Miniseries Episode 5 – ORT – Robert D Cornwall

Robert D Cornwall

In episode 5 of our miniseries on Open and Relational Theology we squeeze in one final. Tim stumbled across an article Bob had written and so we decided to extend the series and include our conversation with him. Bob has also published a number of books, some of which he speaks to in this conversation. You can find his work here if you would like to dig further into his thinking.

Urban Mystic 2020 and 2021

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

This has been quite a year following on from last year with a continuing pandemic exacerbating the frayed edges of our society. The picture above is kinda how I’m feeling 😂. Half-way through 2019 I made the decision to stop supporting existing churches and serving as a missional coach encouraging institutional expression of the church tied to ‘the doing church paradigm’. This enabled me to complete my Masters in Theology (Spirituality) and raised the question of what on earth to do instead. This decision resulted in a tremendous amount of anxiety as I needed to consider what the expression of my calling is to be when leaving all the institutional opportunities.

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Miniseries – ORT – Bonus Episode – Tim’s FB Post

Tim Victor

This is a bonus episode we’re squeezing in between conversations with our miniseries guests. It arises from a Facebook post Tim wrote (link) about healing and how we follow the Kingdom of Jesus behaviour to go in an ambassadorial way into the world to do as Jesus did/does. 
It is a stand alone conversation, though in many ways it connects deeply with so much of our thinking and conversing over the past year. 

At the root is a desire to take seriously the God who speaks and acts in this world, and draw near to that God, to self and to others in a way that acknowledges the living presence and desire of this alive God. 

We’d love to hear from you in response. Drop us a message or email so we can connect.

You can also support our work through our Patreon Page.

Miniseries Episode 4 – T.C. Moore

T.C. Moore

TC Moore joins us this episode of the podcast for a conversation about Open and Relational Theology. Of course, we start by digging into his life story and first experiences of God – and it’s a fascinating story.

We also spend some time looking into TC’s ROSE acronym which he offers in contradistinction to John Calvin’s 5 points of Calvinism – most often referred to by the TULIP acronym. You can access the Youtube link here to a longer and deeper dive into TC’s work on Open and Relational Theology.

We’re so grateful to TC and our other two guests, Delvyn and Rory, for joining us on this miniseries. Next week will be the last episode in this series as Tim and Steve wrap up and reflect on the guests and the three conversations. 

You can also support our work through our Patreon Page.

Miniseries Episode 3 – ORT – Rory Randall

Rory Randall

Rory Randall from the Center for Open and Relational Theology joins us in conversation on this episode of the podcast. Rory has published a book recently entitled, “An Open Theist Renewal Theology: God’s Love, the Spirit’s power, and Human Freedom“. We asked Rory to share some handles with which to understand this emerging theology. As usual though the theory is woven into the backdrop of life story, and so Rory shares his first experiences of God within the telling of his life story. Towards the end of the episode we return to the question of how we experience God and what it means to ‘practice the presence of God’. 

We hope you enjoy this conversation. We’d love to hear from you in response to any of our conversations or topics. 

You can also support our work through our Patreon Page.

Miniseries Episode 2 – ORT – Delvyn Case III

Delvyn Case III

In this episode of the podcast of the urban mystic we speak to Delvyn Case III about his first experience of God, his work, and ministry in ecumenical spaces. You can find out more on his website.

We really weren’t sure if Delvyn was an Open and Relational Theology (ORT) devotee, but his story of process and deconstruction brings nuance to the impulse to look for a new theological framework within which to move and breathe more freely. For this reason we thought we’d include our conversation with him as part of this series. Delvyn considers himself a progressive Christian and is in fact into ORT.

Del is a musician, educator, writer, scholar and speaker. You can head across to his website to connect with some of his current work, or connect with him on Facebook.

On abandoning abandonment

My morning photo

There’s a well known piece of writing “Footsteps in the sand.” Its about someone walking a beach, looking back, and noting there to have been a pair of footsteps followed by a single set. When asking why they’d been left to walk alone, God responds to say, “That’s where I carried you.” And though that’s true for many and offered as an encouragement it falls short of two further legs on the journey. There’s a point in everyone’s journey where God abandons them and another where they abandon God. The footsteps story may speak to one part of people’s journey where God may have carried them (and not everyone experiences this and we need to discern whether they have before offering this as though they ought to have), but offering “Footsteps” to those abandoned by God is unwise, ill-discerned, and unhealthy. Similarly, to offer footsteps to those enduring a period of the abandonment of God by them is likewise ridiculous.

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Faltering starts, but stepping out again

Photo by Bruno Scramgnon on Pexels.com

My life story includes a rich trove of mystical experiences. This includes the Divine Instigator prompting me to connect with people, not always telling me why, and a shit-ton of just awkwards. Having deconstructed from this I’m stepping forward again. “/Hello World.”

