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, January 18, 2024

John Cobb - A Relational Worldview for the Common Good


A Relational Worldview for the Common Good

Center for Process Studies, 5678 SE Harlene St.,
Milwaukie, OR 97222, United States
I received a mass-mailed letter from Process Theologian Dr. John B. Cobb Jr., which I wish to share to those of you who may be interested in learning more about process philosophy and theology. Not many years ago I discover AN Whitehead and shortly thereafter John B. Cobb, Jr. who took Whitehead's work and applied it more rigorously to Christian and non-Christian religious theology. As a corollary John has expanded his process paradigms and practicum applications into the Natural Sciences, Psychoanalytic, Sociological, and Ecological disciplines. The generations of Whiteheadians since have likewise followed suit.

For myself my main interest was to find a new hermeneutic to update the conservative / progressive evangelicalism I had learn within a Modernal Era setting. As I discovered, the best I could do was to recenter the God I love and worship into the center of my evangelical doctrines, remove their Westernized interpretations of God and Christianity, and replace the bible with Jesus and the Love of God. That was my new hermeneutic. But my new philosophic-theology would be Whiteheadian process thought as an Integral Theory of Everything (WPT-ITOE). It would be applicable in a postmodern, postpostmodern, metamodern, and every succeeding era thereafter. Which is why it is a centering and integral philosophy built organically on relationships, experience, and spiritual (sic, more broadly, panpsychic re scientific cosmologies and process-based metaphysics).

A few years back I took an online class with Dr. Cobb when he was 94 or 95 years of age. I've also have read his published articles and a few books. Likewise with Whitehead. Certainly I wish I could do this more rigorously through a doctoral and post-doctoral program but time, expense, and age are against me. I will depend upon others more expert than myself for information even as I expand and explore Whiteheadian thought through everything I now write or think about as I have done these past many years.

Nonetheless, I consider myself a belated third generation Whiteheadian and early fourth generation protege. In my schemata I loosely associate all second gens to have studies process thought at the University of Chicago in the 1950s before it was closed down and transferred to Claremont University, Pasadina, CA. And that all third gens were contemporaries with John Cobb having learned Whitehead with him or have been trained by him in his professorial years thereafter. And finally, all fourth gens are those who are not trained by John Cobb but are receiving his words and meanings through his mentors and teachers.

Now for many of you, you will be playing catch-up. Bur if you use the Index links I have provided to you on the right hand topic column there will lie within those Indexes hundreds of articles. Too, there will be many, many, many website links to even more progressive treasure troves. I've tried to make learning process thought - and especially process theology, quantum science, and evolution - as simple and practical as I can. That said, I am now longer writing ABC kind of articles but more elaborate and in-depth articles which are building upon past dialogues and discussions.

Too, what I have written, and will be writing, will be avante garde. Some process theologians and scientists are just now beginning to expand and explore what I have plowed ground previously upon. I think of Andrew Davis and Matt Segall re their esotericisms and metaphysical cosmologies... things Im interested in especially as they link to my past Reformed-Conservative-Emergent Evangelical Christianity. Further, for those of you studying Open and Relational Theology I suggest that you more properly understand that direction in terms of an Open and Relational PROCESS Theology. This is where that subject most properly lives and breathes. All other Westernized foundations create hazard, trouble, and death.

Lastly, let us salute and thank John Cobb for his faithful testimony to Christ and for all the work he has provided to humanity over the course of his many long and wise years. He has become one of my heroes in life to whom I will continue to read his past titles and thoughts so that I keep to my source, as I wish to with Whitehead as well, as the years roll by. Thank you John for all the blessings you have provided and been to those of us seeking godly direction and practical application of Jesus' atoning redemption!

R.E. Slater
January 18, 2024

Short Shorts... Christian Sloganeering, Inspiration, Revelation, & Universalism

Short Shorts... Christian Sloganeering,
Inspiration, Revelation, & Universalism

What is Kitsch?

