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, August 20, 2021

With Malice Towards None... A World in Search of Peace





An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
- Mahatma Ghandi


One doesn't have to operate with great malice to do great harm.
The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.

- Charles M. Blow, journalist


Twenty years of American foreign policy incompetence has led to an expected ending of disaster in Afghanistan which only U.S. State officials and the military chose not to see in their contingency planning, all the while the American public and a world of outsiders saw all too clearly. America should never have been on foreign soil, and in leaving, left only more death and suffering as violent ideologies took over as living legacies to America's unwanted presence. As a "Christian" nation we are takers, not builders. Our mirror is pitiful and must be broken in order to see again. May we finally learn the ways of peace and love, the ways of grace and forgiveness, towards a world as hardened as we are towards the other.

R.E. Slater
August 20, 2021










Addendum

Yesterday and the day before yesterday I participated in a forum speaking out against White Christian Nationalism having sensed little difference between it and Islamic Jihadism. Both speak death. Both force upon people unwanted laws and restrictions. Both take away personal freedoms and rights (which I find ironic with the anti-vax crowd and facts deniers). Both harm the other, belittle the other, despise the other, and do not see the other. And both speak a religion ugly and deadly to the soul.

I'll say again, the human heart is deeply corrupt. It speaks death before it speaks life. The God of all religions and nations says to us to learn to hold in our heart the attitude of "Malice Towards None." This is our task as humans struggling to become fully human as God intended (or as our spirit-souls long for deep within our minds and bodies, hearts and spirits). We share together a deep, deep  sense of existential struggle of contrition before others, repentance from evil, humility and respect towards all.

We feel it deeply in our bones the necessity to learn to speak peace, goodwill, honor, and love to one another. This the truest core of the Christian faith. Not its legalism, perversions, and enforced religious structures. When Christians speak war, vengeance and harm we do not speak the life-giving word(s) of God. Just our own selfish, prideful, words. Words which make us blind, deaf, and dumb to one another. Those we no longer can see, hear, or speak to....

Mahatma Ghandi once said, "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind." Let us then cast off the weight of hatred and malice towards one another and make this next millennium of human civilization about peace and goodwill. Let all nations learn the language of love by beating their metaphorical "swords into ploughshares" by seeking faith and trust with one another. Honor and respect.
The ways of the world can be the ways of beauty and joy if we allow it to be - which is the essence of John Lennon's songs. Chose then this day a new God, a radical God, One who has invested Himself in a radically new religion reviving the souls of the other. And a new social politick which heals, makes beautiful all around it, and nurtures every human benumbed by sin and evil.

And finally, to move forward we must repent of our wicked ways, learn to forgive one another, be merciful to the ones we no longer see, and learn to reach out to the ones we have dismissed and despised.
Importantly, America's newest foreign policy and diplomacy must deploy a radically new motto: "To care for the other and this good earth." Let us learn then the language of grace and forgiveness as Jesus had taught us centuries ago. Which we have witnessed again-and-again in the lives of remarkable human beings filled with God's light and love given to us to guide us in renewing ways of caretake, wellbeing, and nurture for one another.

Peace,

R.E. Slater
August 20, 2021


John Lennon & Yoko Ono: WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)




HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER). 
(Ultimate Mix, 2020) John & Yoko Plastic Ono Band
+ Harlem Community Choir




John Lennon & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Mashup at MLK Day in Greenville, NC




Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech




Martin Luther King Jr. – Acceptance Speech

 https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/26142-martin-luther-king-jr-acceptance-speech-1964/

on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize
in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 1964



Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

Sooner or later all the people of the world will have
to discover a way to live together in peace …

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are travelling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights Bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a super highway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shall overcome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

Today I come to Oslo as a trustee, inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, for in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.

Every time I take a flight, I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible – the known pilots and the unknown ground crew.

So you honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor, once again, Chief Lutuli of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people, are still met with the most brutal expression of man’s inhumanity to man. You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who’s Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvellous age in which we live – men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization – because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake.

… peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners – all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty – and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.
---
*From Les Prix Nobel en 1964, Editor Göran Liljestrand, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1965. Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1964


* * * * * * * * * *


"An Indictment against American Foreign Policy"

"We came in as a wrecking ball
then realized others had come in before us
taking what they wanted
leaving their own death and destruction
as we would too."

- R.E. Slater
August 20, 2021







From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists
Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy

Illustrated, April 24, 2018
by Sarah B. Snyder (Author)

The 1960s marked a transformation of human rights activism in the United States. At a time of increased concern for the rights of their fellow citizens―civil and political rights, as well as the social and economic rights that Great Society programs sought to secure―many Americans saw inconsistencies between domestic and foreign policy and advocated for a new approach. The activism that arose from the upheavals of the 1960s fundamentally altered U.S. foreign policy―yet previous accounts have often overlooked its crucial role.
In From Selma to Moscow, Sarah B. Snyder traces the influence of human rights activists and advances a new interpretation of U.S. foreign policy in the “long 1960s.” She shows how transnational connections and social movements spurred American activism that achieved legislation that curbed military and economic assistance to repressive governments, created institutions to monitor human rights around the world, and enshrined human rights in U.S. foreign policy making for years to come. Snyder analyzes how Americans responded to repression in the Soviet Union, racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia, authoritarianism in South Korea, and coups in Greece and Chile. By highlighting the importance of nonstate and lower-level actors, Snyder shows how this activism established the networks and tactics critical to the institutionalization of human rights. A major work of international and transnational history, From Selma to Moscow reshapes our understanding of the role of human rights activism in transforming U.S. foreign policy in the 1960s and 1970s and highlights timely lessons for those seeking to promote a policy agenda resisted by the White House.

* * * * * * * * * *


PHOTOS OF THE TALIBAN IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN,
AND FLEEING AFGHANIS

Mid-August, 2021









The way of peace is hard
but its joys last forever.

- R.E. Slater
August 10, 2021


Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Romans 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

James 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Luke 1:79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Mark 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt looses its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

James 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.


Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819)


Pablo Picasso, Massacre in Korea (1951)


Banksy, The Flower Thrower (2003)


Jaune Smith, I See Red: Migration (1995)


Activists in Exile


Samuel Bak, Open Book