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, August 15, 2022

Adjusting the Church's Gospel to Jesus' Gospel




Adjusting the Church's Gospel
to Jesus' Gospel

by R.E. Slater


The idea of a weak theology carries itself forward across two themes. 1) God is not in "control" as God has created a freely evolving universe, earth, and cosmos imbued with volitional freewill because of God's great love. Love does not control but guides, encourages, provides choices and options where possible in an indeterminant creation. A world which can be loving but often is not, is conflicted, is nonresponsive to God's urgings to love. But is also pregnant with the possibilities for radical redemption in an open universe of possibilities.

2) As creatures of God's creation we are living examples to God's handiwork. The more so if we have partaken in Jesus' death and resurrection through the Spirit of God. But, since God is Spirit and not flesh (except for God's incarnation in Jesus) God is unable to physically minister love, kindness, helps, peace, goodwill, generosity, etc. Nor can God stop evil, speak against it, stand up to it, stand up for the oppressed, the persecuted, the harmed, or suffering. God, through creation, can be described as dependent upon God's ever-evolving freewill creation to act in his place.

Thus and thus, when speaking of an open, independent, freewilled creation God's Self is constrained by God's love in its exertions and ministrations. In other words, God paints with the colors and brushes God has. Whatever theology ignores this vital theme of the "weakness" of God will more likely lead off with unGodlike theologies of an idolatrous, militant God of vengeance, justice, determining control, coercion, force using "divine" power.

Such teaching are commonly illustrated through the Old and New Testaments. And by those theologies Israel, and later, the church came in its reasoning to misappropriated Law over Grace via rites, practices, worship, teachings, policies and policies. Christ came to throw over Law with Grace. Jesus spoke God in place of an imagined God. He spoke against "Power Gospels" to living, loving "weak Gospels" of redemptive release from both i) sin and to ii) religious bondages of misleading dogmas.

Theistic Dogmas whuch naturally exclude others from God's ministrations of helos and mercy. Which divide one's self from the world of beauty and pain. Which preach nationalism and war.

Such dogmatic theologies have forgotten, or twisted, Paul's observation that when he allows God's Spirit to fill him with love then his brassy life-noise once bound in "moral or religious dictim" now is daily challenged to become enabled to dance with God's own heart of love as God reaches across its cosmic spaces to heal, bind, make whole, release, and prevent.

Love's dynamic is ceaseless in destroying unloving states of being-and-living with re-creational states of renewal, redemption, reclamation, transformation, and resurrection. Love is the God dynamic all beliefs and theologies must center. Even as God through Jesus spoke against unloving Gospels in his day, even now do we do the same in our day.


R.E. Slater
August 15, 2022






* * * * * * *




Audio Podcast with Tripp Fuller & Tom Oord
discussing Process Theology. 

What it is, How it is, and Why it is.




* * * * * * *





Partial Imperfect Transcript
of Podcast


Yeah, what is up theology nerds. This is Tripp, and you're listening to homebrewed Christianity, where since the year of 2008, we've been bringing you interviews with scholars across the disciplines. They'll be wrestle reflect and think through your faith. Today, returning to the podcast is the one and only Thomas J Ord. That is right Tom ord is back open and relational theologian extraordinaire. And this is a special episode. Why? Why? Because we actually recorded in person. Yeah, in the flesh, same space, same time. Boom. Shakalaka. Me and Tom Ward. Now, before we hop in, I just want to remind everyone, this very next week, we have the kickoff of what is it? What is it? Oh, Christianity in process that's right, the new homebrewed group introducing process theology with John Cobb, just go to Christianity and process.com You can join up it's donation based including zero, and not only will you get six sessions with John Carbonite, but you'll get a visit from six different process theologians. That's right. Six different process theologians Andrew Swartz, Catherine Keller, Jacob Erickson, Donna Bowman, John Dill father Joseph brackin. Paul visiting. So getting ready, get pumped and enjoy the room now. Here comes my buddy Tom hanging out in my hotel room.

