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Dear ____,

Thank you so much for the response! To be honest – I’ve been on here for at least a year – longer then that on some of the other sites…I have come to view ‘all of this’ with varying degrees of fascination, fear, and wonder, hahaha. This is a very big pond with very dirty water and a lot of very…lets just say…weird & dangerous fish! I still have hope that there are women out here worth taking chances for in terms of meeting them; I think I’ve met a few – but it was just not in the cards for us to be together. A number of them are actually facebook friends – and I’ve had the privileged (I do count it as that) of seeing them find love, marriage, and happiness – so I do know that it can and does happen! Just gotta be careful!

What I am I looking for? I think that *most* people are looking for unicorns or FWBs – that is to say that they could not find the perfect mate in their own imperfect words – so they have turned to the virtual – as if that will make a difference? I never garner any of their attentions – so I don’t worry about them, lol. The FWBs thing goes without saying – I believe that it is bass ackwards to have sex with someone first and then hope a meaningful relationship starts later, pffft.

In terms of what I’d hope to find on here; a new friend to have dinner with and engage in amazing conversations…someone who is successful in the ways that matter: when you surround yourself with that – it rubs off on you – you agree? I am attracted to strong female archetypes, but who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable to the right person, at the right time, and who has *most importantly* earned it. I’m following the map marked on my father’s map – whose are you following….?”
Hope this finds you well;)


Dogma vs. Idolatry

One must accept the possibility that the universal divine essence has within the continuum of human history disclosed objective realities regarding itself to humanity – and if these objective revelations (either revealed as objective truths, directly or indirectly [that is to say subjectively] are to be taken with some degree of respect and thus accorded the reality of their own potentiality – they must also be allowed the potential of offense; this is to say – you may not like what the universal divine essence has revealed about itself. Failure to accept these objective truths or even the potentiality of their existence does not make the followers of them bigots but it does allow for the reality that you yourself may be worshiping your own created god-image: an idol that you, yourself created consisting of your own acceptable means and rejections of other truths. People who constantly berate others who devoutly follow other traditions of faith and accuse them of dogma are often these same types of people – and a meaningful gauge of just how much of their own crap they are following is often directly proportional to just how reluctant they are to embrace anything that is potentially offensive to their own state of existential freedom.

As mentioned before, the purpose of this series is to provide non-traditional argumentation for the Pro-Life position, without turning to/appealing to the Christian scriptural cannon.

In the previous post – the issue of ‘Dehumanization, Incurred by Relational Convenience’ was discussed. In this post – I am referencing the philosophy of Emanuel Levinas – a philosopher in the Phenomenological Interpretive Tradition.

In a nutshell, Levinas survived the Holocaust & the brutality of the Nazis. He saw and understood that Fascism was really just another ‘modernist’ invention – and he knew very well that it had been trumped by the best and brightest minds from around the world, along with its many ideological tenents such as Eugenics, Darwinism, the the superiority of Statist Political systems.

He knew that a world that had given birth to Fascism, would give birth to other equally dysfunctional ‘isms’ – and that hope was abating for any sense to come to the world.

So he endeavored to formulate a ‘first philosophy’ – or a guiding principle that preceded Religion, Politics, or other assumed, interpretive frameworks of thought.

Levinas chose the face.

He argued that intrinsic to the face of the other, we find an infinity that cannot be fully absolved into meaningless objectivity. We are always confronted with the Other – and they are not us. They are someone different from us, ourselves – and their ‘infinity’ or otherness, is something that can serve as a vanguard against their dehumanization, objectification, and consequential destruction.

When you look into the face of an unborn child – what do you see? Do you see a child? Do you see a person? Or do you merely see a blob of tissue?

In each case, where man has systematically opressed and killed another group of men – they first stripped them of their humanity. If we can agree that within the face of another – there is humanity, then we are given pause in our plans to change how we related to them – if they become inconvenient to us.

Below is a formal essay that talks about Levinas.

I wrote this post, as a ‘purely philosophical’ argument for being Pro-Life. As you may know, the title of this essay series is ‘Between Athens and Jerusalem’ and it is taken from a comments by a Church Father, Tertullian – who famously asked “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” His query was essentially asking – what is the role of Philosophy in the defense of the Christian Faith. You can read more about his own thoughts on that here (

The purpose of this series, however, is to make purely philosophical defenses for Judeo-Christian subjects, without appealing to otherwise canonical (Biblical) authority. In this case – the subject is being ‘Pro-life’

This essay is from a response to a friend of mine on Facebook, Bob Bolt. The discussion can be found here (

Bob wrote:

Of course the Pakistani fundamentalists killed the vaccination aid workers using the pretext of some perversion of Koranic law (as well as evidence of the bogus immunization to get DNA samples from bin Laden’s kin). Irrational people see the world in terms of black and white. It’s not unlike the Christians in this country who oppose Planned Parenthood for their advocacy of choice and as a consequence deprive poor women of a host of essential non-controversial health services.

My response was as follows…

I respect (and value) your opinion, however – I do believe that comparing Evangelical Christians like myself to the Taliban is a bit of a stretch. I understand that these are very complex and deeply personal issues, which all of us believe in very passionately…allow me to explain why I feel like I must be Pro-Life.

It is true that I am a Conservative (& Pentecostal;) Evangelical Christian, and it is also true that I have done my best to live a life that would well reflect that {BTW, as an example, you can tell your friends that you know ‘the 40 year old virgin, lol) but when it came to this issue, I made an attempt to not just go at it ‘from a scriptural standpoint’ but to allow myself to explore it from a ‘socio-philosophical’ dimension as well. I tried to do an honest ‘foray’ – I tried to not let one presupposition/worldview interfere with the other.

