Letter from John Cobb – Jun 24, 2021

Dear Friends in Process,

My last message discussed giving the Common Good award to Dr. Kongjian Yu, a Chinese urbanist and landscape architect. I suggested how you might learn more about him, but as I have learned more about him myself, I have decided to send you a video. Please watch it by clicking on this link. You will learn what an ecological civilization will look like.

Very recently a group of scientists, invited to advise the Cobb Institute, has grown into a significant institution, chaired by Matthew Segall. One of its members is Tim Eastman, a plasma physicist who has long recognized his affinities with Whitehead. Eastman has published a book on the issues that are being discussed in the quantum field, Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context. It is tightly organized, almost exhaustive, and rigorously argued. It has a chance of being a milestone in this important field of study. A series of eight two-hour discussions of this book began June 12, with a hundred participants engaged in animated conversation. Future sessions will take place on the second Saturday of each month. In California, the zoom meetings take place at 8 AM.

Tom Oord is publishing a new book in July: Open and Relational Theology: An Introduction to Lifechanging Ideas. A year or so ago, this top entrepreneur chose just the right name for just the right book, God Can’t, and it was a major best seller. Pre-orders of his soon-to-be-release introduction have already made it a best seller as well. There is now a family of books and programs built around its “open and relational theology.” Oord continues to make breakthroughs with this theology. The American Academy of Religion works hard at being academic and is, as a result, not particularly hospitable to theology. Nevertheless, a significant group meets together annually under the “Open and Relational” flag, and its members carry the message back to their schools. Oord’s label has definitely caught on. But that does not ensure that there will be people prepared to teach it in the future. So, he has developed an accredited PhD program in Open and Relational theology. He already has a score of students. And, incidentally, he is a great photographer.

Another impressive report comes from the leader of the process movement in Brazil, Lilia Marianno. Among other things, she works with a large congregation in the capital, Sao Paulo. In the 1990s the church decided to focus its message on discipleship to Jesus, and it now reaches hundreds of thousands of people all over Brazil with this message and with the many services to which it gives rise. Precisely by putting Jesus at the center and deinstitutionalizing its message and activity it may point the way for the recovery of church communities. You can read more about her efforts in the attached article.

Finally, the June newsletter of the Center for Process Studies has several announcements about some past and future events that you may find of interest.


  • John Cobb

    John B. Cobb, Jr. taught theology at the Claremont School of Theology from 1958 to 1990. In 1973, with David Griffin, he established the Center for Process Studies, and throughout his career he has contributed to scholarship on Alfred North Whitehead, and promoted numerous process programs and organizations. In recent years he has given special attention to supporting work toward the building an ecological civilization. Toward that end, he led the effort to found the Claremont Institute for Process Studies in early 2019, which was renamed in his honor one year later.