Well, it's NOT the Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch... he's cool.

Art as Kitsch

It seems religious kitsch is everywhere on social media regardless the religion or faith. Here, I ask the question whether it is useful or not? Offensive? Helpful?

I suspect the answer lies in the eyes of the beholder as it would with any display of art...

...and also what the artist wishes to communicate to us about their faith or beliefs.

Some artistic kitsch I like... It may make me laugh, cry, be cynical, or be uplifted by it.

The ones displayed below I generally don't like though I realize they are telling us to be thoughtful of how Christian behavior to be loving, just and wise, and to emissaries of Jesus wherever we go.

On Parenting

In the case of raising and teaching little kids I'd like to see less abject brainwashing and more liberty for them to be directed to ask better questions when trained up in the household of their parents.

Children are innocent souls and if they are allowed, a bit of childhood respite from the wickedness of the world would be nice to be encouraged at all times.

And when approaching the subject of God as they grow older I think sets them up for good or for ill to be worked out the rest of their lives. Hence, a bit of caution to religious parents on the energy of their beliefs. Allow children to breathe a bit. Become themselves a bit. Simply watching you will be instruction enough when the time comes to verbalize wisdom and beliefs.

I love children and always wish to error towards love, patience, broad-mindedness, and good will. We each need wisdom when it comes to children... and with that wisdom we might learn ourselves and share it with those around us.

R.E. Slater
January 18, 20224


Definitions from Oxford Languages
kitsch /kiCH/ 

as a noun
art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
  • "the lava lamp is an example of sixties kitsch"
as an adjective
considered to be in poor taste but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
  • "the front room is stuffed with kitsch knickknacks, little glass and gilt ornaments"
  • a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition.


Kitsch (/kɪtʃ/ KITCH; loanword from German) is a term applied to art and design that is perceived as naïve imitation, overly eccentric, gratuitous or of banal taste.

The modern avant garde traditionally opposed kitsch for its melodramatic tendencies, its superficial relationship with the human condition and its naturalistic standards of beauty. In the first half of the 20th century, kitsch was used in reference to mass-produced, pop-cultural products that lacked the conceptual depth of fine art. However, since the emergence of Pop Art in the 1950s, kitsch has taken on newfound highbrow appeal, often wielded in knowingly ironic, humorous or earnest manners.

To brand visual art as "kitsch" is often still pejorative, though not exclusively. Art deemed kitsch may be enjoyed in an entirely positive and sincere manner. For example, it carries the ability to be quaint or "quirky" without being offensive on the surface, as in the Dogs Playing Poker paintings.

Along with visual art, the quality of kitsch can be used to describe works of music, literature or any other creative medium. Kitsch relates to camp, as they both incorporate irony and extravagance.

* * * * * *

Christian Beliefs


I had two reactions to the pictures above and below...
First the con... however I read this bit of nonsense it's still crap. If religion isn't true and gets exposed by science than let's put faith to death immediately. But if religion can survive the true truths of the universe than just maybe its metaphysic might be true too. Never be afraid to autopsy your faith. We want a living faith... not one that is dead and fighting for its zombie-self to manipulate and control our agency! - re slater

Now the pro... as people of science-and-faith we are to live in the present, not flee from difficulties... especially as presented by religious zealots defending an idolatrized faith. If prophecy is in any sense alive today as I think it is, we stand up and tell (forthtell, NOT foretell) our generations it's goods and bads, pros and cons, about itself. We don't stand mum and hope to leave disruption. Esp against sin and evil whether birthed by a church gone bad or leaders turned rotten. - re slater

* * * * * *

Bench Pressing with Rance
Subject: Universalism

Ok, warning. A good many of my friends may not want to read this. And I admit I sound pretty self-righteous, but here goes....

Today, I met and talked with a pastor who serves a non-denominational church in Alabama who only a few months ago became a persuaded Christian universalist.