When I first started taking Philosophy seriously – I cut my teeth on Kierkegaard, and then moved on to his nemesis, Hegel. Technically speaking, I am a ‘right’ Hegelian – but I am also a ‘soft’ one; insofar as I don’t think ‘the system’ is comprehensive and airtight – I think that Kierkegaard had some good criticisms of it. I said all that to say that, as a Christian I believe in the Holy Ghost (Heiliger Geist) but as a Hegelian, I also believe in the ‘World Spirit” (Weltgeist), or, in other words, an ‘essence of truth’ that exists, which both pervades and manifests itself, progressively, through the unfolding of history.

What this means is that I believe that you can look at past history, and you can see a form of reason, or (to borrow from Christianesque language/rhetoric) you can see ‘Capital T’ Truth manifesting itself throughout history; you come to see a vibrancy, or depth to what would be considered Reason, or perhaps, you see a reality disclosing itself to the historical observer, which in prior times might have been reasonably argued to ‘be an opinion’ – the weight of history, leans in and shows that there is a fabric, a contour, a fingerprint of a truth that can be taken as more of a foundation, and less of a mere ideological preference.

…..At a given time, in American History, early colonists sent small-pox infested blankets to the Indians – and they reasoned that this was alowable, because the Indians were not really people – they were ‘Savages’/primitive men. First we dehumanized them, then we stole from them and killed them. I hope that I would have opposed this; I probably would have been hung.

…At a given time, in American History, we built an entire economy out of the subjugation and monetization of people from Africa. First we dehumanized them (they are not people, they are primitive men [like the Indians]) then we sold them -and killed them when it pleased us. I hope that I would have opposed this; I probably would have been shot.

….At a given time, in German History, Nazis built an entire political party upon the demonization of Jews, and any and all non-Aryans. We, in America, also embraced Eugenics – through, at least yet, we had not followed it through to its political conclusion. The Germans dehumanized them (they called them Untermensch [‘undermen’/subhuman]) and then they stole, tortured, and killed them. I hope that I would have opposed this; I probably would have been gassed.

It is a pattern that I see throughout history. Dehumanize. Steal from. Kill. The Dehumanization is the first step, but it is itself brought on by an initial state: and that state is one of “Inconvenience”. When someone, or in these cases, a group become ‘inconvenient’ they are then dehumanized, and then, once they are adequately dehumanized – they are stolen from and ultimately disposed off.

The problem is – there is *always* tremendous passion behind the arguments for doing this – and there is always a catch-word that seems to legitimize it. For the Indians it was “Manifest Destiny,” for the Blacks, it was “State’s Rights” – and for the Nazis “Eugenics,” “Darwinism” or “National Socialism”

At the end of the day – it is all rhetoric; it is all powerful argumentation – but how do our passions square with history – and what we might consider to be a revealed-by-history “Truth”?

Does history bear the legitimate dehumanization of anybody? Ever? Anywhere? I would argue that it does not – nor can it ever.

So I chose not to. Either.
I am just glad to live in a country, were I won’t be hung, shot, or gassed – for saying “no I will not dehumanize in the name of convenience – ever.” And yes, I know that its kind of a black and white thing – but I think that history shows it to be.

(thanks for letting me share – open to your thoughts on this)

In a Thread, on the fb page of my friend Mike Morrell, I was asked for an example of ‘Spiritual Danger’


My Response:

David, sorry for the delay in responding.

As I said before – I think that you have asked a very good question. Allow me to attempt a response.

I have a few ideas that I would like to put down here – but before I begin, I think that it would be appropriate to summarize the whole of it, at the beginning: the answer to your question….it begins – and ends – with *Love*.

Before I endeavor to unpack this – let me deviate just a moment, and in doing so, talk about a certain Puritan theologian whom you might have heard of – Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards, during his time, was effectively demonized by his ‘rivals’ [Liberals/’Old Lights’/Unitarians-Universalists] who greatly feared him. They feared him, because they understood, not just the scope of his intellect – but also the depth of this own engagement across the spectrum of belief systems. One might argue that he was, in certain ways, an ‘inter-faith’ explorer in his own time. If you think that this is an outlandish assertion, then I would encourage you to explore the work of Gerald McDermott, who is a professor at Ranoke College. ( McDermott has recently published an *amazing* book about the theology of Edwards (

I agree with McDermott, that his rivals/opponents purposefully demonized him, because they knew what he was capable of – in terms of opposing them. They conspired to malign him ‘existentially’ in the eye of the public imagination, and they did this by purposefully agreeing among themselves that any time they themselves spoke of him, or were asked about him, that they would only speak about one thing about him: his still-famous sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God”. Even today, in school, if you ever hear about Jonathan Edwards, this is all you hear about, and you are left with the image of an angry, ‘fundamentalist’, oppressive and backward Puritan. This coupled with the legacy of the Salem Witch Trials, has caused monumental damage to the legacy and understanding of the Puritans & Puritan theology.

I said all that – because if you will look at the work of McDermott (in the link above) you can see that Edwards was a ‘interfaith agent’ and had a comprehensive understanding of Non-Christians religions that greatly surpassed any of his peers. Mcdermott shows in his Theology book that Edwards isn’t just a Conservative per se – but that he speaks across all dimensions of Christianity; Protestant, Catholic, Liberal/Conservative and Even Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions. In addition to McDermott’s other books about ‘Interfaith Evangelicalism’ – he writes of Edwards “interfaith” work in his book “Jonathan Edwards Confronts The Gods” ( where he writes on Edwards interfaith work, specifically.

I went into detail about Jonathan Edwards, because it is important to note that the very center of Jonathan Edward’s theology – is the issue of Love; which I said before, is the center, itself, of an understanding of not just Christian theology, but an understanding of how Spiritual Danger exists in the Universe.

