Episode 21 (PART II Tom Reynolds) “Care isn’t so much “doing for” but “being with”

Episode 21 (PART II Tom Reynolds) “Care isn’t so much “doing for” but “being with”

Will you help support the show?
You can help me pay the bills by purchasing this useful and encouraging book!


Tom Reynolds
Tom Reynolds, PhD


Shownotes: PART II
A conversation with Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality, author Tom Reynolds


Tom joined the Emmanuel College (part of the University of Toronto) faculty in 2007. He is committed to an interdisciplinary, practical, and relational vision of theology, and his teaching and research address a range of topics related to constructive theology (particularly the doctrine of God and theological anthropology), theological method, intercultural and interfaith engagements, contextual theologies and globalization, philosophical theology, disability studies, and the thought and influence of Friedrich Schleiermacher.

His recent Articles

Email: tom.reynolds@utoronto.ca

MIN 00:30

Tom on Theodicy – The question of why does God allow suffering and how should we think about suffering.


How would Tom, as a theologian answer the question, “Why would a sovereign God allow a person to be born disabled and encounter such suffering?”


The Why questions and the answers are messy, ongoing, and evolving. These answers are limited and open to ongoing revision.


Reframing needed. Question the question and its suppositions about seeing suffering first and foremost as the issue.


If we are pitying a disabled person and seeing them how we would interpret suffering, we might be off base.


Exclusion as suffering. Social suffering is something we can alleviate as the church or community.


Tom on the central questions of Theodicy.


What would a good world be? Interdependent and that holds up the preciousness and fragility of life and human experience as valuable. Good things can be fragile things.


Does God cause suffering and determine it? Maybe it’s (all) unfolding for us in mysterious ways.


Book of John, chapter 9: The man born blind.

Who sinned? (disciples of Jesus thinking of blindness as a curse)

So the glory of God can be revealed. (What might that mean that we haven’t understood yet. [Lisa])

The story is less about curing the disabled and more about reveal Jesus’ power and legitimacy as the Messiah.


NT Wright author of Evil and the Justice of God

(on the Problem of Evil)

• God as the Incarnation steps into human suffering as a means to assuage it and also, in that, provides us a model for how to encounter it in the world ourselves, practically speaking.

The answers to suffering can become “incarnational”, not cerebral and (held) at a distance.


The why questions signal a (good) unsettledness which can be productive…


1. God is bigger than our questions and we should feel free to engage in dialogue with God and each other about God.

2. And because it calls us to live into the world and the lives of people will engage who ask, “Where are you?” and we can be there in presence and not (just) with answers.



(The heart of Incarnational living.)


In many cases God’s own presence is us to each other.


“Care isn’t so much “doing for” but “being with”.”


1 in 5 families regularly encounters a serious disability of some kind.


We (as a family) chose to continue to come to church even though it was sometimes messy so he (and everyone) could figure out how to make it work. (Lisa)


How can people in Christian Communities or leaders in Christian communities do better when it comes to being truly hospitable  and caring well for people with disabilities.


Training ministers to come along side is important.


In his mission and intro to Theology class, what is framed is practical wisdom lived out in relationships of caring regard with other people. (not in the academic halls or in isolation).


On developing the perception to see/understand differently and to see places where people have been harmed by certain ways of seeing these…like the healing narratives…illness as curses from God, or metaphors of seeing and hearing language and attitudes (able-ism) for example.


How to show consideration:

Asking before you assist someone. Or asking how you can best help and not presuming that you know (or know better).

Listen first, then do.


Ministry doesn’t have to be deficit-focused to the “needy”…but rather possibility focused.

As all people of resources and gifts [are] welcome among the community…this turns things upside-down.


Think of people as sites of wisdom that help a community of belonging.


1 Cor 12:25

Members having the same care for one another. All can care and contribute.

Living out the image of God with shared affinity.


Transformative and vulnerable communion within our communities…being together.


[There is] dignity in participation. (Lisa)

Allowing people to serve along side means that we are equal.


Equality isn’t sameness. Difference doesn’t mean a hierarchy.


