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

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


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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

MIN
1:30

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”

4:00

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.

4:30

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).

5:00

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.

5:50

2. On Forgiveness

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

6:10

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.

7:20

Remembering that you are not your thoughts.

8:00

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

8:50

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

9:15

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

9:30

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

9:45

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.

10:15

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.

11:00

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

12:05

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.

14:05

Being put to shame by parents and others.

14:50

A mistake isn’t part of who you are.

Redemption is always possible. You can start anew.

15:10

My caveat.

15:50

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.

17:00

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

18:00

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

18:50

Bringing back the potluck and sharing life with people.

19:30

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

20:30

“we” is better than “me”.


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Episode 21 (PART II Tom Reynolds) “Care isn’t so much “doing for” but “being with”

Episode 21 (PART II Tom Reynolds) “Care isn’t so much “doing for” but “being with”


Will you help support the show?
You can help me pay the bills by purchasing this useful and encouraging book!


 

Tom Reynolds
Tom Reynolds, PhD

 

Shownotes: PART II
A conversation with Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality, author Tom Reynolds

 

Bio:
Tom joined the Emmanuel College (part of the University of Toronto) faculty in 2007. He is committed to an interdisciplinary, practical, and relational vision of theology, and his teaching and research address a range of topics related to constructive theology (particularly the doctrine of God and theological anthropology), theological method, intercultural and interfaith engagements, contextual theologies and globalization, philosophical theology, disability studies, and the thought and influence of Friedrich Schleiermacher.

His recent Articles

Email: tom.reynolds@utoronto.ca

MIN 00:30

Tom on Theodicy – The question of why does God allow suffering and how should we think about suffering.

1:00

How would Tom, as a theologian answer the question, “Why would a sovereign God allow a person to be born disabled and encounter such suffering?”

2:20

The Why questions and the answers are messy, ongoing, and evolving. These answers are limited and open to ongoing revision.

3:00

Reframing needed. Question the question and its suppositions about seeing suffering first and foremost as the issue.

3:40

If we are pitying a disabled person and seeing them how we would interpret suffering, we might be off base.

4:10

Exclusion as suffering. Social suffering is something we can alleviate as the church or community.

4:40

Tom on the central questions of Theodicy.

5:30

What would a good world be? Interdependent and that holds up the preciousness and fragility of life and human experience as valuable. Good things can be fragile things.

6:30

Does God cause suffering and determine it? Maybe it’s (all) unfolding for us in mysterious ways.

7:40

Book of John, chapter 9: The man born blind.

Who sinned? (disciples of Jesus thinking of blindness as a curse)

So the glory of God can be revealed. (What might that mean that we haven’t understood yet. [Lisa])

The story is less about curing the disabled and more about reveal Jesus’ power and legitimacy as the Messiah.

9:20

NT Wright author of Evil and the Justice of God

(on the Problem of Evil)

• God as the Incarnation steps into human suffering as a means to assuage it and also, in that, provides us a model for how to encounter it in the world ourselves, practically speaking.

The answers to suffering can become “incarnational”, not cerebral and (held) at a distance.

12:00

The why questions signal a (good) unsettledness which can be productive…

12:20

1. God is bigger than our questions and we should feel free to engage in dialogue with God and each other about God.

2. And because it calls us to live into the world and the lives of people will engage who ask, “Where are you?” and we can be there in presence and not (just) with answers.

13:00

“being-with”

(The heart of Incarnational living.)

13:30

In many cases God’s own presence is us to each other.

14:00

“Care isn’t so much “doing for” but “being with”.”

15:00

1 in 5 families regularly encounters a serious disability of some kind.

15:30

We (as a family) chose to continue to come to church even though it was sometimes messy so he (and everyone) could figure out how to make it work. (Lisa)

16:00

How can people in Christian Communities or leaders in Christian communities do better when it comes to being truly hospitable  and caring well for people with disabilities.

17:00

Training ministers to come along side is important.

17:30

In his mission and intro to Theology class, what is framed is practical wisdom lived out in relationships of caring regard with other people. (not in the academic halls or in isolation).

18:00

On developing the perception to see/understand differently and to see places where people have been harmed by certain ways of seeing these…like the healing narratives…illness as curses from God, or metaphors of seeing and hearing language and attitudes (able-ism) for example.

18:50

How to show consideration:

Asking before you assist someone. Or asking how you can best help and not presuming that you know (or know better).

Listen first, then do.

19:30

Ministry doesn’t have to be deficit-focused to the “needy”…but rather possibility focused.

As all people of resources and gifts [are] welcome among the community…this turns things upside-down.

20:30

Think of people as sites of wisdom that help a community of belonging.

