Soul School – Lesson 53: What is the Meaning of Life (Part 4)

Soul School – Lesson 53: What is the Meaning of Life (Part 4)

Welcome to Spark My Muse

and to SOUL SCHOOL.

• Soul School “lessons” are released each Wednesday (aka “Hump Day” aka Midweek).

• On FRIDAYS I feature guests and on a variety of topics!


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AUDIO PLAYER:


HEAR the OTHER parts in the series:

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5


SHOW NOTES:

Today is a continuation of the series on Wisdom text. Start at Lesson 50, if you are new to the series.

• If you want to read Ecclesiastes, try this link  (This is NOT the translation I am reading on the program.)

Albert Camus

Thank you for listening!


Listen to some recent episodes:


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Eps 60: The Science of the Imagination and Fascination

Eps 60: The Science of the Imagination and Fascination

boating

This week Spark My Muse has hit a milestone. 30 episodes of Soul School and 60 regular Episodes! It also marks a big shift for things moving forward. The show will be far more collaborative and listener-driven.

This week, I have posed some specific questions for listeners/supporters to help decide some new and  important directions and decisions for the show. More questions will follow in the weeks to come. To participate, co-create, collaborate, give input, make suggestions, and be a part of this new era, put some skin in the game. It only takes $1 and you can make BIG difference.

Decide on guests, events, swag, and a lot more. You make the calls.

Ready? Here’s the link.


jimDavies-400x300

This week, I welcome Jim Davies, an associate professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University. He is the Director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory, and the Author of “Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe.”

You can share an audio snippet by clicking the red and white clammer logo below.


 

SHOW NOTES

MIN 1:20
Where do the pictures in our visual imagination come from?

Do blind people have a visual memory?

MIN 6:00
The literal details and the meaning and symbol parts of the brain

Can computers imagine or learn to?

MIN 9:30
3D Environments

Neuro modeling simulation of thoughts and imagination.

MIN 14
Jim’s book called “Riveted”

Rules of art form and folk wisdom are they backed by science?

Cognitive science of religion and why we find anything interesting.

MIN 19
The genetics behind the desire for connecting with something greater.

MIN 22:00
What surprised him most in his research?
60% of religiosity is determined.

MIN 23:00
Groups that have religion outcompete groups that don’t
Moral code so you don’t cheat your neighbors.
Pro-social.

The Kibbutz secular vs religious

Prayer and meditation helps you cope with stress.

MIN 27
Why jokes make us laugh.
Social signals about danger.

MIN 28
about why offensive jokes might be funny

LINK TO SPARK MY MUSE
EPISODE 30 on the Science of humor
WITH NEUROSCIENTIST Dr VINOD GOEL

MIN 30
Our brain doesn’t really sense what is fiction or reality 100%

The “Finding Nemo” story

36:00
Jim’s TEDx talks

37:30
Planning bias and completion times


 

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EPS 41: Jennifer Michael Hecht on Poetry, Wonder, and Preventing Suicide

EPS 41: Jennifer Michael Hecht on Poetry, Wonder, and Preventing Suicide

SCROLL DOWN for much more about my guest and about this special episode.

If it is not already obvious, on Spark My Muse I feature people and topics I find interesting and important. I feature people from a variety of backgrounds and traditions: people of some kind of religious faith and people without belief in the supernatural are my guests. What they all have in common is that I think they are working on something worthy of attention and conversation. It doesn’t mean I agree or come to the same conclusions with every guest 100% but I appreciate them very much and I want to make space for them here and learn from them. It will spark my muse and yours.

Currently, few people meet that standard more than my guest today: Jennifer Michael Hecht. What I have deeply appreciated about Jennifer Michael Hecht‘s work is her curiosity, investigative way of working and writing, her sense of wonder, and her wonderful and sense of humor that comes out perhaps most often in her poetry.


 

In our conversation we cover topics in some of her books, her background, and she even reads a poem (swoon), but the main topic covered is extremely important.

