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

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Charles Taylor - A Secular Age, Session 2


Amazon Link

Charles Taylor - A Secular Age, Session 2


When Margaritas replace a Speaking God: Ministering to people whose
lives are framed by immanence as opposed to transcendence

MEMBER READING: A Secular Age, Chapters 15 & 16

Secular 0 - x
Secular 1 - a public faith vs a private faith
Secular 2 - who is or isn't religious? Going by the numbers
Secular 3 - All faiths come under fire from society

The Immanent Frame v Fragilization of Faith


There is a loss of transcendence... it becomes displaced

An irreverence has taken place - it no longer matters if we are a saint or a sinner; the things which keep me up at night is no longer a fear of God, heaven, or hell but how people see me, or how I struggle for meaning in life.

How does one recover a sense of transcendent humanism? Where life is more than an unappreciated thing but a holy keep precious and mysterious.

How do we recover those existential moments which may propel me beyond my deep anxieties in life?

Religion seems to hold my identity back; it doesn't release me to be free to be myself but to cloak and mask myself instead. It closes my whole world down to where I hate everything.

There exists a double fragilization in life - Question: "Is there enough to compete with, or stand up to, our culture's cross pressure placed upon us?

We still carry burdens of guilt and bear a deep need for absolution for forgiveness.

When we get reflective "What is life for?"

Margaritas at the Mall - YouTube
by Purple Mountains


Drawn up all my findings
And I warn you they are candid
My every day begins
With reminders I've been stranded on this
Planet where I've landed
Beneath this gray as granite sky
A place I wake up blushing like I'm ashamed to be alive
How long can a world go on under such a subtle God?
How long can a world go on with no new word from God?
See the plod of the flawed individual looking for a nod from God
Trodding the sod of the visible with no new word from God
We're just drinking margaritas at the mall
That's what this stuff adds up to after all
Magenta, orange, acid green
Peacock blue and burgundy
Drinking margaritas at the mall
Standing in the shadows of the signpost on the road
50 gates of understanding, 49 are closed
Yes, I guess this time I really hit that number on the nose
What I'd give for an hour with the power on the throne
How long can a world go on under such a subtle God?
How long can a world go on with no new word from God?
See the plod of the flawed individual looking for a nod from God
Trodding the sod of the visible with no new word from God
We're just drinking margaritas at the mall
This happy hour's got us by the balls
Magenta, orange, acid green
Peacock blue and burgundy
Drinking margaritas at the mall
We're drinking margaritas at the mall
Drinking margaritas at the mall

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: David Berman

A Fiercer Delight and a Fiercer Discontent

Eclectic reflections on music, philosophy, theology and culture.

A Summary of a Summary:
James Smith on Charles Taylor...in charts and memes
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

James Smith[1] summarized Charles Taylor’s[2] A Secular Age, distilling a 900 page tome into a thin, accessible ~140 page volume...and also readable (Smith is a phenomenal writer with playful sensibilities who shares my love of 'cross-pressured' fiction). He called it How (Not) to be secular: Reading Charles Taylor.

It is a wonderful little book, that took me longer to read than most books three times its length, as I tried to inculcate the language and ideas. According to my custom, I tried to capture the more complex or helpful ideas into images. 

Then I realized, I had a series of images that was essentially a pictorial summary of a 140 page text that was a summary of a 900 page text…

…a sort of reading James Smith reading Charles Taylor.

So why not post it? This blog has seen stranger, more obtuse content after all:

Role of Reform in Contemporary Social Imaginary

Here is Taylor's historical story of how we got to this cultural moment that could have been otherwise.

Hubris of Inevitability

Smith/Taylor's emphasis on the non-inevitability of secularism reminded me of analogy in Gould's evolutionary narrative:

Art as Meaning Refugia

And their assertion that secularization cannot be accounted for with the standard 'subtraction stories' but requires 'additions of meaning' to get to the current synthesis, 'inventing' 'art' as an end rather than a means, reminded me of this year's complicated Pulitzer (You'll have to wait until next weeks year end fiction summary for my take on the novel).


Art = an immanent space where we try to satisfy lost longing for transcendence…a ‘place for modern unbelief’ to live without settling for the utterly flattened world of mechanism or utilitarianism – but also without having to return to religion proper.”

The Francis Rorschach

The Francis Rorschach self-diagnoses pretheoretical unthoughts that predispose our 'secularization stories.'

Aspiration to Wholeness

‘Aspiration to wholeness’ was one of my favorite ideas - which takes two forms, depending on which way we've flattened our world. Those who major on the immanence of this world have to account for fullness, and those who major on transcendence have to affirm the ordinary (which has occupied much of my preaching lately, the transcendent frame has to make as much sense of immanence - work, romance, pain, tedium - as the immanent frame has to account for transcendence).

Epistemology Follows Ethics

Epistemology follows ethics regardless of worldview (note: the meme isn't meant to suggest mystery, but sequence. Biologically, the egg unequivocally precedes the chicken, laid by some evolutionary proto-chicken) 

“Baseline moral commitments stand behind close world structures, specifically the coming of age metaphor of adulthood”

Taylor Summarized in an Equation

Of course, it wouldn't be a stanford summary without trying to express something analytically. Taylor argues that transcendence haunts us. It is the feeling that our experience and observation is not somehow divisible by 'The Closed Frame' of the secular subtraction stories or exclusive humanism.

Sure, we can make sense of beauty without reference to the transcendent, but is it parsimonious. At least it leaves us cross pressured, leaving a remainder of reductionism

The closed frame lacks “sufficient resources to account for fullness”...or, it is indivisible, leaving non-trivial remainders that require explanation for our synthesis to truly 'correspond with reality.'

The Long Middle

Human Porosity and the Buffered Self

“Malaise is itself one of the consequences of the buffered identity” 64

“The same “buffering” of the self that protects us also encloses us and isolates us…sealed off from enchantment the modern buffered self is also sealed off from significance”

Insulation leads to isolation.


Four Eclipses of Exclusive Humanism

One of Taylor's central and most helpful ideas is that the subtraction stories of secularism (e.g. Dawkins God's =n-1), that what we have is the inevitable remainder of disenchanting the universe, is insufficient, mainly because we insisted that 'meaning' remain in our disenchanted universe. To retain meaning, we had to add something for everything we subtracted. So secularism was not so much a series losing but of eclipses, replacings.

This post was written while listening to The Suburbs by Arcade Fire 
(Which Smith also claimed as the dominant soundtrack of his book, not only because its good writing music, but because it captures the cross-pressure of modernity so sublimely). 

[1] Philosophy professor at Calvin
[2] Philosophy Professor at Toronto