Eps 96: Overcoming the Dark Side of Innovation and Group Projects

Eps 96: Overcoming the Dark Side of Innovation and Group Projects

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Today my guest is social psychologist and business school professor at the University of San Diego, Jennifer Mueller, PhD.


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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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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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Thinking Class: 1st session


I look around at the wars of words, the polarizing gridlock that has shutdown the Federal government (as if that could truly happen) and listen to talking heads both liberal and non liberal spew illogical nonsense. But then I realize! Most of what I hear is illogical and most arguments are irrational.

Let me explain.

Most things people say are opinions and are therefore unreasonable (in the true sense of the word: “lacking reason”). Because opinions tend to be based on emotions or other arbitrary factors they lack logic. In two to four seconds on any cable news station you’ll hear it.

This situation becomes even more apparent as you learn Critical Thinking formally.

When I learned about critical thinking and logical fallacies in depth in graduate school, I thought, why didn’t they teach us how to think in high school or at least in liberal arts university?  (I mean isn’t the whole point of education to help you to think better? Apparently  not…Silly me.)

So, yes. We literally are not taught to think well. Usefully. Thoughtfully.

That’s because it turns out that teaching people how to think independently is wildly dangerous and threatening. (Crazy, right?!)

It can upset the balance of power. That means it’s considered far better to cultivate “sheep” that follow the herd directed by the powerful instead of helping people think well using critical methods. So, we have the predicament best epitomized on cable news. Screaming and hysteria and irrational arguments aplenty! The crazies are running everything it seems.

When we stop simply believing what we are told and follow a true logical format to discover main arguments or separate opinion from facts, it can cause…wait for it…thoughtful questioning. Empires have fallen for less than that!

Critical thinking is rare and utilizing it may necessitate that answers involve reason. Serious repercussions indeed!

Why would a school (or any group exerting power) purposefully put itself in a position to be knocked off its pins by newly rational thinkers? Well, they avoid that very thing. The point is to engender obedience and conformity: Teach people in a (factory-style) system that gets them to think how we want them to and agree with us, otherwise it’s anarchy, and we can’t have that!

(See why thinking well is so rare?)

Imagine: What if you think something out of sync with your club, church, political party, or social sphere? Look out. A bumper crop of fallacies will likely be lobed at you like poop grenades! You are SUPPOSED to keep in line. Gosh, duh…you are not accepted for your ability to think outside the expectations and presuppositions of your group. So, remember, if you plan to use critical thinking be prepared to be demonized.

The worst threat of all for anyone in power is to encourage independent thinking, let alone teach it. Learning logical fallacies can lead to innovation and change and much apple cart upsetting. It’s a threat to media outlets, propagandists, governments, authorities, parents, policemen, and nearly every institution.

Below is the first poster I designed to teach (critical) thinking. Stayed tuned for more coming in the next few days.

If you’d like more people to learn how to think better, pass it along.

It could help someone.

(click to enlarge)


Click here for an extensive list of fallacies.

To see the other posters I’ve done on fallacies, use the sidebar and search for “logical”

Being a Follower: Leonard Sweet

I’m reading Leonard Sweet’s book “I am a Follower”.

It turns leadership on its head, which feels a bit ironical to have it as a textbook this 9 weeks in my Master of Arts in Christian Leadership course. But, then again, I didn’t expect to learn leadership ordinarily. We’re working from the ground up here. We aren’t learning to be bosses, we’re learning to be like Jesus, and influence others in the fashion of God’s Kingdom, not man’s (courtesy of the Sermon on the Mount, I might add)
It’s a challenging message for us.

Here are some noteworthy bits I’ve gleaned:

1. Jesus wasn’t looking for leaders…he was looking for followers. Instead of worrying about finding and keeping followers, we follow him.

2. The seduction to apply a secular business model has infected churches but has been a remarkable failure. Spiritual depth doesn’t come from this model. (Willow Creek’s self-assessment is an honest but damning example.)

3. God’s strength is made perfect in human weakness, and this will be illogical in a worldly model. God’s power is how we do well.

4. God will prune us, for our own good, so we may be more fruitful and glorify him more.

5. Strategy and planning common in many church models today can superseded the focus on the work of the Holy Spirit.

6. There is a going myth the technology and innovation are answers to our leadership and church problems.

7. God calls us to do something bigger than ourselves.

8. The Church’s obsession with leadership reflects our cultures values which usually center in ego and self-interest.

I will follow up with more from this intriguing and entertaining book. The man does not shy away from plays on word.

(Sign up in the sidebar to get the followup to this post.)

Simplicity and enjoying another Apple project

Isn’t simplicity nice? Why not take the things we use all the time, and merge them properly?

mac-tablet-conceptHere’s a link to the new project from Apple. This light weight computing instrument “erases the line between mobile phone and laptop.” With this wholly different machine, Apple is likely to reinvent computing, like the ipod, reinvented/developed mp3 music. 

Read article:

Any comments?

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