining a voice in evangelical churches
              Analytical Philosophy and Theology is becoming more open to ORT and 
                     Process Theology, Process Panpsychism, Process Evolution, etc.
               The Organization, Center for Open & Relational Theology, is visited and
                     used by Christians, Muslims, Jews, even Atheists re pros and cons

12:56    Damian Geddry, Spiritual but not Religious
                The Spiritual but not Religious category is another phrase for the "Nones
                     and Dones" of the Christian Church (approx 25% of the United States)
                The SBNR category rejects a persecuting, judgmental, condemning God
                Many are from hardline denominations and fundament bible churches
                They reject a God who has fated us with our future
                Of a god who uses evil and suffering to harm/direct/rule the world
                They may be considered mindful souls, contemplatives, emphasizing
                      soul-cycles, body-soul spiritual healing new age methods, TM,
                      meditative yoga, meditative nature soul healing, etc
                They are very open to a God who is relational, natural, interactional, etc
                They see a responsible freewill as a center to future societal interaction
                They value beauty, truth, art, peace, meaning, purpose, suffering, evil
                They see God and mankind and nature as interactive processes together in life

1:04    Jay McDaniel, Interfaith, Arts, and Spirituality
                Mentions a book, "The New Openess" re Process Theology
                Mentions Bob Measle re "What is Process?" which approaches Process
                    theology from a non-theistic, spiritually engaged perspective
                States that Process Theology is not limited to Christianity alone but is
                    a universal process found throughout the world, its disciplines, and 
                    livelihoods.
                As examples, mentions art and music (sic, Miley Cyrus), film makers, etc

1:14    Matthew Segall, Science
                Shares how science and the bible, cosmology and metaphysics have become
                    fragmented from one another and how Process Philosophy aka Whitehead
                    is helping to heal the rifts
                Shares how Process Thought speaks to the rhythms of nature, to human
                    civilization with one another
                How Process Thought is an Integral Theory of Everything that has gone on
                    before and will go on into the future. That Process is found in all the 
                    complex interlinks, expressions, and relationships as a holistic cosmic
                    network spun out from the heart of God as a building block of becoming,
                    being, and purpose.
                That the universe is not a giant entropy system, clock, or computer, running
                    like a Newtonian mechanistic and reductionistic machine. But that it is
                    living, chaotic, random, and being driven by its own internal process 
                    affairs imaged in the Creator and struggling to come to fruition.
                That Whitehead envisaged holism, comprehensive process cosmology and
                    metaphysics this is always novel, unique, and never alone in its vast 
                    matrix array of relational connections unlike how the 19th, 20th, and
                    even early 21st century philosophers, scientists, and theologians thought
                    of the cosmos/world/nature/humanity/civilization/society/etc
                That cosmology is a world view and branches its networks in complex
                    arrays of living, dying, propagating forms of new process networks
                    moment-by-moment everywhere and at once.
                That physics is re-envisioning quantum physics as a process-based event
                    becoming described as a Process Cosmology (David Bowne) where
                    time-and-space is even being envisioned as extensions and intensions
                    of conscreascing time event (where time's identity is not in the particle
                    or wave, but in its relationship to other relationships; that time cannot
                    exist alone. That it must have interaction if it is to be).
                Bruce Dayman (sp?) and David Deimer (sp?) are using Process Biology
                    as a way to describe the "Biogenesis" of first originating earth life
                    not through the salt water seas but around the surface geysers of earth's
                    freshwater pools. That evolutionary life can best be described as a 
                    series of every growing complex relationships between "being and event".

BREAK

1:30        Richard Rose, Education

1:40        Mark Anielski, Economics

1:50        Sung Sohn, Agriculture

2:00        Philip Clayton, Mass Media

2:10        Kathleen Jacobson Reeves, Focus of Younger Generations

BREAK

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS


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First Letter by John Cobb Conference Invitation
PROCESS THOUGHT AT A NEW THRESHOLD

Date: October 31, 2020
Time: 9 am to 12 noon
ZOOM Meeting

An Invitation from John Cobb


In the forties and fifties, the neonaturalist faculty in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago provided a community in which a process understanding was nurtured. By the sixties, the Divinity School joined the mainstream, and the academic disciplines tightened their control of university curricula. There seemed to be no future for the study of Whitehead.