He, like me in a previous life, came from the ‘free grace’ movement (names like Charles Ryrie, Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, etc) and in fact his church was part of that movement. We both agreed that, despite its name, it is one of the most narrow and doctrinally legalistic theological groups around. In reality, ‘grace’ is reduced to an abstraction and salvation is reduced to something like a commercial transaction. Unless you get all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted in the ‘faith vs works b.s.,’ you’re probably not saved, according to them.

There are approximately 8.1 billion people living on earth right now. So your chances of ‘going to heaven’ (as they put it) are extremely thin. Billions of people will roast forever according to these wacko beliefs.

From my research there are somewhere between 3.9 and 7.7 million Evangelical Christians in the world. That’s a mere 4-7% of the world’s billions of people who ever end up in heaven. By the time the ‘grace movement’ people get through with their nitpicking, only a fraction of those who identify as Evangelicals will be saved. How crazy is this? Plenty, if you ask me.

Evangelicals believe they are the only religious people on earth who will be saved. In general, Catholics aren’t ’really saved.’ Liberal and progressive mainline Christians arent saved. And certainly those Orthodox and Coptic Christians aren’t either. Muslims, ditto. Hindus, ditto. Buddhists, ditto.

And it gets even more depressing still since most Evangelicals believe in a literal hell. This was one of the main reasons I departed from Evangelicalism. I could no longer tolerate this narrow view of the world informed by a legalistic narrow view of the gospel.

There’s no good news at all in this kind of Christianity. It’s 99% bad news. Who could begin to love a god who is willing to create children made in his own image only to condemn billions of them forever? Not me, thank you very much.

I was schooled in this stuff, brought up in a Southern Baptist context and then trained in fundamentalist colleges as a young man. But relatively speaking, it didn’t take me long to feel increasingly uncomfortable with such nonsense.

My deconstruction began nearly 40 years ago. I haven’t de-converted from Christian faith by any means, but after all these decades my faith looks very different now than it did back then.
As my new pastor friend told me today, ‘everything looks different now. I view people differently. I see God differently. And once I understood universal salvation, I saw it everywhere in the Bible.’

I had to agree.

- Rance, 1.17.2024

Comment 1

I think you hit this spot on Rance. Might I publish it on my site? As always, I'll add a few thoughts too. You're my hero! BTW, I left one church after 27 years as I had become tired of my fellowship's incessant judgmentalism of others-not-like-themselves.

I couldn't evangelize for God, or bring converts into the church, if the church wasn't going to provide them with a nourishing, enriching fellowship as vs some imagined legalistic interpretation as to what they thought was holy or not holy.
To this day connecting divine sovereignty to power and determinism curdles my stomach. Divine sovereignty is always about divine love working with creation towards blessed, redemptive ends. Not power. Not wrath. Not hell. Not Christian inquisitions.
Thx again. - re slater

Reply: Rance - "Of course, brother."

Comment 2
by RRW

Hi Rance. I don't think you sound so much self-righteous as misinformed. I read a lot of people saying things about "Evangelicals" that aren't necessarily and definitely not universally true. I tend to distinguish Evangelical from Fundamentalist, though I recognize considerable overlap in many areas of thought.

My theological education started around Fuller Seminary (progressive? non-denominational Evangelical) and was consolidated at Regent College (also non-denominational, and very ecumenically diverse) as an Anabaptist. I suppose I'm something like a free-will baptist now, but I've always been rather iconoclastic, rejecting every post-biblical human tradition and line of thinking I could identify. I am not dogmatic about much except insofar as I am committed to biblical revelation as exemplified by apostolic teaching as represented by the canonical texts of the Old and New Covenants.

Abandon biblical revelation and you are on your own. If we are all on our own as to what truth is we are no longer thinking and acting as followers of Christ. He is our Lord; what he said as remembered and recorded by those who knew him best must be what we believe or we have departed from faith in him. If we recreate God in our own image however we see fit we are no longer fit for eternal life with him.