For a while I pushed boldly into the immediacy of relational engagement with God over the classical “evangelism”. And though the commercialism of the HLF and church enabled this it was also disabling. I ran into frustration with the broader church experience of people and for myself. The deconstruction necessary wasn’t possible within churches and I’ve come to believe does not lie in repeating ecclesial or monastic structures. These things are rooted in what Ian McKenzie on the Mythic Masculine Podcast calls “dominator culture” and we need what’s after that to emerge from the ground up in “relator culture”. [1]

My deconstruction around this has been longer than my deconstruction of the institutionalism of the church. It’s been more personal because as it includes my own wants and the complexity of my inner life and intimate engagement with God. I’ve not been able to “want” to hear from God or own my “desire” to see people experience face-to-Face encounters with whatever follows from that. My level of expectation is tremendous. I’m continuously told by most that it’s too much; in dreams that it’s too little. The tectonic tension within tremendous as I both want and don’t want the expectation and desire. I internalised and ended up traumatised and re-traumatised by the constant criticisms which layered onto deep relational trauma.

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Podcast – Season 3 Episodes

The mic of the urban mystic

We’ve been privileged to engage in deep, authentic and vulnerable conversations with incredible guests. This series has been deeply enriching and is littered with profound personal revelations. It blends gloriously autobiographical reflection with the desire to not only pursue direct and immediate experience of God but also cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with God. We’ll keep pushing this into Season 4 and beyond.

  • S03E01 – Welcome to Season 3. Episode link.
  • S03E02 – We’re launching a Patreon page. Episode link.
  • S03E03 – Karl Teichart – Calling and journey into ministry. Episode link.
  • S03E04 – Karl Teichart – A cry for intimacy with God. Episode link.
  • S03E05 – Jean-Ray Knightonfitt. Episode link.
  • S03E06 – Michael Ward – Early experience of God. Episode link.
  • S03E07 – Michael Ward – The Sixth Sola. Episode link.
  • S03E08 – Jared Byas – Love Matters More. Episode link.
  • S03E09 – Thomas Jay Oord – Open and Relational Theology. Episode link.
  • S03E10 – John W. Morehead – Multifaith Matters. Episode link.
  • S03E11 – Richard Kearney – Anatheism. Episode link.
  • S03E12 – Christo Lombaard – Postsecularism. Episode link.
  • S03E13 – Derek Morphew – Kingdom Theology. Episode link.
  • S03E14 – Costa Mitchell – Personal Journey and Stories. Episode link.
  • S03E15 – Greg Farrand – Second Breath. Episode link.
  • S03E16 – Episode Finale! Episode link.

In Season 3 of the podcast of the urban mystic we tease out the tension between ‘faith and experience’ as between ‘faith and relationship.’ This is an allusion or nod to the complex subject of experience and significant conversations about it. At first I’d wanted to push this following the research of Karl and company – specifically the expressed and unmet need of church leaders as that of intimacy with God. If those schooling people into ministry and running churches aren’t experiencing intimacy with God this is a significant problem! This research confirms something I’ve been wrestling my whole life with. Yet to pursue this just didn’t fit with the autobiographical nature of the episodes. So we changed track and explore this indirectly through holding the tension open, meaning that we don’t define it or press it directly. Instead we allowed what ‘faith and relationship’ means to unfold organically through as our guests reflected on their first experience of God and how it leads into their professional contributions. This richly nuances and expands what it means to experience God directly and immediately. And it helps us better understand how to move on to press the issue.

S03E16 – Season 3 Finale

An actual shot of Tim’s microphone 🙂

With this episode we arrive at the end of Season 3 of the podcast of the urban mystic. What an incredible journey. I’m so deeply appreciative of our guests and wonderfully enriched by the conversations. (And still can’t believe we’ve had such incredible guests.)

With Season 2 we were able to record many sessions and then gather them to form opportunities for reflection during the season. This hasn’t been the case with Steve moving countries and myself moving cities. These big life challenges have been geographic and yet found an equal mirror in the noetic terrain of our inner lives. On one hand we’ve arrive at a point of theoretical saturation with guests chewing through the tension between faith and experience as between faith and relationship through reflecting on their early experience of God and how this ties into their magnificent contributions. On the other hand these conversations have really helped Tim Victor and Steve Carter arrive at clarity about where they’d like the conversation to go. It seems natural, albeit perhaps crude or abrupt, to draw Season 3 to a close here. We both trust that this will somehow make sense as we stumble ahead toward Season 4.

After a short break we’ll be back with Season 4. In the meantime, thank you to all our guests and listeners. What an incredible journey this is. Thank you for sharing it with us.