This Journey

I’m Stan Patton. I’m a professional game designer and social product analyst in Eugene, Oregon, USA. My degree was in software engineering. I’ve been passionate about philosophical and theological study and debate for over 20 years.

I grew up in the Conservative Baptist church, part of a big extended family of pastors and former seminarians. In high school, studies into the early Church and a craving for a simply-defined, “one Truth” led me to Catholicism. Years later, further study led me back out. I’m now denominationless.

This journey took me through a dense, labyrinthine theological jungle and out the other side, where there is no mandated deference, but instead a careful, reverential scrutiny.

This approach can be terrifying and terrifyingly lonely. But there are payoffs, the biggest being that we’re free to confront wholly nonsensical assertions that creep into the faith for various reasons. We can look at the development of doctrine not as a guaranteed linear ramp, but as a mutative network that’ll “get there” eventually through reading, discussion, brains, elbow grease, and by God’s Grace.

The cost is a recognition that nobody can know an observation-based claim with 100% certainty. And one must acquire a taste for “things are complicated”; nuance is neat, simplicity is suspect (unless it’s been earned through due diligence).

“Quiet theology” means practicing theology through philosophical quietude, where philosophy is meant to be more remedial than exciting. It asks that we bite the bullet on boring resolutions and, as such, is a tiny bit iconoclastic.

As a Christian, I have a number of beliefs about God and his interaction with the world. I’ve walked with Christ from a young age, and depend on him for my redemption, reconciliation, and hope. I’m a sinner who deserves the fair response for my selfishness and stupidity, and for my anger and my resentment, and for my recklessness and negligence, but through faith in Christ, and by his Grace, I try to maintain a repentant heart, seeking mercy and sanctification.

I don’t believe in judgmental tribalism or conceitedness. I believe in not only baking one wedding cake for anyone who asks, but baking them a bonus one for free. I hate favoritism and delighting-in-injustice. I hate self-righteousness which is insidiously virulent. I believe love completely fulfills — pleroma — the moral law.

Romans 13:8

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

I fail at this all the time. Trying to fail less.

10 responses to “About”

  1. Coralie Koonce says :

    I stumbled into your site while searching for a word that would be the mental equivalent of monochromacy–total color blindness–or as you describe it, “black and white baby food.”
    People seem to be putting everything into those two boxes more than ever.

    Maybe monophroneo is the word or close to it.

    But I’ll come back because it is an interesting site, putting together insights from your varied experiences and talents.

  2. namesake says :

    Stan, I came across your comments in response to an article by Jeff Cook on patheos.com, entitled Universalism and Freedom. Jeff and I share a circle of friends and are acquainted, but have not discussed these theological points. I imagine we may, someday. Mostly, though, I have sincerely appreciated your thoughtful approach and plainness and directness of speech, exploring the depths of complex issues with patience and “quiet theology”. I will follow you, and these conversations, with gratitude and expectancy. Thank you. Really.

  3. groupprojectseu says :

    Thanks for this site. I find myself needing to ‘quiet down’ my own theology at times. I enjoy the way you present things, and appreciate your personal journey. Grace and Peace to you from FL and I look forward to reading your essays. -Anthony

  4. crallsfickle says :

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and wanted to say thank you. Not just for the content of the writings, but also for your humility and spirit of unity when discussing controversial issues with people of other viewpoints (especially on Reddit)!

    -Cralls, fellow Eugenian ;)

  5. Colin says :

    No idea how old this is or if you’re still active. Can’t see to find any dates on anything (probably user error on my part). If by chance you are though, I have to say, after reading your “About Me”, I really think it might be worthwhile to get your takes on the current political climate we find our country in, i.e. the F5 shit-nado raging across the land, seemingly from coast to coast. And yes, I truly am saying that I would actually like to hear about politics from you. I’m not sure there’s a bigger compliment you can give someone. And I really do mean it.

    I think it would be interesting to see the thoughts of someone with your background. Coming from the left, perhaps you provide something that gives me reason to hope again; a potential avenue for brotherhood once more in these fractured times. You never know.

    Really hope to hear from you. Either way though, best of luck to you. Keep doing you.

    • stanrock says :

      Lots of bugs.