Hello, everyone, this is Tripp and today on the podcast being recorded in person.

Yes. In Norway Yeah. At ESET.

He sat and said European Society for the Study of science and theology.

Yeah. Is Tom born. I lured him back here to my hotel room.

That doesn't sound right.

I said do you want to you want to talk on a microphone?

It's actually good to see you face to face like it's weird. I'm not seeing you in your dungeon.

I know. I know when when you die here in Texas. I'm like was walking with people. Okay, we got to walk back now. Tom's here. Who's Tom? Like, we're good friends, but we've just hung out on the internet. For three years since

you've had your dungeon be in my garage.

We're significantly overdue for in person hugs. And yeah, for everyone that wants to know that. You're still good at giving hugs, Tom.

I do like there's something about that.

Yeah. Well, so the next big homebrew class is with John Cobb. 97 years old. And it's an intro to process the allergy nice now as someone who is helped bring together all the different parts of the churches that are open and relational, both in the academy and in your public work. I thought it'd be fun to talk to you about your relationship as a Nazarene coming out of a more evangelical tradition. What is it like to learn dialogue and how people that may have those backgrounds can experience and listen to John? Yeah, yeah. Because he is a, you know, liberal, mainline Protestant, philosophical theologian. And everything that comes along with that is there. He's also a Methodist missionary kid, who is who's deeply devout in his experience of God is centered in Jesus, which, that was a side of that for me as the Baptist preacher's kid the first connect to web. So, yeah, maybe the place to begin is for people that may not know who John comm is, but have some interested in process or open relational things like what? Like, how would you introduce him? Because there's so many different parts of him. But why is he been an important figure for the larger open relational group? Well, he

there's so many ways I could talk about John Cobb, but I think the first word that comes to my mind is his. He's a humble gentleman. So it's his character that I think attracts me primarily and other people as well. But then when you start to look at his production, his interests, his multifaceted writings and speaking he's someone who I think, wants to address the biggest questions of reality, and is not afraid, afraid to go outside the discipline across boundaries across religions. So I think of John Cobb as someone who is multifaceted in the best sort of a sense with a deep piety, deep humility, and, and, and a kind spirit. I remember one of the first times I hung out with John was at AAR, and that was getting ready to go into a session and I got a migraine and he had such empathy for me. Just never forget that. But in terms of his steel theology, as you rightly mentioned, he was always thought of as that liberal guy out there, you know, from those of us who are in F angelical. Circles, we are always suspicious of the liberals. And I grew dissatisfied with some of the theological thinking in the Evan Jellicle tradition and eventually found myself attracted to him. But in doing and kind of working through the process of that I had to come to terms with what I thought it meant to be an Evan Jellicle at all right and what kind of differences and similarities process thinking might have with that?

So when when you kind of begin your theological journey, and if this is your first time listening to Tom and I talk, there's hours and hours of conversation about it through you. There were a few questions that that you kind of demanded answers for in a sense, right, that led you into doing philosophy of religion and taking all that kind of seriously, we're then the larger process community became beneficial, they will How did you ask and understand those questions? And then how did they change when process theologians became a dialogue partner for you as a Nazarene theologian? Yeah,

I grew up in the Church of Nazarene and I'm still in that I'm an ordained elder. And I think from just like me, for many people, it's the problem of evil that makes him first attracted to process because here's a vision of a God who's not in control, and that helps so much with those big questions. And then I kind of shifted into other questions like science religion, what it means to be postmodern overcoming questions of certainty, questions about authority and biblical interpretation. So it was after you kind of get in the door, you start to make all kinds of connections and links. So those were really big issues for me. I think, though, that it's hard for me to share my story without talking about a period of time in my life in which I was an atheist for a moment. For a moment I sounds like one instant for a time.

There was this moment, actually 13 seconds.

