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

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

R.E. Slater - A Country Idyll (prose)

A Country Idyll

by R.E. Slater

Today is one of those really cold wintry days in Michigan where time is a given and outdoor adventures are kept to a minimum unless you have the proper warm flannelled clothes, heavy coat, thick boots, hat, and scarf, and the personal ability to endure the cold and actually enjoy it.

Myself, though I am growing old, I still love winter, its wonder, solitude, silence, and ferocity. The worse it gets the more I love it. In childhood if there was a raging blizzard blowing and drifting outside I and my brother were in the "teeth of it" as we sledded down our tall hills to then scramble up them, then down, again-and-again until we tired.

And when not sliding we were testing our "daring do" abilities by jumping into deep snowdrifts nineteen feet down trying to hit bottom (we never did) to see if we could scale back up them or fight our way out of their massif miens. But do not worry, those hillside drifts were skinny, more tall than wide. Four feet at best, sometimes more.

Across our hills lay the old 150-year-old barn where the winds would gather to crest the frozen fence lines and blow across the hill tops ringing the wetland below. There, on the hills or up at the barn we could expect 25 to 30 feet of snowdrift four to six foot deep blown lengthwise and down the contour of the hills. When younger we built very long luge runs bored like tunnels through the bottoms of the drifts. And within their interiors we built one and two-person snow rooms from early morning until late at night when the bunny rabbits hopped about, and we could watch them like gophers from our dens. Later, when older, we learned how to "bust through their tops" with a snowmobile gunning the engine straight up the big hills, then slamming the drift front-on, trying to carry 30 or so feet of air before landing on the downward side of the sloped hill.

We had a lot of fun during the winters. Dad would plow the drives and stack large snow piles by the dilapidated chicken coop or barn and as the plowed snow grew higher and higher in height and girth we waited and waited until pulling out the iron shovel-spades from nearby garage, began carving out our own majestic snow castle; or play king-on-the-hill like we did at school, to be pushed down rolling all the way to the bottom of the massive snow pile.

And on icy days when not using our Radio Flyer metal-runner sleds on the hills, we would glide across the flat icy fields steering around tufted island of wild grasses where the snow gave in and stopped our fun. Sometimes we ran a hundred feet and sometimes we never stopped until we reached the icicled fence lines. It was a lot of fun.

And then there were the holidays of Christmas and forced winter school closures where we waxed luxuriant to play board games through the morning till bored then bundled up to visit our grand old grandma next door bereft of granddad back when we were too young to understand.

She would watch us slide down her chimney's "coal shute" built into the house as an anchorage to the outer chimney; or make labyrinthine mazes with our booted feet, scooting across the crusty snow working around-and-around or, in-and-out, then play catch-me-tag as we scampered about the maze trying to catch one another.

When cold, we would fly into the old farmhouse's back "work room" or "ready room" where dad, his brothers and sisters, and my uncles and aunts five generations back, would gather to dress for the fields and dairy barns; or undress and clean up after a long day of farming and husbandry.

Most days, we flew in to warm up our little bodies. Which delighted grandma no end. We would peel off our wet outer clothes and iced-up buckle boots to be lured within to Graham Crackers and milk as we explored again the old house with its framed pictures and family rooms.

And on special days when coming indoors we might find grandma working about two very large, vat-like, and rounded laundry tubs filled with steaming hot water rising about her fragile frame and filling the ready-room with much need heat. There we would watch with child-like eyes grandma move about the tubs stirring the wet clothes in the hot waters or winding them through a sturdy pre-1930s hand wringer before clothes pinning all to a strung line about the clapboard room.

She always gave a wry, toothy smile from her diminutive figure clad in thin gingham dress before measuring ourselves to her frame shoulder to shoulder to see if we might be as tall as she! By age ten we had caught up with our beloved "second mom" before scampering down the cement floor hall to a back anteroom where an inside - and importantly, an unfrozen hand pump served up the best of coldest waters in a speckled blue enameled tin cup.

We lived in paradise and didn't even know it...

And if our busy dad wasn't on the roads policing or, up at the fire barns cleaning up the ash soot of the fire equipment and trucks after a fire, or driving our school bus morning and afternoon, we might find him up at cold barn in the dark of night servicing the plow tractor so it would be ready for use. He would add oil, gas, grease, check the tire chains, and always place a trickle charger on the battery to keep it in good health on cold nights.