In fact, it’s a matter of life and death: Suicide. There are common myths about why people kill themselves and those myths create more deaths. No more.

If you feel the urge to end your life, don’t. Wait out your mood, please talk about what is bothering you, and seek help. Stay alive.

wuicidehotline

 

I too have had time of deep darkness and thoughts of taking my life have gone through my mind. I haven’t planned how to carry it all out because the finality scares me and the thought of putting my loved ones through hardship hurts me.

The statistics tell us that having these thoughts are normal, just as any other type of thoughts. Our thoughts our not our identity. They are things our brain does to try to solve problems. Sometimes our brain should not be listened to. We must not listen to any murderous thoughts either, right? (Like the ones we have during road rage moments or when we feel like we want to strangle our child when they sass us or boldface lie.) Our meat-like brains might think bad things. So, if a thought of taking your life is happening now, or ever. Please stay. Don’t be rash. Hang on. AND Thank you for making a choice to stay on. 

The best thing we can do during those dark and bad times is to wait it out and support others doing the same. We can also talk to someone to sort things through. If you feel like you are in a desperate mood, try your best to stay until you feel better. Jennifer says it and I concur, your future self will be happy you did. Others WILL be happy you did.

Don’t do anything you can’t undo. First Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)



To share an audio snippet, click on the red and white icon below.

Thank you for listening. This is a very important episode and I urge you to pass it along to as many people as you can for when a very desperate mood may strike them.

Scroll down for notes of the show listed by-the-minute. More resources are at the bottom.

GUEST: Jennifer Michael HechtHecht

BIO
Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, philosopher, historian and commentator. She is the author of the bestseller Doubt: A History, a history of religious and philosophical doubt all over the world, throughout history. Her new book is Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, out from Yale University Press. Her The Happiness Myth brings a historical eye to modern wisdom about how to lead a good life. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won Phi Beta Kappa’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “For scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”

Publisher’s Weekly called her poetry book, Funny, “One of the most original and entertaining books of the year.” Her first book of poetry, The Next Ancient World, won three national awards, including the Poetry Society of America’s First Book award for 2001. Her new poetry book called Who Said, just came out from Copper Canyon in November 2013. Hecht has written for Politico, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New Yorker. She holds a Ph.D. in the history of science/European cultural history from Columbia University (1995) and has taught in the MFA program at Columbia University and the New School in New York City.

SHOWNOTES

MIN 2:00

Her first love: poetry.

min 3:30
PhD at Columbia in the History of Science

Emily Dickinson
John Keats
W.B. Yates

5:00
The hard sciences in her roots influencing her educational pursuits.

6:30
How she came to write the book Doubt: A History

The End of the Soul (her dissertation)

The Society of Mutual Autopsy
Brain dissections (Paris) done to prove the soul did not exist.

The members of this group left records of their atheism and she decided that there was not a good record of atheism and the tradition of it.

15:00
Disbelief is “a kind of atheism”. The splits and religions that come about as people question the prominent god or gods and religion of the time.

16:30
The people throughout history who reject the supernatural and accept only the natural world.

17:30
The mixing of cultural and religions in our times and the current idea of spirituality that you can contact the supernatural inside yourself.

19:00
The secular argument against suicide.

Ages 15-44 3rd leading killer of Americans

Ages 44 and up is the 10th leading killer. It happens in greater number among the older population.

In 2000, 30,00 people per year.
In 2010, 40,00 people per year killed themselves and raising.

There seem to be trends like in other social trends like drug use, and the trend rises when people feel it’s a solution others like them are choosing.

23:00
The Christians who leave suicide notes and say that they think that God will understand (and forgive them.) need to hear the reason why to stay.

The TWO MAIN ARGUMENTS in the book STAY:

Suicide harms community
People close to you, that you may never wish to harm to be harm irreparably (especially children who are 4 times more likely to also commit suicide if their parent does, depending on how old they are).
Neighborhoods, schools, families, groups, communities have increased suicide and trauma statistically after a suicide occurs.

