Question for Thomas Oord: What is the Role of Process Theology in Open and Relatonal Theology?
I know that Open and Relational Theology includes much more than process theology. According to my understanding, people drawn to narrative theologies, to liberation theologies, and perhaps even to 'generously orthodox' theologies are part of the Open and Relational community. Process theologians are part of a larger and more expansive open and relational community, itself becoming ever more ecumenical and multi-religious. I've read enough of Thomas Oord to know that he describes Open and Relational very generally. I am wondering if he thinks process theology has a distinctive contribution to this wider community and, if so, what it is.
Sorry for responding so late, Jay!
You ask a great question. My difficulty in answering it well is that I think there are process theologies (plural). So a feature in one process theology often isn't a feature in another.
But, generally speaking, most process theologians will say God's power is essentially persuasive. God can't control creatures or creation. Others in the ORT camp would disagree.
So a process emphasis upon this view of God's essentially persuasive power would be at least somewhat distinctive.
Hoping this helps,
Thanks for responding, Tom.
Yes, there are process theologies in the plural now. The very meaning of the phrase process theology is changing and, in many ways, widening to include people drawn to an organic cosmology, and to a commitment to the common good, and a sense of the intrinsic value of all life, but not so sure about the "God" concept.
An example might be Bob Mesle and other UU's. Or people in China who weave together process cosmology and images of a more transpersonal Dao, not so personified.
But there are certainly people for whom the idea of a personal God who "can't" control the world, not even in principle, is very important. They are "process" in the more traditional, Whiteheadian sense.
For my part, I'm wondering how far the idea of process theology can be, and should be stretched to include oganic non-theists on the one side, and, on the other, classical theists who find so much in process cosmology and ethics meaningful, but not its commitment to a "finite" God.
Food for thought.
Thanks, Jay. I also wonder about this. While words cannot capture the fulness of reality or God, when stretched too far, they fail to illumine.