Q & R: Process theology

Here’s the Q:

I am forever indebted to your work for giving me the freedom to re-imagine a Christianity worth coming back to! Your ANKoC was the first gentle nudge and A New Kind of Christianity gave me the freedom to re-think nearly everything. Naked Spirituality is absolutely haunting and thrilling as well, thank you for writing about the challenges and suffering of life while remembering the hope and joy that we can always find along the way. I think I am still in the deconstruction phase, but am slowly starting to gravitate toward some new ways of seeing (contemplative prayer Richard Rohr, pain and suffering with Pete Rollins, etc)
The thing I would specifically love to hear your viewpoint on is this new (to me) idea of Process Theology. I have heard John Cobb speak on the subject and read Bruce Epperly’s “Process Theology: A guide for the Perplexed”, and am very attracted to the idea that the future is not completely known by God and that we are vital in creating a future worth being excited about. The universe as an open system that is open to be impacted rather than a closed system with God steering the ship. This gets God off the hook for Tsunami’s and child abuse, but changes everything about our role in the story. God gives me creative freedom to act in love and change the course of history for the better OR neglect my neighbor and further contribute toward the decay and devastation.
I do worry that process thought may be too much of a reaction to our cultures emphasis on a “Powerful/Almighty God”. Is God really completely open to be surprised and changed by us? Does prayer really end with how it impacts me or does it influence God’s working in the universe in some tangible way as well?
Would love to get your points of appreciation and concern on Process Theology if you think it would be of interest to your readers!

Here’s the R:

Thanks for your question. I’ve written on this subject only indirectly in my chapters on eschatology in The Secret Message of Jesus, Everything Must Change, and A New Kind of Christianity. As well, my book The Story We Find Ourselves In explores the big (!) question of God’s relation to the universe …
I’ve been helped greatly by John Cobb’s work and appreciate Alfred North Whitehead as well. I think we need appropriate humility whenever we speak of “things too wonderful for us,” recalling Psalm 131.
We wisely challenge understandings of God that are too small. Then we think we have finally captured God – in a slightly bigger box. Eventually we outgrow that box too … and substitute a bigger one. After twenty or thirty repeats of this scenario, we might start to be able to hold an open space for God that can’t be contained in any box at all. That’s a moment of awe and wonder and worship … and it’s the place where I think we know God most truly.