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

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Black Lives Matter - STAND UP!




Willie Spence, Stand UP
American Idol, April 19, 2021


STAND UP

November 7, 2018

Stand Up
and let your voice be heard 
Stand Up
for the rights you believe in 
Stand Up 
having a strong voice you will surely win
Stand Up
whites blacks all colors of the world 
Stand Up 
all of our people should come together 
Stand Up
break the cycle of division 
Stand Up
unity is what we strive for 
Stand Up
one clear mind we need it more and more 
Stand Up
don’t shut me out 
Stand Up
i’ll scream and shout
Stand Up
until you see that we are one 
STAND UP


In a country that has systematised the oppression of black lives from the institution of slavery to peonage, lynching, Jim Crow, segregation, mass incarceration and police brutality, #BLM provides the church an opportunity to proclaim the gospel that announces the end of oppression. | Image: Scott Olson / Getty Images



Poem About Standing Up For What Is Right

Hi, I am a thirteen-year-old girl who has been secretly writing poetry since fourth grade, and I'm really glad you came to read my poem! This poem that I wrote is called "United" because I wanted to write a poem that was inspiring and could mean something to everybody out there. Stand up for what you love and what you know is right because in the end that is what will matter. I hope "United" can inspire you, and I really hope you like it. Remember to follow your dreams! 
United

© Erica More By Erica
December 2017

Do we stay silent
Or raise our voices?
Do we give in
Or make our choices?

This is our chance.
This is our threat.
This is our choice.
And we're not finished yet.

We stand together
And await the light.
This is our chance,
This is our fight.

Here we're standing,
United and strong.
We're not giving this up.
We're not moving on.

This is our voice;
This is what we came to show.
This is our choice,
And we're not letting go.

This is our word.
You give what you get.
This is our world,
And we're not finished yet.

We stand beside you,
Ready to pay our debt
We stand united
Because we're not finished yet.

Children are born every day,
Waiting for someone to trust.
Dreams are dreamed every day
But left alone to rust.

Raise your voices; stand up tall.
You know this is unjust.
Make your choices; stand from the fall,
Because dreams are counting on us.

I know that you are scared to be strong.
You have every right to be.
Show the dreamers that you care.
Come and stand with me.

Think of our future; think of the truth.
Think of the lives we share.
Think of our beginnings; think of our youth.
We're all just a kid from somewhere.

Standing together, holding hands,
We all came from the same place.
Joined, we are forever;
We are running the same race.

Stand with me; we're not through yet.
We are getting what we gave.
Hand in hand with me, strongest together.
This can all be saved.

This is like our lifetimes;
This is more than just a game.
This is more than just the money,
More than ourselves, more than fame.

Speak up for what matters,
Because now it does; this love is caving.
Speak up before we shatter.
Think of all the dreams we're saving.

There are kids like us in Texas,
Out in Utah, up in Maine.
There are kids that are the future Crosby,
Skinner, Matthews, Kane.

From the mountains, valleys, cities,
Suburbs, hamlets and countryside,
There are the children of this future.
All around us they reside.

On the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins,
The Canes and Minnesota Wild.
We often forget that before they were champions,
Each one was just a child

They once stood watching,
Dreaming with this light inside their eyes.
Together we can save that light,
And return it to more lives.

Here we're standing, grasping hands;
Here we're standing strong.
This time we're not giving in,
And we're not moving on.

THIS is our voice;
This is what we came to show.
This is our choice,
And we're not letting go.

This is the world we live in.
You must give what you get.
This is our word we're giving.             
We're not finished yet.

We stand together, united.
This is our chance to repay this debt.
We stand beside you all, united.
We're not finished yet.

 

Poem of the Week for: 2018-02-27
This week's Poem of the Week, "United", is particularly poignant as we respond to yet another mass shooting. Because, this time, something long thought impossible is happening. Young people across the country by joining together United are breaking cultural and political barriers and making their world a better place. Wishing all of us the inspiration to join together United to make positive change in our own worlds!

