God is only our name for it

I was so impacted by this conversation, I had to embed the audio for you to enjoy!

My favorite quote:

“God is only our name for it and the closer we get to it the more it ceases to be God. Then you are on a real Safari with the wildness, and the danger and the Otherness of God” John O’Donohue


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!

• If it’s worth one dollar, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, six hundred dollars, a billion-zillion dollars… you get the idea…

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,

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:


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

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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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

and the Saint Bridgette quote…


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


“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.”


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


How he was trained in soul care and soul friendship


On becoming an Anglican Priest…


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

Affirmation and Presence


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


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


Alan Crieder

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


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


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


Ignatian Spirituality

Celtic Spirituality

Soul Friendship
by Rev Ray Simpson (Church of England)

The Celtic Way of Prayer
by Ester De Waal

Holy Companions


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!


HOW Confession Heals

hearseesayOne aspect of the pre-Easter season (Lent) is confession…

Well, not really. The majority of Evangelicals avoid or ignore the command to confess and even the concept of confession. One great excuse is that we don’t have to be like Catholics who have to answer to a priest for our sins and then do penance. We don’t need a mediator between us and God. How empowering!

But, ignoring or avoiding confession also gives us a chance to hide in our sin and deceive ourselves and others…hum…not so empowering! That’s like putting our soul in jail.

True and thorough Healing and transformation come in and from the context of community.

Jame 5:16
International Standard Version (©2012)
Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

But –Why would confessing heal us?

There is a kind of cleansing that happens in confession. That’s why it’s not optional. It’s not just a purge from our end either.

Revealing ourselves to others has transformative power. Thousands of 12 Step followers will tell you countless tales of life-altering transformation that came through this route.

Simply put–God purposefully makes healing real and possible when authenticity happens with others. It will not happen on our own. This is by design because it makes us healthier to be connected in such a way.

There are no AA groups with 1 member because that would ensure failure. Healing works the same way for all us in that regard. Isolation keeps us stuck and unwell. Blind.

The Holy Spirit uses our honesty and uses our transparency and does his good work. Transformation! A confession is not just an apology (“Hey, sorry I made you feel that way.”) but rather it’s a careful decision to be authentic, to expose one’s self to the light of truth, to change, and to take a new course. So it is blessed.

This is the power and efficacy of prayer and repentance.


In the next post I’ll cover who we should or could confess to…

Do you think it matters who we confess to? (leave me a comment or voicemail)

Do you confess your sins and shortcomings regularly? (leave me a comment or voicemail. Yes or no and why or why not.)

 It’s easy to forget to visit this blog, because you’re busy. I know how that is. I update with new content about 3 times per week. You can get the new stuff sent to you AND you can use my content as well. So, click in the side bar for new content delivery and please check out the Permission Policy page for the rules for fair usage. Thanks for spending some time here today. :)


LASTLY- Is there anything you should confess? You are invited to do that here, or simply admit to confessing to some other human here (if you want to confess in another venue).

photo image found here:

The Triumphal Entry, or Jesus Takes a Baby Donkey Ride

Palm Sunday art


What of this Jesus, and his famous donkey ride?

It seems a bit strange, no?

What is called The Triumphal Entry is celebrated each year, on Palm Sunday, a week before the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (most often called Easter, which a a variation of the name of a pagan god, but I digress.)

It’ll take you 45 seconds to read the short donkey ride story here: Matthew 21:1-9.

The crowds heading to Jerusalem for Passover feasting were caught up in the pandemonium of this celebrity sensation–a peasant healer from the boondocks, who had just raised a dead man, four days after he died (his friend Lazarus in the town of Bethany).

Hopes were high that this miracle-worker could liberate the Jews from their Roman oppressors. Some 250,000 lambs would be roasted, likely feeding more than 2 and a half million people during this festival. So, the throng was indeed enormous.

In virtual mob hysteria, hopeful Jews stripped nearby palm trees of their fronds, and threw their coats on the road to pave this unorganized and roisterous parade. A hundred years prior, war hero Simon Maccabaeus was welcomed in the same manner after his conquest over Syria. Now Jews  again shouted “Hosanna”, which means “save we pray”. They yelled out the call from Psalm 118:26–a song of deliverance, conquest, and rescue.

Several times previously, Jesus had escaped the momentum of enthralled crowds who hoped to make him their rebel king by sheer force of mob will. Desperation was in the air. They longed for rescue, but Jesus was not that kind of King. He rebuffed all attempts at typical authority, political prestige, religious posturing, or military command.  As he put it to Roman authorities, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He came mildly, to be a selected as our king of hearts, and to have victory over our sin and brokenness–reconciling us again to our Creator, a holy and good God.

Fulfilling a prophecy from Zechariah, hundreds of years earlier (Zechariah (9:9)), Jesus rode a plodding little colt of a donkey into the city. The colt was encouraged to continue by keeping its mother in the lead.

For Jews, the donkey was considered a conveyance for the noble classes, and ridden by Jewish priests or nobility. It was also a helpful metaphor to display the Prince of Peace–the true Savior. It drew a sharp contrast against the mood of the raucous Zealots.

