Eps 74: Anxiety At the Base of Belief – Guest, Tad DeLay

Eps 74: Anxiety At the Base of Belief – Guest, Tad DeLay

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Have you been EXPECTING DeLays?

DeLayed gratification is good for the soul….but wait no longer!

Today’s guest is TAD DeLAY.

(Tad and I are not related, but we both enjoy the humor that comes along with having an odd last name.)

Tad is interested in the intersections of Continental philosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, critical theory, and politics and is a PhD student (philosophy of religion and theology) at Claremont Graduate University, and holds an MA philosophy and an MA theology. He sees his vocation as aiming to make theory public. His second book, The Cynic & the Fool, will be available in late 2016.


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MIN 2:00
“God is Unconscious”

• Sigmund Freud 
Jacques Lacan 

What “God is Unconscious” means.

MIN 5:00
The concept of “The Big Other”

If there is no God nothing is possible anymore -a play on Dostoevsky.

The Big Other gives us reference to authorizes us to do something.

(you’d second guess everything)

The void that the gods are covering over.

Removing gods doesn’t do as much as you think.

MIN 8:30
The people not afflicted by “the Big Other” are psychotic
They are not liberated.

MIN 10:30
Shared norms and morals the beginnings of society. A collective neurosis. “The Good” “The right” “The gods”

In a sense there is failure of those social rules to regulate those rules in a psychotic.

The Cynic and Fool

Sigmund Frued people engage in repetitive behaviors that don’t work because we appreciate the certainty. There is some pleasure in feeling guilty.

Story of the the compliant good girl
Does the Big Other is dead but does the Big Other know he’s dead

We change the language around but we keep the essential language around of trying to please the Big Other and keep that in place.”

When Identity Signifiers aren’t working in your life.

Rank and identity

MIN 22:00
Psychoanalyst is interested in only what doesn’t work b/c what doesn’t work is what people are enjoying the most.

MIN 23:30
What the Cynic and Fool means and the 3 problems upfront.

The fiction underlying most binaries.

cynic – manipulation, means to an end.
fool – believing directly or wish.

Institutional pressures.

MIN 29:00
Job prospects for seminary students who learn thing their congregations wouldn’t want to believe.

MIN 31:00
A Lacan example:
Leftist foolish desire
Right wing crook honesty

MIN 36:00
A quote related to anxiety.

Paul Tillich theologian.

The base of every ritual- organize into something productive

ontological – the way things are – we will die
moral – we might be guilty
spiritual – we we question whether our life will be meaningless

Eucharistic as an example.
means connection for some
means comfort for some
means justice for others
minimizes anxiety

MIN 40:00
Anxiety never lies.

Anxiety DOES have an object but it’s usually imaginary.

Anxiety THEN doubt. (not the other way)

You don’t have say in what you believe.

Keep anxiety at bay by staying ambiguous.

Anxiety is at the base of religion and rituals and even beliefs themselves.

“Orthodoxy is what you hold on to when you have nothing left to say about the doctrine itself.” -via @taddelayTwitter

(Tweet that amazing quote–just click the blue bird.)

Certainty …holding anxiety at bay….and you feel certain because you are actually ambiguous .

MIN 46:00
The Kettle story

The book of Job and the 3 argument about suffering.

How people deal with suffering.

MIN 52:00
When the book comes out. The Cynic and the Fool – Tad’s AMAZON page

Kester Brewin website

Hear the fantastic conversation– the Spark my Muse episode with Kester Brewin:

Visit Tad’s website: taddelay.com

Listen in to other episodes:

Pick the best option for you below:

Eps 64: TWIN-CASTING with Minimalist, Jeff Sandquist who Returns with a Surprising Story

Eps 64: TWIN-CASTING with Minimalist, Jeff Sandquist who Returns with a Surprising Story

Today, is a special TWIN-cast. I’ve NEVER done this before and I’m excited!
Brace yourself for this news:
Not only do I have Jeff on as a return guest today, but Jeff interviewed ME. That conversation is released today too. What a treat, right?

Find a link for that below at the end of the show notes.

DON’T FORGET about the Special 1-hour SOUL SCHOOL LIVE Event– this Wednesday, June 8th (2016) at 8pm, EDT.
GET MORE INFO info here.

(If you’d like to share a piece of audio from this episode, click the red and white icon below.)


JefSandquistSHOW NOTES:

(Click to hear the previous Spark My Muse podcast episode with Jeff. March 2016.)

MIN 2:00
The significant birthday this year that changed Jeff’s life and why.

Does losing a parent at a young age change how you live?

MIN 12:00
Trying to be perfect. Trying to control and conquer life and death.

MIN 14:30
The common pain of loss in death and loss of the attachments.

MIN 19:30
Prioritizing relationships and experiences over goals, achievements, grades, and materials things.

MIN 23:00
Was minimalism coming to a place of healing from consumerism that came from loss?

Being curious.

MIN 27:00

• Does grief, loss, and death inform how Jeff lives and how does it?

Death: Not fear based motivator, but a passion-based motivator.

“The Obstacle is the Way” Ryan Holiday

“Behind every mountain is another mountain.”

Mortality is a time limit makes you efficient and have a better perspective.

MIN 33:00

Twitter What do you want to exchange your time [your life] for?”

MIN 35:00

What do you want to share and where do you want to go from here.

The Episode with his “rock-star” mom.

Grit and gratitude.

MIN 44:30
Jeff’s funk

MIN 48:30

Find out what Jeff asks me on his podcast HERE.lisaWjeff

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Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Question

Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Question

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You can help me pay the bills by purchasing this useful and encouraging book!