Suicide hurts your future self

28:00
People don’t realize how common it is to have a sudden (fleeting) thought that it might be better if they weren’t lying any longer when things are going badly. It’s a mood. Some people act in the worst way about a bad mood.

95% of people who try suicide, if they live, will never try it again.

29:30
Having faith in your future self.

30:30
This is a worldwide problem. 1 million per year. Up 60% worldwide.

32:00
Suicide is more impulsive and is more impulsive than we’ve realized.

Shame has something to do with suicide. People had suffered a humiliation in romanic, at work, or in some other way.

34:30
Knowing ahead of time to be on guard against the perils of impetuous thinking about suicide.

“Don’t let your worst mood murder all your others. The other moods don’t want to do that.”

“Depression happens to you. Not suicide. Suicide is a behavior.”

36:30
Pain can be a helpful teacher. We are stuck with it and it seems to help us grow.

39:00
On Robin Williams’ suicide.

41:00
The executive function and planning portion of the adolescence brain is not finished until age 25. There are many reasons to wait and see that things get better as your future self.

45:00
Looking for the warning signs in ourselves and stay for ourselves and others. You don’t get to choose who suffers.

50:00
The Wonder Paradox (her new book she’s working on)

About poetry and wonder

The people who do not affiliate with any religion. What rituals do and what people use for marriages or funerals, etc. What Poetry can provide for that.

“American religions have offered meaning and an afterlife, yet millions of Confucians and 5,000 years of Egyptians didn’t believe in an afterlife.”

55:00

“Meaning always came from culture and community.”

56:00
Keats’ tuberculosis poem

57:00
On the universe and vastness of creation and our consciousness.

59:00

“We are the universe seeing itself and marveling.”

1:01
On the darkness and struggle.

1:05
Jennifer reads her poem:

History

Even Eve, the only soul in all of time
to never have to wait for love,
must have leaned some sleepless nights
alone against the garden wall
and wailed, cold, stupefied, and wild
and wished to trade-in all of Eden
to have but been a child.

In fact, I gather that is why she leapt and fell from grace,
that she might have a story of herself to tell
in some other place.


 

Plus another poem
As promised, I’m including another of Jennifer’s poems in the shownotes. Below you can click to heard it read aloud and that enhances the experience.


 

Funny Strange

We are tender and our lives are sweet

and they are already over and we are
visiting them in some kind of endless
reprieve from oblivion, we are walking
around in them and after we shatter
with love for everything we settle in.

Thou tiger on television chowing,
thou very fact of dreams, thou majestical
roof fretted with golden fire. Thou wisdom
of the inner parts. Thou tintinnabulation.

Is it not sweet to hand over the ocean’s
harvest in a single wave of fish? To bounce
a vineyard of grapes from one’s apron
and into the mouth of the crowd? To scoop up
bread and offer up one’s armful to the throng?
Let us live as if we were still among

the living, let our days be patterned after
theirs. Is it not marvelous to be forgetful?


Click to hear this poem read aloud–it’s marvelous that way. It was downloaded from the Poetry Foundation. Visit it and read some of her other poems here and visit her page at the Poetry Foundation HERE.


 

• If you enjoyed this, you will like maybe to hear my personal story in audio I created about six months later:

• In October 2016, I had Ryan J. Bell as a guest, who is a mutual friend. You will also enjoy our conversation that includes a very interesting JMH “girl crush” tangent. Enjoy!

Hear recent episodes of the podcast.


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Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Shownotes for Episode 14: How-to pair wine and chocolate for a great party + a chat with author, Ed Cyzewski

BANANA CART?
(Your ears are not fooling you. In Columbus, Ohio at 9:30 pm a man rides a bike around and rings a bell as he sells frozen chocolate covered bananas. Too funny. And it sounds delicious, if not suspicious. That’s why I’m featuring chocolate in the wine segment today! Enjoy it. It’s bananas, after all.)


