[SSL83] Are You Failing the 3 Second Test?

[SSL83] Are You Failing the 3 Second Test?

It’s time for another Wednesday audio delivery – 

This is Soul School Lesson 83
 [SSL83]

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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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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 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”.

 

And there’s a BONUS EDITION with lots of goodies!
Read a sample here!


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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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Watch for new episodes each Hump Day (Wednesday).

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.”

or

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.
ref.

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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What is Celtic (Christian) Spirituality?

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 8.31.12 AMIn recent years there has been renewed interested in the unique flavor of Christianity from the Celtic region. The Celts transformed their paganism into devote Christian practice and belief, but their connection to nature and to each other in community continued to flavor their understanding and practice of Christianity.

 

The ultimate Druid (their word for a priest) was then, Jesus, the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Map_of_Celtic_Nations-flag_shades.svg

After the area was first introduced to Christianity, it became largely cut off from the world and also the massive changes in Christianity that happened once it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Subsequently, Christianity evolved and soon involved in the power and authority of the (Rome-based) Roman Catholic Church who dominated and influenced life and culture during the middle ages in almost all of the Western civilized world (except the areas that were not subjected to the influential jihads of Islam).

Most Protestants don’t realize the deep and prevailing influence that the Roman version of Christianity has on how they understand, and practice their faith. Many widespread notions in the Western church, even today, began during the Middle Ages and stemmed from Rome.

Empires have a knack of distorting things for their own gain. Religious empires are no exception.

It’s insightful to see how Celts lived out their spirituality and it can add to our own understanding and growth to learn some things from them.

Here is the wikipedia article to expand your general understanding.

Here are some distinctions:

Distinctive Features of Celtic Christianity:

-love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental as a reminder of God’s gift.

-love and respect for art and poetry.

-love and respect for the great stories and “higher learning”.

-sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful presence.

-theologically orthodox, yet with heavy emphasis on the Trinity, and a love and respect for Mary, the Incarnation of Christ, and Liturgy.

-religious practice characterized by a love for tough penitential acts, vigils, self-exile, pilgrimages, and resorting to holy wells, mountains, caves, ancient monastic sites, and other sacred locations.

-no boundaries between the sacred and the secular

-unique Church structure:

-there were originally no towns, just nomadic settlements, hence the church was more monastic rather than diocesan, resulting in quite independent rules and liturgies.

-also, Ireland was very isolated and it was hard to impose outside central Roman authority.

-influenced much by (original/early Christianity) middle-eastern and coptic monasticism.

-they celebrated Easter and Lent according to the ancient calendar system.

-Irish tonsure shaved the front of the head (like the druids).

-abbots had more power than the bishops.

-monasteries often huge theocratic villages often associated with a clan with the same kinship ties, along with their slaves, freemen, with celibate monks, married clergy, professed lay people, men and women living side by side. (Sometimes monasteries “raided” other monasteries, esp. during the period of the Anglo-Norman invasion.)

-while some monasteries were in isolated places, many more were were at the crossroads of provincial territories.

-women had more equal footing in ancient Irish law, thus had more equal say in church government. (Did St. Bridget receive Holy Orders and act as an Abbot?)

-developed the idea of having a “soul friend” (anmchara) to help in spiritual direction.

-invented personal confession.

-monks traveled as “Peregrinari Pro Christ” (White Martyrdom).

-many pagan practices were “Baptized” such as St.Stephen’s Day, and the resorting to holy wells, and many monasteries were built on pagan sacred site (as evident in the names Derry, and Durrow).

 

Read more here.

 

Prayer Attributed to St Patrick, missionary to the Celts:

I arise today, 
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of the sun, radiance of the moon.
Splendor of fire, speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind, depth of sea,
Stability of earth and firmness of rock.
I arise today,
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me.
From the snares of devils, from temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and near, alone and in a multitude

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