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

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

Thursday, January 13, 2022

My Observations from 2021


2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

As a Christian who wishes to lead out with the Love of God I feel quite passionate about those condemn and judge. How is my response loving when I speak resistance to falsehoods and verbal retorts to those who persist in their folly leading others to do the same?? I don't know. Ask the prophets of the bible torn with similar emotions. Or Jesus, who didn't hold back his exchanges with religionists as they spoke lies and blasphemies in the name of God. My emotions come from a deep place and yet, I don't feel they express enough the feelings of the oppressed, unwanted, and unseen. In my small attempt I pray for unity between all Jesus followers and for humanity in general... especially for those suffering inhumane conditions both here in America and around the world. Below are several observations I had made during 2021. They are in no particular order.

R.E. Slater
January 13, 2022

Trump attacks "Black Lives Matter" Protestors with tear gas, rubber bullets, and
privatized squadrons of his own quasi-military command.

JUNE 2021

To the charade our former president performed a year ago may I say, "We hold up Jesus, not a book. Into a religious book we might write any story we want; but in Jesus, the story we write must be one of love. This is the action and spirit we hold up which banner welcomes! all. Even as the church sign said contrary to Trumpland's white nationalism of unwelcome, and deep unwillingness, to engage in embracing our brothers and sisters of any color, faith, gender, or sex. Here, on display for the world to see, is a White Gospel held up ironically in front of a social justice wielding church. The Christian White Gospel is not the gospel of the Bible which declares to love one another. To these false White leaders of the Christian church we reject their teachings, their desecrating lies, and their false leadership. They are of the devil and not of God - for ye will know God's disciples by God's love. - res

JUNE 2021

Here is the profane desecration of the Word of God by the leader of Free Democracy held on the steps of a social justice preaching church which actively practices, ministers, and seeks out the underfed, homeless, besotted, and addicted men and women around the District of Columbia area. Ironically, behind the self-righteous and proud President stands a sign saying, "All are welcomed." Clearly the optics do not measure up to the "White" House's active apartheid policies against people of color. If it was, the President would've bent down on one knee seeking repentance in confessional prayer for the loss of black lives under police arrests; and with him, his follows who gathered a summer ago to pray for the nation. But like the White church's blasphemy, so too has Donald Trump followed in his own way by holding up a bible testifying to the God of love who is unknown, unread, and unpracticed by politicians and their religious voters. Each claiming Christ as the center of their lives when in words and deeds there is no such truth found in these deceivers to the faith of Jesus. - res


Trump inciting Neo-Nationalists to attack the United States Capital (1.6.2021)





DECEMBER 2021

To the Christian anti-woke crowd, we have discussed social justice, ecological justice, Black Lives Matter, Gay and Womanist theology over the years. And yes, all through the lenses of God's love - not through God's condemnation and judgment - which false doctrine subsequently conflates a fictitious, idolatrous god with the real YHWH-God found in Jesus. If, as a Christian, you're for secular-religious and political division, then continue down the road of destruction with the Christian neo-fascist crowd who are speaking a false gospel of Christ. If, however, like many penitent Christians, you're beginning to see the bible in a whole new light through the eyes of a loving God, rather than a profane God, then welcome. We believe the church and its people are here to heal, minister, bear burdens, restore, renew, and redeem in everyway possible. Any other gospel of self-righteous condemnation is welcomed to take a hike. That kind of bible is as unwanted as is the type of heathen God it shouts from the rooftops to legalist ears. - res





DECEMBER 2021

The Spirit does overwhelm my soul and trouble me at all times and in all seasons. To his voice my heart cannot be silent. It is restless in words and discovery, and must speak into all evil occasions and events so strong are God's words upon my breast, in my ears, and within my soul. God's jagged voice cannot be silent. He demands all Christian faithful, all Patriots of democracy, to resist perilous church doctrines and white supremacists and nationalistic policies dooming the Christian faith to anarchy - and with it, America too. So I write, and speak, and cannot stop God's voice urging peace and love, unity and stout resistance to all forms of false conservative gospels. Gospels which are unloving, espousing unpatriotic fascism , and seeking to tear down society in its attacks against America's expanding democratic union to all, by all, and for all peoples who live herein. - res



Trump Neo-Nationalists attacking the United States Capital (1.6.2021)

DECEMBER 2021

I have been driving around this morning running errands while listening to  what is advertised as "Christian" radio.... From listening to the Gospel airwaves I've discovered we are living in the End Times. Which means to many White Christians that we wait around for Jesus to come and do nothing in the meantime for the refugee, the immigrant, the Black man or woman and their families, the inner cities, the blown up schools and families in our districts, or the ecological pollution all about us.