21:00

1 Cor 12:25

Members having the same care for one another. All can care and contribute.

Living out the image of God with shared affinity.

22:00

Transformative and vulnerable communion within our communities…being together.

23:20

[There is] dignity in participation. (Lisa)

Allowing people to serve along side means that we are equal.

25:40

Equality isn’t sameness. Difference doesn’t mean a hierarchy.

27:40

(Tom) Music is my therapeutic other life.


 

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Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Nicole Unice

BIO:
Nicole Unice is on staff at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, and the author of the breakout book: “She’s Got Issues” which she wrote from her counseling and ministry experiences. The book produced and encouraged a refreshing and radical honesty that she’s built on in her new book “Brave Enough”.

Enjoy the Shownotes and links below and please share this with friends that you know CAN be “Brave Enough“. Thanks for listening!

#GetBraveEnough

xo

~Lisa

P.S. Would you like to get a special, cozy Spark My Muse t-shirt?

Let me know HERE.
bravenough


 

 

Get  Brave Enough or find out more here:

Like to listen instead of reading? Get the AUDIO book here.


Shownotes – Episode 18 Nicole Unice is honest, enthusiastic, and “Brave Enough”, so you can be too.

 

MIN 1:10

Nicole on staff at Hope Church

on the Richmond VA place and new midtown location.

 

1:30

Nicole’s podcasting experience (the Becoming Podcast) doing hundreds of episodes with her pastor doing 15 minutes shows for commuters.

Lisa asks: Is “campus” a Christian code word for mega church?

2:40

How she grew with Hope Church for 18 years, as they started out small in an elementary school “cafetorium”.

3;50

The “Youth Lodge” plans and the unique setting with wetlands and hills.

5:10

On the importance of Beauty, Setting, and Art in architecture and church building planning to evoke the imagination, inspire awe, and connect with the heart.

6:40

Collaborative workspace, and place where kids can do their homework and where people can enjoy the time away in a beautiful setting.

7:40

“artist come through the side door of the soul and preachers come through the front door.”

8:50

The history of the church and Christian tradition is one where the Church is source of beauty, wonder and connected to art because God is a the Creator.

9:40

Her first book: She’s Got Issues

6 main issues women (and men) face that can be a hinderance.

A rich relationship with God can come to a dead end as the ways we do life stop working.

12:00

How was it received? The #1 thing Nicole heard was, “You’re so honest.”

Why would honesty be such a revolution in Christianity?

12:40

She leaned into that for her next book “Brave Enough”

13:00

The story of how she got the title for the book:

To the question, “Do you think you can be brave?” Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia says, “I think I can be brave enough.”

14:35

Few women will self-identify as brave. [and not many men will either]

“After we identify the hinderances, what does it look like to walk forward in freedom?”

15:00

Brave Enough is about Grace and its effects, inside and in action.

15:40

Nicole answering the question: Do men have the same problems in this area?

16:00

“Women hearing teaching from women is like hearing in your first language.”

16:30

Ways Nicole leads and teaches men.

17:00

on how women have to translate teaching from men into their “language” and context.

18:00

On how, similarly, Brené Brown was challenged (by a man) to include men in her writing and teaching. (Lisa)

18:40

How men and women have similar vulnerabilities though they might deal with them differently.

19:40

“up speak” tones in language in women and men revealing different insecurities. (Lisa)

21:00

Nuggets from the Brave Enough book:

How the ingredients mixed into something she didn’t expect. It follows a narrative “arch of the heart”. How we can be full and free and confident in life.

22:30

on why (inner) freedom is illusive for men and women.

On “Fake Grace” in our head. (the excuses we make or how we blame others). Inviting God/Jesus into those places.

24:10

We all (default) and go back to rules and laws and how to short circuit that pattern.

It’s about resetting the heart with a new spiritual reality.

25:00

Radical honesty about our ugly parts inside the heart.

25:30

Nicole’s Parable: The violently stopping of the elevator door…(and how it relates to our soul).

26:10

Open ourselves to God’s Presence and healing.

26:10

(Lisa) God uses what bothers us about other people is a mirror of what we don’t like in ourselves.

27:20

How our baggage works to impede our progress.

Brave Enough includes major parts on forgiveness

28:00

God’s breathing on us and giving us the mission of forgiveness, first.

(Click to read the reference John 20:19-23)

28:30

When we keep living out of a wounded place.

29:10

How we continue categorizing our experiences to support our false and faulty premises and hypothesis about ourselves.

29:30

Questioning what is really true about ourselves (and the mental “tapes” we play).

33:20

God gives us opportunities to practices forgiveness every single day, often in small ways in the relationships and event of regular life.