It may or may not be a stretch for you to utilize your imagination insofar as to see, from a systematic standpoint, how love could be the center of everything. I would refer to this as the ‘first step’ of an “interfaith” Christian response to the question of, not just the nature and prime existential essence/causal existence of Christianity, but of also an apologetical response which would seek to give an answer and a reason for not just the existence of such an ‘ontological center’ as being the crux for the whole of Creation – but also for the authenticity and the ‘inner harmony’ of a response, which would argue that Christian faith is the best and most sensible answer for it as well.

If we can first use our imagination to posit that the *issue of Love* is the center question which is woven into the ‘woof and warp’ of the whole of all inter-dimensonal reality – then we can, secondarily, move on – to then ask two more important questions – which ( I believe) can adequately serve as a engaged response to your question; one, that at the very least, bears some degree of consideration of its confrontive possiblities.

These two questions are
1) The Nature of Love and
2) The meta-relationship of our selves to the Universe itself.

In speaking of Love, to make the assertion that it could be the center of the Universe is to make a radical and confrontive assertion itself. Especially if we understand Love to have definition; to have objective structure; to have contours, to have the capacity to invoke vulnerability; to have a critical, intrinsic necessity to be *reflective* – or to have the essence of reciprocity as a crucial, integral component. If we agree to love – we must also agree – rationally – to danger. To authentically love – is to create both vulnerability and the potential for two relational entities to hurt one another. In a universe where Love is the center – then danger & vulnerability are intrinsic, necessary and possible consequences to an authentic love being practiced and engaged with.

Allow me to make a foray; allow me to rhetorically re-contextualize the ‘Christian story’ of the World, and how it came to be – in it’s present situation.

In the beginning – was the Divine Essence. This Divine Essence sought relationship and it created entities, through which it could share communion. In sharing this communion, it sought an ‘authenticity of relationship’ – the depth and full contours of which we can possibly seek an approximation of, in understanding how it feels and know and experience real love.

Because authentic love inheres in reciprocity – the Divine Essence limited itself and its own power over the agents that it created – and gave them Free Will – so that their response to it, itself would be itself authentic and not servile, embodied and not token, meaningful and not trivial.

One day, one agent – who was the very center of the main substation of the very power, and glory, and love of the Divine Essence…rebelled…short-circuted…disingaged.

This caused a tremendous tear in the very fabric of the universe itself – so great, that we cannot, in our present state, even understand the scale, the implications, and full consequence of it.

So great was the damage and disintegration of the explosion that resulted – the very universe was scarred and broken; so much so – that the damage was so great, that these same agents within it were rendered incapable of a future relationship with their creator. The universe itself…broken.

This was the first great Fall.
The fall of Lucifer

Then the Divine Essence sought relationship again. It created something greater then it had ever created before – and created it in its own image; a concept which itself is beyond the limiting capacitance of language. This time, as well, it sought authenticity – and it accepted relational vulnerability.

And again, an Agent Rebelled.
The Fall of Man.

But the Divine Essence knew, even before it Created, either the first or the second time – and Loved or was loved – that it would be Vulnerable, and that that would entail Cost. And so the Cost was calculated – and a plan was made to make a Payment, which would forever pay the cost of the Offense of any Rebellion – against any Authenticity of Love ever rejected again. But for reasons that we are not given a way to understand – this payment only worked for the secondly created…



Now, you have

1) first allowed me to engage you in the ‘experiment’ of imagining the whole of the Universe as being oriented around the Love, and

2) allowed me to tell you the story of how that Love had consequence and invoked danger, offense and cost to an entity which sought an authenticity in it

3) The third question, is to question our relationship to the universe, itself.

Mike has argued for an ‘anthro-centric mediative model’ – which is another way of saying that he believes that any and all interpretive boundaries, or offensive dynamics are strictly to be found or resolved exclusively within the human existential state and/or cognitive agency.

Now, I understand that this, essentially, relates back to a ‘Buddhist model’ which argues that all brokenness does not come from the disabuse of Authentic Love (as I have argued, here) but rather from Passion itself. Love is merely a subset of potentially destructive energy itself, which must be (in the Buddhist ontological model) appropriately controlled, and eventually completely negated. In the end – for Buddhism – Love is not the answer – it is the part of the problem. And is it not true, that, for a Buddhist, at the end of their lives, they must completely abandon all sense of love, themselves? All love/passion must be completely transcended. If I am incorrect in this assertion, then please correct me – but I believe that this is the end-state of the Buddhist answer for all that is wrong with the Universe.

The Christian answer stands in stark difference to this: rather then its full, eventual removal – Christianity teaches that Authentic Love made a complete transformation of Love possible – through Redemption – specifically through the ‘scape goat act’ of Christ upon the Cross. (for more on this, you can read René Girard’s writing on the idea (

It could be argued that an actual vision of “Hell” is a place of unredeemed emotion – Broken Love and that which has never been transformed. C.S. Lewis, incidentally, argues this, in his book The Great Divorce, describing a hell as being essentially ‘locked from the inside’ (

In conclusion, I must ask – do you really think that you, yourself are the very center stage and arbiter of the whole of the Universe? You have presumed that Love is the problem – and that it is not the foundational crux of the Universe itself; though you (if you are a Buddhist) have discovered that the source of so much pain in the world does come from Emotion itself. You have, in part found the right problem – but you have stumbled in finding the answer.

For your answer to work – it does presuppose a certain relational-ontological arrogance; it does imply a pride that the trouble with the Universe begins and ends…with you. Is this not potentially dangerous to believe itself? I argue that it is.

The Christian view is that we have been set down in an Amphitheater of Chaos – all around us, there is a clamor or blood and confusion; so much so that it is possible to hide in the shadows of it all – and not know how we got here or even how to get out.

In summation, my argument concludes as follows:

1) There is a danger in assuming that the problem with the Universe is merely Love/Passion, rather then it being not just the cause of all that is wrong (True) – but that it is also the Solution to it, as well (Greater Truth), and that this solution, has a distinct form and consequence as well (Supreme Truth).