I had come from a background in which evangelism was really important and I had grown dissatisfied with that. And it was a bunch of intellectual questions that brought me to the place where, well, I just didn't have good grounds to believe in the God that I had once believed in. And from that kind of place where I turned from belief in God and then eventually came back I was building from you might say, scratch. No one builds from absolute nothing that's not even God. But I had some scratch that I was building from again, and it was the questions of love and meaning that brought me back and then I started writing on natural theology, and you know, the process tradition is known for that. And those were the kinds of things that brought me to begin to embrace process thinking.

So the in underneath that, I think is the way the way questions function is is one of the ways that that process I think, becomes attractive for lots of people. For those who grew up in a much in a more evangelical context, often questions or boundary markers, and so you are allowed to ask them as long as that's, you know, the beginning of a rather set journey to certain answers. In It For people that exist in an in a part of the church where those boundaries are patrolled. Then it ultimately a few good questions in a row, and you just don't feel like you belong. And I think one of the things about the larger process community and one of the things John's done really well and by engaging theologians from more evangelical side but also with orthodox theologians and Catholic theologians and such is for for him, the questions have not been boundary markers. They've, they've been taking the question seriously as evidence of faith. And one of the things I've noticed just in you know, if I'm talking to John Cobham, like I want to hear what you think I'm not that interested in what I'm saying right now, you know, and he will ask follow up questions and was interested in what what animates the question, Where does it come from? And I experienced the kind of questions you bring into a conversation for him. Or treated pastorelli by a super nerd. Yeah. And that was what made him very compelling to me as a, you know, undergrad when I went and did summer process Institute and was thinking about Claremont and all that kind of stuff, was the questions were treated with the same kind of sensitivity for the person faith as if I was telling you about a struggle with a family member being sick or a personal failure, although we know how to listen and show up to those difficulties. Yeah, right. Then, and he was taking my questions of faith that like seriously that way and I think that is possible. When the big picture you have is one where you really aren't having to cross your fingers and dodge things when you talk about God. Yeah, like you ended that comment with like, then I got around to thinking about what is natural theology and how do you like give a best account of a world that includes beauty, truth, goodness, value, how do you explain then all these kinds of things, then the process vision has deep reservoir, right, right, that affirms those intuitions engages in science and wrestles the questions then the questions are not threatening in a different way. Yeah, because I my evangelical past, it was the boundaries that you are protecting right for John it says d is deep reservoir where we have a really the god world relationship, that then the questions aren't threatening, right. Yeah.

That's a great way to put it. Yeah, I think I came to process that in part because I had intuitions that I saw were matched there. But I wanted something was reasonable. You know, something that was logical had rational coherence. made sense. And I didn't, I was oftentimes, given the Mystery Card when I asked questions in my eventual setting, and I just got really tired of that. And then eventually, I kind of got around to saying, This matches my intuitions. It is intellectually sophisticated and coherent. And then I realized, and what it's really doing is just trying to take at face value. At least initially, widespread experience. Yeah, and given my background, my Evan Jellicle background which is quasi Methodist, Nazarene is have a Wesleyan theology. Our experience mattered, you know, my, my Pentecostal friends, their experience mattered. And so it wasn't that far away from these kind of this this history that I had that was not taken as seriously I think, by our theologians in the history, but was really taken seriously and the piety of the local church. But the way you talk about questions, I think, is another issue and you've kind of hinted at this. Many people in evangelical tradition are implicitly or explicitly taught that it's the answers that matter most and you ought to be certain about the answers you have. So you know, one thing about one way of thinking about pedagogy is that you go and you get filled up in your head with all the right answers to all the questions someone might ask you, you don't ask good questions yourself. So part of my journey and I think the part of the journey of many people today are ex urban joke or post Evan jungle is getting past that. You know, I've got to be certain about things I've got to be certain there's a god I've got to be certain about my view of atonement, salvation, Jesus, all those things. The certainty question was a tough one for me for quite a while and overcoming that, I think, opened me up to ask deep questions and not be satisfied with the inadequate answers I had been given in Evan Jellicle circles. Yeah, I