(Already read it or feeling a bit more generous? Please use the donate button  (see left column) to contribute to the show. Help me make awesome things for your ears to hear each week. Much Love & Thank you! ~L)

Here, just the Father's beard could wipe out planet Earth
(Hey, God doesn’t have a body.)

Shownotes for the Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Questions


1. It’s hard to pray to God as Father when you’ve had a bad dad. What should I do?

• How do we think about God? (usually like a human person or institution)

• God is Spirit not an old white man in the sky with a long beard.

What adjectives will help you connect with the Being typically called “God”


Hebrew word for God is a description too (yahweh “I am” a verb) that was not used. Adonai  was substituted and that simply means “Master/Lord” and is a term of respect.


It’s misguided to think that God can be contained or described well using a “Proper Noun”. God can’t be called a proper name/noun…like “Billy” (and that would make Jesus “Billy Jr.”).

Hebrew names are descriptive when referring to people (not how we use names to address people today).


YAHWEH (Hebrew word), means I AM (or “is”) and works like a verb denoting Presence an Love in Action. It defies typical proper names and descriptions.


2. On Forgiveness

“What should I do to forgive when I can’t forget?”


Forgiving is a continual process.

Thinking of forgiveness as transactional–a debt clearing mechanism. Be an accountant and don’t worry about your emotions being on the same page.


Remembering that you are not your thoughts.


What Justice is actually (Shalom). Making things right and reconciliation.


3. What to do about envying others (in this case writers in the field) and being jealous of their success.


Seeing the negative emotions as tools. Reframing them to use them to find our calling, gifts, and passions.


Not getting caught up in “should” and “oughts” and comparisons.


When you can say of your work, “Wow, I get to do this!” you can have enough gratitude to be comfortable with the success of others.


It’s common and normal to get feelings of jealousy. It’s only when the take over our hearts and mind do we need to reevaluate and recalibrate what we are doing and thinking.


Deciding that the options of other people and the opinions should have huge power is a choice we can change.


4. Getting over feeling guilt and shame that keeps resurfacing.

Daring Greatly Brene Brown (the difference between guilt and shame.

• Guilt is important so we can learn and correct and grow and become better people.

• Shame is a belief that something, un fixable, is wrong with you.

Shame whispers lies in your ears. Shame becomes a decision of who we are as person.


Being put to shame by parents and others.


A mistake isn’t part of who you are.

Redemption is always possible. You can start anew.


My caveat.


5. Church isn’t working for me anymore and I feel guilty leaving the church, but I don’t feel fed.

In the U.S. we often go to church as a consumers and look for what we can get out of it. Church can be piss poor.


Look for ways to give and minister and find connection in other ways.


For me, small groups were a starting point that lead me to seminary.


Bringing back the potluck and sharing life with people.


Sometimes we sense church isn’t “working” when meaningful connection is lacking.


“we” is better than “me”.

Thank you for listening and sharing the show with others. If you’ve gotten an enjoyment from Spark My Muse, come back every Wednesday for something new, or save your mental energy and subscribe!


Your thoughts are clouds not rocks

rock pile (a cairn)
rock pile (a cairn)


I was listening to a new podcast called Invisibilia and the hosts were discussing the topic of unwanted thoughts. (“The Secret History of Thoughts” is the episode title)


Any thoughts from the emotionally self-injuring ones, to violent ones, to obsessive thoughts and worries. Everyone has them and some people develop dysfunctions that make life difficult or unbearable. Anxiety has a lot to do with it too.


What thoughts really are and how meaningful they are has been up for debate by professionals over the last 100 years.

Here are the top 3.

• Theory 1: Thoughts are very meaningful and are red flags of something deeper and sometimes something more sinister. (Freud and his ilk)

• Theory 2: Thoughts are not as meaningful as we thought and the key is to compensate or overcome them with opposite (reforming) thinking over a period of time (Cognitive Behavior Therapy).

• Theory 3: Of the three top theories, a third one in particular is getting momentum right now. To me, it seems to have an “ancient/new” quality to it…

The advice goes something like this.

“Keep the good thoughts and let the others float away.”

Does that sound flaky?

Think of it as laid back. Chill.

• The idea flies in the face of modern psychology that has us dig around a lot and examine every negative thought. Analyze it, get to what you think is the root, dig some more, and pick it all apart. See if has something to do with a repressed issue, a dark secret, the bad parents we probably had, or primal urges to kill and hump, and whatnot.

• The third theory also is a very different tact than what happens with theory #2.

Maybe thoughts are like clouds.

Your thoughts are nothing to worry about. Probably.

So the new tactic for dealing with unwanted thoughts is about training our focus and being gracious with ourselves. Sounds like a spiritual discipline to me!


It’s a recollection of the ancient idea that what you feed, grows and dominates.

Some proverb like…

“There are two wolves fighting inside each of us. One is good and one is bad–and each one wants to rule the other. Which one will win? …The one you feed.”


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.

Some times I assume my passing or repeating unwanted thoughts have larger meaning and import, but maybe they just move in and around like the weather. I make them weighty like rocks. Maybe that’s not helpful. We take these rocks and place them in a pile, sometimes, don’t we?

We worry about our worries. We worry about what is wrong with us. We make a big, sad pile to stand for something, like a reminder…or…

we make a cairn. But, the wrong kind. A cairn should be a trail marker or situate like standing stones marking the best of ourselves or our dreams. A cairn is about hope.

Your repetitive thoughts aren’t stones, they are clouds.

The good thoughts can get a upgrade to something more substantial…let the others drift away.

Creative commons photo by Samuel Betenholz.

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