Eps 109: Pádraig Ó Tuama and Lumpy Crossings

Eps 109: Pádraig Ó Tuama and Lumpy Crossings

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Pádraig Ó Tuama

Poet, theologian, group worker, and leader of Corrymeela Community of Northern Ireland, Pádraig has worked with groups in Ireland, Britain, the US, and Australia. With interests in storytelling, groupwork, theology, and conflict, Pádraig lectures, leads retreats and writes both poetry, prose, and music..

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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”.


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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!


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Watch for new episodes each Hump Day (Wednesday).

Blogging as Spiritual Journal

Blogging as Spiritual Journal

click for photo attribution

Today’s post comes from Doug Jackson. Professor Jackson is a bona fide man of letters and a teacher of spiritual formation. He also blogs. He’s not the kind of expert that touts his CV. Rather, he’s a man acquainted with his humanity in a way the endears you to him right off, and a wisdom that can change you.

Blogging as Spiritual Journal
Doug Jackson

“For I am the sort of man,” Augustine once declared, “who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress – by writing.”

Christian bloggers should rework Jane Austen’s dictum, “Write what you know,” and state it as follows: Write until you know. If we understand blogging as a process of self-discovery and even of self-formation, we may tread this track with greater gratitude and greater care.

Gratitude and care: Keeping an internal diary has long been seen as a spiritual discipline, from Augustine’s Confessions to Wesley’s journals to Mother Teresa’s recently published papers. The Internet tweaks this ancient practice by offering the perilous privilege of publication.

I say privilege because blogging encourages journaling by offering the incitement of instant readership. Journaling has never been one of my own spiritual practices because I am too much of a writer (or perhaps too little of a Christian) to stand the sound of one keyboard clattering. Writers write to be read, and while perhaps saints do not, most writers are at best saints-in-process. Tradition tells us that Abba John the Dwarf, at Abba Pambo’s direction, watered a stick every day for three years until it burst forth in fruit. I, however, simply will not chase the dead stick of writing if there is not a carrot of being read dangling somewhere on the end of it. George Bernanos’ country priest begins his Diary with the promise that after twelve months he will use it for kindling; by the end of the first chapter he amends it to “I’ll stuff it all away in a drawer to re-read it later with a clear mind.”

So blogging offers an incredible privilege: Writers who in the very recent past would have no outlet for their work can now find instant publication – and instant motivation. Anne Lamott notes the value of this kind of work:

I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the act of writing – turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.


But the privilege comes laced with peril: the deadly sin of wrath.

Blogs are self-edited and self-published. I can say whatever I want. Blogs are also released to cyber-space: I can’t unsay anything, even if I want to. This makes a blog a great place to get angry, but a poor place to repent. When I played football we often drilled using foam shields known as “air bags.” I noticed that guys who avoided physical contact at all costs suddenly went Jack Lambert on us during these sessions. We dubbed such selective warriors “Air Bag All Americans.” A blog can be a playground for Air Bag Martyrs who speak boldly from the behind the bunker of their firewalls.

But wrath is a deadly sin for a reason. Jesus equated insults with murder. People often ask me, “Does that mean calling someone a jerk is just as bad as killing him?” My standard reply is, “Not to him.”

Which is largely the point and takes us back to blogging as self-discovery: My anger may or may not harm my targets (with a readership like mine, probably not), but it tells me something about me. “The pleasure of anger,” explains C. S. Lewis, “the gnawing attraction which makes one return again and again to its theme — lies, I believe, in the fact that one feels entirely righteous oneself only when one is angry.

Then the other person is pure black, and you are pure white.” Ranting blogs probably reveal very little about my airbag victims, but they should tell me something about the state of my own soul.

And then there’s the temptation of attention: Wrath translates to readership because everyone loves the vicarious thrill of an Internet takedown. If we write to be read, we must take care lest we automatically write what people like to read. Donald Kaul once closed a review of Robert James Waller’s chick-lit romance “The Bridges of Madison County” by admitting, “I still don’t know what Waller has, but if I thought it was contagious, I’d kiss him.” If cyber-sneering and digital drive-by’s mean viral results, we’re too quick to kiss – well, whatever needs kissing.