Want to try the practice of EXAMEN?

In this episode Ed and I chat about one of his favorite spiritual practices. It’s been very transforming for me too. It’s the practice of Examen (typically pronounced: EGGS-Aye-men).

This age old practice of reflection, mindfulness, and prayer to begin and end one’s day goes back ages in Christian History and is reflected in spirit throughout the bible. Like in David’s sentiments in the Psalms (like Psalm 119) and in Isaiah 26:9.

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”

So today I offer you my personal version of the Examen practice!

I call it “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”
–It’s the perfect way to supercharge and renew personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

It’s a simple but effective worksheet makes the practice easier to sustain. I hope you give it a try.
The practice takes just 3-5 minutes each morning and just before bed.
• You can see surprising changes in awareness in only 5 days.
(Simply print out 5 copies and follow-through for 5 days!)

Both EXAMEN-like worksheets below work like an Examen practice, but the 2nd one features prayer more fully in addition to reflection and mindfulness.

Check them out to see which one you like best. Print out both if you’d like:

SharpeningPRAYER• The SHARPENING Ritual 

• The SHARPENING Ritual
(PRAYER-centered VERSION)

(Enjoy these resources with my compliments…tipping what you can is optional.)


How we find spark:

We are in this together. As you listen and become part of what is happening here, it will be obvious that I spend a lot of time and a bit of money doing the show: website, paying for media hosting, producing it, editing, adding music, finding and speaking with guests, more editing, more research, and all the rest to bring you something of value in the Spark My Muse podcast.

Lots of heart, sweat and occasionally tears for your enjoyment and inspiration. You get to decide what that means and what it’s worth.

 

So, I invite you to just listen, read, and contribute what the episode is worth to you.

 

• If nothing, I apologize. Please, come back and listen again soon.

• If you think it’s worth one dollar, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, six hundred billion-gazillion dollars…you see where I’m going with this…, or offer something of equal value that is not monetary, simply contribute what it has been worth to you. HERE.

(or contact me here if it’s not monetary. Be creative!)
Thank you!
With Love,
~Lisa

 

WINE SEGMENT

 

MINUTE 2:30

Best tips for the tastiest pairing Party of chocolate and wine!

A how-to.

A chocolate and wine tasting party is so much fun.

• It’s ideal for groups of 3-12 people.

• Have each person bring some wine and provide samples of high quality chocolate and let the fun start!

It’s the acid:
One of the tasty things you can do is pair chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine have higher levels of acidity which makes them a naturally delicious match.

Well-paired wine and chocolate work together to make each one taste better. Delicious qualities come out in both the wine and the chocolate and even form a third taste. A careful selection is needed.

Here are some ideas of which wine to pair with which kinds of chocolate treats.

TIP 1

The most  important tip to remember is to keep the wine sweeter than the treat it’s pair with.

(If you don’t it can make the wine seem less tasty and flavorful or heighten its bitterness. yucky.)

TIP 2

Make sure you have high-quality chocolate. 

Many supermarketers have a premium chocolate section and you probably only need one bar of each kind or just a good quality box assortment. Baked good work as well and you can search online too.

TIP 3

Taste test the chocolate ahead of time: Pick out certain fruit flavors, determine the sweet and bitter components they have, check for nuttiness qualities and levels of acidity. If the chocolate has a creme center this will take on added complexity that might pair well with fruit-forward wines. 

TIP 4

A rule of thumb is that darker wines tend to pair better which darker chocolate and should be served first: More full-bodied, (heavier feeling in the mouth) dark and drier (not a sweet style) red wine pair well with the more bitter chocolates that have a higher cocoa %.

White wines tend to pair well with milk chocolate blends and chocolates that have sweeter and fruitier flavor notes.

TIP 5
Remember TIP #1 one …keep the wine SWEETER than the chocolate!

MAKING A MATCH
Pick your wines according to the flavors you’ve tasted in the chocolate,
 and ask your guests to bring a specific variety of wine.

