Quotes & Sayings

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

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

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

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Radical Christian Process Theology, Part 4 - Secular v Christian Radical Theologies

To the Unknown God
of Radically Lived Theology

by R.E. Slater

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and whoever loves
is born of God, and knoweth God. Dear friends, let us continue to love
one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of
of God and knows God. - 1 John 4.7-8

I am no longer embraced by
what I once was embracing,
The dismay too great,
the hurt too much.

God's church lost in empire,
lost in translation, in mission
and ministry, abandoning
what once I needed, I craved.

Not in what it was, but
by what it once promised,
Once my finis coronat opus, like
Christ's, declaring God's finished work.

Ever unfinished it's continuing work
but completed God's work of Love,
His lovingcare and mercy, mended
forgiveness in Loving relationship.

Till at last there is no longer
work to be done, but joy and
peace ever present sealing
heaven's loving presence.

Sealed it's founding promises
released to its gapping potentials,
Become what it was becoming,
Embracing the God indwelling.

R.E. Slater
May 22, 2023

*finis coronat opus - the goal gives
value to the labor; the end crowns
the work that produced it.

* * * * * * *

The Necessity for a Radical Theology

Both the world, and world religions, including worldly Christianity, have together enacted oppressive systems in both past and present. None are guiltless. Let me demonstrate by listing several examples socially, politically, and by Christianlity as accepting, normative, and religious behaviours which were later critiqued and unsupported by exterior forces. Forces which we'll generally describe as radically dissenting voices to such illicit, normative, behaviours.

Three Voices. Three Discontents

I. American Christian History 101
  • 1619-1865 Supported slavery and Native American genocide.
  • 1865-1964 Supported Jim Crow.
  • 1950-1970s Supported segregation.
  • 1955-1970 Evangelicals biggest growth as they supported the Viet Nam war
  • 1972-1974 Evangelicals supported Nixon during Watergate.
  • 1981-2008 Evangelicals supported Reagan and the Bush duo.
  • 2008-2016 Did not support Obama and created the Tea Party
  • 2016- Support Trump
The theme herein is consistent.

- Wayne Boyd

2. The Church in America

If I could speak gospel in America today, I might say that the three great “masters of suspicion,” Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, understand more about the faith they don’t believe in than many/most members of its own churches. Each of them knew that humans were hiding - or had hidden - from them basic truths about functions and dysfunctions of human life and society. These truths, which should have been known and proclaimed by the church, but were not. In fact, the church was the last place you might find them out.

What are these truths?
  • Marx knew from his historical and economic studies that economic systems based on wealth inequality and class distinctions were inherently unjust and oppressive.
  • Nietzsche realized the Christianity he knew in 19th century Europe (hardly the real thing!) was largely responsible for its cultural malaise and reason enough for Nietzsche to declare God as dead.
  • Freud knew how screwed up we were hidden under the roles, rituals, and rules of our times and, when unearthed, a very different person freed to be driven by those repressed instincts would emerge.
[Across all three voices] the church was the great guardian and promoter of these repressions.

Though times have changed greatly since their day, the problems they saw lying at the root of personal and societal problems remain. The church, by and large, continues to play the role of guardian and promoter of the repressions and injustices of its society. This should have changed by now and still needs to change but . . .

But since I can’t speak gospel in America today, let’s just keep on pretending everything’s alright if everyone would just get with the program and keep on acting like what’s good for America is good for the church.

- Lee Wyatt

3.  Distorted Theologies of the Church

Can you list modern-day examples of distorted theologies? I'll start...

Distorted Theologies
  • Christian Zionism provides religious justification for Israel's authoritarian policies....
  • "Make America Christian Again" is based upon the mythic legend that America was originally settled for religious reasons...
  • The fantasized body of institutionalized Churches are God's organization to lead the nations over all the Earth to observe God's laws...
  • Known as "Dominionism" it is the theocratic idea that regardless of theological camp, means, or timetable, God has called conservative Christians to exercise dominion over society by taking control of political and cultural institutions...
  • The belief that true civil democracy is not God's plan for the nations but that some form of religious authoritarianism is God's perfect plan...
  • The belief that Russia is leading the world back to God by establishing Russian Orthodoxy as God's perfect plan for God's coming Kingdom rule...
  • That God is the divine judge over all creation; a judge who takes what he wants, when he wants; and that Christians must establish holy governances over the ends of the earth so that God may reign...

- R.E. Slater

* * * * * * *

Secular v Christian Radical Theology

by R.E. Slater

Below is a framework-discussion of how to place radical theology within the centering values of human worth and integrity. That it lies as an outside force beholden to know theological traditions but its own based in humanitarianism. And it's ability to speak across philosophies and theologies to the value of acting humanely towards one another.

