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

Friday, February 19, 2021

Butterfly Wings of Promise

 


Butterfly Wings of Promise

by R.E. Slater


There is wisdom in renewing silence in one's life
When far too many souls speak noise and death.
Using special times of the year like the season
Of Lent, in aiding removal of worldly uproar.
Seeking olden paths of yesterday's lessons
To guide tomorrow's paths its glades
And shaded arbors, restoring peace
To the disquiet of restless voices.
Unweary the discord or havoc
Sown into the lives of those 
Around living desperate
days of want and need
Unheard, unsought,
Overlooked their
Casualties.

Nay, then,
Such silence
Is unequal to the
Noise erupting both
Streets and congresses
Of unwise souls fueling
Anger's injustices on aires
Of silent nods by unrighteous
Congregants across unrelenting
Pulpits shouting bondage's chains
To the ruin of lands and cities once
United by common civil bonds of grace
And mercy to all who seek public accord.
Yearning freedom's promised equalities of
Endless life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.


R.E. Slater
February 19, 2021

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved


An Accompanying Note

Stylistically: Because this is a visual poem I originally had it centered in the page but later noticed when viewed on cell phones or tablets it became distorted. Hence the smaller font and usage of left justification for viewing variety.

Subject Matter: I'm not sure I can consciously agree to stay silent even during the Lental period of spiritual reflection and penitence of spirit with so much noise filling the world by its oppressive rhetorics and actions from church and state here in America. To sit by and watch in silence may be the greatest crime of all - if not the greatest hypocrisy of all. Thus, have I thought these past recent years when witnessing again America's rising apartheidism and now, the dearth of hoary wisdom of Constitutional voices it once leaned so heavily upon but as soon conveniently forgetting when it comes to standing united with mixed cultures, races, nationalities, religions, and genders.

Now, in difference to America's civil unrests in the 50s and 60s, such as those led by Martin Luther King's civil rights protests, there but lies silent nods of granite approval about me embracing white racism and Christian Nationalism by friend and neighbor who grieve not as I grieve. Rather, in strident voice, yell and shout their rights to their ignominy and shame in my ear. Yet, for those who like myself yearn for a special kind of reverent silence during the holy seasons of the church year I find in its practice a grave rarity knowing its healing force if applied aright by the ones who would practice it.

These are not the silent, cheering portals to bondage and injustice but numbed souls held in pained worlds already haunted by the tyrannies of the day's trials and blames. Here, to those souls, may all wounded find healing in the refreshingly quiet breezes of unconquered hearts contemplating how to heal and aide amid the noise of fools more willing to extend suffering then to ease another's pain. May these small measures of fleshly grace overflow unquiet hearts seeking voice and direction how to do and to act in the tomorrows lying ahead.

R.E. Slater
February 19, 2021


Art: Heinrich Vogeler

 

“To those who contemplate the beauty of the earth may they find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated whispered refrains of nature... the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~Rachel Carson 



Artist: Jim Holland (American, 1955)
Title: ”Hopper's House" (2008)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Cape Cod artist Jim Holland's "Hopper's House”, one of the contemporary landscapes featured in Lauren P. Della Monica's new book, pays homage to 19th-century artist Edward Hopper.

 

Lauren P. Della Monica

Painted Landscapes, Contemporary Views explores American landscape painting today, its relevance in the contemporary art world, and its historic roots. This volume profiles sixty individual living artists (and over 200 color images) whose contributions distinguish important aspects of the genre and address land use, nature appreciation, and ecology through landscape painting. Encompassing every style from traditional realism (with a contemporary edge) to abstraction and non-objectivity, these contemporary artists range from today's art stars to emerging or regionally recognized talent in the Eastern, Western, and Southwestern regions of the nation.
Amazon link
Human forms can be intensely intimate or broadly universal. Here, figurative artists use the human form as a tool to express varied content and contemporary issues. These paintings depict our feelings and sentiments, our sense of belonging to a larger community in the contemporary world, while capturing the impulses behind the range of figuration presented by today's contemporary international artists. Portraitist Marlene Dumas presents figures in a gritty, unsentimental manner, evoking the essence of the human condition, while Kerry James Marshall paints the life of African-Americans in the twentieth-century, employing recent historical review to document the social challenges. British artist Jenny Saville paints the figure in massive scale, combined with an overt, never-ending interest in the pure rendering of human flesh. Hope Gangloff paints her figures as characters, intimate friends, and acquaintances, narrating a drama from their canvases. An important resource for those interested in contemporary figurative painting.

