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

Friday, February 9, 2024

Common Sense Christian Wisdom from my friend Rance - Feb 2023

Common Sense Christian Wisdom
from my friend Rance
February 2024

Let's Talk about the New Testament Gospels

by Rance Darity

I’m inclined to believe that the four Gospels are not written by writers who actually knew Jesus or were first hand witnesses to the resurrection.

I am inclined to believe that the names that were attached to the various Gospels were not the actual authors of these texts but were those assigned to them by later tradition. Why? The Gospel writers were sophisticated writers not fisherman or tax collectors.

I’m [also] quite certain that the four Gospels were preceded by oral traditions carried forward by those who were the earliest Christians.

It’s nearly certain that Mark was the earliest Gospel and that Matthew and Mark depended upon Mark as their primarily written source for their own compositions. (The Gospel of John also seems to be familiar with the Synoptic tradition.)

The many scholarly books and articles over the past hundred years or more trying to sort out the so-called ‘Synoptic Problem’ have gone over this issue with a fine tooth comb. Not all issues are resolved until this day, but most adhere to ‘Markan Priority.’

John’s Gospel is notoriously difficult to assess historically. It’s quite obvious that John is using language that did not actually come from the mouth of Jesus. This Gospel is very highly theological.

I believe that some of the material in the Gospels is manufactured and not historical. The accounts of the birth of Jesus are a prime example. This is not to say they are worthless, for the purpose of these accounts was to say something important about Jesus as the Son of God sent from the Father.

All that being said, can we really trust the Gospels and the gospel [of Jesus]?

My position is this:

As our canonical spiritual and theological reliable guides to faith in Christ, I believe that the church must be continually led by the Gospels and the New Testament. They are what nurtures and guards our faith. They all witness to something extraordinary, at the center of which is the story that God raised Jesus from the dead and made him king of the Jews and Lord of the world.

Rance Darity
February 8, 2024

* * * * * * *

Your Gospel is too small if…

by Rance Darity

Your Gospel is too small if…

  • You dwell more on trying to convert people than on seeking to live out the things Jesus taught.
  • You summarize salvation as only what happens in a personal conversion.
  • You have a formula for ‘getting people saved.’
  • You believe it’s primarily about people’s ‘souls’ that need saving.
  • You don’t think church is important.
  • You think believing in Jesus and obeying Jesus are two vastly different things.
  • You think only Christians are going to be saved.
  • You think it’s all about ‘going to heaven when you die’ and not about doing God's will on earth as it is in heaven.
  • You barely think about the resurrection of the body.
  • You barely think about the incarnation.
  • You barely care about the created world and caring for the environment.
  • You think that caring for the poor is optional.
  • You think the kingdom of God depends on the success of American capitalism.
  • You identify Christianity with a particular view of politics, particularly conservative politics.
  • You are more worked up about illegals entering your country than you are about hungry [or caged] children
  • You think more guns are your salvation.

Rance Darity
February 8, 2024

* * * * * * *

Inerrancy: The Red
Herring of Evangelicalism

by Rance Darity

Do you still have any of your sweetheart's old love letters from when you dated? If so, do you judge them to be inauthentic or untrustworthy if they contain an inadvertent scientific or historical mistake? 

Of course not. That is not the proper criteria by which to judge such revelations of the heart. Everyone of us is prone to make a casual error in mundane correspondence. What is essential in such human communications is that the most important matters be true, not that every detail conform to pedantic perfection that lie at the periphery. We value those letters for more than scientific reasons. The main thing is the main thing. 

How silly, then, to argue that the literature of the Bible must be above all such common human traits. Demanding such unusual perfection and inerrancy seems to suggest that we know better than God just how he should have communicated to us. But are we in the place of God to decide what kinds of books should or should not pass for divine communication? After all, God has always chosen fallible human vessels, words, and actions to communicate his will. According to a good source, his communication to us does not reach human perfection until his own Son makes his grand entrance (see Hebrews 1:1-2). 

How much does it really matter whether Judas committed suicide by hanging himself (Matthew 27) or by a violent fall (Acts 1)? Or how essential is it to the primary message of the Bible whether it was Judas or the priests who bought a field with the thirty pieces of silver? These and many other marginal contradictions do not betray the faithful purpose of the Bible as much as we might think. They merely underscore the point that God spoke through people, the same kind of people who write less than perfect love letters to their sweethearts. What matters most is that they actually do carry the essential freight of the gospel. It is to that end that they claim our attention and loyalty. They speak. We listen. They guide. We follow. And the main thing is the main thing.

You reply that 'all scripture is inspired by God.' And it is. Scripture is inspired by God's Holy Spirit of love to lead us into the knowledge of Christ and  his salvation, as well as how to live in light of this story. But this is all the more reason for us not to try and re-direct the Bible's real authority into matters it did not intend to claim. To attempt to do so will only lead us astray, placing our minds and attention on issues that are not worth defending. How much better to follow Scripture where it intends to lead us, and not into questions and disputes of doubtful spiritual value.

So no, the Bible is not an inerrant letter but a love letter from God to us.. 😎

Rance Darity
February 8, 2024