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

Monday, March 21, 2022

Andrew Davis - The Organic, Processual Development of Process Philosophy & Theology




The Organic, Processual Development
of Process Philosophy & Theology

Intro by R.E. Slater


People Can, and Do, Change

I come from a fundamental Baptist, and later, conservative evangelical Christianity. My training was at first dispensational through bible churches, and later, covenant Reformed theology from a Baptistic evangelical bible college and seminary (GARB, ABWE, et al). I carry an undergraduate major in Psychology with an extensive minor studies in biblically-informed inductive and systematic theology. In a previous state university which I attended through my junior year, I held substantial studies in applied mathematics, organic chemistry, classical physics, literature and humanities, ancient bible cultures, Attic Greek, and basic engineering courses. In another life I would've completed my mathematics studies and moved into the quantum physics realm which years later I have taught myself.

My working "career" existed for 30 years in the small business information services and consulting which included an additional 30/60 graduate hours completed on an MBA level at the Seidman School of Business. Too, my seminary studies carries with it a Masters of Divinity degree with a Pastoral minor (130? cr hrs). As a lay minister I taught, developed, and mentored high school, college and career, and single adult ministries, including worship ministries participation, small group development for adult ministries, and campus ministries. Also, I served as a deacon in a mega church, developed grassroots congregational ministries, and worked in evangelic street ministries of various kinds. All in all I served 34 years in Christian ministries and another 25 years in public school projects and committees; city and township boards and committees; ditto with the county and quasi-political regional ecological / environmental promotion and development with the public, area colleges, and corporations. I also served on a dozen+ environmental groups utilizing a Master Naturalist certification which I gained as part of a hands-on curricular program through Michigan State University's extension board.


amazon link

Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures
The "emerging church" movement is perhaps the most significant church trend of our day. The emerging church offers and encourages a new way of doing and being the church. While it largely resonates with an eighteen-to-thirty-four-year-old audience--the first fully postmodern generation--it is also gaining popularity with older Christians and encompasses a broad array of traditional and contemporary churches. Emerging Churches explores this movement and provides insight into its success.

Filled with the latest research and interesting, anecdotal testimonies from those on the cutting edge of ministry, this book provides pastors, church leaders, and interested readers with an insightful glimpse into the thriving churches of today--and tomorrow.

The Haves and the Have-Nots

Over the past several decades I had become aware of the lack of positive movement in the local church, and nationally, in its ability to reach out to the public in any meaningful way. My last church, Mars Hill under Rob Bell, became active in the emergent Christian movement as a way of introducing to an institutionalized Christian religion a personal and community-engaged form of spiritual formation and ministry. In essence, I found a church willing to engage the public on a societal level even as I was already practicing on a personal level. And like myself, it too had become weary of the church ostracizing people by critical societal judgments and church rules which demanded a form of Christian observance which leaned into the legalizing attitudes formed within church fellowship of the haves-and-have-nots. Exclusion was never Jesus' intention. In response, the Jewish leadership persecuted Jesus unto death and in like manner church leaders have been doing the same over the past two millennia of church ministry. With the emergent Christian movement of the 90s and 10s the Christian faith was to cease from these actions and reach out to the excluded, the unwanted, and the disenfrancised. And so it did, and when it did, the conservatism of evangelicalism doubled down on its own divide of what was "truth" and what was "love" as it decided those  "Christian" qualities to be.



Time to Re-form our Un-Reformational Attitudes

Recently, about ten years ago, and after a personally difficult and extensive period of deconstructing my own sincerely-held dogmatic beliefs and stricter forms of Christianity (which actually began back in my earlier college years, though I was at that time much less religiously in-formed), the Spirit of the Lord burdened me to take my retirement and write of a "New Christianity". One which held to its "biblical" roots by leaning into God's love, and by placing Jesus back into the center of faith worship, rather than centering my faith in the bible itself per se in what can only be described as "the worship of the bible over its Author" (sic, known as bibliolatry).

Whereas my former faith system was binding me away from the world and making it wholly improbably, impractical, if not  impossible, to teach Jesus within its limiting dogmatic systems I was an active member of; and though my fellowships believed themselves to be "progressively minded" in their own ways of faith construction and observance; yet they had intentionally constructed - and were living within - a very regressive form of religion made in the image of modern-day religious man. Thus and thus, my very long period of deconstruction, both informally through my lifetime, and later formally, during the early years of writing out my dilemma on this website of my own theological dissent to evangelicalism's form of the gospel. It was un-reforming in its faith's energies, uncritical of its dogmas, and had become too separate from the world by its moralising judgments and socio-political hypocrisies. It was finally time to speak up.

By being patient to the guidance of the Spirit, and patiently examining what my Emergent (and later, Progressive) Christian fellowships were saying (even as the very short lived Emergent Christianity of the 1990s came-and-went) I was able to see more clearly what needed removing and what needed greater emphasis in a Christianity become more religion than vibrant faith and spiritual encounter. Like my more well-known compatriots, Rachel Held Evans, Shane Claiborne, and Thomas Jay Oord, Richard Rohr, and even Stanley Hauerwas, my own faith journey was joining their faith journies during those early years of reconstruction by building upon what had been laid down by Jesus and moving it forward a bit at a time.

