The Center for Open and Relational Theology 2020 Review and 2021 Plans: Director’s Report

Major Items in 2020

Open and Relational Leadership: Leading with Love

This edited book project included contributions from about 60 writers. The book was published by SacraSage Press and was briefly an Amazon best seller when published (see this Amazon link for book). The essays were subsequently posted on the Center website at 2 essays per week and promoted on social media throughout the year. Editors: Roland Hearn, Sheri D. Kling, and Thomas Jay Oord. Web editor: Chris Baker

Studies in Open and Relational Theologies – Academic Book Series

In collaboration with the American Academy of Religion group, Open and Relational Theologies,  the Center published its first book in the peer-reviewed academic series, Studies in Open and Relational Theology. The book was Divine Self-Investment: An Open and Relational Constructive Christology, by Tripp Fuller. It has sold well and received critical acclaim (see this Amazon link for book). Andrew Schwartz and Thomas Jay Oord are the general editors for the series, with 8-10 additional scholars on the review committee.

Doctoral Program in Open and Relational Theology

In May, the Center joined with Northwind Theological Seminary to offer a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry (DTM) in Open and Relational Theology. Thomas Jay Oord directs the program and students. It currently has 20 students, and photo of those students has been pasted at the conclusion of this report. (See this link for more info on the program.)

Center News and Newsletter           

The Center publishes a monthly newsletter to promote open and relational ideas, events, materials, and publications. Curtis Holtzen curated the news before Brian Felushko took over late in the year. The newsletter currently goes out 565 people each month, and the subscriber list is growing.

Short Video Introducing Open and Relational Theology and the Center

A short video was made to introduce the ideas of open and relational theology and direct viewers to the Center. Here’s the link for that video.

New “Voices”

A concerted effort was made to encourage more people to add their “Voice” to the Center’s People page. Especially encouraged were minority voices and nonacademics, because the roster was weighted heavily toward scholars, caucasians, and men. To see the approximately 160 people listed, see this link.

People of Color in Open and Relational Theology

TC Moore and Thomas Jay Oord explored the possibility of an edited book of essays on open and relational theology written by people of color. The project has been postponed.

Major Projects Planned for 2021

Partnering with God Project

A new edited book(s) project has just been launched. It explores themes of partnership with God from open and relational perspectives. At present, more than 100 people have agreed to contribute. The book will be edited by Bonnie Rambob, Fran Stedman, Tim Reddish, and Thomas Jay Oord. Essays will also be shared on social media.

Open and Relational Children’s Books       

About 8 people are currently working to 1) construct a webpage promoting children’s books that advance an open/relational/loving view of God and 2) write new books to advance that view.

Open and Relational Lectionary

Casey Sigmon and Thomas Oord are working to construct a website with open and relational lectionary resources. The hope is to involve a dozen or more in writing pieces for this resource and adding other resources.

Becoming Christian: The Ancient Creed for an Open World

Tripp Fuller and Thomas Oord are offering an 8-week online course in February and March of 2021. The course explores the Apostles’ Creed from an open and relational perspective. More info, see this link.

2021 Summer Conference

Plans are being made for a July 2021 conference on open and relational theology. This will be a 5-day event and held at a ski resort near Yellowstone/Tetons. The conference will be intimate: about 20 participants and their families. Look for more details soon.