Here are some specific ideas for the kinds of wine you may want to serve, but you can feel free to experiment and see if your palate prefers something different.

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Good choices include Bordeaux wines (merlot, cab franc, cab save), Beaujolais, Shiraz, Port, Malbec.

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, off-dry chamborcin and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Champagne is also a natural match for milk chocolate. The crisp, dry flavour of the bubbly contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of a simple milk chocolate tablet. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.

White chocolate (which is really cocoa butter) : Match with Sherry, Muscato (a.k.a. Muscat) a fruity Chardonnay (un-oaked), These wines will pick up on the buttery, slightly oilier tones of the cocoa butter. Vidal Blanc, Niagra blends, catawba blends.

Champagne or sparkling wine goes well with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many kinds of wines. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well because they tend to be sweeter.

PARTY TIP
To keep every one sharp and feeling well, Offer your guests some bread or light fare before you begin and keep the wine samples to just an ounce. 

HOW TO TASTE THE PAIR
1. Take take a small sip of wine and note the aromas and tastes. Some hosts offer guest a sheet to jot down their observations.

2. Then bite into the chocolate and note what it happening as you taste and eat it.

3. Then you sip the wine again and note the new flavor notes and changes that the chocolate brought to the wine. It’s amazing how much the taste of the wine will change according to what it is paired with.

4. Don’t rush through the pairing. 7-10 minutes per pairing is about right. Allow people to really luxuriate on the experience and talk about the flavors and taste combinations they are experiencing.

AMBIENCE TIP
This is not a consumption event, it’s a sensory group experience where enhanced awareness is key. Relax and take your time. Chocolate and wine are luxury items.

THE TAKEAWAY
It’s a great lesson for life too. The point isn’t to bulldoze through life and get it out of the way, but to really notice what is happening and take it all in deeply. Downshift to a better appreciation of encounters with others, with our surroundings, and ultimately with ourselves and to God who makes a home within us.

• Enjoy yourself and let me know of the pairings you came up with  (in the comments section) and how your pairing experimenting went, or what your plans are. I’d love to know. You can post pictures at the Spark My Muse Facebook page too.

Do you have questions? Leave them here, use the voice mail feature, or use the contact page and I’ll try to answer them in future episodes.

 


Sparking your Muse…
a chat with Ed Cyzewski

edc200_thumb

Visit Ed’s website.

 

 


Interview notes

11:00

Ed talks about his upcoming Christian Writer’s Survival Guide book

12:30

The practices of prayer and writing are connected in so many ways.

12:30

Contemplative prayer

Spiritual Direction

and how Ed is learning more about Holy Spirit and waiting on the Lord

14:30

From my experience…”Type A” or productive person’s view of prayer is active or proactive (maybe not involving much listening to God) (Lisa)

15:00

Apophatic prayer – God is found in the silence more than I thought (Lisa)

15:30

“The Creative process and prayer require us to enter with hands open”.

16:00

For both (writing and prayer), you can’t force the outcome…

16:15

Submit to the process.

Do the work.

17:00

“[A] general principle is to create space to allow inspiration and good writing to happen.”

Maybe (it can happen) in retreats or in different ways.

19:20

My favorite podcast Krista Tippet’s show On Being Onbeing.org (Lisa)

Pico Iyer-  (paraphrase) “So much information is coming in but we have less space to process it.” -Pico Iyer The Art of Stillness

20:15

Never a moment wasted because of technology…but at what cost?

21:00

(Ed) on not having times for his brain to slip into neutral..

21:30

Ed says walks helped clear his mind, and he had to detox and ween from media.

22:30

We have a loss of self and fear of quietness.

22:45

40 Day Ignatian retreat bringing a terrifying and alone sense after 2-weeks until she found God in the quiet.

24:00

Ed’s method for unplugging and creating space:

Relent technique-going offline after 5pm and weekends.

25:30

Leaving my phone in my car when I go for walk to eating out. (Lisa)
• I’ve experienced less anxiety (to my surprise).