33:40

If we can’t be gracious to ourselves we can’t be gracious with others.

34:20

The economy of our heart: if we forgive little then we love little.

36:30

(Nicole asks Lisa) “What have you learned in doing podcasting?”

38:30

We have the chance to never stop growing and transforming and God never gives up on us.

39:20

Brave Enough is also an AUDIO book. Find it here.


 

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Want to extend the good times and answer the question of the day?

What “bad/negative tape” do you have playing in your head most often?

 

Episode 16 – It’s Apophatic, not Apathetic, Prayer

Shownotes Episode 16 – Apophatic prayer explained in a conversation with Dr. Laurie Mellinger.

LaurieMellinger

Laurie Mellinger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Christian Theology
Dean of Academic Programs
B.A. Millersville University; M.A.R. Evangelical School of Theology; Ph.D. The Catholic University of America


Get your spiffy guide to the ancient Christian prayer practice of praying using Scripture called Lectio Divina (latin for “sacred reading”). It’s the perfect go-to reference and resource to get started with the four movements of Lectio that lead us to praying without words and listening to God.

A donation of 50¢ or more will get you this essential Lectio Divina resource.
Click HERE to download it now!


Encountering and examining Apophatic (contemplative) Prayer

Conversation Notes

MINUTE 2:00 Apophatic not to be confused with apathetic

3:00

2 main ways of understanding God

Via Eminencia -The way of eminence

The highest of something we know as humans and elevating it. Power, strength “The most powerful”, omnipotent)

Via Negativa – The way of negation (Denying the limited or bad we can observe. God is Immortal (NOT mortal).

5:00

Katophatic (or cataphatic) vs. Apophatic Prayer

Katophatic  – What we can see and say in prayer.

Apophatic – We we cannot see and bri; and without our senses.

6:00 Meditation and how it relates to apophatic prayer

6:30 What is Lectio Divina

Reading scripture and prayer as we seek relationship with God

The four movements of this form of prayer.

12:00

Eastern vs. Western styles of Meditation

Experiencing vs. Word-driven forms

15:30

Contemplation 2 going definitions

1. To observe

2. Contemplative to look at with continued attention.

16:00

Contemplative vs. Discursive prayer

18:00

Breath prayer

21:00

Apophatic prayer as a way to pray without ceasing

22:00

Allowing God to be in every moment, even with every breath.

Laurie’s experience with the Jesus Prayer

Being carried along through pain knowing experiencing that God was with her.

Celebration of Discipline-Richard Foster

24:00

Prayer as a habit that changes you.

…Like holding hands as you walk…

25:00

What happens after the questions like: “I’m I allow to do this?”

The distractions and a flood of thoughts become the hardest part.

How to help that…

Examples: “eye floaters”, “balloons”

27:50

on being patience with yourself

28:00

Brian McClaren getting distracted and quoting from the dessert fathers.

28:30 Turning our face back to God

Patience

Persistence

Presence

29:30

The discipline of being attentive to God allows us to be more present and attentive with others as well. 

30:00

People crave presence and can even be (un)used to it.

31:00

Learning how to listen. Simone Weil.

Mindfulness

34:00

How we are over-stimulated. Children get overstimulated and need naps which means they get silence and solitude and lack of stimulation. Silence and solitude are restorative.

37:00

The demons we encounter in solitude or in the desert.

38:30

A clean and swept room, removed of clutter makes us more aware of new things that might be wrong.

39:00

New Testament Professor Douglas Buckwalter

41:00

Spiritual formation is not doing disciplines.

One kind of prayer isn’t better (per se), but God is forming and reform and transforms us back into the image of Christ. God must reform us. In God’s presence we will feel more loved and acceptance and he might put his finger on something to take care of.

Luke 11:24-26

24“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25“And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26“Then it goes and takes alongseven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

43:30

on…The messy interior work needed to be more like Jesus.

Letting God dig around.

43:30

Helpful and practical advice for getting started with apophatic and contemplative prayer.

Practice reading the Bible and using the text to help you pray and wait.  (Lectio Divina)

“That waiting (in prayer) is the entry into apophatic prayer.”

Breath Prayer

Centering Prayer (using a word to focus)

“Be patience with yourself. Just do it and God will meet you there”

Using a candle to bring our attention back.

47:00

Good focus is ill-fitting at first until you commit to the process.

Leonard Sweet

(paraphrase) “If you are still counting the steps, you aren’t dancing yet. You are still learning to dance.”

47:30

Prayer can become flow.

48:30

Union with God – The traditional understand of the goal of apophatic prayer.

