Eps 117: To Love Ourselves As We Are: Guest, Hillary McBride

Eps 117: To Love Ourselves As We Are: Guest, Hillary McBride

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Soul School-Lesson 57: The Prisoner Prayer

Soul School-Lesson 57: The Prisoner Prayer

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Today on Soul School I am sharing a version of a presentation on prayer that I gave to the inmates at Federal Prison FCI Schuylkill who (voluntarily) attend ongoing LIFE Ministry (Christian) classes.

My book on prayer is called LIFE AS PRAYER:

My book was inspired by Brother Lawrence and this book:

The Letters of Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence was a man of humble beginnings who discovered the greatest secret of living in the kingdom of God while serving as a brother in a monastery near Paris. For Lawrence his life was involved the art of “practicing the presence of God in one single act that does not end.” Lawerence often stated that it is God who paints Himself in the depths of our soul. We must only open our hearts to receive God and God’s loving presence. For nearly 300 years this unparalleled classic (which is mainly a collection of letters from him and remembrances of him) has given both blessing and instruction to those who can be content with nothing less than knowing God presence in all God’s majesty and feeling God’s loving presence throughout each simple day.


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Eps 85: Catacombic Freestyling with Swede Josef Gustafsson

Eps 85: Catacombic Freestyling with Swede Josef Gustafsson

Welcome to Spark My Muse!

• Each FRIDAY, guests join me in a conversation.
• Come back each Wednesday
(on “Hump Day” aka Midweek) for a brief Soul School “lesson”–something for your interior world and common life.

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My guest today is a Swede!
Josef Gustafson.




Original Podcast Freestyle Christianity

Background… interests and the journey to create a podcast.

EXPLAIN Catacombic Theologian /

A desiring theology of becoming.

MIN 3:00 Education and a distaste for academia and models and formulas created there.


Explaining the name “freestyle Christianity”

experimental and a space that is open and with no doorkeepers.

And giving up the name


7:30 Religious background in childhood and how that’s changed

YWAM (Youth With a Mission)

10:00 Reading apologetic and learning about the boogie men of Evangelicals

Philosophy and Theologian as neighbors and a matter paychecks


Catacombic Theology explained in brief

asking to explain in old categories

Henri Berson

Taught to answer specific questions to guide our search for truth…. we should be shaping the questions.

We confuse the less with the more.


Why is there always something NEW?


• [Society] becomes oppressive because eventually the powerful decide the categories.

Sacrifice and squeezing in other groups into a form that wasn’t ever might for them and oppressive.

19:00 Cathedrals – catacombs in the basement. It may not reflect truth. It reflects what is being preached.

Re-present what we think is the truth. Not trying to re-present something.

Our theology (our cathedrals represent the people who built it.). We build boards (whether we see them or not and they function in an exclusive fashion.

The proclamation the church made that the spirit doesn’t move outside the Father or Son and the Son is found in the Church. (inside)

In theology, difference is looked at as if is presupposes opposition.

But it’s the other way around, opposition presupposes difference.



EXAMPLE: the Internet and new categories .

The Pope follows no one back on Twitter, because an old institution is misunderstanding a new  category of communication.


How do the people of the Church gather in a way that works?

PETE ROLLINS episode & pints and parable


Twitter democratizes people and strips off labels of an old (pre digital) world.

New hierarchies are being created online where added a meaningful contribution makes you an important member.

Humans continue to have the same desire to connect (in-person) and gather.

Peter Rollin’s WAKE festival

The challenge of being present when you gather in person.


Church of Sweden


The growth of Pentecostalism worldwide.


Hillsong Church in Sweden drawing young people


Americanizes version of Christianity on the continent of Africa

40:00 Where the podcast is going.

Challenge themselves creativity but living in the algorithms that keep you in an echo chamber.

Bringing on guests that make subscribers uncomfortable.



thecatacombicmachine.com on iTunes


Catherine Keller theologian the dark and the light find what we can’t see in the light.


Be prepared to be unprepared for the novel and the new for that which will rupture our understand about what it truth and what is good.

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Eps: 83 Ryan J. Bell and Life After God

Eps: 83 Ryan J. Bell and Life After God

Welcome to Spark My Muse!

• Each FRIDAY, guests join me in a conversation.
• Come back each Wednesday
(on “Hump Day” aka Midweek) for a brief Soul School “lesson”–something for your interior world and common life.


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Today, my guest is a follow podcaster and blogger Ryan J. Bell. Ryan came into some notoriety when he, as a Seventh Day Adventist Pastor, decided to blog about living a year without God and he gained a large following as a columnist on Huffington Press as well. What happened next and what he’s up to now makes for an interesting story. Listen in.


MIN 1:00
Ryan’s blog: yearwithoutgod.com (The Blog)

A year without God at patheos.com

The PODCASTlifeaftergod.org

About Ryan’s religious background, education, and pastoral experience.

humanities studies

7th Day Adventist explained in brief

Restorationist movement mid 19th Century

some Methodist and Deist roots.

• Stone Campbell 

• Churches of Christ (similar off shoot)

prophetic interpretation and end times predictions

lost truths that mainstream Christianity left behind.

MIN 6:00

He started reading theology that differed from the framework he came from. It was less restrictive and exclusive toward others.