2) There is a danger in the malformation of Love; which is the making of Love into something that does not have any vulnerabilities or consequences. Love is not just a dis-articulated cosmic wave that you surf in. It is not just a state that you get into, nor is it something that you become completely absolved from the influence of to reach a higher potential or state of awareness, inside or our outside it. It is not a state of cosmic bliss or boundless euphoria that you strive to plugin into. Absolute love is a Consummate personality – it can be offended; it can be rejected – just as it can be all the opposite of these things.

3) There is a danger in assuming that the Universe is oriented around you, and that you, yourself contain the potential to place yourself in correct relation to a presumed correct state of affairs. For Mike, he orients all error around the theater of his own mind – whereas, I argue that the Universe itself is broken and we are broken, and our own position, in relation to the Universe, is that we are characters in a much larger story – that is bigger then just our own contextual presences within it. This is a crude existential arrogance – and a prideful one at that; that I alone create all disorder in the universe, or that anyone on my own level (that of humanity) has this potential themselves. Mike wants to make it all about Him – and ‘his’ level. The roots of the conflict and disorder in the universe predate both him and humanity itself. Both the originative disorder and the solution are at a much higher ‘meta-level’ then his own self. This is a necessary compromise on Mike’s part – because he is not willing to make a ‘value judgment’ against any other belief system – and he must therefore put them all on the same level, and because he will not admit to a revealed, particular supremacy, he must participate, necessarily, in a universal acceptance of any thing and all things.

4) There is danger in assuming that all necessary forms of spiritual awareness are intact: or that it is not possible to be earnest in a search, yet still lost, in terms of a solution. It is very tempting to believe that all religions are True, and that they are only miss-practiced by a few. For reasons we cannot understand, some will always be blind. For reasons we may possibly understand – some could see, but made themselves blind. For reasons that are ultimately beyond immagination, all of us were blind, but some of us can now see. The danger is that you assume a Matthew Chapter 13 world does not exist. ( )

5) Some in full and others, partial – all of the above ideas contain one central danger: the danger of ‘The Anthromorphological Rape of the Divine’ – the crass impositions of your your insecurities, ignorance, arrogance, presuppositions, assertion, ideas, onto what you feel the Divine Essence should be or even how it should relate to you. All of us have been guilty of this; often devout Christians included. We should all fear this. If you at least admit this fear….

then that is at least an honest place to move forward from.

Respectfully submitted


Mike Morrell posted a quote – which seemed to indicate that there was no need for one to have a ‘spiritual squelch button’

My response:

At Mike – I read the words “all energies” as implying a reference to spiritual energies. You are correct in your assertion about Gnostic Dualists – however, many of the ancient sects would openly practice (essentially) hedonistic practices, prior to the pre-planned time of taking their oaths, after which they would embrace a form of austere asceticism.

In my opinion, Gnostic Dualism is a great ‘shadow’ in that it hides itself, and is often never openly expected within the contexts that it is usually found within; for example – the sexual teachings of Augustine (sex is bad, celibacy is a higher form of intimacy with God, over and above human sexuality) and abuses of some conservatives, because of a misguided piety-holiness inclination (disabuse of culture [dancing, going to movies, etc] and food issues [alcohol])

Most Conservative Catholics and Pentecostals/Southern Baptists would never imagine that they could have possibly doctrinally embraced a sublimated Gnostic Dualist outlook, but it is there (I would argue) nonetheless.

The same problem is also there, in some liberal theologians, such as Paul Tillich and Rudolf Bultman, who want to argue that the Resurrection took place – but only in a spiritual dimension. This is the same type of thinking, which emphasizes the spirit as being essentially always good and necessary – and the physical dimension as being utilitarian at best, and evil/to be avoided, at its worst.

Also, in classic Gnostic Dualist/Manichean Creation stories – the evil-physical universe, and the good-spiritual universe became intractably entangled, in the creation of the world. A gnostic dualist will not deny that their body/mind cannot be opened to the spirit – but they will affirm that it is ultimately not as good as the spirit. There is a tremendous difference between this and the Christian narrative; as in traditional, orthodox Christianity, both spirit and flesh are redeemed, and the curse *upon both equally* is lifted, and a new creation is manifest. The Gnostic dualist viewpoint is one of an opening, and a reception – not a *redemption*/translation effect.

Another point that I want to make is the ruse of the idea of ‘non-dualism’ that is tossed around in these conversations. I want to clarify that I think there is a degree of danger in terms of wanting to appropriate all-encompassing definitions of Spiritual vs. Physical inter-demensionality; I am quite at ease at leaving ‘all of that’ to what would otherwise be a ‘cloud of unknowing’ or a sense of mystic necessity; it may well be that it is like-in-kind to the best way to speak of the doctrine of the Christian Trinity; you can get into heretical trouble by saying more about it then you need to; as did Nestorious (who, in defending the trinity against heretics, became a heretic himself).

If this sounds like a dangerous endeavour – then that is good, because some things are just that way, and overtly imposing your Modernist decisional-rationality against things you don’t want to be mystical in their intrinsic nature, may not seem fair – but is absolutely necessary.

To come back to the “monist”/non-dualist view point – this is (as I said before) a ruse. I, myself, would fall closer to this category – because I am willing to say (in light and considerations of the dangers as described above) that the dimensions of Physicality & Spirituality are not all that fully abstracted from one another. It may well be that the model of the Electromagnetic Spectrum is a good contextual abstraction by which to model a comparison. We all see Light, but not all of it. We can see the effects of some radiation (music on our radios & images on a x-ray) but there are other parts that we would never see or experience, unless we have specific tools/detectors.

Why do I use the term ‘ruse’, though? It is a trick that you have played upon yourself. I would go as far as to say that it is a form of cognitive dissonance – because for you, all danger, is only in the physical dimension. You do not want to accept that danger can be present in the spiritual; you want to play in the sandboxes – and you will only go as far as to say that any danger is only the misapplication of beliefs.