think that yeah, I think that makes sense. And I think a lot of people are experiencing that more and more you know, one of the was fascinating, I think is my generation and older. It was often theological questions that led to the questioning of that kind of certainty and boundary policing. Yeah. And I think those that are younger than you know, if you're, if you're millennials and younger, tend to it's been the public failures of the evangelical church. Yeah. And the way in which kind of white evangelicalism in America was wedded to certain kinds of political power that were problematic. The fascinating thing to me is above the public witness it acting in coercive, powerful ways in public, and the questions around like the Odyssey or atonement that are ultimately connected to divine power and revelation. All of them have a power angle. Yeah. Good, you know. And I wonder if it's something I've been thinking about and preparation for the class. I wonder if one of the shifts that needs to take place within at least American life is much more clarity that our our image of divine power, both in thinking theologically and then practicing our faith in public has been wedded to something that sub Christian and it's led to a lot of people who've had those experiences like you and I had growing up in evangelical context, we were like, Oh, my encounter with Jesus, and God is like animates and inspires me to become a more loving person. I want to figure out how to love my neighbor. And if, you know, instance, you're going for perfection, maybe your enemy. That's a, that's a Wesleyan, the, but then, when you realize there's so many of the doctrines or so many of the things we're going to die on publicly, are connected to visions of power that don't cohere with the actual relational experience of loving relation with God or, you know, then I think there's a tension definitely, and I know you spent a lot of time talking about God camp. And you've done a lot on on on love. Do you think that how do you see that thread around power functioning for especially those that are starting to question it? in new ways?

Yeah, I see. A kind of a typical progression amongst evangelicals. Again, this is typical as a generalization. The first step is away from a God who's all controlling, and usually they didn't the step isn't away from God who's controlling in all respects, so it'll be you know, welcome. Maybe God doesn't control humans on matters that aren't salvific. But on salvation, God ultimately is in control. And then the next step is they give up the question of God's ultimate control and salvation. They'll say, Well, God gives us free will. And God could sometimes take it away to make sure some miracle happens. But most of the time, you know, God's going to offer us freedom, and we need to use that rightly to find salvation. And then the next step is usually well, maybe God doesn't take it. Maybe there's something about the natural world that God doesn't control. Maybe like John Polkinghorne there's natural processes that regulate but doesn't control and is sort of, you see this shift away from power as God being all powerful to being giving of power to being self limited. And then sort of the the move that I want to make is to say yeah, God just simply can't control not only humans, but anything in creation because it comes from God's very nature as being in control. And I see more and more people attracted to that view, not only because it helps answer the tough questions about the problem of evil about questions of politics, about atonement theories, etc. But for me, especially, it's the questions of love that are most central, because, well, what I want most is to live a life of love. And it would be really strange to have a God who is less loving than I am. So as you can see, well, due to drange, but way too popular.

to soak in to conceive of God in such a way that God is perfectly loving, at least for me, means that God not only is never controlling but simply can't control and then of course fits nicely with process thinking

is how would you describe the the how you see the process, the process theologians such fitting within the larger open and relational framework? So I'm in essence because I think a lot of people listen to the podcast that will end up in John calm class, will someone be much more naturally at home and other parts of the open relational framework? Yeah. But when, when it's when you understand the larger open relational vision and you realize what it's like to hang out with a liberal Protestant theologian. Yeah. You find out that whether you believe it or not, John is probably one of the most Christian liberal Protestant theologians there is right? Yeah. And because the kind of questions you ask, what's your methodology switches are different. It's not often picked up on but in the open relational group, you see people because you have the shared commitments around openness, love relationality and things. You see how different kinds of methodologies from different parts of the church interact when you have these different kinds of shared commitments? Anyway, yeah, how do you see the

