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

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Process Theology and Radical Theology Compared as Alike and Different

Process Theology and Radical Theology
Compared as Alike and Different

by R.E. Slater

I thought it might be helpful to elucidate the corollaries between process theology and radical theology and found an article that can speak of a religious faith like Christianity in the post-Christian sense of its character, ends, and objectives which Christianity, as an institutionalized religion, has not accomplished in itself. Rather, it holds onto all the things which it should let go as a more faithful radical theology will say time and again. And to which gives radical theology its modus operandi when the church fails in speaking for the divine who burns with love and loving creation.

For myself as a process Christian, reclaiming my Jesus faith through a theology of Love and Loving engagement with the world, I can sympathize with radical theology's observations without necessarily exchanging my faith for non-faith. And like radical theology, any seriously self-examining religious theology - even that of Christianity to it's past doctrines, dogmas, and practices - must go through a deconstruction period when fallen into those broken spaces burdened to become more than it is in it's current missions and teachings.

I find these periods of spiritual penitence extremely helpful. It is why the historic church has burned itself down time-and-again when searching to fulfill Christ's mission to love "self and neighbour". Albeit, more often in unloving ways and directions; and, sometimes correctly when observing it's present outcomes in the world and community.

Process Christianity, like Emergent Christianity and Progressive Christianity before it, is this era's latest response to Trumpian Evangelical harm, oppression, bigotry, and refusal to respond positively to social and environmental justice in equitable reformative seeking socio-ecological balance and reclamation. Something a process Christian would expansively describe as a socio-economic, socio-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, ecological society in the making. That both church and government, business and society, can find spiritual renewal by driving towards healthier practices of fair-and-equal living with one another when rebuilding societies toward the goals of ecological civilization where all faiths and beliefs work together - rather than apart and at war with one another - towards loving justice and graceful community building.

Even as parts of Christianity truly seeks to repent and repurchase itself from its present wreckages so too does radical theology claim the same task but without God, Jesus, the church's Christian heritages, etc. Rather, radical theology approaches altruistic societal living and interpersonal healing from bad religion misspeaking spiritual truths (sic, I like the term eusocialism in action). Radical theology does so through a humane-and-humanitarian perspective of modern man swapping the church's iconography of words, pictures, and symbols for that of radical theology stripped of God but using God language.

In radical theology's epistemological streams it correctly teaches the harming influences of bad religion when attempting to reset - or reframe - the religious personage within the present streams of living fuller lives than before in the church as one's being is filled with higher outlooks, causations, dispensations, and economies of itself. A type of spirituality which is unlinked from religion in order to see the processual streams of living water displacing around their beings. Essentially, radical theology is doing what the church does not do - inspire and give hope.

This later, of course, describes process theology perfectly as abounding living streams abiding within the greater creational streams present in the the divine Being of God's Self which releases us from the bondage of this world's unloving acts, actions, teachings, and attitudes, into the loving, healing, generative streams of which the ministry, passion, cross, and resurrection of Christ speaks. One might say in a radical theological expression that "Jesus realigned himself and his followers" with God's living streams of abundant life everywhere present in Edenic resurrections of this life's reclaimed light from dark places.

This, in essence, is what process theology is doing when keeping to the Christian faith but re-synergizing and re-energizing it's doctrines, dogmas, and mission with infusively new urban language which plunges it's newer penitents into Jesus' living steams of water in fundamentally effusive, and radically Jesus-living, faith that wished to live the Christian faith in better and more constructive constructs from what the Church had become in it's polluted streams of disease-ridden, guck and blight unhealthy to drink, disseminate, or distill in any form.


R.E. Slater
June 29, 2023

Radical Sacramentality: The Promise Of A Public Radical Theology

In this article, I argue that a radical public theology that sheds its religious garment in a kenotic exocentric movement toward the world functions as a radical sacrament that is both faithful to its Christian origins and relevant to Western culture.

I’ve written three previous articles on the need [for] Christianity and its theology to become radically public. This publicness pertains to both Christianity’s praxis and discourse. In my first article, “Faith, Atheism, and Beyond,” the argument is that Christian discourse, particularly Christian theology, needs to move beyond the faith vs atheism divide to regain its voice again. In my second article, “Christianity and Atheism: The Necessary Publicness Of Faith,” I argued for a further elaboration of the need for the publicness of Christian discourse. My argument was largely based on a brief analysis of both the history of Western thought and Christianity’s bad track record with regard to it's calling throughout history. In my third article, “The Publicness of Christian Discourse As Divine Movement”, I further elaborate my argument by means of a few examples and a reference to the incarnation. This is the fourth and final installment of my mini-series on the necessity of the publicness of the Christian faith and especially its discourse.


