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

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Short Takes - Process Christianity, Pandemic Brokenness, & Church Repair





INSPIRING! Lionel Richie + Idol Finalists
“One World” Finale Performance! - American Idol 2021




Can Process Christianity Become?
by R.E. Slater

I foresee the next area of Christian expansion through the eyes of a Process Christianity. A Christianity which absorbs all the best from Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed theology then adds to the mixer all the better aspects of Wesleyan Arminianism emphasizing God's love and indeterminate freewill as opposed to Calvinist doctrines emphasizing divine transcendent apartness and determinism.

Next, take away the church's philosophical preferences to interpret the bible in Greek Hellenistic and Western thought in contemporary life by replacing it with Alfred North Whitehead's Process Philosophy with its subsequent corollary, Process Theology.

That is, (i) as to context, the former is quite applicable. (ii) But as for contemporary interpretation, those older forms no longer hold up. They need to be brought forward. Process Christianity is just such the vehicle to do this.

It embraces a here-and-now God who loves all without racism or discrimination. Without religious rules and laws (ahem, Legalism, Asceticism, Stoicism, Gluttony, Adverice, Lust, Pride, Greed,etc). And without the worse parts of Christian traditionalism which too easily divides the religious from the secular not realising there is no such thing before God. All is secular as much as all is spiritual.

Now I'm not sure if I have ever read of such a label but have determined that Christianity is due for an upgrade. Process Christianity cannot be found Wikipedia. But Progressive Christianity can be. That is, Process Christianity has all the earmarks of Progressive Christianity in its social aspects of social justice, equitable equality, and refusal of all elements of neoliberal capitalism (which is how much of America runs these days).

Which means that we may proceed as a Christian fellowship towards biblically-based doctrines of post-capitalism more focused on the equitable sharing of goods to all people. Accessible justice and unheld for all. A mindset of generosity. Of human solidarity with each other in local community. And, the derivative effort of community to restore the earth around the centralising ideas found in (cosmo)ecological societies (sic, civilization).

Said differently, Process Christianity is similar to Progressive Christianity in its social aspects but that its underpinnings (or foundations) can be found in aspects of Wesleyan Arminianism and especially as it relates to Whiteheadian Process Philosophy and Theology.

What this means then is that rather than reading the bible literally we might learn to read it with Process Christian mindsets and progressively in terms of society justice and equality.

To accomplish such a thing we'll need individuals well versed in Whiteheadian Process Philosophy and Theology to step up and rewrite past Christian doctrine into contemporary terms of process doctrines, a process Jesus, process-based teleology (eschatology), and so on.

Here, at Relevancy22, I've attempted such a thing over the last several years. You'll also find a large effort given the idea of Process Christianity in the Open and Relational Theology spaces of Christianity (e.g. Thomas Oord, Tripp Fuller, Homebrewed Christianity, The Open & Relational Center for Christianity, and many, many other authors, teachers, writers, etc). They can do this because the subject of open and relational theology is deeply embedded in Process Thought.

And so, its time to re-orient Christianity away from it's Christian secular structures and foundations towards a greater all-encompassing act of Process-everything. Process is part of the world's evolution. The Earth's very own internal and external structures. And within society itself.

Process flow, rhythm and re-balance is simply everywhere. But no one has thought to look for it in their lives, the organic and inorganic lives of the processes around them, nor in the bible. I once read somewhere (whether true or not I cannot remember) that people would look up into the sky and see whitish colors, but not the color blue. But when they learned to look for the color then they began to see all its nuances, hues, and differences.

Similarly with God's Word. Let's look for a God of process, flow, and rhythm. A God who is, and is becoming, even as His Word and Creation is, and is becoming. When you look for it, you'll find it everywhere. Inhabiting all the spaces we live in now as then in ancient times.

Blessings,

R.E. Slater
May 23, 2021
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http://www.cmalliance.org/


Can There Be Christian Spaces for Healing?
by R.E. Slater

I came across David Fitch's prescient comment this weekend. He works at the Christian ministry organization, Missio Alliance, and I believe is a professor at Chicago's Northern Seminary with my past classmate Scot McKnight.
David's observation speaks succinctly to our past and present period of enduring the global SARS-CoV-2 (Covid19=2019) viral pandemic (Feb 2020 to present). 
More importantly, for a church year dedicated to the need to grieve over our many losses, to seek a kind of healing and restoration to be able to move on, and to find the earthly joys in societal community again.
I would recommend David's insightful list as a good place for Churches to dedicate a whole year of community recovery around; to pray through; and implement within their fellowships.
See what you think... And please, leave a comment or two on any similarly helpful programs you have found along these same ideas and practices. Thanks!

Blessings,

R.E. Slater
May 23, 2021
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The Top 5 Issues for Church Leaders
Coming Out of COVID

by David Fitch

1
People’s broken relationships revealed by the isolation of COVID...

NEEDED: Spaces for relational connection.

2
People deconstructing their faith after the props to their faith were taken away by COVID...

NEEDED: Spaces for personal and social deconstruction.

3
People’s anger and rage at various coercions/abuses in their lives, including racism, sexual abuse, misogyny... all of which were intensified in COVID...

NEEDED: Spaces for lament and the unwinding from the antagonisms endured.