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...Typical as a generalization, the first step is a way to form a God who's all controlling. And usually they didn't. The step isn't away from God who's controlling in all respects. So it'll be you know, welcome. Maybe God doesn't control humans on matters that aren't salvific. But on salvation, God ultimately is in control. And then the next step is they give up the question of God's ultimate control and salvation. They'll say, Well, God gives us free will. And God could sometimes take it away to make sure some miracle happens. But most of the time you know, God's gonna offer us freedom, and we need to use that rightly to find salvation. And then the next step is usually well, maybe God doesn't take a walk. Maybe there's something about the natural world that God doesn't control, maybe, like John Polkinghorne there's natural processes that yas regulates but doesn't control and it's sort of you see this shift away from power as God being all powerful to being giving of power to being self limited. And then sort of the the move that I want to make is to say, Yeah, God just simply can't control not only humans, but anything in creation because it comes from God's very nature as being uncontrolled. And I see more and more people attracted that view, not only because it helps answer the tough questions about the problem of evil about questions of politics about atonement theories, etc. But for me, especially, it's the questions of love that are most central, because, well, what I want most is to live a life of love. And it would be really strange to have a God who is less loving than I am. So to conceive that well, since drange, but way too popular.



to soak in to conceive of God in such a way that God is perfectly loving, at least for me means that God not only is never controlling but simply can't control and then of course, fits nicely with process thinking is how would you describe the the how you see the process, the process theologians, such fitting within the larger open and relational framework? So I'm asking this because I think a lot of people listen to the podcast that will end up in the John calm class, will someone be much more naturally at home and other parts of the open relational framework? Yeah. But when, when it's when you understand the larger open relational vision, and you realize what it's like to hang out with liberal Protestant theologian Yeah. Then you find out that whether you believe it or not, John is probably one of the most Christian liberal Protestant theologians there is right? Yeah. And because the kind of questions you ask once your methodology switches are different, is not often picked up. On but in open relational group, you see people because you have the shared commitments around openness, love relationality and things. You see how different kinds of methodologies from different parts of the church interact when you have these different kinds of shared commitments? Anyway, yeah, how do you see the

yeah, let me start by answering your question with the sociological claim or at least statement. I think a lot of what prevents evangelicals, from even asking questions beyond their community is the communities as you put it, earlier, I think policing of borders, you know, are you really with us? If you are then you must confess these certain ideas. And you have to stay away from those liberals or those whoever the outsiders. And so part of I think for many people today in me especially, it's actually having relationships with people who think differently, not only differently within Christianity, but within other religious traditions. So it's even it's a sociological, communal kind of shift that opens us up to the even the possibilities of thinking differently. So in light of that, your first kind of question was where the relationship between open and relational process. I get this question a lot these days because people say Well, are you a process theologian or an open and relational theologian and they say, well, in my way of thinking, open relational is the big umbrella under which there's a multiplicity of different process theologies, different openness, feminist, all kinds of variety. What we share in common is the idea that God is relational and the future is open, but we argue like crazy, it's under that umbrella on our differences. And I think that's healthy. We don't have a rigid set of, you know, you got to really believe these 12 things that otherwise you're not in the club. We've just got a few things we share in common and then we explore the diversity underneath it.

In what how did how did your time in Claremont and then after that, obviously, ended up becoming friends with so many of the previous generations process theologian what, what, what were the assumptions and ideas you brought into it that didn't hold up once you got to? Once you got to meet them? Yeah.

Well, I thought as an Evangelical, you're told that liberals are just relative on all social issues. That is they don't really believe in truth, they don't have any certain sort of strings. They're just gonna go with whatever's popular or whatever, you know, they happen to believe as individuals, and it turns out, you know, they have some real convictions least most liberals that I hang out with. They may alter or be a little different than the of angelical community I had, but did generally had convictions. They had some really strong reasons for those convictions. So it wasn't just a personal relativism kind of thing. So that was different. One of the things I discovered in the process community that's different from many other liberal Christian communities, I'm part of it the process community actually wanted to say a lot of things about God. In wider liberal Christian communities, sometimes claims or statements about what God does and is up to in his like, take a really far back seat and it's Yeah, more about, you know, how we're going to be act in social justice, which I'm all for, but there's not close connections to claims about who God is. And that's still important to me that maybe that's one part of my heritage that I'm not going to give up on. But the process community said, No, don't give up on it. We need you to think deeply and really examine the things you've been given. And there might actually be better ways to think about God from a process open relationship perspective. Yeah.