It is believed by the White church that God is judging us once again (for the millionth time). This time by giving us bad democratic leadership (aka President Biden), a deadly global pandemic, and related climate disasters. Who believe the Covid vaccines are killing people and that no one is being honest about these deaths. And that Donald Trump is our only true political Savior who only wants what's best for America (especially for those of us who are true Patriots).

As I drove and turned through the Christian channels these topics were repeated by multiple news sources. By Christian media counselors sympathizing with callers. By energetic preachers telling me what the bible was saying as they read it's words magically and mystically without thot for science, historical literature, or its socio-cultural context. What these sincere preachers thundered across the airwaves was gospel - and we are ungodly fools for disagreeing or saying otherwise to them.

Since this morning's experience I've concluded the earth is flat, the moon landing was a Hollywood stunt, my church is nuts, all people are mad, and the Creator/Redeemer God whom Christians worship is as mad as they are.

However, what I do know is this:
  • God is love.
  • God does not judge or punish us but would help us make loving choices at all times in our lives.
  • That our sin judges us as we reap what we sow.
  • That the eschaton of God's redemption is always actively happening despite the horrible natural phenomena we live through, experience, or think marks some kind of eschatological ending to Earth.
  • That God gave nature its own freewill as He did us, though the church seems always to lean towards some form of religious meme of scapegoating, blaming, and interpretive dogmatic dominionism.
  • That God is not only holy and perfect but also LOVING in all His ways despite what his nutso children preach about Him from their dogmatic pulpits full of blinders.
  • And at the last, "Christian" radio is no better than Fox News and other gaslighting social medias and propagandists.
- res


Trump Neo-Nationalists attacking the United States Capital (1.6.2021)

DECEMBER 2021

For very few of my readers what I will say he will be profound. For many, many others, it will be deemed gibberish, ungodly, unbiblical, liberal, or of the devil. But what is not realized is how our worlds are continually deconstructing and trying to glom things together to help us make sense of our internal fractures.

I love the idea of skepticism, especially in the religious sense. Pete Rollins calls it a "religious or Christian atheism" willfully committed into our internalized faith-beliefs which might help religionists, or Christians, make sense of their professed charters of faith when neither the temple or church can anymore.

If we haven't allowed ourselves to question who we are, and what is motivating us towards a structuralized form of faith, we will not be able to survive the many destructions which arise testing, or breaking, our faith allegiance. If allowed arightly, these life events will helpfully expand our definition of God and our faith.

Breakage is a good thing when it comes, however deeply painful and unwanted, such events may be. Personal loss is hell many times over - we ache for those who have great unwanted loss in their lives.

And the spiritual loss of faith is a deep, deep darkness. For myself, and many others who have survived these times, we may term these personal epochs as "the death of God" unwanted, barren in all its ways, and truly lost to all plans or purposes.

Our personal faith will always be tested and even, perhaps, suffer a heart-numbing death. One which will need healing and recomposition back to a rightful, truly death-defying reimaging of our lives and faith. A healing which might propel us forward physically or spiritually towards healthier, uplifting ways of living with the burdens suffered. The other choice is spiritual death. Death of soul, of spirit, of a world of relationships waiting to be encountered.

For some, this is how Christ comes to reimage us through his atoning work from death unto life. That in loss to our former faith, circumstances, or loving relationships, we might be revitalized in our losses and personal spirit-annihilation to then rise from the grave of pain and suffering to find God's love and beauty beyond the religious ascriptions of man.

Ruptured faiths are times of deep re-birth. Ruptures will never end in this life, but some are much greater than others. We are tested again-and-again to respond to dying-to-self-to-lean-into Christ's newness of life.

This is what is meant in the existentialized view of a "Christianized experience of atheism, or loss of faith." But its post-structural resurrection back into the inured world can be one of sublimely divine experience. Its an awakening, or Spirit-enlightenment, which can only be experienced.

In Christian lingo its a renewal or rebirth. But whatever, or however it is, it disturbs, is restless, and seeks to live without the plasticity of artificial forms and functions.

- res

Trump Neo-Nationalists attacking the United States Capital (1.6.2021)

DECEMBER 2021

Let me pose the question again as I had months and months earlier... "If Roe is struck down then who will care for all the unwanted orphans?" Our agencies cannot keep up with abandoned children so I would expect hardship to be experienced by the boys and girls who are given a chance at life but left parentless and institutionalized through their childhood and teen years.

Paraguay's policies show this as a real event which America will too very quickly if, and when, Roe is overturned. Wouldn't it be a shame to be spared life as a possible aborted baby to only then live in the inhumane conditions as an unwanted orphan destined to live in toxic foster homes, institutions, or churches? To win one war is to neglect the war next to come. The church can do better. Let's plan for the loving care not only of non-aborted babies, but of all unwanted children being raised in soul-killing locales of neglect and hate. - res

DECEMBER 2021

Addendum: Then there are groups like World Vision and Compassion International which never seem to run out of orphan cards. I suspect, with Roe's dismissal, Pro-Lifer groups will simply walk away from their subsequent responsibilities to care for the unaborted, having ironically, never enacted their pro-lifer policies except at the ballot box - even as neglected children "blow up" on their watch across rural and urban areas. (In our West Michigan area alone there are approximately 7500 children between ages 7-21 wandering fields, village townships, and city streets. An are ripe with hundreds of bible-preaching bible churches. I find this amazing and quite sad.)

