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).

Did somebody move your cheese?

cheese
Are you frustrated?

It’s probably because someone moved your cheese.

At the little library near my home I found a book in a pile of free books. I remembered the title probably because of the power of cheese.

Who Moved My Cheese

by Spencer Johnson

The title is the best part. It’s one of the most poorly written books I’ve read in ages. Like, poke-your-eye-out awful.

It could be a 25 page book, but no, it drags you through brambles for over 80 pages…

Nevertheless, the takeaway is a simple and helpful reminder.

Here’s a reboot and summary:

We act like rats in a maze looking for cheese. (Cheese is what we think we want: love, money, power, security…whatever). If we find the cheese we like it and get comfortable and get lazy. We don’t think about finding new cheese.

We have to be willing to change, improve, or keep searching or we will starve, eventually.

The big problem?
If things change we act all ticked off that someone “moved our cheese”.

“Hey! Who moved my cheese?”

It’s true.

Someone or something will always crop up to move your cheese. It can get upsetting.

The Lesson: Keep moving and don’t expect things to be easy or long-lasting. Especially success.

The Science and Spirituality of Humor [SERIES]: Is Humor a HUMAN thing?

Read the 1st post of the humor series here. Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 10.46.13 AM

Is humor human?

Do animals laugh and why should we care?

One of the first things that comes up when you start to study what people find funny, and why they do, is the issue of purpose.

“What’s it all for?”

And when you start asking those questions invariably you need to see if humor is a uniquely human quality or if other creatures have some of it too and why might they.

Some animals experience emotions in ways humans do. Anger, pleasure, fear, and sorrow are a few commonalities.

For instance, pachyderms express grief at the death of a member of their parade. House cats don’t give a crap about the death of anyone (usually), but they are certainly spiteful on par with the cunning and potency of humans.

So why not the emotion of humor…?

It turns out that science has tried to measure that. The results, in my opinion, are mixed and even a bit unsavory. But, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Noises of Play

Plebeian anecdotes of laughing dogs or snickering nonhuman primates circulate and seem to indicate that something akin to genuine laughter or maybe some sort of sense of humor could be at work. Yes?

For a number of years scientists have discerned what seems to be jolly noises coming from chimps at play. These sounds mimic the intonations of young children at play and keg parties.

And then there’s the business of rodents.

Rats, actually.

I told you it would get unsavory.

Laughter in the Lab

Apparently, scientists can get grant money to tickle rats.

You heard me right.

See, if they just use the phrase “heterospecific hand play” on their proposal, a grant check comes in the mail.

The phrase sounds sophisticated and science-y, and no one in the grant issuing department considers it perverted.

With grant money in hand, scientists use their other hand and go about tickling rats of different ages, in different settings, at different times, and sometimes (I’m guessing) on the couch near a cozy fire in the fireplace and atmospheric candlelight as Barry White music plays softly in the background. It’s all very clinical.

The Results
Older (married?) rats don’t seem to respond, but juvenile rats, foolish to the wiles of scientists, make high frequency chirping sounds as they encounter “heterospecific hand play”.

The sounds are somewhat comparable to staccato laughing of human children at play. Human children playing but also gnawing at garbage in a dumpster, perhaps. Or, perhaps the panicked sounds of high anxiety.

The strange result is that the young rats then seek out the human that tickled him or her for plenty more of the same. (This convinces the scientists that the impressionable rats are enjoying the interaction and not developing strange and unhealthy co-dependency issues sourced in dubious psychologically damaging tickle abuse.)

In fact, the rats grow closer to their ticklers socially, and perhaps hope for an engagement ring one day.

I’d also like to note that so far I’m finding no such experiments are conducted where rats are allowed to tickle scientists and whether the rats or the scientists laugh because of it. This seems like a gross oversight. It would also be interesting to know if the scientists found the rats attractive in different outfits and vice versa. Or, maybe not.

I don’t know whether to be proud of the these discoveries or terribly embarrassed for the scientists.

The Purpose of Humor

What laughter–or its nonhuman equivalent–appears to do in the animal world is to build social bridges through appropriate positive interactions.

Positive, mutual, social responses build bonds, trust, and cooperation. Everyone wins.

Rats, dogs, and chimps are all highly social creatures, and maybe this is needed for things to go well.

The exception is the occasional instance where rats eat their young.

 

• This seems to indicate that some tickling just isn’t funny, or that kids can be a real pain sometimes.

Humor and Spirituality

I’m proposing that humor remains invaluable to human flourishing, not just for healthy social bonding, but ultimately for the vital element of identity, and this is the territory of spirituality. We’ll get into the reasons of why more deeply as we continue.