 

Stand Up by Cynthia Erivo


Lyrics

I been walkin'
With my face turned to the sun
Weight on my shoulders
A bullet in my gun
Oh, I got eyes in the back of my head
Just in case I have to run
I do what I can when I can while I can for my people
While the clouds roll back and the stars fill the night

That's when I'm gonna stand up
Take my people with me
Together we are going
To a brand new home
Far across the river
Can you hear freedom calling?
Calling me to answer
Gonna keep on keepin' on
I can feel it in my bones

Early in the mornin'
Before the sun begins to shine
We're gonna start movin'
Towards that separating line
I'm wadin' through muddy waters
You know I got a made up mind
And I don't mind if I lose any blood on the way to salvation
And I'll fight with the strength that I got until I die

So I'm gonna stand up
Take my people with me
Together we are going
To a brand new home
Far across the river
Can you hear freedom calling?
Calling me to answer
Gonna keep on keepin' on

And I know what's around the bend
Might be hard to face 'cause I'm alone
And I just might fail
But Lord knows I tried
Sure as stars fill up the sky

Stand up
Take my people with me
Together we are going
To a brand new home
Far across the river
Can you hear freedom calling?
Calling me to answer
Gonna keep on keepin' on

I'm gonna stand up
Take my people with me
Together we are going
To a brand new home
Far across the river
Do you hear freedom calling?
Calling me to answer
Gonna keep on keepin' on

I'm gonna stand up
Take my people with me
Together we are going
To a brand new home
Far across the river
I hear freedom calling
Calling me to answer
Gonna keep on keepin' on
I can feel it in my bones

I go to prepare a place for you
I go to prepare a place for you
I go to prepare a place for you
I go to prepare a place for you




Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And wasn't going to stay one either

"Farewell!" she sang to her friends one night
She was mighty sad to leave 'em
But she ran away that dark, hot night
Ran looking for her freedom
She ran to the woods and she ran through the woods
With the slave catchers right behind her
And she kept on going till she got to the North
Where those mean men couldn't find her

Nineteen times she went back South
To get three hundred others
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save Black sisters and brothers
Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And didn't stay one either

And didn't stay one either










My Journey Out of Calvinism and Towards Process Christianity


 



My Journey Out of Calvinism

and Towards Process Christianity

As I told one individual not long ago, my Christian background included being raised in a fundamental  Baptist Church (GARB, General Assembly of Regular Baptist Churches) which later joined its church culture some fifty years later with the conservative evangelical movement. Its pastor/teacher has never been rivaled in my experience for his instruction, warm-hearted faith, and deep pastoral care for his beloved congregation.

I next attended an IFCA independent fundamental bible church during my university years. There I experienced wonderfully strong preaching by a hard-headed, warm-hearted converted Jew to Christianity in South Africa. And having ministered in Johannesburg came to America to preach. Here were warm, close days of Christian unity in bond and witness which fought against the liberalism of its day and yearned with the passion of Christ to be wholly worthy of their Savior God.

Having left university after three years of heavy mathematics and science I transferred to a (GARB-based) Baptist College, and later its Seminary to graduate with an Masters of Divinity (M.Div). I took a major in psychology (35 cr hrs?) and a strong minor in Bible (30 cr hrs?) to finish out my undergraduate study. During this time I had rejoined my home church and participated in many ministries from its fellowship. Mostly visitation, evangelism, and cold calling but also worship ministries, choir, and musical productions as well.

At marriage my wife and I could count five ministries we either conducted or participated in from children's ministries to high school to adult ministries of various kinds. I stayed with choir because of the excellent music director and we eventually left when several of the under-pastors refused further ministries without going through their year(s)-long indoctrination course. Here we left the church and moved to my wife's church, a former Reformed Church (RCA) turned Inter-denominational with stupendous oratory preaching in the fashion of Billy Sunday of old.

We had been married five years by then and when leaving my home church of many, many years to go to my wife's fellowship I found myself immersed within my first conservative evangelical church  experience. In those days I had considered its ways and beliefs as liberal compared to my stricter background. But it was its atmosphere of healthy embrace to me and my wife which endeared us. By then I had craved an atmosphere free of judgmentalism of everyone and everything and yearned to minister in a more formal way. This I found in leading yet another set of youth ministries, this time in the college, career, and later, older singles level. It also included adult congregation assimilation ministries, worship ministries for a time, deaconing and other responsibilities. I even had several years of hosting a church-wide Christmas Eve Service through our college ministries and went so far as holding another church-wide Sedar Observation one Easter. The fellowship also saw my completion of seminary and two years later the birth of our first miracle child of two.