Mike, this is a very expressive form of Dualism, on your part. I understand that we all want to dress in robes, sing Kumbaya, and run through a field of flowers. But if you run into the Highway – you will get killed – there is danger there. It is a form of Dualism on your part (Gnostic Dualism) to say that any and all danger, is only in the Physical (or in the purposeful abuse of a good spirituality) and that there is not *as much danger* in the spiritual dimensions, as there is here in the Physical. I know that that puts a huge kink in your interfaith ambitions – and I know that that is why, you might get angry, but will certainly deny it. But is speaks for itself. If you want to be a true ‘non-dualist’ then you need to have the courage to identify the dangerous things, you need to accept, at least, that there is intrinsic danger in both dimension. The last dangerous thing I mentioned to you – you accused to me of going on a “fundamentalist screed’ ( I was questioning sexual promiscuity in spiritual leadership, and you wanted to offer ‘two perspective’) That dangerous – mike. That is playing hopscotch in a superhighway. But you don’t want to see any danger – as long as its a ‘spiritual thing’

I do not mean to be overly harsh (I tried to re-edit this, a bit) – but I am just being honest with you. Saying that you are a non-dualist, but then practicing a dualist mindset in terms of danger-allocation leaves you an fairy tale land, and make religion a fairy-tale endeavour. Spirituality is not a Disney movie, where the princess always gets the prince. Sometimes the prince is a crackhead and a wife beater. We spin tales like that to stoke the immagination and impart Mythological truths – but we have to correctly appropriate them, when we become adults. We cannot live in fairy tales forever.

A recent article cites that the Southern Baptist denomination is shrinking.

Having an ‘Us Four and No More’ mentality is not the answer, neither will it help to be ‘conservative for conservativism’s sake’ because others are ‘liberal’. What passes for being “conservative” for some is just another form of theological liberalism, which passes itself off as having fidelity to the Word – but is really more (for ‘conservatives’) about an assuagement of personal insecurities. In the interest of transparency & honesty, my own church (The Assemblies of God) falters at this, on a couple of points (as do Southern Baptists) – but they have greater fidelity to the Word, because they don’t divide the New Testament into ‘that which was for them only’ and ‘that which is for us now’. Southern Baptist Cessationism (Anti-Pentecostalism) is a hangover from B.B. Warfield’s own insecurities and over-reactions to what he saw as abuses in his own time. The irony is that Southern Baptists want to follow Warfield’s Cessationist doctrine – but ignore what he (and Augustus Strong, as well) said about Evolution.

It is my opinion that our culture has drifted farther and farther from its previous center of a Judeo-Christian ‘worldview’ and those who are going to church now, are going because they want to find an authentic relationship with God that is transformative, redemptive, and maybe even risky – because to take a bold stand today is a risk itself. If this sounds like a rant – then I would ask you to consider that the Assemblies of God is growing – and not shrinking.

The ‘pneumatalogical/emotive austerity’ that Southern Baptists have advocated just does not cut it – and people are looking to be where they can find authenticity vibrancy in our culture. I believe that God may have had Grace over this obstinacy, but it may be drawing to a close.

In closing, I will also add that I believe one reason why the Assemblies of God is growing – is that people (either directly of indirectly) (and for this generation) are seeking out churches where they can worship with the ‘entirety’ of themselves – which is to say, they can worship with their ’emotions’ as well as their minds & hearts/spirits. I believe that this is important, and a key to an authentic understanding of a well-rounded, biblical worship. If this sounds absurd – then I’d recommend you read some Jonathan Edwards, especially his own understanding for the necessity and importance of a *responsible* integration of the emotions in authentic worship – which (again) is part of the key to the grown the Pentecostal churches.

A. G. Growth Links

Jonathan Edwards on Emotion as part of Worship
(Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections)
(A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God
by Jonathan Edwards)

B.B. Warfield’s Acceptance of Evolution
[Mark Noll is a solid Evangelical Scholar, btw]

Meta-Reflections upon a Travesty, with Reference to Left/Right Hegelianist Propaganda, Implied Capitalist Exploitation, and Redemption in Judeo-Christian Soteriology – with Three Concomitant Corollaries.


I think that it is important that these pictures be seen for what they are -and not for what certain politico-ideological elites would want them to ‘be’. It is a *narrative*/ongoing project in leftist propaganda to grasp at examples of industrial-‘capitalist’ exploitation (Howard Zinn, for example, typically embodies a storehouse of this archetypical argumentation) and then make tremendous ‘hay’ out of them: ‘see here, look at these god-awful people and what capitalism does! Now here is your Che T-Shirt. Join the movement! Down with Fat Cat Capitalists!!!’

In my opinion, when you do this – you further denigrate these people, and what happened to them, by only caring about them ** insofar as their ‘story’ is convenient to your political persuasion. ** And that is just gross.

I think it takes a lot of effort (especially in today’s hypersonically-driven & perpetually-propagandistic media culture to actually be able to responsibly ‘deconstruct’ and authentically ‘contextualize’ these events.

An example of this – is understanding that this is less about the ‘industrial-capitalist syndicate’ and more about cultural values in a given region/culture. If a culture values human dignity and self-determination – then degradation and exploitation are harder to exert upon a populace. Capitalism is potentially exploitative, not because of what it is, but because of the people that use it. ** The same must absolutely be said of any alternative economic systems . **

Put more simply, people want to frame this and argue for a shift in economic systems (capitalism vs. socialism/communism), when a much more meaningful and authentic understanding is taking place on a ‘meta’ level of cultural values. If you change the values – then you change the system, regardless of whether you are capitalist or socialist-communist.