Universalism is one of those ways people impose their own thinking on the gospel as received. The words of Jesus are a plain refutation of that belief; eg., separating the sheep from the goats simply can’t be ignored as irrelevant here. And there is a lot more you have to excise from scripture to make the case for God’s eventual inclusion of everyone as members of His family. Someone in the comments mentioned that universalism results in monism, or in other words a deterministic world view. God would have to coercively override the will of those he created with free will by forcing them to accept him as God.

At some point our doctrines, if they are derived from scripture, have to all be correlated and coherent, otherwise they are not reasonable. I think it is not only possible but necessary for Christian teaching to be reasonable and coherent. That doesn’t mean the same as “logical” because a logical system requires more than humans are capable of (too much to explain that here, but ask if you want clarification). I think the Bible provides a coherent structure of beliefs if we mere humans don’t force it into our own distorted ways of thinking, which are then inherently incoherent and contradictory whether we realize it or not. I think that eternal conscious torment (torture!) is not a biblical doctrine. The only reasonable alternative is something like conditional immortality, with the expectation that some form of conscious and appropriate (just!) punishment is what scripture teaches, and then comes the “second death” of annihilation (the cessation of conscious existence) for the unfaithful and unbelieving.

Scripture does not teach that humans are immortal because we are created in the image of God. In fact Genesis teaches that because we have rejected the will and commandments of God we have lost the potential for immortality. The Old Covenant says we lost immortality and the New Covenant says we can regain it through faith in and obedience to Christ. People do not have God’s Spirit dwelling in them by nature; believers in Christ receive new life through the gift of Holy Spirit. Believe the Good News and you will be saved.

Reply by Rance
Richard, I have been very careful to build my faith in ultimate reconciliation for all on the Bible. A good case can be made for it, I assure you. I don’t even know where to start but simply to say it is how one reads scripture. The number of texts that explicitly state it are amazing.

Reply by RWW
Is there not an inherent conflict in proposing that the Covenant can be regained "through faith in and obedience to Christ" and "Believe the Good News and you will be saved?"

Reply by re slater
I no longer can read the bible as a "one-time" revelation. I believe the only kind of communication God provides is one that is daily and constant.

When I read the bible I read how past cultures thought about God... especially the Jewish culture. Jesus did too and had to correct Second Temple Judaism's covenantal legalisms of the day.

I feel much the same way....
God is a God of love... NOT a God of wrath and hate. That's what we do to one another when failing to love one another and creation-around-us again.
Further, Jesus revealed this loving God he called Father not with a sword but with targeted teaching on divine love and Spirit enablement.

Today, Christianity may simply expand the doctrine of inspiration to discover God never stopped talking to our hearts, minds, and souls by study, fellowship, experience, and history. 

If you wish, we might describe these events as General Inspiration as versus Special Inspiration... but when reading the bible it seems to me that all is generally inspiration and never one-on-one audible discussion except in the Christ-event when God became man.

As corollary, this would mean that the Christian commentaries, stories, and bios we read are from people moved perhaps a bit, perhaps a lot, or not at all, by the Spirit of God. To discern whether their words are from God I ask myself if God's love is at the center of the conversation and in their works. If not, they may have some things to say but I then read such beliefs in a different light as more human than divine. Some of which may be really helpful and some of which is complete rubbish.

How people think of God and act out their faith tells us a lot about the God they believe in.

For myself, divine love displays itself in acts which are healthy, healing, and redemptive.

When I read of God by those who push protestations, defensive apologies claiming biblical authority, or are generally off-putting to those around them, I read of people trying to push their idea of God on others. An idea which may be either good or bad. But love must always be the outcome as it must be the beginning and middle of any conversation.
As to the doctrine of hell it is what we do to one another rather than a place a wrathful God puts you in. Always remember, God is not hell nor is fellowship with God through Christ anything but redemption working itself out through us. And for the unbeliever, pagan, or non-Christian (my preferred term) God will always be a God to them as well despite religion or belief.