(Tom) Music is my therapeutic other life.


A Call for Help!
Will you help me meet my goal of raising $1,000.00 in August to keep Spark My Muse going? Use the Donate button on the left sidebar. Thank you for listening!

Episode 13 – “We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology” guest Doug Jackson

Episode 13 – “We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology” guest Doug Jackson

If you’ve listened to the show…
Please click our audience survey button so we can better understand who’s listening.
(It takes about 1 minute to complete and it’s 100% anonymous.)
Spark My Muse
Thank you!

Shownotes for Episode 13  Wine lovers have God to thank + guest Doug Jackson

First, I want to feature the book Doug and I wrote …

entitled Dog in the Gap because of a C.S. Lewis quote “Man and his dog close a gap in the universe”.


And there’s a BONUS EDITION with lots of goodies!
Read a sample here!

Will you fan the spark?

Inspired by how musician Amanda Palmer put it, “Don’t make people pay [for art]. Let them,” I am altering how Spark My Muse stays alive…from bottom to top (literally).

How does it work?

It’s up to you. I need at least $75 per episode to keep it solvent.
Every little bit helps!
So, I invite you to just listen, read, and give as you can.


Thank you! Enjoy the show!

With love,



Who do we have to thank for wine?

God and the Church, actually.

Wine lovers in Western civilization have the Church in Europe (and the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire–which was neither holy nor Roman ) to thank for the large-scale production, the prevalence and the excellence of wine!


Because liturgy involving wine for communion was central to Christian religious practice. Wine was ingested as the saving holy blood of Christ (and bread as the holy body of Christ), usually each and every day. The sacraments of Communion served as saving grace afforded to the Church.

As Roman Empire became officially a Christian Empire (circa 313 CE) many vineyards had to be planted, properly cultivated, and harvested. Grapes had to be made into a lot of to support the daily practice of communion throughout the Empire.

Communion served as wine was the norm among Christians world-wide until recently–in the era of pasteurization. To keep juice from grapes in a state were they would not ferment meant it had to be sufficiently boiled so the natural yeast would die. 

Vehemently opposed to alcohol, Thomas Bramwell Welch, a physician, dentist, and Methodist pastor from Vineyard, New Jersey, figured out the process in 1869 with Concord grapes. Most churches did not accept the switch as proper and stayed with wine.

The juice later became more popular during Victorian era because of prominent values of abstinence. A shift then began in the U.S. that made grape juice the main communion beverage (at least among certain Protestants sects).

Several hundred vineyards operating in Europe today can trace their history to monastic origins.

In the 9th-15th centuries almost 1,000 monasteries dotted Europe. They were centers of education, stability, and technical innovation. Monks and nuns could read and write–this was quite uncommon then.

Monasteries cared for the sick, helped the poor, created places of education, and invented Universities. They could not fund all this through donations. Surplus wine was sold to finance ministry work (and also beer, fruit brandies, and cheese, among many other things..even prayers and Salvation ..which–in hindsight–appears to have been a mistake ) .

So, basically, thank God (and many monks) for wine!


Sparking your muse

 Enjoy the fantastic chat with Doug Jackson!


Douglas Jackson, D.Min.
Director of the Logsdon Seminary Graduate Program

Doug Jackson came to SCS in 2006, after serving as pastor of Second Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, since 1993. In addition to teaching courses, Dr. Jackson functions as a liaison between Logsdon Seminary and local churches in Corpus Christi. His areas of specialization include spiritual formation and pastoral ministry. Dr. Jackson has published and presented several articles and essays in religious and literary venues, including articles and lectures on the life and writings of C.S. Lewis.
• D.Min. – Truett Seminary (2006)
• M.Div. – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1985)
• B.A. – English Literature, Grand Canyon College (1982)

His blog is here.


Interview / chat notes:


MIN 8:00
on Doug preparing for a his Fall class.

A resource he is using by NT Wright – “The new perspective on Paul”
The covenant people God has saved.

Reformers and the necessary correction in contemporary times.