Looking around the night-filled blackened barn lay hundred-year whatnot and older, inexplicable, paraphernalia. The kind of stuff you see in Midwest antique stores. To us, it was junk, much used, and never removed by the hands that had placed it there years and years and years ago. There it lay with thick dust upon it underneath a mouldy atmosphere of age.

While dad worked, we would climb up a rickety wooden rung ladder nailed into the beams which rose above the iron implements of plow, disk or tractor, thirty feet into the air, then fling upon a heavy 3' X 3'-foot double planked door to gain entry into the loft. Within, what once held hay now held more disused antiques. On summer days the space was filled with floating/wafting dust motes... but in the black, only the shafts of light from the dim bulb below gained entry through the upper planked floor.

One especially good memory I have is that on the worst of the winter storms or summer gales, I would brave the elements to gain the barn, squeeze through between the jammed tractor doors, and sit in the loft above listening to the old barn groan and moan telling me of its hoary memories as I might imagine them from the dissolute litter lying about me.

In my mid-twenties I sadly tore down the old wood barn. We were selling all our homesteaded acreage as all my relatives were dying or too old to keep the farm with their day jobs. We had already sold the old sixty-foot Quonset steel barn which held the dairy herd below under heavy planked floor. It had been disassembled and rebuilt north of us on an active pig farm. Forty years later I was blessed to walk within its structure at the consent of the owner who had torn it down, and with my cousin and wife, we fell silent and simply listened to the movement of the old iron beams swaying and creaking for a while. It was the finest of symphonies to our humble hearts and ears.

As I took down my heritage, I first removed the attached-and-slated corn crib then proceeded to remove the ancient, boarded siding and overlapping ribs. Dad wanted all the old nails removed and bucketed, which took some time. Once stripped of naked of cladding I next tried to undowel the 6/8" wooden tendon pins and the massive 14/16" beam pins to no avail. Worse, I could see all the work down 150 years ago by my ancestor who had hand-adzed each beam across the length of all four of its sides. This was truly a labor I did not like nor one I had wished to do.

Watching, my dad and his brother (my uncle) suggested pulling down the structure with the old tractor. It was an old, rusted Farmall M that had been well cared for and never spent one night outside in the rain or snow. We strapped a length of chains to the back frame of the tractor then commenced tugging-and-pulling 8 of the 12 main upright beams holding everything up: Imagine walking alongside a broken, tottering structure to attach chains to several corner and side beams... we left the interior beams alone of course.

One by one we broke the bottoms of the grand, noble, upright beams, until the whole skeleton finally gave in along with the falling tinned plated roof. In our moment of glory, we each found a deep sadness which comes from living too long. I have grieved for years over the loss of our pioneered land, our farm buildings, my grandparents, and the many overwhelming memories of family and friends working the fields and gardens together, picnicking, hunting, or playing baseball on the hay fields.

We lived in paradise and didn't even know it...

To grant homage to the pre-industrial, agrarian pioneering days of yesteryear, I was listening one winter day in early December to my schoolteacher read to me in second of third grade the wintry idyll, Snowbound, by John Greenleaf Whittier. As I sat at my old fold-top desk listening to the verse's tones and lights I felt a deep, inner affinity for the words and imagery being read.

Here, as my own generations had done for many years, in this simple one-room school built 150 years ago by my ancestors; where I walked every morning and mid-afternoon across the hay and grain fields, and dairy pastures; climbing up-and-over the boxed-wired rotting fence posts and lines; or drawing through the barbed-wired and rusted post fence lines; grudgingly wading through wet morning dews of field clover with my lunchbox in one hand and books in the other; where my pants, thin socks, and worn shoes took all morning to dry; here, I fell in love with a well-scripted verse by a poet I never knew. And though I have tried my own hand at this written art I realize it is only for the gifted few who have the muse and verve within the souls which might spill their words across the gilded page welling-up deeply held, visceral feelings we thought had long died within us long ago.

So, here, at the start of January's dark wintry days and blacker, moonless nights, is a poem you may, or may not like. But at the poetry site I am directing you too, you may find other poems to explore, read, muse, or share.

To all wintry travellers seeking a warm fire to sit by,
and a soft light to read by in socked feet and flannel shirt,
of versed dreams remembering yesteryear's youth,
or loss loves and refound fortitudes...
enjoy these seldom moments of distant memory
dulled by the intervening years of a lived life....

- re slater

R.E. Slater
January 16, 2024

John Greenleaf Whittier - Snowbound, A Winter Idyl