In the avoidance of disappearance there have been two thresholds. The first was institutional. We established a journal (1970) so that scholarly discussion could continue. And we established an official Center for Process Studies (1973). The journal, edited by Lewis Ford, emphasized philosophy and philosophical theology. The Center, co-founded by David Griffin and me, focused on important topics from the process perspective. It cultivated an interest in process thought in many fields.

All of this was extremely marginal in every field. Nevertheless, it created a unique community, directly contrary to the disciplinary fragmentation of the university. Whereas the university disciplines prided themselves on their academic purity, the process community had, as its primary concern, “saving the world.” It adopted from China the term “ecological civilization” to name the alternative (saved) world for which Whitehead’s thought called. It included philosophy and theology, but its greatest success was in officially atheistic China.

By 2015, I thought we could reasonably claim to have an alternative to the university. We held a conference showing that on 80 topics process thinkers were working at the cutting edge, dealing with their assumptions. I thought we could also show that what we offered was urgently needed for practical purposes as well as theoretical.

In the following five years, the urgency of change became more widely manifest. Society needed to move away from the value free compartmentalized academic disciplines to a passionately committed holistic vision of the world we need to create. This could happen only with the change of key assumptions offered by process philosophy. Our conference had shown we were ready to help, but the number (outside of China) who cared enough to look were in the thousands.

Nevertheless, we made real progress toward a public role. Process organizations began working with cities, counties, and even states. Locally they gained public visibility and their contributions have been appreciated. But in the national public arena, we remained largely invisible and unheard. Despite our still marginal status, can we help? Can we reach millions? That possibility may be emerging as the global crisis forces itself on the world’s attention. Many of us feel that the cultural climate is changing
dramatically, and that many more people are ready to hear what we have to offer if we find ways of getting the ideas to them. This is the threshold that we now may have the opportunity to cross.

Our chances of crossing may be increased if many of us working in different fields and in diverse ways work together as one community to make the needed changes. That is why I have planned with the heads of major American process organizations a mini conference to help us shift our thinking and perhaps our priorities in ways that increase chances of success. First, we will hear from leaders of four process organizations. What have they achieved in the last five years? In my view, quite a lot. I think we have become ready for “the big time.” Is “the big time” ready for us? We will hear from astute observers in ten fields whether the time for process thought has come.

We’ll begin with philosophy. In recent years it has certainly improved on the European continent. In the non-academic community of thinkers, it has improved in the United States. Even the American philosophical guilds are more open to ideas important to process thought. Can we hope for a major breakthrough in the U.S.?

 I propose that we hear about the thinking of church people, and here I consider the success of Tom Oord’s “God Can’t” as a real breakthrough. We also need to hear from those with spiritual interests separate from the Christian churches. Finally, among liberal religious thinkers who are interested in interfaith, political, and cultural matters, Jay McDaniel will tell us where process thought stands.

The physical sciences have an immense influence on our world view. They contribute especially to cosmology. Whitehead thought the time had come for a changed science and cosmology. The scientific guilds have not changed, but their limitations have become more apparent. Might they shift from substances to events? Is there anything the process community can do to increase the chances of change? Matthew Segall will share his expectations.

The survival of whole populations depends on the products of agriculture. The modernization of agriculture has been a catastrophe. Awareness of the destructiveness of factory farming and raising animals for meat has increased. Interest in regenerative farming has increased. Process thought can undergird this interest philosophically. Has the time come to show the importance of how we think for what we eat?

Most Americans are not, today, enthusiastic about the American or the global economy. Some of them recognize that the problems are partly rooted in the dominant economic theories. Although academic economics still largely supports the current neoliberal economy, that concentrates wealth in fewer and fewer hands, there is much greater openness to call for changes that were barely discussable in the past. Can we hope for an economics that strengthens local communities?

Our minds are largely shaped by our many years in schools. Schooling has been shaped by modern beliefs such as the Kantian separation of facts and values. Dissatisfaction with the results increases. Is there a chance for a different kind of education oriented to the needs of students and of the world?

For generations young people have known that collective human behavior has been unsustainable. But more important for them has been doing well in the present context. The present young adult generation seems to be aware that it is their future that is at stake. Their commitment to change seems deeply rooted. Can process thinkers form an alliance with this community of shared concern?

We will conclude by considering quite directly the question of access to the determinative media. Even if there is change, those who control the media may contain by excluding it from widespread knowledge. Might process thought circumvent this in some way? The news that Philip Clayton’s ECI had partnered with a major organization gives promise that the idea, and eve the content, of ecological civilization may get a wide public hearing. If the news is good on many of these fronts, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to find new ways to spread the word. To conclude the conference, we will break up into smaller groups to start the conversation about how in any and all these fields to reach a much larger audience. The goal is to arouse enough people that politicians will pay attention. In conclusion, I will mention three possible projects that might help us reach more people.