Harry Farra’s “Little Monk” begins keeping a journal early in his vows, and later finds it to be “a valuable record of a soul tamed by God.” Toward the close of the book, he abandons the volume to the care of a young woman. She shares it with her wayward son who finds that it changes his heart. Perhaps that should be the goal of the believing blogger: the charism of being overheard. An old joke says, “Live in such a way that you would not be afraid to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” I would amend it to: Blog in such a way that you would not fear to have your words read by a seeking soul in danger, one whom you may never meet.

I write these words as one more unknown note in the mighty symphony (or cacophony) of the blogosphere. My URL does not appear on big-time blog rolls. No one has contacted me to offer a book deal. Christian universities do not invite me to speak. But I don’t think I need the caffeine of fame (though, quite honestly, I’ll take it if it comes); what I need is the liturgy of writing. And who knows – maybe that is what someone who reads my blog needs as well.•

After twenty-five years as a pastor, Doug Jackson finally made it to Tarshish as an assistant professor in the Logsdon Seminary program of the South Texas School of Christian Studies in Corpus Christi, where he teaches spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, and Greek. In addition to his teaching, Doug writes “Sermoneutics,” a weekly devotional and sermon-starter blog based on the Revised Common Lectionary: http://sermoneutics2.blogspot.com/.

Featured Writer: Dr Doug Jackson on Trinity Sunday


I wanted to feature this fine Sermoneutics article because I’ll be bringing the concept of Trinity to my class this Sunday.


Sermoneutics is a weekly column authored by Doug Jackson. Before coming to South Texas School of Christian Studies, Dr. Jackson pastored churches for nearly twenty-five years. For more from Doug Jackson, check out his blog at djackson.stscs.org.
Click here for the Sermoneutics archive.

by Doug Jackson
Trinity Sunday,
2 Corinthians 13.11-14

The good news is that the Western church has conspired to disobey the clear command of Scripture. The bad news is that our disobedience obscures our doctrine.

Augustine warned that anyone who disbelieves the Trinity is in danger of losing his salvation . . . and that anyone who attempts to understand it is in danger of losing his mind! Actually the Trinity is one of those things, like fried crawdad tails or dancing or being in love, that one understands not by pondering but by experiencing.

“We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.” Athanasius puts it rather neatly but perhaps leaves us wondering how to pull off the tricky business of inhabiting what we believe. The doctrine makes us psychological heretics whose nerves don’t connect with our confession.

Paul takes a more practical tack, perhaps because he writes as a pastor and not as a theologian. Just before rapping out one of the clearest Trinitarian statements in all of Scripture, he lays a command on us: Greet one another with a holy kiss. That’s the injunction I am so glad the Church exiles to the exegetical antipodes along with head coverings for women and not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk.

I don’t like it when people hug me; you can imagine how I feel about kissing. And I claim apostolic authority on this one: C. S. Lewis shared my aversion. “It is one of my lifelong weaknesses,” he writes in his autobiography Surprised By Joy, “that I never could endure the embrace or kiss of my own sex.” But there it is, right in the Bible and everything.

See, the problem is that the Trinity states, not an abstract mathematical puzzle but a common-sense relational truth: God is love, and either the Almighty is the ultimate cosmic narcissist eternally self-involved, or God has eternally had Someone to love. And since only God is eternal it must be that the Father has eternally loved the Son, the Son has eternally loved the Father and the Spirit has eternally been that love. And therefore Christians can only study the Trinity by risking the sloppy business of loving one another. And because God makes us bodies we can only love with our bodies. Every hug that breeches my barriers brings me closer to inhabiting the unity of Trinity. Amplexo ergo creedo: I hug, therefore I get it.

In this light, it is interesting to note that this year Trinity Sunday falls on the same day as Juneteenth, a nationwide observance for African-Americans commemorating the day the Emancipation Proclamation actually took effect. Perhaps instead of breaking our brains over the complexities of cosmic calculus, we could study the Trinity by repenting of past segregations and handing out a few hugs across the barriers we have built throughout Christ’s body.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,



Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are love from all eternity. Make us one as You are one, that in us the world may see the grace, love and fellowship of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.


May you be broken enough to help one another,
For wholeness comes from healing.
May you disagree enough to hear one another
For oneness comes from listening.
May you be lonely enough to hold one another
For touch defeats division and discord.
In the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

Copyright © 2011 South Texas School of Christian Studies, All rights reserved.

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