This type of entry marked a vast difference from the Roman commanders who would ride in celebratory victory pageants atop their mighty war horses. Wagons full of pillaged gold and silver rode along with the procession through grand Roman archways. Musicians and carriers of fragrant incense would accompany the cavalcade. Captives and conquered enemy honchos were chained and paraded –all for vanity’s sake.

Many Jews hoped for the dream-Messiah of the military persuasion. That was the glory they wishes for.

Jesus was misunderstood in his entry. The mob would show its intrinsic fickleness when, just days later, in bitter disappointment, they would turn on their would-be Messiah, screaming “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar!” to the local Roman governor, Pilate.

I have a spiritual challenge to give you this weekend. It is to respond in word and deed to this surprising action of God, in human form.

In Christian circles, this season is sometimes called, Holy Week. It has nothing to do with the week itself, but rather it refers to setting aside time to recount the stories and consider this Prince of Peace: his nature; his life and ministry to the needy, poor, and sick; his unjust execution; and the power of his Resurrection to life, witnessed by over 500 people.

Once confronted with this story that changed the world, each must ask, “Who is this Jesus?” and “How must I respond?” Are we willing to give our heart to this lowly yet almighty King, the Prince of Peace?

How will the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah change who you become? It is your saving grace.

Please share your thoughts, or Palm Sunday & Eastertide reflections.

Can a Person Absolve your Sins? Drum roll please…

A penitent confessing his sins in the former L...
Image via Wikipedia (confessing to another)

About 500 years ago there was this spat. At the time, having your sins forgiven was a sort of pay as you go thing. It was a bit like a toll road.

The toll booth worker was the Priest. If you bought “indulgences” the Priest could better settle up your debt with God.

Handy little business model, especially when folks hope to avoid damnation, right?

This became rather upsetting. So these Reformer types started protesting. It was not so much to split from the Church, but to transform it–at first.

Of course, men can get pretty riled up about their new fantastic ideas (ever seen that?), and before anyone realized it, a huge split…others might say a heresy or rebellion… was cemented into place in history–forever changing the landscape of Christianity.

Spiritually speaking, some good was gained (and Catholics adjusted to these grievances by the 1960s with Vatican II), but as more and more people are beginning to realizing now, some very good and important things were lost because of going this route.

So, what is the real purpose of a priest, or priest-like figure? Is it necessary? Can absolution of sin come from a man in a white collar? What about a teenager in a crew neck? Or a lady with a scarf?

Drum roll, please…..

Oh!  Wait! Before, you start gathering firewood and a sturdy stake for my conflagration, please hear me out the entire way. (Then have at it; I’d like to hear from you.)

The I Timothy 2:5 “one mediator” verse is often used to underscore that Christ alone can forgive sins and be our mediator to God. It’s true. This was the mission of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.

But Protestants have, by the over-reactive trailblazing of the Reformers, missed quite a bit of the spiritual benefits of what Jesus’ brother James talks about:

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

What is James saying…that confession and other believers’ prayers are powerful and effective against sin? Yes.

Okay, not a total gasp. But how does this play out? You may wonder…

This confessing to each other is not the same as be able to actually take Jesus’ place (obviously). James shows us that confession to each other works. It does something important. God wants it to be done this way.

It absolves us (because God absolves us). So, it is true that we personally experience the relief of our guilt being removed. We experience, in real terms, the agency of God’s forgiveness of our guilt. Someone is there beside us, standing in the gap for us, so we can be reconciled more thoroughly, more completely than we can experience it otherwise. It is God’s work; and we are agents of his ministry.

These confessors  to whom we confess become a flesh and blood representation of God’s love that promotes gracious forgiveness and offers wholeness. It offers us freedom from guilt (felt guilt, and feeling or thinking as if Christ‘s work is not complete). It puts flesh on our spiritual justification.

It seems we can’t handle our sin on our own too well, at all.

We are sinful, and it’s not a private matter.

Just confessing to God, and keeping our mistakes and sin to ourselves, is not the recommendation and requirement of Christ’s disciples.

The Community of God (i.e. the Church; our brothers and sisters in the Lord) plays a vital role in our spiritual growth and growth in grace. Confession ushers in that felt healing of the sin and guilt which weigh us down, and disables us.

Our sin is a rejection of community (aka The Bride of Christ) and an act of selfishness.

Our sin is a destructive thing. Socially and spiritually destructive.

Confession and absolution, (the kind you might say/declare out loud to another person) restore us at a core level. To ourselves, to God, and to community (aka The Bride of Christ).

In this way, we act not as God, but on God’s behalf. We minister.

It is simply true that he forgives us. We concur and offer social restoration, and remind the confessing one of God’s gracious work and love for us.

We minister to each other, on equal footing, and we may offer God’s grace to a brother or sister who cannot yet properly apprehend it. We can accept their confession and offer forgiveness, so we speak the Truth of God’s Kingdom into their life. We help set the captives free. (Not because God can’t do it without us, but because he wishes to use us this way.)

YES. We may say, “You have confessed, and you are forgiven. God absolves you. I, too, forgive you. Go in peace, and rest in his love.”

Please offer this to others. Ask for it on your behalf, too.

Will you comment on this topic, please? Your input is vital on this one. Thank you.

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