Confronting individualism
and thoughts on human flourishing.

on the idea of being “spiritual but not religious”

on his work about CS Lewis

Mere Christianity

The importance of imagination for understanding that isn’t covered by rationalism.

on his Oxford lecture
Owen Barfield an influential life-long friend of CS Lewis

Another lecture on Walter Miller – A Canticle for Leibowitz
Apologetic self-proclaimed validity on the rational scheme of knowing.

“Scholarship is about knowing more and more about less and less so that eventually you know everything about nothing.”

James Sire

Malcolm Guite https://www.facebook.com/malcolm.guite
Chaplain of Gerton college and Cambridge
“Faith Hope and Poetry”

He covers the imagination as a way of knowing (an epistemology).

Holly Ordway
Houston Baptist University
“Not God’s Type”

Her 2-track movement toward conversion

Brainpickings.com Maria Popova (an admitted secular atheist on a continual spiritual search)

on Spiritual atheism

….if we come up with a system that covers everything (Christians and Atheists alike)…

“Humans are sensitive and emotionally vulnerable to a wasteful degree evolutionarily speaking…highly valuing the arts.” (Lisa)

Christ in the Desert Benedictine Monk and Abbot
Philip Lawrence, New Mexico
…slipping in and out of atheism….

HG Wells, and the fundamentalist reaction to him and others of his ilk.

on how science and religious circles have had an absolute unwillingness to be in one another presence and (have not wanted) to admit any weaknesses and (instead) just shout louder.


“The best apologetics can do is make Christianity credible and I don’t think it can make it inevitable.”


22:30 “Any belief in any ideal is still a leap of faith for anyone… like Justice, Love, Hope…” (Lisa)

on How people appeal to a standard outside themselves. (CS Lewis)

Theories of “survival behavior value” for Morality and Justice kicks the can. or it lands on simple absurdity and meaninglessness where suicide becomes a valid option.


Doug answering the question….”Is fundamentalism evolving”?

Richard Foster’s classic over 50 years old “Celebration of Discipline”

A story of a crucial pivot point for Doug.

How the psalmists had to cry out to God when the answers didn’t suffice any longer. For us, this is a return more than a departure.”

“I have gained the gift of being able to respect other traditions and admire things they bring us, but I talk to people across that spectrum that have that experience.”


“We go from trusting our denominational address or theology address to trusting Christ but it doesn’t mean an abandonment of it. Choosing a room in the same house to live in.”

Spiritual disciplines most meaningful to him:
On solitude and privacy (the difference). Henri Nouwen explains the difference.
 Henri Nouwen explains in “Out of Solitude” 

Doug: Solitude is for battle. Privacy is to be alone.

Demons come in our solitude (Desert Fathers). The outcome is awareness and purification.

Wanting “the listening heart” (what Solomon really asked God for).
on the importance of listening to God…

My Stockholm syndrome at parties. (Lisa)


“(My) Inability to be with people was driven by a failure to have a real self.”

“you are nearer to me than my own self.” Augustine

Doug realized:

“My real Self can’t be with people because it’s threatened by them, because they’re going to colonize my Self and going to make me into something I’m not. As opposed to having a real Self that can listen because God is protecting that Self.”

Father Francis Kelly Nemeck wrote
The way of Spiritual Direction (his director)
…Doug and I discuss Detachment and Holy Indifference…

St John of the Cross
(Exploring the spiritually obscured times and darker emotions.)

“the nada” (God is “no thing” the silence before God

…on staying in the problems and not panicking.

…on the crucial lesson from his mom that revealed his theology

(unknowing) Apophetic theology

“John of the Cross didn’t want that we should abandon the metaphors but move through them.”


“We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology.”

(which is terrifying but life-giving)

Further exploration in a future episode of John of the Cross with Doug coming soon!


If you enjoyed the show please give it a stellar review on iTunes here!

Watch for new episodes each Hump Day (Wednesday).

Episode 1 (Grape Juice is Unnatural)


Sparky My Muse Podcast-Episode 1
(Grape Juice is Unnatural)

Welcome to the Spark My Muse podcast!