      An electoral system powered by singlevote/”first past the post” makes voting-your-conscience “broken” in 3+ candidate elections. If the candidate pool is 3 well-liked angels and one demon at 30% approval, the angels can split votes and the demon can win. This is the “pied piper effect” of singlevote and wrecks a bunch of things, beyond the fact that nonrepresentative people can randomly win. It makes third parties nonviable (and voting for them counterproductive). It creates a huge functional disparity between tactical and expressive voting. Incumbents “stick” in tilted areas and are rarely held accountable. And it incentivizes party platforms driven by cobbled-together coalitions rather than integrity and coherence. The last is the major reason why the Evangelical memeplex has become so bizarre and corrupt. States need to lead the charge to change to any of range/score vote, or approval vote, or ranked choice / IRV. Any of those are so dramatically better than singlevote that I’d like any argument about which of THOSE is better to be silenced for now.

      Electoral college does two things. First, it stepstools smaller states by giving them a relative advantage. Second, it has each state throw its weight completely toward the winner. The latter is the biggest problem. “51%->100%” is a recipe for nonrepresentative winners. Nebraska and Maine do it differently and better; “Throw some weight, but split some of the pie if it’s close.” We need it so all states do this.

      Partisan Gerrymandering is awful and I’m hoping SCOTUS wrecks it.

      I live in Oregon, so I vote by mail/dropbox. Going to a booth on election day is stone age. Evil people exploit the stone age booth and create needless extra rules to stop people from voting.

      The above 4 things are ruining our ability to be represented. People without integrity evolve to find game exploits. Democrats sometimes use these exploits but Republicans use them with abandon. Further, Republicans are continually working against electoral reform. Electoral reform is “boring.” It’s not “hot.” But it’s the most important “acorn” of what makes everybody, Democratic folks and Republican folks, angry about the fact that the United States is wanting and backsliding in so many areas.

      People follow incentives. That is, they follow their perceptions of incentives. Social media giants figured out how to propagandize people effectively (such that peoples’ perceptions are changed) and offered it for sale. This created the strongest ever link between money and power, because you can convert money into very effective group manipulation. The only answer is legal accountability and governmental oversight, but this only really works if the representation thing is fixed.

      Social media has busted rules. They are built to evolve and optimize on Retention, Revenue, and Engagement. Unfortunately, that definition of fitness begins evolving a very, very alien overlord. This alien overlord has interests contrary to human interests. For example, this alien overlord wants you to be increasingly polarized and validated by echo chambers. When you do meet someone from the outtribe, this alien overlord wants you to fight with them and has built its system so that you become addicted to this fighting. The alien overlord also LOVES confusion, misinformation, mistakes, ambiguity. These create anxious conversation, and conversation is +RRE. The net effect is a further maladaptation of peoples’ perceptions.

      All of the above is in theory solvable. Right now I’m praying for SCOTUS, rooting for Mueller, and hoping the supervillains installed to head the EPA, FCC, ED have short tenures.

      • Doug Maguire says :

        Hello, i stumbled unto your blog by reading about Elihu, which i enjoyed your commontary. As i desired to learn more about you i read this blog, About. I am 63, married and father of 13 children, 3 which were born in Oregon, but now we live back in my home state of PA. All kids grown and out of house, 27 grandchildren. Anyway, I noticed this blog was from 2017. Before I sign up to follow you I had a question. Are you still rooting for Mueller? You lost me for most of your political views. God bless, Doug

      • stanrock says :

        I was rooting for Mueller but his case was not fully made in the eyes of the public. I also said I was praying for SCOTUS; unfortunately, last summer SCOTUS did not come through, and partisan Gerrymandering was not stopped, with judgment vacated and remanded. The 5-4 decision was along party lines, and Justice Kagan said it best: “Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent.”

        My political views are best described as center-left; I believe strongly in the need for protections, regulation, and safety nets, but I also support gun rights, for example. I’m less vocal about particular candidates than I am vocal about the underlying systemic problems — “game rules,” effectively — that make it difficult for us to elect good, honest representatives. There are identifiable problems in those systems, but they’re boring and sometimes complicated.

  6. edwardtbabinski says :

    Quiet theology reminds me of Peter Enns, Randal Rauser (The tentative apologist) etc,

  7. davidartman1 says :

    Hi this is David Artman from the Grace Saves All book and podcast. I was wondering if we are thinking along the same lines. Send me an email if you would like to visit sometime.

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