 

Like those laughing animals, humans are social too. When they are not socially healthy, bad things happen: murder, sexual assault, arson, random violence, and strange behavior on Facebook.

But, unlike animals, scientific experiments show that humans have three main reasons for laughing besides a tickling episode, according to work by psychologist Diana Szameitat. Here are the other three:

1. Laughing in joy.

2. Taunting laughter. Laughing at someone in contempt.

3. Schadenfreude laughter. Laughing at another person who encounters something unfortunate, like falling down. The Germans have just the precise word for it too, which is not surprising.

I think there are several more, but that’s for future posts.

 

Funny Things are Seriously Complex

Humor and laughter comprise a whole system of complex emotions for humans, compared to animals.

And as anyone who’s been tickled for too long knows, sometimes humor includes mixed emotions like discomfort, fear, apprehension, or wanting to slap a scientist for creepy “heterospecific hand play”.

We’ll learn much more about the complexity of humor as we go. In future posts I’ll also cover the dubious reputation of humor among early philosophers, the fascinating aspect of humorous sarcasm and mockery, plus the latest compelling humor research theory that explains both the good and bad reasons why we find things funny.

Anything for a laugh.


 

To sum up, humor is both uniquely human and shared among certain other creatures in a lesser way.

Read the next one in the series here.

 Are you enjoying this series? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading!

-Lisa

April Fool’s Favorites 2013

Every year some pranks are pulled on April Fool’s Day.

My kids were big into putting a rubber band on the kitchen sink sprayer. They would high five every time I forgot about it. (I let them have their fun and kept it rigged for most of the day, as they were at home on holiday.)

Redbox did a funny and enjoyable one too.

lunch meat
(click for full prank…it’s worth it for the cheese alone!)

I have been so occupied with my obligations of work, family, and grad school that I didn’t get to poke around and see what other pranks were had on a bigger scale.

What did I miss?

Offer some links to your favorites of this year (or any year) and let me know what I missed!

Soul, mind, and heart: Not understanding the Biblical text

Which one sounds wrong?

A. Do you have the guts?
B. Put your heart into it.
C. Make up your heart.

What is the heart?
The answer might surprise you.

In modern times, the “heart” has been called, “the feeling mind”. That sounds pretty good to me. What do you think?

A recent visitor responded to my post Is Chocolate Filling my God-shaped Hole? with the comment below (edited down). I think it would help to respond through a post, also. Now we can open up the whole thing to dialogue a bit more. Thanks for your contribution on this topic.

Visitor Response to Post–Submitted: on 2010/12/03 at 3:10 pm
The way I look at it, viewing the heart and mind as separate is extrabiblical; thus, in fact, “that thing that ‘falls in love’ or gets sentimental” *is* the mind. So the modern “follow your heart” does not connote the *opposite* of the biblical “heart,” but rather only *part* of it. Bottom line, I can’t trust my mind or my heart, or even my own spirit completely… only God is 100% trustworthy. As for filling our “voids” with things “besides” God, I try to remember that God gets the credit for all good things anyway…

My response:
I should have also pointed out [within that post] that the Hebrew equivalent of the emotions or passions (what many now consider the “heart”) were also referred to differently than the mind (i.e. set a different category, if you will–the bowels or “guts”).
The “guts” implied connection with those qualities of emotion, and so forth.

To sum up: In the Bible, (most especially in the Old Testament)…

1. What is translated as “heart” (in the KJV and others) is closer to what we now term as “the mind”. More specifically, the individual’s command center, or the place where decisions are made– which includes the will.

2. What we may think of as “the heart” that is, passions, desires, emotions, in the Hebrew language is connected with “the guts” or “bowels” of a person. For instance, “In his guts he loved her”. Yes, it sounds awkward, at best.

Even more controversy:
THE SOUL

There is a big dissimilarity in the Hebrew vs. English renditions of the word often translated in English as “soul”. In Hebrew, it refers to the whole being. The whole person (So, no. It does not mean a ghosty thing that floats to the clouds like in Warner Brother cartoons). We can understand it in our context more this way when we say, “30 souls were lost [died] in the shipwreck.”

Hey, everyone, please, weigh in.
This post is open to opinions, thoughts, comments, or if you’re of the particular stripe…exegesis.
(Yes. That’s the BIG word of the day.)

Exegesis (EGGs -eh- Jesus) is this definition hereIt’s not a variant, or French spelling of “Eggs and Cheeses” which we may be tempted to think at first blush, right? 

"Eggs and Cheeses" (Not Exegesis)

(click photo to find its source)

Tomorrow’s post–
“Does your Breakfast (and your deity) make you AWESOME?”

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