Let us not forget the imprisoned Blacks forgotten behind prison bars. Or the elderly who receive very little, if any, human care unless they have money to pay for it. Or regional wars across the globe waging war, wanting more guns, and fostering hate. Or the impoverished families who stay invisible to the pro-rights group. Yes, their names will be invisible in every sense of the word - even should Roe be overturned.

Pro-lifers do not see the "living" only their own self-interested vestments. The plight of children and families of foreign refugees, civil war victims, and mass migrations of the destitute will continue o flow - but pro-lifers give their Christmas boxes to Samaritan's Purse at church, "call it a day," and go home.

If life is to be spared, then we are to begin planning now - how to help, house, care and nurture all the little ones saved to life. NOT by passing them on to cold institutions or unsafe churches and families. As example, we do not need to look any farther than the Christian organization, EXODUS, which was a huge 30-year fail for all involved.

Let's not replicate this again with helpless children. Should Roe be overturned may the church with the government figure out how to save these children into loving homes and environments. Peace. - res


Trump Neo-Nationalists attacking the United States Capital (1.6.2021)





SEPTEMBER 2021

I'm glad to say that many on this list I know, or know well, at the ORT Center. Kudos to all the new student entering this coming year. And yes, open and relational PROCESS theology is the way to go for all ex-evangelicals seeking to honor Jesus and reaffirm God's love for humanity through and through and through both in this life and the next processual life to come.

It is far more thoroughly godly to say God is love than to say God loves only some whom God choses. God loves all - and in God's atonement all are offered salvation by whatever means the Spirit is able to reawaken the proffered soul.

For those who don't spiritually awaken, for reasons of a stubborn or willingly blinded free will, God is there throughout that individual's life and death. I think of many Christians acting out their faith with no real Jesus-faith present in their lives. Conscripted faith is not relational faith. Working and fellowshipping in the church does not mean walking in the Spirit. Too many times we see religious people with no sense of love or caretake of others being rule-bound or dogmatic. The Pharisees were Jesus' classic protagonists.

For myself, I reject both Christian Universalism and the Christian hell. This latter is the conjecture of the human mind sealed by the mythos of the Greek underworld then later underscored in the medieval writings of Dante within the early (Catholic) church.

I follow the belief that one's faith must walk if it is to talk. As such, we are to take responsibility for earth-and-humanity caretake. By providing wellbeing to all. And must be accountable for community and people if Christ-filled redemption is to mean anything at all.

As corollary, we cannot do nothing while sitting around yapping "Jesus is Coming" while waiting for death to take us, or the Lord to return. Jesus was God's return to earth. In the meantime we are to heal, bind up the wounds of the suffering, give cups of cold water to those without, minister to the one laying by the roadside, show mercy and grace. We have the oil of salvation in our lamps. Now go out and use it!

Another thought. I follow free agency all the way up - or all the way down - via processual life (the former idea of heaven) or processual death (the former idea of annihilation, but not hell). By some means, our futures are immortalized through either participation with God, or not... by building salvific processual processes in this life and the next. Always with God and never alone.

One last thought. The triunity (or trinity) of God is a teaming endeavor to which the Trinunity's fourth apex is that of creation. An significant apex added to God's fellowship circle of interiors. It is the very organic cosmos of creation itself.  Thus making the Trinity a divine Rhombus (for those geometrists in our group). Whatever becomes... begins now... through us.... If all fails, God will still overcome in His divine partnership with the elements of creation which He first began with. God wishes to use all creation. This includes humanity... and especially His life-bestowing Remnant of Jesus disciples. Redemptive life becomes through the life-giving Spirit who works together with creation to determine - er, ENACT -  not by divine fiat, but by divine love, the salvation of all.

- res


Neo-Nationalists listening to Trump's rant before attacking the United States Capital (1.6.2021)

Commentary by VS
DECEMBER 2021


Religious fundamentalism is never satisfied. Your fundamentalism must look like *my* fundamentalism, which is the true, unadulterated, historic, “biblical” faith. While eating with some Reformed, Bible church-type "friends" at Wheaton College, they discovered I was (at the time) Pentecostal. One said, "You may leave the table." I was too "liberal" for them, despite my own, hyper-conservative beliefs. My family got rid of our television, didn't go to dances or movies, and didn't use playing cards (gambling adjacent, I guess). But we weren't spiritual enough for these Defenders of the Faith. They *really* believed the Bible. Some in their camp were offended when Elisabeth Eliot, a woman, was allowed to speak in chapel. (One told me he wasn't sure Black people weren't better off as slaves; his dad wrapped his luggage in duct tape when he flew.)