My argument is a work in progress. Running a content marketing firm doesn’t allow me to absorb a lot of books and spend a lot of time pondering, constructing, and theologizing. Luckily there are hot showers for inspiration and Saturday pm moments of frenzied typing. So there goes.

This is how I will proceed in this article. I will first describe 5 general movements or changes that I see as necessary for Christian discourse to regain a public relevance in the Western discourses on culture, economics, and politics. After that, I will focus on the sacramental nature of the Christian community. I will attempt to interpret it in a radical way, i.e. with regard to its roots and with regard to the anti-traditional tradition of radical theology.

My own amazing discovery as I was dissecting the elements and charting the trajectory needed to achieve public relevance, was that the move toward radical theology is at once a retrieval of one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of the Christian tradition.

Theology’s task is to reveal the sacramentality of embodied life. This is at once its theological injunction and its practical path toward regaining its public function. In other words, theology’s lack of publicness is a failure at the heart of current theological discourse itself (not to mention Christian existence).

Five Changes Western Christianity Needs To Make

When I argue for changes, it is always up to individual Christians and Church organizations how much they want to change and to what extent they have been awakened to the need for change as well as the potential that resides within their religion’s repository. But here are 5 changes that I consider absolutely essential:

1. Goodbye to Organized Religion

There needs to be a massive shift from an ancient framework of reference to a new one. To be precise, a religious framework needs to make room for a non-religious one. This is not a sell-out to a secular world but an acknowledgment of the secular nature of the civilization that has emerged out of the Enlightenment. Christianity needs to face the truth about its backwardness and disastrous contribution to the political situation that birthed the Enlightenment. It needs to see how its dogmatic and authoritarian attitudes stood in the way of progress and positive developments in science.

At the same time, Christianity should do so while affirming the religious nature of all human talk and praxis. There is a huge difference between religion and religiousness. Religiousness drives humanity and gives birth to religions, philosophies, science, art, and ideologies alike. Religion is but one specific instance of religiousness and so is secularity. But the move must nonetheless be made. In fact, I’d like to say that Christianity needs to discover its own secularity.

2. A Change in the Concept of God

There needs to be a massive shift in the concept of God, or better even, the conceptualization of what concepts are. The word “god” is a mere signifier; a signifier for the unknown that nevertheless was encountered in ethical resolves as well as religious and existential experiences. The fact that entire books were wrapped around such calls, experiences, and insights doesn’t make it more concrete than what initially gave rise to the books.

Moreover, “gods” are constructions. They are things we put together to perform various functions: to be an oracle, the foundation of ethics, a means to power, a way to overcome one’s enemies, a way to regulate the various classes of society and the social traffic between them, and to order society in a certain hierarchy. Gods are human artifacts.

The fact that the secular gods are no longer products of religion but cultural, economic, or social necessities, speaks both to the fact that gods remain important but also to the fact that they are always constructed. And no god is more constructed than the sovereign who presides over the papal and Calvinistic distribution of power. Gods are machines, “perpetuae mobilae,” self-propagating “eternal” devices that operate without the need for being fed with energy. All they require is our imagination.

For this reason, functional atheism (instead of committed metaphysical atheism like that of the New Atheists) might be a good baseline, as Heidegger shows in his “Bing and Time.” But given the religious nature of human thought and action, even atheism, as well as secularism and free-market capitalism, have religiosity inscribed into them. Perhaps, we’ll better stick with the nomenclature of gods and goddesses.

3. A Change In Christianity’s Project

Western Christianity has for many centuries been about one thing: truth discovery. As a truth discovery project, including truth’s preservation, categorization, proclamation, and defense, Christianity has been in the business not of sharing a gospel of peace but a rule of power.

The cognitive thrust has always been in the service of power. Whoever is right has the right connection with the divine. Whoever has the sole claim to being connected with the divine is the divine’s representative and rightful heir. Once you understand this, European history becomes relatively easy to understand.

The cognitive must be replaced, I believe, with an embodiment of the gospel (whatever that term means, but I’m freely using it here anyway). Embodiment of the gospel implies automatically a renunciation of power because the One whose gospel we aim to embody was the powerless prophet, the god who died.

4. A Change In The Understanding Of Christ

About that prophet who was the god who died. I strongly believe that we need to make the move from a literal understanding of Jesus as the Son of God to a metaphorical understanding of Jesus as God. (In what I say here, I don’t mean to draw a boundary around what is possible with the figure of Christ, I’m merely pointing in a possible direction of which the defining characteristic is what it points away from, namely, mythological religion.)