Corollary One:
a lot of people will say philosophy does not matter. If you understand Left/Right Hegelianism then you understand where the whole capitalist vs.dialectial materialism dichotomy comes from and how we are *still* emersed in the shadow of Hegel, and still fighting this battles between the two directions his thought went in. However, to borrow from Hegel’s own pedagogic metaphor, the ‘Owl of Minerva’ has long ago ‘flown’ on this issue. But we are still re-arguing it and re-experiencing it, yet in different contexts. Another generation is falling for philosophical interpretations that have been rightfully consigned to the dustbin of political history, because they are more vulnerable to the emotional propaganda (as typified by the narrative here) then probably ever before in history.

Corollary Two:
when you read in Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah is confronted with the holiness of God, he cries out “Woe to Me! I am a man of unclean lips” He immediately follows this by saying “…and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty”. We are connected to the culture around us – in both an economic and soteriological way. It isn’t just about us – though the change comes through us individually. (“Who shall I send?” “Send me!!! [Isaiah 6:8])

Corollary Three:
if you *authentically* understand the Gospel, then you understand that you will always be tracing ‘brokenness back to Redemption’ and there, a Cross, and an act behind it. ‘Redemption’ necessarily implies ‘transformation’ and a ‘new creation’ out of what was once destructive. The snake (that was biting & killing people) becomes the serpent on the staff, the people were to look to to be healed. If you really immerse yourself in this mindset, and apply it socio-politically, it has immense implications both historically (understand ‘The Weber Thesis’) and the future.

I must confess that I found out about “Transmodernism” by researching whether or not anybody out there was asking the same questions that I was. I had just come out of a period of time where I had exhaustively researched, from both sociological and theological perspectives the so-called modernist & postmodernist schools of thought. I think that it may have been initially kicked off by J. Gresham Machen’s book “Christianity and Liberalism” – wherein he argued against “modern Christianity”.  I have read elsewhere that he was reported to have struggled with the idea of changing the book’s title to “Christianity and Modernism” but decided against it. It would be hard to not have one’s ‘finger in the wind,’ as it were – in regards to theological trends, and to not hear all the buzz about ‘Postmodern Theology’ and/or its associated Postmodern theologians/spokespeople.

Secondary to this, a few people know that I had spent a great deal of time researching the history of Alcohol from both social and theological traditions – committing a great deal of that work down on paper. After I reached a point of 1k pages, I realized that, in some regard, I had ‘lost control’ of what I had intended to be a much shorter book/project; and instead it had morphed into a kind of systematic theology – one that in it’s own format/style/presentation was much less systematic (read as modern) but more so experiential-discursive in the way that would be read by a reader – assuming I actually ever gave it to someone to read (which I have only done once). I was reluctant to use the term “Postmodern” in describing it – though I came to understand that I had stumbled upon the inadvertent creation of a  postmodern systematic theology, in this ‘thing’ that I had created. But – owing to the fact that it did make use of a ‘narrative’ (in this case: Alcohol in theology and church doctrine), and that it also worked in a ‘discursive’ manner, in that it evaluated different ideas and conflicts and showed ‘relations’/dialectics between them; following a Kierkegaardian “indirect/subjective truth methology… I knew that that is exactly what it had become.

Sandwiched down inside the myriad of ideas, and admittedly ‘mad dogs & Englishmen’ length that I treat some things – there was a topic; one that seeming had taken on a life of its own – and was constantly re-writing itself into my own writing: it was the issue of “Reactionary Dynamics;” or essentially, how different ideas/traditions or forces/ontologies of power interact with one another – in terms of both ‘positive’ reactivities, and consequently also ‘negative’ ones. I had become sort of a ‘mad philosopher” in that in my years and years of reading philosophical and theological tomes, I had built something akin to a giant pin ball machine in my head. Adding in, perhaps a bit of my Asperger’s propensity for dichotomamtic systematization and elemental hyperfocusing – I had a built a huge machine, that could be set in motion by the smallest of things. Both a blessing and a curse – I found myself constantly faced with ‘reigning it in’ when a friends or casual acquaintance would mention something to me – and it would be as though its ‘on switch’ was flipped; gears would begin to spin faster and faster, lights blinking, steam pipes bellowing, and all the forces of my theological imaginations were engaged in true steampunk-like, eager complexity. I could only smile and pause -while trying to rescue some part of my mental bandwidth, by which to distill what was almost always flowing out in true fire hose fashion – or at least trying to. ‘It is hard to fill a teacup with a fire hose’- is a problem that I often mediated on. Madness and true creativity are often dance partners – and I suspected that at least one of them could be present, in my own re-evaluations of the often adamant/fundamentialist-like seemingly religious devotion to postmodern understandings that postmodernists were constantly assenting to in their own various arguments against the ‘intolerance’ and ‘hyperstructureality’ of advocates of ‘modernity’.

What if so-called “pre-Moderns,” “Moderns,” and subsequent “Postmoderns” where just reactions to their relationally ‘previous’ counterparts, both socially and in terms of time, chronologically. What would subsequent and ongoing, further ‘alienations’ and ‘refutements of the prior’ look like? Was I crazy – or was anybody else thinking about this as well? If I was on to something – and not genuinely blinkered, then someone else would have been doing it as well.

And that is how I found out about “Transmoderism” ( As it turns out – Transmodernism, has been a round for a few years, and it’s ‘originator’ is Enrique Ambrosini ( This is also how I found out about Ken Wilbur ( and his associated philosophy of Integral Theory ( I also spent a lot of time talking to some close friends at the time, who were very much immersed in the “integral worldview” and who saw it as a really great thing.

So naturally, I was greatly intrigued that someone was taking the principles of, or at least an understanding of various “Representatively epochal mindsets” (my term for the respective terms of ‘pre-,’ ‘modern,’ and ‘post-‘) and applying them. I was quickly disheartened.

