Episode 19 – A Reflection on the nature of Suffering

Episode 19 – A Reflection on the nature of Suffering

I hope you get something helpful from this short episode. There are no typical shownotes this time.

As you hear this essay in verse, may it bring you some solace and comfort if you are in some kind of suffering, grief, or pain at this time.


 

The reading is available for download to refer to privately or with a friend. And if you’d like to speak to me about soul care stuff, I’d like to help, please use the contact tab and send me a message.

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Is God knowable mainly in reflection?

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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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Thank you!

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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Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

Shownotes:

Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

This spacious episode features some great (creative commons) music and concerns the aerating of wine and (more importantly) of your creative soul.

(Yes, I have asthma and you can tell! Please forgive all my gasping for breath. It’s been a hard few weeks for me.)
Click to listen now:


This episode is brought to you by…

Life As Prayer: Revived Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety
(on the life and legacy of Brother Lawrence’s habit of “practicing the presence of God”)

How can YOU find an enduring sense of God’s presence with you? Learn about 16th century Brother Lawrence and how his understanding of God’s presence continues to enrich lives today.


Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast AND to my newsletter!

Both your wine and your life must be able to to breathe!

Full and aware breathing can inspire your creative muse and enrich your life in so many ways.

minute 1:00

I excitedly announce two upcoming interviews:
• Daniel J. Lewis interview (a virtuosic creator who’s received national awards for podcasts he produces).

• Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist author) Interview (discussing her new Out of Sorts book).


 

WINE SEGMENT: Letting wine breathe!

minute: 5:00

In wine terms “aeration” is the process of bringing air into wine.

The term dumb (i.e. “dumb wine”) refers to a wine that has little flavor or fragrance.
• Swirling wine mixes it with air and allows it to both breathe and speak!
• Flavor and aroma and the beauty and richness of the wine emerges as space for air gets in (just like us).

TIPS to make a better speaking wine:

(If buying excellent wine isn’t an option….which is most of us!)

Option 1.

Use a blender.

Option 2.

Use a hand blender (this is a method I use)

Option 3.

A cheap and simple solution:
Pour wine into a bowl and whisk it with a fork or whisk (like you would for scrambled eggs).


 

minute 5:50
Sparking your muse

• Aeration of the soul

• (a short recording) Insights from the middle of my retreat time at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Wernersville, PA.

Forgetting how to breath.

My asthma and stress; and tightness of breath and soul.

8:30

Sprit of God = breath of life

9:30

On slowing down.

9:50

The fantastic 4-7-8 second breathing exercise I learned to get your breath (and life) back.

11:30

Retreat invitation
(click link to learn more)

12:20

Giving breath to the creative soul…

Creating space and breath for the Creative muse/your soul to truly thrive

13:00

The Scriptural inspiration, history, and meaning of “Breath Prayer”
(as a Christian devotional practice)

Luke 18:9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

minute 15:00

Breath Prayer: A simple cry for help and connection

• How to do “breath prayer”

• My important adaptation to breath prayer (that helps me identify as a loved child of God).


 

Did you enjoy the podcast?
I hope you’ll share this episode with friend or family member who might need more space and air for her soul to breathe.

Cheers! Here’s to your health.


I’d like to hear from you.

Please, help me and take this short 30-second listener-survey.

Spark My Muse

The Religion of Liberation

(Dura Europos - Fresco from 2nd C Synagogue Jews cross the Red Sea pursued by Pharaoh.)
(Dura Europos – Fresco from 2nd C Synagogue Jews cross the Red Sea pursued by Pharaoh.)

 

The Jewish people have a big event, a central story, that encapsulates what the Jewish (and Judeo-Christian) faith is about:

Crossing a sea: Crossing from slavery to LIBERATION

“Let my people go!”

This is the cry of (the Jewish) God, the Living God, through Moses; and it’s really the cry of freedom in every human heart.

So what do we want to be liberated from?

Oppression.

Yes, of course.

…and oppression takes many forms.

But, we tend to also want liberation from authority…and that’s not what God has in mind. That misses the mark and produces precarious results.

In fact, the best liberation we can have is one that happens internally.

Our heart is liberated from sin and death and then we receive peace and life.

This is no marginal quality of our faith tradition. Liberation is found not in fleeing something (or someone) but in returning.

A homecoming. A reception by the Father for the children he loves.
Liberation must always be about fleeing to someone
(the One).

…and that someone isn’t just another warden in a different prison, but One who wants our peace to be fully realized.

It’s about community identity and belonging.
Each brings freedom and saves us from ourselves.


 

Sometimes we suppose liberation means freedom to act autonomously and unilaterally for our own interests.
True liberation is the antithesis of that.

When I consider, in this very moment, what I hope to be liberated from in my own life, it seems to concern being free from believing lies. Lies about myself, others, and any sorts of ignoble things that imprison my future in a jailhouse of smallness.

A confined place that is missing the grandeur of what it means to be a sentient being enjoying the majesty of creation that a benevolent incomprehendable Being has fashioned.

Dispatch from Prison: The Question I Couldn’t Answer

inmatereading

“Why don’t people from your church come and help you here? It says it the Bible to visit us…”

A man asked me this question at the end of class.
He was an inmate: a lifer.

Prison is a place of lasting aloneness. A place where you are reminded that you are forgotten.

Trying to overcome it is a big deal.

Volunteer groups are cherished by inmates like fresh air. They thank us each time we come.

I didn’t know how to answer him. I sort of felt crushed.

Not just that he would ask, but that the truth was so simple and unreachable.

He suggested I speak to my church and invite them to participate. I already had.

“It does say that is the Bible. You’re right. I don’t know….

I’m sorry,” I told him.

 

“What keeps them from coming?” another man asked.

 

“Maybe because all people know about prison is what they see in movies. Maybe they are afraid.” I said.

That comment incited and 3 page letter the prisoner brought back the next week to help convince people from our church that they were not violent and they were also Christians who love the Lord, were re-paying their debt to society, and wanted the support and Christian brotherhood.

But, nothing like that can be taken out of a prison. (It’s a felony.) He had to keep his correspondence. I thought he was going to cry when he explained that he needed to keep what he wrote. Abandonment? That was probably what I was on his face.

It’s heartbreaking.


 

But, I also wondered if some of the reasons were really a greater indictment on Christians and human nature.

• Laziness

• Lack of compassion

• Self-centeredness

• Distain for outcasts

Could this be it?

If I asked people from my church, face-to-face this time, what keeps them from being involved, they might say,

“I’m just too busy.”

Or “I’m not really interested in that (in them).”

Or, “I don’t like criminals. They deserve to be where they are and we shouldn’t make things easier for them.”

or maybe,

“I’d rather be doing two million different things than that!”

And whatever the reasons, good or not, they hamper the work of Love.

 

 

 

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