Why do I propose this move? (a) Because the notion of “Son of God” is completely meaningless unless it refers to some action figure in a superhero movie. (b) Because the term was always meant metaphorically in the first place (does God the Father have a body with sexual organs? No? Then “Son of God” is a metaphor–geez, how hard can this be?) (c) Because a metaphorical understanding of “Son of God” gets us so much closer to the idea behind it.

Jesus is the harbinger of a new form of being a new form of existence. With him, we come to the realization that the gods we always worshiped were fashioned after human imagination and therefore constructs. With Jesus, a new concept of god breaks through (yes, within a religious framework) in which we see god as weak and powerless.

With Christ, the eternal, immortal, omnipotent, all-knowing dies and is obliterated on a cross. In Jesus, as the Word become flesh, we see the god we constructed materialized as the antithesis of our religious imagination. In Jesus, we realize that the idea of god is manifested in self-giving love. We now understand that this divine passion we so desire and crave is something we can’t stand being enfleshed. And yet, there it is.

And thus, with Jesus, we have a non-religious concept of god. The constructed god is kenotically obliterated, exocentrically expressed outward to humanity in the flesh, and away from religious constructions of gods and idols. Our hope is fulfilled in Christ and it frightens us. Jesus represents the new humanity that exists in the flesh in exocentric selfhood. We recoil at the invitation to participate in this new godhood.

5. A Change To Exocentricity

Continuing along the thread of exocentricity, i.e. the move away from the center of the self as a defendable unit of consciousness, our religion, Christianity, needs to be reconciled similarly exocentrically. Exocentricity is a word that means: out of or away from the center.

Our religion is not about secret insider knowledge that talks about being born again as something you can’t understand but need to experience, about the mysteries of Christ, about the secret practices of faith, mystical experiences, or the hidden treasures of our teachings. Bollocks.

Christian truth is publicly available truth. Truth as interpretation of the world, truth as the call for justice, truth as a path to meaningful selfhood, truth as the way of Christ that leads from the self to the other. And what about God? Oh, God became flesh, remember. There is no remainder.

Christian truth is (or ought to be) a contribution to the ongoing search of Western civilization to the meaning and purpose of human life, and to the ideas of what it is to be a human community. It is a prophetic antithesis to the standardized practices and societal structures that always tend to become a constrictive system that eventually squeezes the life out of the little ones. Christian truth speaks truth to power and speaks of the way of Christ as a path toward a new humanity, i.e. the kingdom of God.

Hence there is no arcane discipline as Bonhoeffer suggested. Instead, there is openness, accountability, and, if must be, a cross on a hill.

Radical Sacramentality

All of the above transformations, in spite of their seemingly blasphemous radicality, points in the direction of something that is at the very heart of Christianity: incarnation, kenosis, sacramentality. The central issue is that theological discourse needs to deliver on the sacramental nature of human flesh and all of creation as it is encoded in the doctrine of the incarnation.

One might think that I’m basically kicking the legs from under Christianity with the five points above. But I’m not. I’m retrieving their essence in my call for a radical sacrament. A brief discussion of the following words I used in my opening sentence will make this clear: religious garment, kenotic exocentric movement, radical sacrament.

An Exocentric Kenotic Religionless Movement

If the Word became flesh, Christianity has done a great job of turning the flesh into word again, hiding the flesh of the Christ behind shrouds of doctrine, layers of religiosity, and traditional sedimentation. Christianity needs to shed its doctrine, its religious appearance, its traditionality in order to retrieve afresh the Christian Gospel.

As a radically exocentric movement, as discussed under point 5 above, Christianity, i.e. the Christian movement, the Church, Christian discourse, needs to become a kenotic community. Kenosis is the technical term in Christianity to point to the movement of the Christ as he emptied himself to become one of us. Nothing was left of his equality with God, Paul says in his Epistle to the Philippians (see New Testament), as he became a slave to all of humanity.

Just like his identity and origin were obliterated as he was nailed on the cross, so our Christian identity and Christian tradition need to be relinquished as we seek to be to our world what Christ was to his (because revelation is today and not 2000 years ago). This is what it means to be religionless.

Becoming the Sacrament

Thus we become the true sacrament to the world. What is a sacrament? A material substance that becomes the bearer of divine grace. “This is my body and my blood,” Christ said as he shared bread and wine. Christ’s body was the sacrament of divine grace in order that our frail and mortal human bodies might become sacraments of grace and love and peace in this world.

By letting go of Christianity as a religion without the need or desire to protect our belief system we can be relevant again for the world. Without the need to provide arguments for the existence of the Christian God or even the divinity of Jesus and by adopting the radical kenotic move into the world without remainder–just as Christ came without remainder–we become the sacrament.

-  jdk

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December 29, 2020

October 25, 2019

March 18, 2019