This episode was brought to you by “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”.
A worksheet designed to create extra awareness and transformative improvement
It take 3-5 min min in the morning and at night. You can see big changes for the better in only 5 days.

Choice either of both options for this resource:

• The SHARPENING Ritual 


So, What you can expect on the show?

• I will add a new show about once a week.
• Once a month I want to feature Interviews with interesting and creative people.

• A segment about “wine for newbies” will be featured each time.
And each show will include, one way or another, something on how to improve yourself and live the good life: as a person, as a creator, and as a person on planet earth!

The wine segment for episode:

I work at Spring Gate Vineyard and I learned something sort of odd.

Did you know Grape juice is unnatural?

Grapes are considered a berry.
The skins have yeast and the fruit inside contains sugar, so that fermentation is the natural outcome.

Extraordinary means have to be taken to stop the process. Usually fermented wine was diluted with water in ancient times.

Martin Luther is attributed as saying:
“Beer is made by men. Wine by God.” He was very fond of both.


For just $1 you can be a patron of the show and help get better quality equipment and sound for future episodes!

Special perks and rewards are available too. Join with the Spark My Muse community at the Spark My Muse page at Patreon! Click the image for more info.



Thank you for subscribing and sharing the news of this podcast with your friends. If you get a chance please write a review of the show here.

Do you think in Words or Pictures? (and why it matters)

snowheartDo you think in Words or Pictures?

Chances are if you are reading this, and if you tend to read a good deal, you are firstly a person of words. Nothing wrong with that. But, your blind spot might be hurting you unawares….more on that soon.

Me? well….

I’m a weird mix.
I’m am– rather evenly–a person of words AND and person of pictures.

However, I am rarely, if ever, both at the same time. I have to switch gears. My dream life even changes when that happens and I go through phases that seemed to be tied to the weather…  Sort of strange, I know.

Here, at the website, as you might figure, I’m mainly a person of words….if I wasn’t I would have abandon blogging ages ago. I’ve posted about 2,000 times here and in previous blog efforts.

This “being a person of words” came not so much natively as much as a way to create things.

(I’m an ENTP and I love conceptualizing, innovating, and making things come to life. That’s my sweet spot.)

There are all sort of free Myers’-Briggs personality/temperament sorts of tests online, but they always seem to be short and less than definitive. (They’re “meh”)

I recommend this book for its apt testing process. A 70 question test is inside (and it’s much less expensive than the official Myers-Briggs test with about 100 questions). Plus, there are loads of helpful descriptions to flesh your results out and understand it all better. Learning you spouse’s, friends’, co-workers’ or family’s temperament style is invaluable too.



Before I was a person of words (online, in print, for graduate school, in business, at work)….first, I was a visual artist–a person who thinks and understands more powerfully when images are readily available and utilized. I still am.

Words have only really been powerful when they conjure mental images for me. Maybe it’s the same for you.


How to increase your imagination–because IMAGINATION is power:

(Imagination = literally, bringing up images)

If you are a “word person”, I encourage you check for a blind spot on the visual side. That is, if thinking in visual terms isn’t native to you (and you will already know if it is), then consult with someone who thinks from a visual paradigm. Then, with them– look for ways to richly add that aspect to your message.

If you are a Picture person? Reading more will help.


Some ideas for enhancing the picture side are…

(click examples to see the visual)

• using / creating Infographics: (a graphic way to convey written content).

Example 1

Example 2


• Adding art, photography, or Illustration (it should encapsulate or elucidate your message, not just decorative)

Example 3

Example 4


• Adding video (this should flesh out-in the true sense-what you are trying to convey)

Example 5


• Add other visually demonstrative or include sensual elements
(things involving the senses…not sensual like… you know…”kissy stuff”)

– demonstrations

– dance

– drama

– sensual: aroma and other tactile experiences (taste and touch), sound elements…etc


If you need visuals to magnify your message, I’m here for you. Just send me a message.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Enrollment is now OPEN for the Mini-Course in May! Dismiss