Are you dissatisfied with the church, unsure of how to think about the Holy Spirit's power in light of the evil in our world, or wishing that worship engaged your imagination? In "Pass the Peace: A New Paradigm for Christian Community," Dr. Chet B. Gean translates Christian theology into meaningful practice. Pastors and laypersons are encouraged to: Apply spiritual practices and disciplines. Define and work with parish dynamics. Harness the power of the Holy Spirit. Unmask evil in the world. Engage imagination in worship. Transform grace into service. Dr. Gean, denominational leader and church consultant, calls for a new paradigm of church leadership and community involvement. His message embraces the mystical energy of God, transcending religious institutions and flowing freely into the world that we are called to serve. His is a call to peace; to the mystery of inner healing; to wholeness; and to our God, who alone loves in a manner unique and perfectly suited to each one of us. Gean discloses his love, respect, and solicitude for the church in "Pass the Peace."

A New Christianity Needs A New Christian Foundation

What I wish to show here is a new kind of Christianity which is no longer based upon the older, out-of-date, Hellenized forms of Greek Western culture, but in essence, the retrieval and recapturing of the even older Hebraic cultures which leaned into the organic forms and movement of God's continuing actions in creation through eventful narratives and personal encounters as the God who is the Lover of our Souls.

Further, there has been a great amount of confusion within traditional church doctrine in its embrace of the Christian philosopher Kant and his Newtonian ideas of a creation working as a clock-like mechanism. Consequently, I have redirected some of my bible studies on this site to include the chaotic world of organically evolving creationism known as (quantum) evolution and (processual) societal development utilizing a Hebraically-minded, but newer, contemporay organic philosophy known as process philosophy before Roman and Greek thought had removed Hebraic thinking from the church in favor of Hellenism.

As such, neither Platonic/Aristotelian Hellenism nor Englightenment-based Modernism are worthy foundations for a "biblical" theology nor theology's future development. And though I could find parts of Continental Philosophy more helpful than Western Analytical Philosophy of the American church, I realized I needed something broader, more organic, more chaotic, less certain, even mystical. All this and more I have found in Alfred North Whitehead's development of the "Philosophy of Organism" (later to be known as Process Philosophy which naturally includes Process Theology; essentially they came together in Whitehead's Victorian form of Process Christianity in the early 1900s).

A philosophy which has steadily grown and developed over the past three of four generations of input by process philosophers, theologians, scientists (sic, metaphysical quantum cosmologies and creationally-respondent evolutions), the humanitarian arts such as psychology, sociology, metamodern medicine (neurology), technology (quantum computing and blockchain development), anthropology (both ancient and cultural), and even postmodern literature.

As with any philosophy, process thought is but a waystation leading to further studies and insights as society can move along with it (as example, should we decide to build ecological societies and cultures instead of greater industrialized cultures). But for now, its time for the church to let go of its older, unuseful philosophical foundations, and to move forward utilizing broader conceptualizing tools for such integral areas as philosophic theology, entrepreneurial eco-societal development, and the various global solidarities of pluralistic humanitarianism as can be found with one another. Which is what this site is attempting to do in its reappraisal of the Christian faith in correlation with other process theologians and thinkers, both religious and non-religious.

Conclusion

Today, Andrew Davis presents another view of Process Thought from his own perspective, even as I have attempted to illustrate through other voices and research institutions over the past recent years. If Christianity is to become a more meaningful voice with other strident voices speaking peace and love out across the world instead of imperial forms of dogmatic Christianity, then it needs to positively re-engage in the areas of metaphysics, ontology, morals and ethics, and in societal practicalities which hopefully bleed out peace, love, goodwill, equality, social and ecological justice. This is what God's love and Jesus' atonement brings to today's world.

In Christ, we are, but we are also becoming. And as we are in Christ, so we are to be in the world... as voice and witness, fellow laborer and co-servants to the love of God.

So let's hear from Andrew today, consider his approach and appraisal of a processually reforming (or reformulization of) Christianity, and see if it might help each of us towards greater solidarity within our own personal, familial, economic, political, corporate, community, social, and religious faith involvements.

Peace,

R.E. Slater
March 21, 2022


"The Global Philosophy of Religion Project"
by Andrew Davis
Subject: Process Theology
Dec 21, 2021

Today, we explore Process Philosophy and Theology with Dr. Andrew Davis, a philosopher, theologian and scholar of world religions. We stress understanding Process Philosophy and Theology, and Metaphysics, in its own context, and then, if and where relevant, in comparison with other religions.
Andrew M. Davis is a philosopher, theologian and scholar of world religions. He is Program Director for the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology at Willamette University. He holds B.A. in Philosophy and Theology, an M.A. in Interreligious Studies, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Process Philosophy from Claremont School of Theology. An educator and advocate of cross-cultural knowledge and religious literacy, his studies have led him to a variety of religious contexts and communities around the world, including India, Israel-Palestine, and Europe.
The Global Philosophy of Religion Project aims to make the philosophy of religion a truly global field by promoting the scholarly work of researchers from underrepresented regions and religious traditions. It is led by Professor Yujin Nagasawa and hosted by the University of Birmingham. This interview was conducted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn, host of Closer To Truth. Learn more about the project: https://www.global-philosophy.org/
This project was made possible in part through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this video are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.