Around 2003, conservatives began breaking from the Episcopal Church, finding more conservative bishops in Africa to affiliate with. One local priest leading such an effort—I believe he literally led a procession of the “faithful” out of the church and down the road—got more than he bargained for when his newly chosen African bishop informed him that he wasn’t qualified for priesthood himself because he’d been divorced. (There was a dispute in my church growing up as to whether my uncle could serve as Sunday School superintendent because he'd been divorced years ago. As one board member expressed it before catching himself, “If we were to allow undesirables ….”) These breakaway efforts led to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (“confessing” as in the “true” church, like the heroic German Christians who opposed the Nazis) and Anglican Church in North America. (ACNA's name is a bit confusing; for clarification, they're not part of the Anglican Communion but more like a "Roman Catholic Church of N America" that isn't in fellowship with Rome.)

This fundamentalist way of thinking is why there are thousands of Christian denominations/sects, formed over disagreements on nearly every issue of doctrine and practice imaginable, each insisting the Bible is clear and that *they’re* the ones practicing “biblical” Christianity, unlike the folks in the church across the street.


Trump Neo-Nationalists attacking the United States Capital (1.6.2021)


Open and Relational Theologies - More Resources for the ORT Christian and Non-Christian




We live in an open and relational creation. All are invited in regardless of faith or non-faith. Though developed for the Christian faith Relevancy22 is not here to proselytize but to expand the commonalities between the  Christian and the World of God. An open, relational creation and future is one such commonality. All is possibility and all is relational. This isn't a Christian philosophy but a process-based philosophy as developed by Alfred North Whitehead in the early 1900s. Like Einstein's insights, theology, like science, is rapidly expanding these former thinker's ideas into all areas of study and observance. Aptly, process thought is a way to describe the world in its societies, geographies, times and locations. Insomuch as God is an open and relational Being so too is God's creation. How man has responded to these qualities has been reflected over the eons in a multitude of ways: from  beliefs and religions, to community, to academic application. An Open and Relational way of being and thinking is not a Christian thing, but a creational / world thing. Welcome to all who would explore this world of being-ness which is becoming". - R.E. Slater


Open and Relational Theologies

This group fosters discussion of a wide variety of theological issues relevant to those who in some way embrace open and relational theology. Such theology includes ways of thinking found in traditions such as Process, Openness, Feminist, Evangelical, Postmodern, Liberation, Womanist, Wesleyan, Continentalist, Analytic, Existential, and Narrative theologies.





Our main body of posts should be neat things we have discovered in the Bible, not theological debates.





Open Theism affirms that: 1) God and creatures enjoy mutually-influencing relations 2) the future is partly open / God does not fully settle it 3) love is uniquely exemplified by God and is the human ethical imperative





Process & Faith is a multi-faith network for relational spirituality and the common good. Process Philosophy and Theology offer a comprehensive vision of the world and better hopes for the world, inviting a sense of wonder and a recognition of the sacred, based on the interconnectedness, intrinsic value, and beauty present in all living things.





This group was originally started as a weekly skype/video discussion of Tom Oord's book The Uncontrolling Love of God. It has evolved into an ongoing discussion around the uncontrolling love concepts. We welcome all people to join the conversation. It would be helpful for all participants to have read The Uncontrolling Love of God. Besides that, we ask that conversation be charitable yet engaging.





This discussion group explores cruciform theology. At the fore is the idea Jesus reveals the nature and character of God, one of self sacrificial love and of power shown in weakness on the cross. Difficult issues like violence in the Old Testament and why there is evil in the world bring open and relational theologies into the conversation.





This group explores what it means to believe God doesn't cause or allow evil but works with us and others to heal. Members assume no one has all the answers, but we can find insights when sharing our stories and working toward wholeness. Much of the discussion arises from ideas in the book God Can't, written by Thomas Jay Oord.



Bibliographies

John Sanders - Open Theism

This bibliography is arranged in five categories: (1) multi-views works, (2) works supporting open theism, (3) works engaging open theism, (4) works against open theism, and (5) doctoral dissertations and masters theses engaging open theism. Updated November 2018



Center for Process Studies Library

The Center for Process Studies library is the world’s largest collection of writings in process-relational thought–consists of more than 2,400 books, 750 dissertations, and 12,000 articles.



Whitehead Research Library

The Whitehead Research Library provides open access to archival material related to the philosophy and life of Alfred North Whitehead. It includes electronic versions of student lecture notes, letters, and photographs.

Browse Library >>


Podcasts


Videos & Online Courses


Process and Faith Lectionaries


Web Essays & Sites

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