So why teach hell?

Well, that's the question isn't it... if there is no hell as the bible says there is... or as its Jewish culture in the first century may have believed; ...and certainly in what the early, middle, and late Middle Age church taught after (Catholic?) Dante's description of hell in his Divine Comedy of Hell's Inferno (published c.1321)... then what do we do with hell?

For myself, it is how we act towards one another and to nature around us. It is a description of our relationship with one another individually, familiarly, societally, and globally. Relationships are not places there are esoteric. And the pain and torture of a soul rueing life and troubles aptly describes a soul burning under the sin and evil caused.

The only place I find resolvement is in Jesus Christ's and the hell he took upon himself for us as God's sacrificial Lamb. Who served as our Atonement and Redeemer by the force of his life and death and resurrection. For without the resurrection, says the Apostle Paul, Jesus' death would not be legitimate. But with Jesus' ascension and transfiguration as the first fruits of salvation, we may find in Jesus One who will take our past, forgive it, and begin healing those of us seeking forgiveness and transformation.

Next topic...

As a former fundamentalist and later conservative evangelical I have to call my faith out. I've leaned into my original Baptist roots into Arminianism (free will) and thrown out Calvinism (divine determinacy).

Then expanded the former to incorporate and Open and Relational Theology.

And finally, I've removed the church's Westernized (Greek Hellenism) bias towards doctrine and replaced it with Whitehead's process philosophy and Cobb's process theology.

  • Because I can remove the limitations of Western philosophical theology upon church doctrines and traditions. It also allows me to freely use redactive tools upon the ancient biblical text to expand its godly content and to apply a loving divinity which is never absent of us.
  • Which is also why divine inspiration and revelation are important. If kept as a one-time reveal than God has bound us as God has bound God's Self. But I don't think God works this way... an imminent, intimately-near-to-us-never-to-leave-us God is always speaking, revealing, and inspiring. Some get it, many don't. Some get a bit of it while others make a "mash" of it.
  • When I read inspiring novels or fiction; see illuminating art pieces, paintings, and sculptures; hear the joy filling within a good rock opera or punk rock piece; or witness architects and landscapers weaving buildings and gardens around light and sound; I behold lively works of divine inspiration such as in the American Constitution with it's Bill of Rights. Public documents which give people liberty, personal rights, freedom, justice, and equality.
  • God is present and is presently doing what he can when his creation yearns to speak, be, and breathe atoning redemption and transfiguring healing to all.
Hence, at the center of love is:
  • humane and humanitarian forms of social justice;
  • intersectional faiths (certainly non-Christian faiths don't have Christ but in Process thought we can emphasize a redemptive center); and generally,
  • behave in progressively liberating norms of behavior with one another while abiding to love and covenantal integrity with one another.
Such thoughts never rests easily upon a Westernized conservative evangelicalism as its newer, postmodernal form of progressive evangelicalism can attest. But when uplifting Reformed and Evangelical doctrinnaire into Processual Theology's realms we may liberate bad ideas of God and judgment and recover the good news which is in Jesus anew. This, to me, is invaluable.
Lastly, if God is what evangelicalism says God is - whether Calvinistic or Arminian - than such a God is not worth following. And just like ancient man's ideas are always reforming the primal questions of purpose and destiny, so too those divinely driven burdens ask of God today to reveal a better Christ and more humane faith than in times past or present. Amen

Comment 3

I think people assume all forms of universal salvation are the same. The ultimate redemption that Brad Jersak, Chris Green and others put forward is one that has been in the historical church family all along. It includes judgement and "hell" but just sees these as penultimate not the final word. Can God's Love really fail? Will Jesus be all in all of will he not?

Reply by Rance - Exactly.