* * * * * * * * *



A Silent Lent
February 11, 2016

Image: Mirai Takahashi, Standing Alone


Imagine that the ghost of Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, appeared to you in a dream. So you ask him, “Sir, what do you suggest I do for Lent this year? I’m already late in choosing.” Before vanishing, he might reply solemnly with his famous words:
If I were a physician, and if I were allowed to prescribe just one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence. For even if the Word of God were proclaimed in the modern world, how could one hear it with so much noise? Therefore, create silence.
How much silence do you have in your life? That question is directly connected to the impatience, anxiety, and distraction we feel on a daily basis.

Silence is an age-old secret—not even exclusively Christian—with enormous benefits.

Time to testify.

I have been amazed by the energy I recover from silence. This happened last month when I was on retreat in the Shenandoah Valley. How many hours of sleep did I get per night? About six. How many do I get on average? About six. Yet after very full days—reading, thinking, hiking, praying—I felt amazingly refreshed. Because I had more silence.

Silence also helps us notice things around us. We Dominicans usually eat breakfast together, but whenever I eat alone in silence, I notice amazing things: “This bread actually has taste! I don’t even need to butter it,” or, “Look, my schedule has only a few simple things. It’s totally do-able. It’s stupid that I wake up with such anxiety.” Silence to the rescue again. 

Finally, silence actually isn’t silent. We hear ourselves in silence, and we hear God. Mother Teresa wrote much about this silence. For instance:
The essential thing is not what we say but what God says to us and through us. In that silence, He will listen to us; there He will speak to our soul, and there we will hear His voice.
But right here, exactly at the deepest possibility of silence—to hear God’s voice speak to our most honest self—we hit a wall. Silence is scary. Few of us feel ready to hear God speak to us. What might he say? And are we also ready to even face ourselves? Those unpracticed in silence often come up immediately against an inner storm: worries, anger, lusts, projections about the future, snippets of what he or she said, and above all, memories.

If we need silence but lack the courage, how can we begin?

Here we need the wisdom of Nike: Just do it! We have to first choose silence—40 days is a great chance for a first attempt. Like exercise, there’s an initial painful conditioning period, but it doesn’t last very long! If someone who knows silence has promised you its benefits, you can keep at it and fight for it. 

But what if we lack the time or space for silence?

True, not everyone has the silence of Bl. Charles de Foucauld, living out in the African desert, a lone Christian alone with Jesus. We can only create silence in our lives if we first learn to STOP. Developing a habit of stopping is so absolutely rare and absolutely essential in our day and age. For one person it’s not turning on the radio during their commute; for another it’s leaving the iPod at home when you jog; for another it’s carving out ten minutes to sit alone in the early morning or late night.

It’s not too late. This Lent, choose silence!

To finish, I’ll share a poem that I wrote awhile back. It tells of a time in my life when I was uncomfortable with silence. I was 18 years old, and some friends had talked me into attending a retreat on the property of Camaldolese hermits—men who so prefer the richness and adventure of silence that they leave much else in life untended…

"Orchard"
by Br. Timothy Danaher, O.P.

We slept in the barn and listened to the rain
And woke to the morning chill
And through the bay door, I heard him pass outside
And lay there motionless until

I rose to glimpse him crossing the yard
His long nose and worn robes, as he tread
To his hut, putting wood smoke up on the wind
And at my feet was a note, he’d left in his stead

“Orchard down the path” was the phrase
So we laced our shoes and headed that way
Anything to escape the dreary silence
Of that wet and pointless and dreary day

I walked with thoughts of heavy golden fruit
And leaves turned red with sugar
And we laughed and joked and shouted in youth
Until our path met with another

We had missed our mark and doubled back
Then there at a bend in the way
Lay the old orchard, in overgrown turf
Unnoticed for it was shoddy, decrepit, and gray

As they had kept vigil, battling themselves
We rambled with dreams in our head
Only to find dead trees, rotting in the light rain
I should have stayed in and learned silence instead



Br. Timothy Danaher entered the Order of Preachers in 2011. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he studied Theology and American Literature. Before Dominican life he worked as a life guard in San Diego, CA, and as a youth minister in Denver, CO.