Atheism and the blog “A Year Without God” started in January 2013

9 month break,

Spiritual but not religious, American, individualism version of spiritual experience:  “Everybody is having their own private isolated experience of wonder.”

Religion for Atheists – Alain de Botton

He submitted his idea of “middle space–between belief and non belief” for the Huffington Post Religion Page and it was very popular.


People approached him because they didn’t have anyone to talk to about their doubts and questions.

Space for dark spots of doubt.


Do you hang on to any spiritual practices or vestiges of your old life?

Coming to a centered place in the now and in focused and non judgmental way and noticing feelings.


What have you done with “The Big Other” and the baggage from your upbringing?

Do you have gratitude toward the Big Other, or how is it expressed?

Not locating a destination for his gratitude.


Morality of an atheist. Being good for goodness sake.

A bottom up thinker


Draw to Judaism because it had created a theology around a community not a community out of a theology.

Judaism: Built around love, work, sex, food–the whole life lived.

Norms and wrong & right


Why he started the Life After God podcast

The response to the question:

“How do we community, both online and in person, in both groups and one-on-one, ….to help people around their changing viewpoints.”

Dealing with the challenges and life issues after a life where people stop believing in God.


A community of revolt coheres poorly. -Lisa

Atheists that move into Humanism (a secular moral philosophy to guide life)


• Jennifer Michael Hecht – A LOVE FEST SEGMENT-

Jennifer’s episode on Spark My Muse:

Poetic Atheism (as opposed to what Ryan called “Vulcan Atheism” -a logical-focused (MR. SPOCK from Star Trek) approach to the world)

Denying our humanity by letting beauty shape our decisions at times.

When we deny those things that give us beauty and awe, we are repressing, fighting or resisting the idea that we are deeply emotional creatures.

DOUBT (the book)


Aeon.com What is “soul” – emotional seat in our brains.

Religious words and language. Words can hold larger meanings.

Tad DeLay (Our conversation)

Outside of religious contexts:
• Soul – can mean awareness

• Spiritual – can mean aliveness -Lisa

Part of the human experience is beyond words so we have to use what we have available in bigger ways. -Lisa

Jennifer gives permission to have a deeper (and more artistic) appreciation and ways for living.


Life After God- the Ex-files

We are storytelling creatures and isolation is dangerous for people.

Post religious and post-theistic communities and progressive communities have a exciting times ahead.

Greta Vesper (episode link)

Sunday Assembly and Oasis meet up.

We need to be challenged and comforted regularly.


Curiosity about life and learning


Asking questions

Power systems (or any one who’s trying to sell something) have something to lose if you ask questions because threats to disturb the status quo.



Brian Peck

My Life After God – Insta-journalism


Trying to understand why atheism is attractive to people and why people lose their faith/belief

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Eps 66: Pirates & Getting High (Transcendence) – Guest Kester Brewin

Eps 66: Pirates & Getting High (Transcendence) – Guest Kester Brewin

Today, my guest is author and friend from across the pond, Kester Brewin. Our conversation covers fascinating topics about human nature and the history of drug culture and the Jesus movement, the surprising backstory about colonial era Pirates and mutiny few of us have heard, along with some of Kester’s personal journey.

MAKE SURE to scroll down to see a playlist of other episodes I know you’ll like and a subscribe option. Thank you so much for listening in. A wonderful summer lineup of guests is coming. Like, next week’s guest: Mike McHargue (Ask Science Mike).

Kester Brewin
Kester Brewin

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on Pirates, and Getting High (Transcendence)

Check out Kester’s
• Math teacher, by day
– started VAUX community, and is the author of a number of books

The Complexed Christ


Mutiny (about pirates and democracy)

Here’s his UK TED talk

What Pirates are actually all about.

In culture and film and even theology.

An act of self determination.

Everyone was stealing. Pirates bought themselves more years.

Skull and crossbones, a symbol of death, is turned into new life.

Pirate radio and other uprisings that set riches into public circulation.

Theology, Piracy and Peter Pan

Overcoming the Father and the piracy of that.

Kester’s book Mutiny

He tackles two stories.
The Prodigal Son – retold as a tragedy
and The Odyssey


~If you’d like…read the PRODIGAL SON parable in the Bible HERE.~

When children become free.

MIN 20:00
The latest book
Getting High A Savage Journey to the Heart the Dream of Flight

An argument with Peter Rollins about the infinite.

The ancient and ongoing quest for transcendence;
wanting to lift away.

Humans can’t fly.
Flight, space, mind trips, charismatics, emotionalism

“Up there” becomes spiritual, like fire straining to reach the lights of heaven.

Flight is seen as a sin at first.

Balloonists (first “flyers”) refer to the experience as spiritual.

Space program of the 1960s
LSD counter culture
And the pentecostal movement
Technology has spiritual weight, meaning and significance to humans.

Lonnie Frisbee hippie has experience meeting Jesus in the bible.

Beach music brought into church and known as worship tunes.

John Wimber and the Vineyard church

Middle class Christianity

Hell’s Angels, working class men.

Kester’s religious background

Toronto Blessing 1990s

mind trips and technologies trying to lift us out because of anxiety.

Apollo missions were evangelistic.

The stress and need to lift off especially seen in poor communities.

Link to Kester’s audio presentation–a half hour meditation called ‘High Flight‘ – for BBC Radio 4’s program called “Something Understood”.

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