50:00

God invites us corporately and individually as human beings into that (triune) relational and our participation in that relationship is what I mean by union with God.”

Sensing the presence and love of God more fully, and more and more fully. This is union with God.

51:00

Western goal in Christianity is often understand (first) as Salvation in terms of Penal Atonement and payment for sin. It is a more judicial angle compared to what Eastern Christians do. It’s much more about relationship restored.

Episode 15 Shane Tucker and the listening art of “soul friendship”

Today: A conversation with Shane Tucker!

Shane is a Soul Friend (Spiritual Director) with a focus on artists and creatives, be they “yuccies”, “slashies”, painters, musicians, or any one in need of deeper and more sustaining, soul-level communing.


 

How we find spark:
Together, we make the Spark My Muse podcast happen.
I prepare something and you digest it.

 I invite you to just listen, read the show notes and click on links, and give what you can.
That’s all. :)

 

• If it’s worth nothing…um what? Are you serious? This just got more awkward..Aw…snap! I sincerely apologize. Let me know what I can improve and please come back and listen again soon!

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simply, tap into the river of gratitude in your heart and contribute what you can– HERE or use that Paypal button, over yonder.

 

(Of course, since money isn’t everything, you can say “thanks” and help with something that is not monetary, just let me know here. You make fruit pies, right?)

• Use the social share buttons, spread the word, leave a great a review at iTunes…these are all ways to help too.  Thanks in advance for your generosity!

Every little bit helps a lot.
Thank you, listeners for making the show heard in 96 countries and a,l 50 of the United States!

With Love,
~Lisa


SHOWNOTES with links and highlights.

Wine Segment:
MINUTE 1:30 On meade and Irish wine

Snapshot of the segment:

• Meade is fermented honey and herbs added.

• Irish wine is (usually) white wine, with some honey and herbs.
• It is still often used during the wine toast in Irish wedding ceremonies.

 

Sparking your muse!

Shane-@-Ross-2012-MA conversation with Shane Tucker:

His website

His Twitter

Shane is…
• An ordained Anglican Preist

• A trained Anam Cara (soul friend in the Irish Tradition).

• He lived with his wife and family in Ireland for 11 years!


Conversation (podcast) notes:

MINUTE 3:00

How Shane and his wife and family happened to live in Ireland for 11 years.

4:15
How God begins to grow dreams in us

Working at the Willow Creek Church

People have long said that still seems true. When foreigners come that end up being more Irish than the Irish themselves.

7:20

One of the most potent lessons learned from the Irish was the necessity to put people first. They take time to connect with each other and share life.

9:00 A sense of call to minister to artist and creatives.

9:40 On why he feels a passion to serve the creative community: “I believe the creative of today is the prophet of old”. It is a prophetic call.

10:10

“Creatives are called to paint a picture of the future that God is calling us all into. His Kingdom coming.”

10:50

“When a creative (person) using their gift…it taps into something deep inside of us and reverberates…and it feels like echoes of home.”

12:00

Jesus invites us to “walk with me and work with me.”

12:20

answering: What is Spiritual Direction (or soul friendship) actually?

13:00

A soul friend is “the best friend you’ve always wanted.”

and the Saint Bridgette quote…

13:50

A good picture is in the New Testament of the friends walking to Emmaus and then Jesus come in their midst. Unpacking life.

14:00

“The Soul Friend is someone who helps us see how God has been at work in our lives…so we can (as St. Ignatius says) “to recklessly abandon ourselves to his loving care.”

15:20

The problem with the phrase “Spiritual Director” on two counts so I use “soul friend”.

18:00

How he was trained in soul care and soul friendship

21:00

On becoming an Anglican Priest…

25:00

What he find to be the deepest needs of the creative community he works with?

Affirmation and Presence

30:00

Living in a Creative Age (moving from head to heart)

31:30

There’s an affective moving in society leading with Beauty first and then Truth that leads to freedom.

32:00

Alan Crieder

Behave Belong Believe (in which order should be in what era)

33:20

“What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.”

35:00

The error of focusing too much on trying to convince people just intellectually.

36:00

Ignatian Spirituality

Celtic Spirituality

Soul Friendship
by Rev Ray Simpson (Church of England)

The Celtic Way of Prayer
by Ester De Waal

Holy Companions

42:30

on the hospitality and generosity of Irish spirituality.

The story of an Inn with 7 doors for the 7 roads.


Thank you so much for listening to the show!


 

To get alerts of the topics and the new and interesting folks coming to the podcast in future episode click HERE.

Here’s a tasting of who’s coming in the next few months:

Mako Fujimura

Nicole Unice

Shane Claiborne

and, yes, more!

 

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