We might form alliances with other organizations that are already contributing to that goal in ways we are not. This could make clear that ecological civilization is an inclusive vision of the world we need. It would certainly not be racist or sexist, but other organizations are doing much more on those fronts than are we. We think all humans should have rights, but we may be critical of the excessively individualist emphasis. Is there an organization working for individual rights that recognizes the importance of community? We certainly favor peace, and we can probably find a peace organization that is very congenial to our understanding of ecological civilization.

I have been thinking for some time about a website that invited wide participation in proposing how ecological civilization would differ from modernity: a kind of Wikipedia of ecological civilization.

Universities may be in a vulnerable situation and willing to consider a change in curriculum. Some of them may consider that the global crisis is so serious that they should allow it to affect what they teach and the way they teach it. There have been encouraging developments at Willamette and LaVerne. We might work together to persuade other universities to experiment. We think there are students who would be attracted to a university that was working to save the world and to prepare students to take part.

Our meeting will be on Saturday, October 31, from 9 to 12. Please join us. We are called to do what we can to save the world. Maybe, at last, the thinking we have done about this will capture the imagination of millions and make a real contribution to radical change of collective behavior. It’s worth trying.

- John Cobb


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Second Letter from John Cobb Conference
PROCESS THOUGHT AT A NEW THRESHOLD

Date: October 31, 2020
Time: 9 am to 12 noon
ZOOM Meeting

An Invitation from John Cobb

Dear Fellow Members of the Process Movement,

I hope that you have all received and read my earlier letter about a conference on preparing ourselves to respond to a new openness to process ideas and especially the idea of ecological civilization. I hope that many of you have reserved the time, October 31, 2020, from 9am to 12pm. I am writing now with a few more details about the program, and am attaching a schedule.

The purpose is to get many of us thinking about how to get the attention of a much wider public, and to communicate the most relevant and urgent ideas to it. I speak of urgency because of my judgment that the time that changing policies will help very much is short. I encourage you to listen to Pope Francis’ recent Ted talk. I am very grateful that, under the rubric of “integral ecology,” he shares our concern for transforming society and our sense of urgency. What is most hopeful is that he already addresses the people of the world.

We are experiencing a mild foretaste of an ever-worsening future unless there are profound changes. The process community has been reflecting about the needed changes longer than any other. We believe that, if we are heard, we can help, and there may be a real chance of being heard. Philip Clayton has co-edited an important new book called The New Possible, a title that would have worked for this conference. Zack Walsh told us in our weekly gathering with friends of the Institute that his colleagues in Silicon Valley are influenced by process-relational thinking and know that we must shift in that direction. But unless we use the new opportunity wisely, the door will slam shut. Hence, the urgency!

The most important part of the conference will be the breakout groups at the end. We hope they will begin the conversation about what we need to do, and that all of us will continue that conversation and find ways to implement our creative ideas. One realistic topic for discussion is whether the process community should seek to work together or any one project.

Actually, the conversation is already beginning. Andrew Schwartz wrote me that a correspondent made the point that to influence most people in any topic in which they are not specialists, the point must be made in a single step. Speaking for myself, I find that hard. Process thinking believes that everything is connected and that, therefore, all adequate explanations are complex. But Andrew is right that we must learn how to make crucial points simply and well.

For example, a crucial need is to shift from a global economy to local ones. I have been making that point since the eighties, but I have made it as part of complex proposals for reorganizing society. Recently the idea of a local economy has caught on. The leader of this very promising movement is Helena NorbertHodge.

The way she promotes it, as in the excellent film, “The Economics of Happiness,” leaves many questions unanswered. But in its simple presentation, it is having an influence on the way cities think of their economy. Of course, actual efforts to localize will bring many issues to the foreground, and we may be able to help. But simplifying is required in order to get cities to ask those questions. I must learn new skills, and I do not think I am alone, especially among academics. We have ten people who have agreed to lead or facilitate discussion after the presentations. In my previous letter I briefly described some possible projects. The purpose of including this was to stimulate imagination, not to gain priority for these proposals. Please begin thinking now. Then come and get a clearer idea of what we are already doing and what the openings seem to be in diverse fields. Be prepared to think boldly, as if life depends on you. Perhaps it does.

- John B. Cobb, Jr.