Process philosophy and theology offer a comprehensive vision of the world and better hopes for the world, inviting a sense of wonder and a recognition of the sacred, based on the interconnectedness, intrinsic value, and beauty present in all living things. This vision has been incredibly useful for many different religious and spiritual communities, including those who understand themselves as spiritual independents.
Many in the Process & Faith network are influenced by the “organic” philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, and the various “process philosophies” and “process theologies” that are indebted to it. The first phase of the Process & Faith movement focused primarily on Christian process theologies. The current phase recognizes many different forms of process or “organic” thinking: Christian, to be sure, but also Buddhist and Native American, Jewish and Muslim, Taoist and Confucian, etc. We explore ideas, forms of spiritual vitality, and healing forms of action for the sake of enriching faith communities.
Our Core Values (Four Hopes)
Whole Persons: We hope that individuals around the world can grow in happiness — a sense of wonder, playfulness, joy, inner peace, compassion, zest for life.
Whole Communities: We hope that people can build local communities that are creative, compassionate, participatory, humane to animals, and good for the earth, with no one left behind.
Whole Planet: We hope that the planet as a whole can avoid humanly-imposed disaster and can flourish with multiple forms of life, each with its unique beauty. We want to help people create ecological civilizations that are conducive to the Earth community.
Holistic Thinking: We hope that forms of thinking can emerge that draw from science, art, and spirituality; that are honest to the way that the world is: that show how things are connected to one another; and that inspire living with respect and care for the community of life.
Holistic thinking affirms ideas such as . . .
- Everything is interconnected; all beings inter-become.
- All living beings have value for themselves as well as for others.
- The universe is purposive: beauty, creativity, and life are part of its makeup and are intimately related.
- The universe is alive with creativity; the idea of entirely “dead” matter is an illusion.
- Humans are part of, not apart from, this larger whole, and find fulfillment by living with respect and care for all life, both human and non-human.
Guided by these core values, Process & Faith seeks to help its community members respond to the major issues of our time, such as economic disparities between rich and poor, dysfunctional politics, global climate change, war and the threat of nuclear war, abject poverty, the debilitating effects of consumer culture on family and community life. It thus works to develop actionable hopes for alternative forms of human togetherness that are good for people, other animals, and the earth as a whole.
What About God?
To these ideas, many of us will add one more: the idea of God, or a Sacred Whole, or a Great Compassion, or an Eternal Companion, or a Divine Lure. Ideas such as these can also be part of “wholistic thinking.” Not all members of the network speak in such terms, but many do.