Most radical theologies are actually secular "theologies" using church language to speak to corrective action as we think about ourselves and others. In contrast, Christian-based radical theologies (such as process-Christian thought and theology) will speak to the teachings and practices of the Church using it's own language.

Whether secular or Christian or religious, radical theology is intentional in spanning across all present day actions of humanity. Its theology may be based in strictest humanism or the teachings of the bible dependent upon the speaker, the organization, or the movement.

As always, I am proposing a:
  • Process-based Christian Radical theology built upon the God of Love in the bible and upon Christ, the enactor of God's Love to the world.
  • That this philosophic-theology is will endowed and able to speak across both humanism and religious theologies of all sorts.
  • And that it's place can be view as both helpful deconstructing away from unloving dogmas and actions of the Church as well as recontructing towards a Theology of Love based upon Christ, the God of Love.
The article below then speaks more directly to secular radical humanist "theologies" urging corrective thought and action towards one another within itself rather than being dependent upon God's Self. Regardless, its aims and analysis does helpful frame how the world has reset faith within the context of humanitarian cooperation, sharing, and a multiplicity of ways forward against state-and-church regimes bound by fiefdom, oppression, and injustice.

R.E. Slater
May 27, 2023

* * * * * * *

Radical (Secular) Theologies

Palgrave Communications volume 1, Article number: 15032 (2015)

authored by Mike Grimshaw

Department of Sociology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
October 13, 2025

[xxx] - brackets are mine: re slater

~ I have also taken the liberty to edit the outline of the abstract
to help readers more easily follow its train of thought ~


Radical theology as a field encompasses the intersections of constructive theology, secular theology, death-of-God theologies, political theologies, continental thought and contemporary culture.

It expresses an inter-disciplinary engagement and approach dedicated to redefining the very terms of theology as a concept and practice. This article provides an introductory overview to a multi- and inter-disciplinary thematic collection dedicated to thinking in this area.

It used to be social science orthodoxy that not only was religion in decline but that there was no place for theology or allied religious discussion and critique. Religion was something that could be explained—and explained away. Theology was to be relegated to seminaries and kept within very strict disciplinary boundaries. The future was to be secular—and more importantly, secularist.

The humanities were more open to religion, especially within historical and literary studies, most often as a means of understanding texts and historical events. There was of course Religious Studies, an area that as a “studies” strove for disciplinary authenticity, but in intention and focus was often misunderstood by other areas in the university and the wider public.

Also, the growth of Religious Studies as a post-war, Cold War field cannot be ignored, and here the study and the support of the study of religion arose often as counter to communism. Yet this was a field that was far more diverse within Religious Studies or Religion departments than many outside could ever hope or wish to understand. Politically it ranged from hard left to hard right. The areas of specialization within such departments often meant colleagues had far more in common with those in other departments than within their own. But one thing was usually a constant: there was no place for theology.

Furthermore, even if there existed a combined department, there was Theology and then there was Religion or Religious Studies and the boundaries between them were often strictly policed. The same types of demarcation tended to occur within combined programmes of Philosophy and Religious Studies; philosophy of religion was allowed but theology was usually forbidden. Therefore, even if religion was allowed, albeit often grudgingly, theology was viewed, at best, with suspicion, especially within the Anglosphere.

In this I am speaking primarily of state-funded tertiary institutions. Of course, in privately endowed universities and colleges theology could be undertaken, but then most usually within the limits of faith traditions and a confessional ethos. The dominance of analytic philosophy in the Anglosphere also viewed with suspicion the claims and arguments of theology, preferring to allow, if anything, the limitations of a strictly policed philosophy of religion which was most often undertaken to serve the ends of analytic thought. This is, of course, [is] a broad-brush caricature, but for those of us who undertook most of our academic study and training in the last century, it is one that we can understand.

Towards radical theology


However, in the twenty-first century, theology is increasingly back and making its presence felt in a number of disciplines via the influence of Continental thought. It is interesting to note that the American theologian Van Harvey identified this as a possibility back in 1970, where, in reassessing what was now opened up in the wake of the 1960s Secular Theology and the Death of God he argued for a new home and possibility for theology in Religious Studies. In particular, for Harvey (1970) this included the possibility of “a new and probably non-Christian theology of some sort” being developed that is “more strictly philosophical and does not at all understand itself as a servant of a church or a tradition” (28). Referencing Victor Preller of Princeton, Harvey terms this a “meta-theology” (Harvey, 1970: 28) or “a genuinely secular theology” (Harvey, 1970: 29) that is to be thought, critiqued and argued in departments of Religion.