Twenty years of volunteer ministry came-and-went and through those formative years under a new pastor who had left the political conservative right movement to simply preach Jesus without any partisan portrayals. By then our church had successfully replanted several small area fellowships and began another one on the far side of town. After a month of operation we joined it by the pastor's urging to his congregation. Within two or three months of commencement the new church had far outstripped its facilities, its need for any fiscal help by our former church, and became the fastest growing church in America for a time. There we learned for the first time what Emergent Christianity meant (later to be known generally as Progressive Christianity). It sought Jesus with a passion to the exclusion and refusal of conservative evangelical doctrine which held it back by its rules and exclusions. Which  also got our new fellowship into trouble with area evangelical churches around it and nationwide. Still my wife and I stayed through the ups and downs and after twenty years of listening and wrestling with post-evangelical emergent approach and doctrine our children had grown up, had been out of the home for ten years, and my wife wanted to move to another part of town. It was time to begin anew. We had reached and gone beyond middle age. The years of youth were now past.

Currently, we fellowship with several area evangelical assemblies each dealing with the after effects of Trumpian Christianity gone terribly wrong. The evangelicalism I once knew has now died in its own cesspools of exclusion and self-indictments and like many other wrecked faiths have left many Christians homeless and disillusioned about what to do. Whether to double down or move on? Having sensed this spiritual degradation some years earlier I had begun re-examining my own church and bible training backgrounds. It also meant that for awhile I would enter into a very dark time of wilderness sojourney. During that time of darkness my church doctrine would switch from its failed Cal-minian roots back to its original Arminian roots which I knew nothing of, but in later years of study would come to embrace having seen the end of Calvinism into its degenerate forms of neo-Calvinism.

And so this I have done. Through its course it would expand towards Open and Relational Theology as Arminianism's natural contemporary predecessor. To this direction I have been adding Process Theology as the greater, more expansive Christian route to follow in these days of church cynicism and degradation of its faith. For the novice, what some call Progressive Christianity (birthed from its own roots of Emergent Christianity) is an expanded form of post-evangelicalism in its healthier forms of faith and worship. Now Process Theology may have its roots in Emergent and Progressive Christianity as a post-evangelical movement but is more formally defined as coming from the end-of-life work of Alfred North Whitehead having retired from mathematics and burdened to write down what he called a Philosophy of Organism. This later has become known as Process Philosophy. The Theology part of it comes from Whitehead's own Christian faith. So at once Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism is both philosophical and theological. This would not be dissimilar to what John Calvin did when writing his Institutes nor what Jakob Arminius' students did with Jakob's teachings on theology. In history, such literate visionaries look into the future to envisage what they believe will bring aide and comfort to the masses. So too Thomas Paine, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Marx and Engels, and on and on. All well intentioned until it isn't anymore.

Per its roots, Calvinism is a faith which cites Scripture upholding to a perfect, high holy God whose rules over creation and all those who are worthy, or not worthy, of His love, and therefore must be condemned under His wrath to death and damnation. However, Messiah Christ is the One who comes to save mankind to prevent this tragedy from happening. That, in a nutshell is Calvinism and Evangelicalism wrapped up into one. In contrast, Process Theology returns to God's love as the center for all things, and the Christ of the Cross, as I had once learned through my earlier worship and study experiences. It is also this latter direction I wish to pursue by throwing out all the old rules I had learned under profane Calvinism by either modifying them or starting over all together. Hence, the past ten years have been an intense period of deconstructing and reconstructing my faith newly rebuilt upon the epistemic faith foundations of Christian uncertainty and doubt (but not fear!). I have found it extremely healthy for my spiritual walk with God granting days of wonderment and amazement how deep and wide the love of God is everywhere about us. It flows like a massive river we don't even realize is there!

Below is a condensed summary of several important creeds and confessions of Calvinism's Protestant roots beginning back in the 1500s and how it was responded to by then converting Catholic assemblies during the next 100 years through the 1600s. From its birth, Calvinism has been deeply directional for many denominational forms of Protestantism as faith assemblies were leaving behind the Catholic Church with its scholastic teachings. It is also where many evangelical churches have centered their faith today within the maze of secular Christian ideology and practice. For a fuller history of the Protestant church read Latourette's books to help explain and provide insight. I might also suggest for those Catholic readers here that Thomism and Franscican orders seem relevant for today. For myself, anything that Pope Francis says and does is highly helpful and relevant (mostly, but not always aka the church's position of LGBTQ lately). I also would remind everyone that Process Theology, or Process Christianity, is very fluid and easy to adapt into any Christian faith or sect. You will also find many of its elements in world religions which may also then be instructive to the Islamic and Buddhist faiths to mention a few.

R.E. Slater
April 20, 2021