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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Featured Guest Writer- Professor Doug Jackson (not a futurist)

Professor Doug Jackson

Today’s Featured Writer has something to say about the future of the church. But, he has an altogether different perspective, than our previous guest writer, John O’Keefe, and actually, most people. And this, in a nutshell, is Doug Jackson. But you could ever squeeze him into a nutshell, so never mind. He is a thoughtful and gifted thinker, a searching pilgrim, a devoted Christian, and a baking whiz. And, he’s topped with more than a modest dollop of wisecrackiness.

Please enjoy and interact with Doug’s contribution.

Mini-Bio: Doug Jackson

Director of Logsdon Programs, Instructor of Spiritual Formation at South Texas School of Christian Studies, in Corpus Christi, TX.

  • D.Min. – Truett Seminary ( 2006)
  • M.Div. – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1985)
  • B.A. – English Literature, Grand Canyon College (1982)

The Church with a Future

-Doug Jackson

John O’Keefe is a futurist.  I find that intimidating as heck.  Personally, I’m a traditionalist.  I can quantify the difference.  Tramping through the jungle, a futurist and a traditionalist happen on some tiger tracks.  “You track him,” suggests the traditionalist, “and find out where he’s going.  I’ll backtrack and find out where he’s been.”

There isn’t even a cool name for the preferred direction for my arrow of time.  “Futurist” conjures up images of, well, guys with shaven heads and soul patches.  “Traditoinalist” calls up images of guys with bald heads (which is SO not the same thing) and no soul at all.  This part I can at least work on.  I think from now on instead of “traditionalist,” I’ll call myself a “past-er.”

So what can a past-er say to the church’s future?  If there is, in the words of T. S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock, “time for a hundred visions and revisions” of the people of God in community, how much time do we have (and should we allow) for a rear-vision?  Not too much, I don’t guess.  Accordingly, I want to state a thesis and offer three theories.  My thesis is that, whatever the church OF the future looks like, the church WITH a future will be the one with a past.

To speak of the church OF the future is simply to make a chronological observation.  It means “the church that isn’t here yet.”  It doesn’t tell us much about what this church will do or how long it will last.  By the church WITH a future I mean the local community with staying power.  And this church, I believe, has a future precisely because it has a past.  Which leaves my three notions of what such a church looks like.

First, I believe that the church with a future cares less about the draft of its craft than the depth of its ocean.  In his eightieth sonnet, Shakespeare admits to his chick that other poets can praise her better.  So why should he keep scribbling?  Then the bard continues:

But since your worth, wide as the ocean is,

The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,

My saucy bark inferior far to his

On your broad main doth willfully appear.

Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,

Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride.

In other words, what matters is that her merit can bear the burden of grand praises and meager ones. I come from a generation of ministers who learned that good meant big so bigger meant better.  I think the church with a future looks back on the mighty acts of God in history and realizes that the Queen Mary of the megachurch and the rowboat dinghy of the corner congregation all float on the vast sea of God’s greatness, and that plumbing this depth, not scaling our own impressive rigging, is what counts.

Second, I believe that the church with a future cares more about reading its story than writing its narrative.  “Narrative” seems to be a big word in church these days.  As far as I can tell, it has a lot to do with composing our own future in a compelling way that attaches single acts of worship or service to a greater purpose.  I’m all for that, but I think it is important to remember that, at best, we’re writing one chapter in a very long book whose plot is already clearly laid out.  This even works at the local church level.  Eugene Peterson warns us in The Contemplative Pastor that, “the cure of souls takes time to read the minutes of the previous meeting, a meeting more likely than not at which I was not present.”

We find those minutes recorded in church history and church hymnals, two documents which have fallen from favor in my own denomination, where we seem to believe that the church poll-vaulted from Pentecost over several regrettable centuries until she landed safely in our own generation.  That’s why we jettisoned a songbook that came to us polished by millennia of theological mulling on the part of the worldwide body of Christ and opted instead for toe-tappers and hand-clappers that can give us no idea of who we are.

I’m not knocking contemporary music, nor do I believe the Spirit quit inspiring songwriters somewhere around the time Fanny Crosby died.  But because more recent music has not had the advantage of the filtering years, I would like to apply C. S. Lewis’ dictum about books to the business of congregational singing:  “After (singing) a new (song), never allow yourself another new one till you have (sung) an old one in between.  If that is too much, you should at least (sing) one old one to every three new ones.”  (I should admit here that Lewis disliked ALL hymns because he thought the poetry was bad.  He’s probably right, but to me it seems that their theology is rather good.)

Finally, I believe that the church with a future cares more about present faithfulness than future viability.  Because the church of the future will be a mess.  Do what we will (and I hope we will), she will remain a morass of carnality and littleness and arguments over service times and carpet samples for the new fellowship hall.  And she will be the Body of Christ, the one institution Jesus ever promised to care about, and one which he said would sit on an unshakable foundation.

So the church with a future doesn’t spend too much time reading the chicken guts of the changing culture and dealing a Tarot deck of trends.  She doesn’t cross with sliver the grasping palms of earringed “consultants” ensconced in dark tents of occult insider info.

Lewis’ Screwtape rightly warns his protégé Wormwood that the proper focus of human endeavor is the junction of Right Now and Forever which leads us to ask what we need to do in the former in order to serve the latter.  But “the future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity.”

The beauty of futurists like John is that they won’t let us rest in Merlin’s tower forever gazing at some ecclesiastical zodiac; they keep demanding that we do something about this stuff.  They refuse to let us fall into Screwtape’s trap of forgetting that the future is not (Screwtape again) “a promised land which favoured heroes attain,” but rather “something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

In short, I should simply say that the Church is the church with a future.  For two thousand years we have hijacked her with our high-handedness, betrayed, bureaucratized, bushwhacked and bamboozled her, tarted her up, sold her out, locked her in and dragged her down.  We have made her impertinent, irrelevant, irreverent and irritating.  We have used her to camouflage our carnality and let the slimming stripes of the martyrs’ scars hide the midriff bulge of our overfed carnality.  “And for all this,” the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins reminds us (if I may take a large liberty), Christ’s church

. . . is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 10
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over Christ’s bent
(Bride) broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

What feedback do you have for Doug?

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