This is what I term the American strand of origin of radical theology: a theology that, arising out of the American encounter with modernity, arising from secular theology and the Death of God theologies, sought to express a theology not held captive by the church. Such a radical theology aimed to express a theology of radical critique not only of the institutional expressions of religions, but also of the society where those institutions often held sway. Radical theology therefore existed and was expressed as a language and grammar of critique, a voice from within the western tradition that proclaimed a counter-narrative, a prophetical tradition of dissent.


The other strand within radical theology is the one that has risen to prominence in this century, a radical theology arising from within what can be termed Continental thought, from within an intellectual history whereby non-analytic philosophy and theology intersected with each other. This is from an intellectual tradition open to the use the language of theology as a political and social counter-claim, a grammar and language that holds within it both the excess and limit of possibility. This means that “god” within such a radical theology is first and foremost a noun that operates as that uttered as a claim as to the excess and limit of possibility. A claim uttered in relation to human activity, a claim that seeks to overcome human actions of limitation and exclusion, a claim uttered against our acting inhumanly to others.

In this tradition, [A] theology continues as a necessary problem within both modernity and post-modernity, the necessary problem that holds within it a counter-narrative to the enlightenment-derived claims of the triumph of rationality, reason and logic. But also [B] in its central claim of the necessary value of the human being, theology exists as a counter claim to the economic reductionism of capitalism and especially neo-liberalism and occurs increasingly therefore as a counter-claim to the instrumentalist reduction of an uncritically technologically-triumphalist society. [*neo-liberalisim is a political approach that favors free-market capitalism, deregulation, and reduction in government spending. - re slater; Dictionary.com]

Out of these two traditions arises what can be termed radical theology, a theology that is type of nomadic mode of thinking and action, unsettled and unsettling, wandering across, within and against both institutional religion and the surrounding secular, pluralist society. Radical Theology is not a singular activity, nor is it stable, and it rejects both orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Rather it is, via the plurality of the saeculum, a plurality of theologies. Therefore, rather than being a defined body of knowledge, radical theology is an activity of intent and a hermeneutics of critique of all that taken to be normative. Radical theology is where we get, where we claim, where we demand the space, language and the tradition to talk, think, critique and re-imagine human value in a world where value is too often consigned to function and economic value.

Radical theology also exists explicitly as part of a rupture and reassessment of the Western project. Radical Theology is therefore a way of writing, thinking and talking against the limitations of both secular and confessional authorities. This can be understood when we acknowledge that Radical Theology as a field encompasses the intersections of constructive theology, secular theology, death of god theologies, political theologies, continental thought and contemporary culture.

Thematic collection

Just as Rhizomic thought engages with multiplicities and counters dualistic and prescriptive approaches, this thematic collection issue offers a timely outlet for an expanding field of “breakout” radical theologies that seek to redefine the very terms of theology. This thematic collection engages with an ever-multiplying radical expression and critique by theologies that have entered or seek to enter the public sphere, arising from the continued turn to religion and especially radical theology in politics, social sciences, philosophy, theory, cultural, queer and literary studies.

All share the aim and expression of breaking out of walls previously ideologically invisible. The article collection covers the engagement of radical theology with culture, society, literature, politics, philosophy and the discipline of religion. Providing an outlet for those writing and thinking at the intersections of these areas with radical theology, radical theology expresses an inter-disciplinary engagement and approach dedicated to redefining the very terms of theology as a concept and practice. This can be seen in the papers included in this launch of the thematic collection:

Bray (2015), in The Monstrosity of the Multitude critically engages with the issues of disability and work; Grimshaw (2015) traces a different possibility of secular theology, despite the death of God, via Gabriel Vahanian; Robbins and Crockett (2015), who we can think of as this century’s “Deleuze and Guattari” of radical theology, outline Five Theses for a Radical Theology for the Future; Wigg-Stevenson (2015) brings an Ethnographic Disruption to theology; Dubilet (2015) articulates the messianic possibility of non-philosophy along with a central proclamation of justice; Kelley (2015) considers hermeneutics and genocide. Further essays in thematic collection will engage with divinations of neo-liberalism, amongst other possibilities.

Central to all radical theology is an engagement with the limits of authorities and their limits on the world. One way it does so is by talking seriously the both limits and failures of modernity. As stated, radical theology is part of a post-enlightenment critique that situates and acts versus the instrumentalism and pathology of the hegemony of the Enlightenment. Radical theology is also political in the sense that it critically engages with issues of power, participation, order and structure. Radical Theology is therefore a theology of transgression: writing and thinking within - and yet against - what is taken to be normative in a tradition, a hermeneutic and a culture.