In I think connect to the god part is also the the process theologians connections to their local religious communities. Yeah, typically, yeah. Like I joked to students at Claremont when, you know, when I was PhD do ta and stuff that you they'll complain, you the students at common realize they're at this very liberal seminary like, I don't know if my Bible teacher really believes the Bible, you know, these kinds of things, and then they and then they associate, everything crosses people think with any initially with any parts that are uncomfortable with and I'm, like, none of the process theologians. They're the ones you actually know went to church on Sunday. Like, like the if you think of Claremont, like like John still goes to the same Methodist Church. Marjorie taught the archery suit like he was teaching confirmation. When I was there before she moved to Texas that I'm Phil is part of the Quaker community and our meeting and said, Monica is deeply involved in two different religious traditions. Yeah, and was working on, on on bringing process framework to help account for black religious experience and in LA and working with multi religious families which a big deal in Los Angeles, that helping them understand the divine and honoring both traditions that they're inherited, like, the kinds of things that you know, if I was in growing up, Ryan was the all I joke like religious diversity was that kind of badness. You were so then rural North Carolina, but they the not just the process, people still talk about God and the liberal theologians that take content seriously tend not to write. But also, I've always had a deep attachment to the church. Yeah, I think that's Johnny, how many probably pleasure to publish 11 books that are, you know, 100 Page short ones for congregations to use the process and faith group for a long time when Marjorie's in charge has invested. Monica Coleman's work on helping wrote a book out of starting group for dealing with domestic violence and congregations but then help launch communities through the Dinah project at congregations all over and if you sit in a room of the 30 theologians that teach future mainline ministers, the process ones are the ones that are much more likely to have worshipped regularly and invested part of their time in the life of the church and I I found that compelling as a preacher's kid that was like doing a PhD or church plan.

That's important to me too. You know, it goes back to that importance or that role of experience theology. I think also, and this is something maybe you and I share in common because people like John Cobb have been important in our lives. And because at least in my case, John was a liberal and I was an Evangelical and he was kind of his the friendship we had helped me to shift my ideas about theology and about what Christianity might look like. And what the church might look like. I regularly spend time with people who were much further right than I am on theology and political issues. In part because. With the actual relational experience of loving relation with God or then I think there's a tension definitely. And I know you spent a lot of time talking about God camp. And you've done a lot on on on love. Do you think that how do you see that thread around power functioning for especially those who are starting to question it? in new ways?

Yeah, I see a kind of a typical progression amongst evangelicals. Again, this is typical as a generalization. The first step is a way to go from a God who's all controlling and usually they didn't the step isn't away from God who's controlling in all, how do you see the how do you see the associate when I was growing? up where I was all I joke...

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...I regularly spend time with people who are much further right than I am on the ology and political issues, in part because I want them to see that a person can have my beliefs and not be a jerk and still pray and you know, that sort of thing. I mean, I I recently spoke at a pretty I won't say the name of the place, but it's hardcore, fundamentalist kind of institution. And of course, they were really worried about me, so they set things up so that other people had lots of time to talk before I did, and after that sort of thing, but so many students came up to me afterwards and said, Oh, yeah, what you're saying makes sense. I think that I wouldn't be allowed to say that at this institution. But I think to myself, well, I want to put myself in those positions, because John has done that for me and so many others who come from conservative backgrounds.