While I have taking a long time to ‘get’ to this part of actually discussing Entegral Theory – it would honestly be the topic of an entirely different, and probably much longer essay/post to actually go into deeper – I should say that the ‘result’ of my evaluation of it, thus far – would most markedly delineate it as a very liberal understanding of Christianity. I would argue that Ken Wilber may not actually understand Christianity to begin with, and may have much better grasps of both Transmodernity and Buddhism. Integral Thought is argued to ‘integrate’ both Christianity and Buddhism, as well as other world religions, using the Transmodernism as a kind of ‘sublimation layer’ or interpretive rubric.

While I think that it is certainly very interesting – it certainly *is not* Christian. And while it may be interesting and potentially useful and enjoyable (with responsibility) it is just like Alcohol –  (which, ironically, began my own process of serious theological and philosophical explorations [the ‘door’ that I ‘fell through’ and was never able to ‘climb back out of again’ ] ) it is certainly not safe.

It is just like many other ‘liberal’ endeavors – in that in its attempt to eschew what it considers to be Fundamentalist (read as essential/basic) or Conservative (read as unchanging/traditional) it formulates something that is so estranged from what it is trying to escape (read as ‘reacting to’ [also, in this case “negatively”] ) that it becomes something not just estranged and alienated, but also irrevocably disfigured.

If Integral Theory is Transmodernism’s answer to Christianity – then I am sure that I know what the Question was – but what Ken Wilbur has done is sure not the answer.

Allow me explain, just a bit.

Many ‘social justice’ advocates often cite examples where Israel was punished by God, when its “Elites” (read as its educated class, namely political rulers and religious priests) failed to promote justice and mercy. This is true. But is only one side of the equation. God demanded not just social justice, but also ritual and observance. Each – reflected upon the other, intrinsically. By themselves, the sacrifices and ordinances were worthless.


(Amos 5:7-24 /  The Message Version)

Raw Truth Is Never Popular

7-9 Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar
and stomp righteousness into the mud.
Do you realize where you are? You’re in a cosmos
star-flung with constellations by God,
A world God wakes up each morning
and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean
and gives the land a drink.
God, God-revealed, does all this.
And he can destroy it as easily as make it.
He can turn this vast wonder into total waste.

10-12 People hate this kind of talk.
Raw truth is never popular.
But here it is, bluntly spoken:
Because you run roughshod over the poor
and take the bread right out of their mouths,
You’re never going to move into
the luxury homes you have built.
You’re never going to drink wine
from the expensive vineyards you’ve planted.
I know precisely the extent of your violations,
the enormity of your sins. Appalling!
You bully right-living people,
taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they’re down.

13 Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic.
Decent people throw up their hands.
Protest and rebuke are useless,
a waste of breath.

14 Seek good and not evil—
and live!
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
being your best friend.
Well, live like it,
and maybe it will happen.

15 Hate evil and love good,
then work it out in the public square.
Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
will notice your remnant and be gracious.

16-17 Now again, my Master’s Message, God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“Go out into the streets and lament loudly!
Fill the malls and shops with cries of doom!
Weep loudly, ‘Not me! Not us, Not now!’
Empty offices, stores, factories, workplaces.
Enlist everyone in the general lament.
I want to hear it loud and clear when I make my visit.”
God’s Decree.

Time to Face Hard Reality, Not Fantasy

18-20 Woe to all of you who want God’s Judgment Day!
Why would you want to see God, want him to come?
When God comes, it will be bad news before it’s good news,
the worst of times, not the best of times.
Here’s what it’s like: A man runs from a lion
right into the jaws of a bear.
A woman goes home after a hard day’s work
and is raped by a neighbor.
At God’s coming we face hard reality, not fantasy—
a black cloud with no silver lining.

21-24 “I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.


Liberal Christianity asserts that Social Justice is the only dimension that needs any attention, and that any calls for a commitment to Traditional Dogmatic Orthodoxy is greatly overrated and a distraction. The honest truth is that this is “Ox Cart” Christianity.

In the Book of Chronicles we read where King David is bringing the Ark of the Covenant home, from where it was been in enemy hands (remember the box from Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark?) and we are told the story of how it was all being done with a great celebration. The problem was, that the Israelites had been given a specific set of instructions. The arc was to be carried on the shoulders of the priests using rods. But the ‘instructions’ had been forgotten long ago – and so they just did what was usual and conventional, if not completely (for them) modern; they put it on an ox cart. Chronicles 13:1-14 tells the story of David’s failure to ‘follow the code’.


Chronicles 13:1-14 / The Message

David Breaks ‘The Code’ of the Ritual and Someone Pays the Price

13 1-14 David consulted with all of his leaders, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds. Then David addressed the entire assembly of Israel, “If it seems right to you, and it is God’s will, let’s invite all our relatives wherever they are throughout Israel, along with their relatives, including their priests and Levites from their cities and surrounding pastures, to join us. And let’s bring the Chest of our God back—the Chest that was out of sight, out of mind during the days of Saul.” The entire assembly of Israel agreed—everybody agreed that it was the right thing to do. So David gathered all Israel together, from Egypt’s Pond of Horus in the southwest to the Pass of Hamath in the northeast, to go and get the Chest of God from Kiriath Jearim. Then David and all Israel went to Baalah (Kiriath Jearim) in Judah to bring back the Chest of God, the “Cherubim-Throne-of-God,” where God’s Name is invoked. They moved the Chest of God on a brand-new cart from the house of Abinadab with Uzzah and Ahio in charge. In procession with the Chest of God, David and all Israel worshiped exuberantly in song and dance, with a marching band of all kinds of instruments. When they were at the threshing floor of Kidon, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah grabbed the Chest to keep it from falling off. God erupted in anger against Uzzah and killed him because he grabbed the Chest. He died on the spot—in the presence of God. David lost his temper, angry because God exploded against Uzzah; the place is still called Perez Uzzah (Exploded Uzzah). David was terrified of God that day; he said, “How can I possibly continue this parade with the Chest of God?” So David called off the parade of the Chest to the City of David; instead he stored it in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The Chest of God was in storage in the house of Obed-Edom for three months. God blessed the family of Obed-Edom and everything around him.