27:00

(Ed’s sarcasm) College students in the 1990s would die all the time, every week, because they didn’t have cell phones. Funerals every week for the mobile phone-less.

27:30

In the 1980s my dad got collect calls from “pick me up”. (Lisa)

29:10

UK study showing that teens are more anxious because of tech and over-connectedness.

29:40

Maybe because the media (they are using) is socially consequential and not neutral: like watching tv or listening to radio. (Lisa)

32:00

From his upcoming book:

Allowing space to grow and learn. His spiritual practice of Examen.

The app he uses: Examine App

The practice helped him come up with writing topics.

33:30

The practice showed him the imbalance of his life.

 

35:10

Contemplative writer’s Facebook on group

37:00

Kirsten Oliphant

Andi Cumbo-Floyd

37:50

The group has lots of generosity there like a support group.

39:20

How Ed keeps a balance in mood and outlook when the stories he writes about are negative and make him angry.

How he uses a generous redemptive approach and giving his anger time to dispute so he can write with redemption in mind, inspired by Richard Rhor.

40:00

God wants to redeem everyone.

40:30

…Controversy and hit pieces build a quick blog audience…but the challenge is to be redemptive and to still confront in love when necessary…

41:00

“I’d rather be an Atheist than attend the Village Church” (his angry article)

42:40

Trying to encourage others to be redemptive and holding back if he can’t do it in a redemptive way. Waiting is important.

43:30

How we change. Example: Women in Ministry and how Ed’s mind changed.

44:20

“God is all about the long game.”

(It’s not helpful to create animosity)

44:50

(Lisa) “The power of heightening Empathy (to solve problems). Sharing stories helps.

The job of a person who is called to communicate for something bigger than themselves is to ask…

‘Am I able to show people something that they haven’t seen, but  then once they see they know it’s true. And they can’t unseen it’.”

“And to feel it too…what that (other) person is feeling.” -Ed

(If you’d like to have Ed back to discuss how writing can be “soul-killing” and what to do about it, please let us know and leave a comment! Was the show too long? Too short? Ed and I decided we are curious about this, so let us know.)

:)


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BREAKING NEWS:

Shane Claiborne is joining Spark My Muse as a guest this summer! WHOOP whoop !!!


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

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

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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,

~Lisa

WINE SEGMENT:

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!

Why? 

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!

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.

8:50
Reformers and the necessary correction in contemporary times.

9:00
Confronting individualism
and thoughts on human flourishing.

9:50
on the idea of being “spiritual but not religious”

10:30
on his work about CS Lewis

Mere Christianity

11:00
The importance of imagination for understanding that isn’t covered by rationalism.

12:30
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.”

14:30
James Sire

15:70
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

18:00
Brainpickings.com Maria Popova (an admitted secular atheist on a continual spiritual search)

19:00
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….

21:30
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.

22:20

“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)

23:30
on How people appeal to a standard outside themselves. (CS Lewis)

24:00
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.

25:00

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

26:00
Richard Foster’s classic over 50 years old “Celebration of Discipline”

27:20
A story of a crucial pivot point for Doug.

28:20
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.”

29:30

“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.”

30:10
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.

31:00
Demons come in our solitude (Desert Fathers). The outcome is awareness and purification.

32:00
Wanting “the listening heart” (what Solomon really asked God for).
on the importance of listening to God…

33:30
My Stockholm syndrome at parties. (Lisa)

34:00

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

34:30
“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…

39:00
St John of the Cross
(Exploring the spiritually obscured times and darker emotions.)

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

40:00
…on staying in the problems and not panicking.

41:00
…on the crucial lesson from his mom that revealed his theology

44:30
(unknowing) Apophetic theology

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

45:00

“We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology.”

(which is terrifying but life-giving)

46:00
[GOOD NEWS]
Further exploration in a future episode of John of the Cross with Doug coming soon!


 

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Watch for new episodes each Hump Day (Wednesday).

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