This is the disruptive function of Radical Theology: as the activity that speaks within and into and against all normative culture spheres, including any rethought and re-imagined religion—or indeed any rethought secularism. Radical Theology is therefore the theology of those who recognize the hermeneutics and claims of western thought and yet speak out with the prophetic voice from the margins. Thus Radical Theology is too secular for theology, too theological for the secular, too theological for philosophy and too philosophical for theology, too social science for the humanities and too humanities for the social sciences. Against all such oppositional dualisms, Radical Theology occurs as a series of activities comprising the rearticulation of that central prophetic voice and thought from within, yet against the western tradition, that reminds us, often against our wishes, of our continually expressed roots (radix) in Judeo-Christian thought and culture.

I wish to position, deliberately broadly, a claim that religion itself is an interpretative frame that is applied to, and used to create, other interpretative frames. According to my analysis, the importance of religion is that it states “there is an alternative” and the grounding of religion in not only the human sciences but also the social sciences arises precisely because of this. We too easily choose to forget that religion is crucial for the self-definition of Modernity. For in religion’s dialectic with Modernity lies the mutually counter claim: “there is an alternative”. I am also always in debt to Charles Winquist’s distinction between theological study and studying theology. If to study theology “treats the theological tradition as data to be learned, absorbed and comprehended” [in effect a version, I would argue, of sui generis], then to undertake theological study “means to think with the desire for a thinking that does not disappoint, to think in extremis, to ask what is real and important” (Robbins, 2003: xv–xvi).

The challenge of the problem of Radical Theology for Religious Studies is, as Jeffrey W. Robbins notes, that of “theology’s insistence that knowledge is fundamentally limited by the gap between the known and the real, while at the same time driven by the desire to think the unthinkable and speak the unspeakable” (Robbins, 2003: 27). From this I position radical theology as the language, the grammar, the talk of this tension between limit and possibility and its resultant activity. Theology is what humans do in our here and now, using the language and claims of the possibility of an alternative. So a radical theologian is one who uses theology and theological language as a way of interrogating and critiquing the world we live in, but using the words and ideas as claims that exist as cultural critiques, as the claim of an alternative, not as dogmatic claims. So as the radical theologians Robbins and Crockett (2003) state regarding the role of theology in the work of Charles Winquist: “Theology was a discourse formulation that functioned to fissure other discourses by pushing them to their limits and interrogating them as to their sense and practicality” (ix) In effect radical theology continually asks of all claims to authority: What does this mean? Are you serious? How does this impact? What is the limit of this? What is its possibility? What is the alternative? In fact I want to argue that this function of radical theology, its fissuring and interrogation, results in what can be called theologyless theology and religionless religionthe difference between what theology and religion could be, and what they are. But more so, as an activity that arises out of the prophetic heritage, the central interrogation, the central fissurring of radical theology is focussed on the difference between what the world, what humanity, what our knowledge production and practices could be—and what they are.

Therefore, out of this, arises this special collection whereby Radical Theology is positioned as the thought and discourses that hold that description and comparison cannot be undertaken without value; that an uncritical description and comparison cannot be undertaken and expressed as normative. The papers that follow all their own ways hold true to these principles. They are the expression of a claim of an alternative, the refusal to be domesticated and disciplined, the expression of the excess and limit of possibility, arising from within, yet in critical engagement with, traditions of hermeneutic knowledge.

Additional Information

How to cite this article: Grimshaw M (2015) Radical Theologies. Palgrave Communications. 1:15017 doi: 10.1057/palcomms.2015.32.


Bray K (2015) The monstrosity of the multitude: Unredeeming radical theology. Palgrave Communications; 1: 15030.

Dubilet A (2015) “Neither God, nor world”: On the one foreclosed to transcendence. Palgrave Communications; 1: 15027.

Grimshaw M (2015) “In spite of the death of God”: Gabriel Vahanian’s secular theology. Palgrave Communications; 1: 15025.

Harvey V (1970) Reflections on the teaching of religion in America. Journal of the American Academy of Religion; 38 (1): 17–29.

Kelley S (2015) Hermeneutics and genocide: Giving voice to the unspoken. Palgrave Communications; 1: 15031.

Robbins J W (2003) In Search of a Non-Dogmatic Theology. The Davies Group, Publishers: Aurora, CO.

Robbins J W and Crockett C (2003) Foreword In: Winquist C E (ed) The Surface of the Deep. The Davies Group, Publishers: Aurora, CO.

Robbins J W and Crockett C (2015) A radical theology for the future: Five theses. Palgrave Communications; 1: 15028.

Wigg-Stevenson N (2015) From proclamation to conversation: Ethnographic disruptions to theological normativity. Palgrave Communications; 1: 15024.