In the end of the Movie, Raiders of the the Lost Ark – we get a taste of what it may have looked like to have been Uzzah ( Whether he literally exploded, or his face melted off – is not really important. What it important, is that there was just a very slight technicality – and it had drastic consequences, and regardless of how someone might try to explain it away (were they to even try to) it had absolutely nothing ‘Social Justice’ but everything to do with God’s ritualistic law.

The point is that it is not just Social Justice (Amos 5) but also following the Code/Ritual (Chronicles 13). In each case – drastic consequences were the result. They are *both* important. Liberal Christianity wants to push aside the harsh legalisms of ritualistic code in favor of the Schleiermachian ( ‘feeling’ that an emphasis on Social Justice provides. Orthodox Christianity (for the purposes of this conversation: ‘Conservative’) argues that Christ is the fulfillment and pinnacle of the summation of the Jewish Law with all of its ritual, meaning, and rigor. Whereas we may not sacrifice a lamb – we do believe that Christ was the Final Lamb. The how and why of all this makes for a meaningful and powerful conversation/exploration. For instance – it is fascinating to dive into the arguments in the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” which argues for a new understanding of Paul and the contextual Judaism that he both spoke from and worked within. But all will agree – Christ’s sacrifice is pivotal and crucial. It is the height of the meaning of Christianity. Faith in Christ as Lord, Savior and Redeemer is necessary. It can be said that this same Multidimensional (Lord & Redeemer) understanding is bankrupt without Social Justice. The opposite is also true. And this is exactly what Much of Liberal Christianity is.  It is what Bonhoeffer described as Cheap Grace.

“cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

Bonhoeffer contrasts this with “Costly Grace”

“costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: “

My yoke is easy and my burden is light

.” ” (

I have said it once before – and I will say it again: “I know what the question was…” and it was what does Christianity look like from the perspective of an understanding of different interpretive stages, throughout history… pre-modernity, modernity, and postmodernity. What I know is that much of this discussion, at present, takes place on a ‘micro’ level within Conservative Christianity. The great truth, I also believe, is that many who will talk about “Modernity” and its problems or “Postmodernity” and its ‘superior interpretive capabilities’ do so with disingenuous intentions. They are bringing their own ‘ox carts’ and trying to remake Christianity into something else. Just as  F.D.E Schleiermacher, the theological “father of liberal Christianity” told his dad that he could no longer believe in Christ as the source of atonement for a broken world…

“Faith is the regalia of the Godhead, you say. Alas! dearest father, if you believe that without this faith no one can attain to salvation in the next world, nor to tranquility in this — and such, I know, is your belief — oh! then pray to God to grant it to me, for to me it is now lost. I cannot believe that he who called himself the Son of Man was the true, eternal God; I cannot believe that his death was a vicarious atonement.” (

One wonders just how far Brian Mclaren’s own statements go against a Cross-centered theological understanding of Christianity…

“…. Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply.” (Brian McLaren’s comments on the back flap of Alan Jones’ book Reimagining Christianity where Alan Jones states the following about the Christ’s crucifixion: “The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” (p. 132)
“The other thread of just criticism addresses the suggestion implicit in the cross that Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry god. Penal substitution [the Cross] was the name of this vile doctrine
.” (p. 168) (from

So what of all this?  I believe that if any ‘work’ has been done in terms of a ‘Transmodernity’ – or to, again, just be very specific in saying; ‘…any project that would seek to incorporate, reconcile, or at least honestly account for the differences in mythologic/pre-modern, modern and postmodern understandings…’ then the largest majority of that work as been done by Liberal Christianity. I am also compelled to say that I feel it is a very, very, generous statement to include “Integral Thought” into a “Christian” Category. In the interest of honesty, I would admit that I can only do this from a sociological-academic understanding of what would be loosely understood as more of a ‘Cultural Christianity’ which is what much of Liberal Christianity represents any way – and not a honest accounting of any true theological candor and honesty. In the end, I am brought back to J.Gresham Machen – himself writing against the liberalism of his own day, which was couching behind the facade of ‘modernism’…

As over against . . . [the pragmatist, modernist] attitude, we believers in historic Christianity maintain the objectivity of truth. . . . Theology, we hold, is not an attempt to express in merely symbolic terms an inner experience which must be expressed in different terms in subsequent generations; but it is a setting forth of those facts upon which experience is based.

Machen understood that times change, and understandings of the world around us change – but the Gospel is timeless. More importantly, that the world is lost and dying, and that there is only one hope for all of mankind: a crucified and risen savior.

That Church is still alive; an unbroken spiritual descent connects us with those whom Jesus commissioned. Times have changed in many respects, new problems must be faced and new difficulties overcome, but the same message must still be proclaimed to a lost world. Today we have need of all our faith; unbelief and error have perplexed us sore; strife and hatred have set the world aflame. There is only one hope, but that hope is sure. God has never deserted his church; his promise never fails. (from

In conclusion – if we are to first agree that Christ and his sacrifice must still be central to any understanding of Christianity – then Ken Wilber’s understanding of Christianity is something very remote. I understand – that for him it is a ‘step’ or a ‘phase’ or what he sees as a progression; but it is in this ‘progression’ that he himself is guilty of a regression. He is not a ‘progressive’ in this sense, but digressive; he moves the focus, I believe, because he understands Buddhism far more comprehensively then he understands Christianity. And because, essentially he does not understand it – he his poorly suited to interpret, contextualizes or systematize it, in any way, shape or form.

So this opens up yet another question.. if Ken Wilber has failed – who would succeed? And what would a successful Transmodernity as it relates to Christianity look like?

I have some really good ideas about that…

but I will wait to share them in a separate post;)

all my best,


A good post regarding evolution and creation spirituality.