4
People’s fatigue from the constant drudgery of moving through the blunt challenges of COVID...

NEEDED: Spaces for celebrating God’s sustaining power and hope for a future.

5
People’s grief over losses of friends, family, and economic security...

NEEDED: Spaces for grieving and comfort.

Rarely has there been a time in our history when we needed the social spaces around tables where Christians can tend to one another in the Holy Spirit in all these ways.

Thoughts??

David Fitch
May 23, 2021

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 Amazon Link


Bullies and Saints
Thoughts by R.E. Slater

John Dixon was our church's guest speaker this week and last. His newest book tells of Christian traitors to Jesus and bullies to their churches and public communities.

Now knowing John, and having heard him speak over the years, I can say he will be a lot kinder in his book than I will be in my comments over these next several proceeding paragraphs below. But after witnessing the suffering of so many innocents at the hands of the wayward evangelical church and its harming political policies over recent years it's time to speak out once again....

America's nativist Christians and dominionist churches have given witness to their anti-Semitism and cold-hearted feelings to suffering Muslims across Palestinian, Syria, Lebanon*, and Jordan. To their racist attitudes towards Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Blacks, and the impoverished.

Christian nationalism is an ugly expression by the church forcing its ungodly teachings upon a struggling democratic society. Not unlike past eras of poorly lived Christian beliefs holding to an austere, forbidding God full of religious rules and beliefs, guilt and unhappiness. Denying a God of human dwelling for a Greek God transcendently far above our suffering world untouched by our feelings. Denying a God of biblical forgiveness and mercy for a God condemning all to hell. Such miserable Christian beliefs have over-centered themselves on a God of wrath and judgment. This is the kind of God the world can well do without.

But thank God for the church's saints who have stayed strong during this period of Trumpian Christian insanity. Who have preached God's Word with unerring conviction. Who have not been confused by nationalistic or supremacist politics by Q'anon conspiracy politicians. Who have ably discerned the Word of God and preached of God;s atoning redemption through Jesus' love and forgiveness.

These modern-day New Testament prophets and preachers are God's blessings to unloving, secular Christians and their insupportable, ungodly Christian doctrines. These saints are the beacons of light and truth to a lost world. They stand up to the religious bullies. They dissent and resist the lies of the Jesus traitors in the flocks of God's people. And they speak life in Jesus, God's Redeemer for mankind, rather than the death and evil that comes from the mouths of the unrighteous. Praise God for his gate-keepers!

May God bless each and everyone to wear his full armor in Christ Jesus our Lord!

R.E. Slater
May 23, 2021

*My good friend, and university dorm neighbor, was Lebanese. A lovely man and aspiring humanitarian. He was related to his first cousin, a famous American singer, and was the first generation of his side of the family to America. This also would account for his high interest in music and quality stereo equipment :)


Book Description

Is religion a pernicious force in the world? Does it poison everything? Would we be better off without religion in general and Christianity in particular? Many skeptics certainly think so.

John Dickson has spent much of the last ten years reflecting on these difficult questions and on why so many doubters see Christianity as a major cause of harm not blessing. The skeptics, he concludes, are right: even a cursory look at the history of Christians reveals dark things therein--violence, bigotry, genocide, war, inquisition, oppression, imperialism, racism, corruption, greed, power, abuse. For centuries and even today, Christians have been among the worst bullies you could ever imagine.

But these skeptics are only partly right: this is not what Christianity was meant to be. When Christians do evil they are out of tune with the teachings of their Lord. Jesus gave the world a beautiful melody--of love, grace, charity, humility, non-violence, equality, human dignity--to which, tragically, his followers have more often than not been tone-deaf. Denying the evils of church history does not do. John Dickson gives an honest account of the mixed history of Christianity, the evil and the good. He concedes the Christians' complicity for centuries of bullying but also shows the myriad ways the beautiful melody of Christ has enriched our world and the lives of countless individuals. This book asks contemporary skeptics of religion to listen again to the melody of Jesus, despite the discord produced by too many Christians through history and today. It also leads contemporary believers into sober reflection on and repentance for their own participation in the tragic inconsistencies of Christendom and seeks to inspire them to live in tune with Christ.

About the Author

John Dickson (PhD, Macquarie University) is an author, speaker, historian, and media presenter. John is author of more than 20 books, two of which became television documentaries. He also cohosted the documentary For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than you Ever Imagined. John teaches a course on the historical Jesus at the University of Sydney, Australia, and researches the origins of Christianity in the Roman empire. He is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Sydney, a Visiting Academic in the Faculty of Classics at Oxford University (2016–2021), and Distinguished Fellow in Public Christianity at Ridley College Melbourne. John presents Australia’s no.1 religion podcast, Undeceptions, exploring aspects of life, faith, history, culture, or ethics that are either much misunderstood or mostly forgotten.


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Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:10-20 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

Ephesians 6:14 - Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Ephesians 6:15 - And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:16 - Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Ephesians 6:17 - And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

1 Thessalonians 5:8 - But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 3:15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
Matthew 7:15 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 10:16 - Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Acts 20:29 - For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Philippians 3:2 - Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
James 2:14 - What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Ezekiel 22:27 - Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.


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Let us leave on a more pleasant note...