Yeah, no, that's, I think that's true. And one of the other things I would I would say, especially for people in in a more evangelical context, they it John doesn't care if you like half of what he says and thinks the other half is eye rolling. That would be my general encouragement if if you if you join the class and in like, the first session, I don't know he's gonna exactly gonna say once talking about the inspiration of Scripture first nice and give a process account then he's when talking about the Incarnation, which I can which which for John is funny, because he, he thinks is the non negotiable doctrine for Christianity and complains that his peers isn't he's a fee on the Trinity. Yeah. If you need one, there's some real creative ways of getting to one. Yeah, but the the other thing I was gonna say as part of the way that we're structuring the class, and, and people are gonna be sending in questions, and hopefully, towards the end of it, we get to the ones that are like, from people that are like, Oh, this is new. We will get to hang out and talk about them. But each week I'm having different a different person from the broad process community, good as like a second session. So they hear all the different great examples. So like Katherine Keller is doing it. Jacob Erickson, Donna Bowman, John Gill, Joseph Bracken, and then Andrew shorts Nice. So in you know all them so they, you know many ways you get from, um, you know, like from queer eco theology process post structuralist you know, so then I grew up religious I'm not sure if I am but I'm processing religious to like, you know, but we'll danger was one of your one of your formers is the, the process the process theological vision because it's so tied to wrestling. metaphysically then gets picked up and used by philosophical theologians in different confessional community, and just like Platonism has been in every different religion. I think process metaphysics is something that can be utilized to talk around philosophical questions, engage the sciences, and help you then think about particular questions and doctrines in your tradition. Yeah,

I think that's one of the issues actually that process folks are most criticized for. I was just speaking at institution here in Scandinavia, and which one of the scholars said Well, the thing I hate about process theology is that they're really committed to the metaphysics and the Christianity just kind of comes along a little later. And so I kind of tease that out too, to hear what he really meant. And it sounded like he had the usual criticism that in process that creativity is the ultimate and God sister, little creature along the way, and I've heard that so many times. So you know, I tried to say, Well, look, there's another way if you start with the doctrine of God from the Christian tradition, and if you ask the questions of evil and science religion, etc, you can come to a process vision through your study of the doctrine of God, that will have metaphysical implications, no doubt, right? And you'll have, you know, you'll be inclined towards certain things that might sound more Whitehead in or not so much, but you don't have to start with the metaphysical system and then add Christianity to vote or your doctrine of God. You can start with the doctrine of God and then see how it's fruitful in metaphysics like whiteheads in

and actually like, no person starts with Whitehead, because you have to have multiple graduate degrees and know what the hell he was talking to. In the only reason you take the time to figure it out. Is and this at least has been true when I've talked to a lot of theologians on this podcast, none of them more like so when I was 14 and reading processing reality. I then said now what religious tradition do I want to shove this in? Right? The I think this is if you are the kind of person that asks what is it big, thick, rich, unified account of the universe and not everyone has these questions? I find it dumbfounding that people don't. But I have a good authority from my favorite human being that I'm married to that some people do not lose sleep about that. And I only want about two hours of it a week. But if you ask those questions, then and you've encountered God in Christ, which is I'm not saying this is exclusivist. I'm just saying, right is for trip in the sense that that's where I met the divine and the community introduced me all these kinds of things. Then, if you ask big questions, and then you go to your philosophy class, and you meet Thomas and he realized that they borrowed Aristotle and thought they updated it. That's questionable discipline for you, like read Augustine. melanosome goes to Augustine, you know, I just don't know if Augustine and Aquinas are really Christians because they just are borrowing the metaphysics from these pagans.

Are you and I asked that but everybody ...is it's because they borrow the wrong parts. They modify it to include doctrines that are not that important. But for Whitehead, I think the reason so many people found him is in the 20th century. We have a lot of questions that if you are wrestling with them philosophically, a lot of old, older philosophical systems, if you want to give a big, thick, unified metaphysical account, they weren't shaped by contemporary science, with positive generative relations. across religious diversity. They weren't facing a world like at this conference right now thinking about the impending ecological crisis and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Well, if you're Christian, and then you were asking this question...

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