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”

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Tom Reynolds
Tom Reynolds, PhD


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


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.


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?”


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


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


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


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


Tom on the central questions of Theodicy.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.



(The heart of Incarnational living.)


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


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


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


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)


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.


Training ministers to come along side is important.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Transformative and vulnerable communion within our communities…being together.


[There is] dignity in participation. (Lisa)

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


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


(Tom) Music is my therapeutic other life.


A Call for Help!
Will you help me meet my goal of raising $1,000.00 in August to keep Spark My Muse going? Use the Donate button on the left sidebar. Thank you for listening!

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!


Episode 4 (Wine Tasting Crash Course and how to do a Retreat)

Episode 4 (Wine Tasting Crash Course and how to do a Retreat)

Spark My Muse – Episode 4 (Wine Tasting Crash Course and how to do a Retreat)


This episode is brought to you by:

Narnia Retreats 

-customized, guided, quiet, refreshing


Wine segment:

Involve all the senses as to wine and enjoy wine.

Take your time and build your awareness. (This makes for a great spiritual practice as well.)

Sparking your Muse:

Today’s topic:
A personal Retreat
– critical for creativity, spiritual sensitivity, and well being.

The retreat center I go to.

Spiritual Thirst:

By the time you are thirsty, your kidney’s have sent an emergency signal to your brain. Now the brain tries to regain health for your body with urges to drink. It’s better to provide for the body ahead of time, of course. The same is true for a thirsty soul. Don’t let yourself get morbidly parched. It’s not healthy for you or anyone in your life. It’s terrible for your art and your creative muse, and your mission in the world. You have to be well to do right by others. You have to be well to do well. But most of all you have to properly BE.


Getting it wrong:

A retreat that’s more of a social gathering with activities…That’s a Protestant, Western, answer to a problem that misunderstands the question.

Catholic tradition with it’s long history of spiritual retreats and spiritual guides was too much spurned by Protestant protest against it in favor of being busy at work and productive, while too often letting the soul starve for want of divine tranquility and peace.

God is best found in stillness and when the boisterous yammering of our heart and mind are soothed by rest and unplugging in every way.

The real question is not how can I find a party so I can feel whole….but How do I find my whole way home?

Home is within.

You become quiet and you go inside. God is within. You won’t find a God of Sabbath rest “out there” or at a place.

3 Most Important Tips:

1. put it on the calendar. mark it off. It’s a vacation day.
Or as the British say it (better) “you need to go on holiday!”


Holy means set apart. That’s exactly what retreat should be.

If you take take off from work for doctor’s apps, then think of it like that.

Block off 4-6 hours at minimum

8-10 is better and 24-48 is really when things get very beneficial.

AND Go away from home and people. A retreat center, a natural setting, a private room at a church or someone’s home.


2. Do all you can to minimize all distractions and obligations.

Plan ahead. Tell people you WILL be off the grid. Not able to be contacted. at all.

Leave your phone in your car. A few hours won’t kill you. If you think that it might, or that you can’t possibility be out-of-contact…or maybe that you are too important and busy to do this.

Then you have to be even more serious able doing it. Delusion has set in. You have become blind. You are starting to die a soul death. Get away RIGHT away!

(You may be afraid of what thoughts are going to come up when things get quiet. Be brave!)

3. Let the chatter die out.
If your mind is clamoring…and it will be if you have a lot to be responsible for….then you really can’t get to a place of rest.

•  Jot everything down quickly and put it to the side. It will be there when you get back and you will be able to deal with it better.

A simple Worksheet that’s perfect for retreats:

• The SHARPENING Ritual 


Special perks and rewards are available too. Join with the Spark My Muse community at the Spark My Muse page at Patreon! Click the image for more info.


HUMOR SERIES: On Subversive Laughter-Jokers are Wild



Whether it’s an Episode of Saturday Night Live, a late night tv host monologue, a webisode, or humor website, one of the many uses of humor one is to prove a point. People who find themselves funny may often aspire to more elevated forms of comedy:

Satire, wit, or something that seems noble.

If not fully noble, then at least something useful for creating meaningful change.

And if not that, then a comic may just try for old fashion notoriety. But, plenty of people simply settle for infamy.

Cuss words, crude jokes, and whatnot. But, in an effort to avoid thorough banlality the aim might be satire.

In the dearth of well-formed, well-put, well-placed, and well-timed, first-rate satire, many hope their wild comedic jabs will do the trick. They don’t.

True and artful satire is really rare; just like true brilliance is rare.

sat•ire (sătˈīrˌ)

  • n.
    A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.
  • n.
    The branch of literature constituting such works. See Synonyms at caricature.
  • n.
    Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.


On Satire

Besides that, the difference between satirical prowess and just being mean is more of a fine line. One that rests in the subjective ear of the hearer. Vary the audience and you have a flop. Get it right and you can have an impeachment.

I asked my friend Doug to elucidate us on some of the finer points of comic relief.

If any one put this sort of thing on the map, it was Shakespeare.

(Not Billy Crystall, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams…which was a fund raising thing.)

Either way, I’m soon out of my depth.

• So, what’s the point of (Shakespearean) COMIC RELIEF?

• How does it work, or not work.

• Does it work now?

A modern audience of non-English majors might not get Elizabethan wordplay…a lot of the problem is that people begin with the general idea that this is serious literature and therefore one is not supposed to laugh.

Not true. Sometimes it gets lost in translation.

While many think of comic relief as a literary ploy to give the audience a break from the latest dramatic event (a murder, beheading, or suicide etc), there is more to it.


For starters, says Doug, take the Fool in “King Lear.”

Cambridge poet and scholar Malcolm Guite asserts that, “Shakespeare, with a true understanding of the cross, always puts his greatest wisdom in the mouths of his fools.”


Throughout the early parts of the play the little fellow offers repeated jabs at Lear’s stupidity in attempting to step down from his throne but retain his power.


The idea of “royal retirement” amuses the Fool. Like a standup comedian with no “off” switch, he shoots out one-liners until several different people threaten to have him beaten.


He’s funny. He’s even funny in the howling storm when Lear begins to lose his mind and Edgar pretends to lose his and we do indeed need a break. But the humorous bait conceals a serious barb, both for the characters and the audience. The fool sees what the wise men miss.


Drawing on the common usage of court jester in that day, Shakespeare can deliver a message of great import.

Shakespeare here draws on the origins of the trade. Wealthy people in the medieval world sometimes kept mentally impaired people around because their antics amused their betters.


They could say or do anything and get away with it, basically, on the insanity defense.


Eventually a few very clever people figured out that such a role would allow them to engage in serious political critique without the usual inconveniences of getting exiled or sent to the Tower of London.


The Fool is such a double-dealer, offering a needed message disguised as “mere” comic relief.

Just as it happens today, comedy and the use of humor serves many purposes. Entertainment may be the first one, but a lot more may happen in the process.

In excavating the sites of Elizabethan theaters, archaeologists have found the shattered remains of pottery boxes into which theater patrons would drop their admission fee.


At the end of the night the company would smash the container – like a kid breaking his piggy-bank – and divvy up the night’s take. (This, by the way, is the origin of the term “box office.”)


This little factoid is a reminder that Shakespeare did not so much write for the ages as for the commercial stage. As a professional playwright he had to produce shows that people would pay to see.


His diverse audience wanted action, politics, poetry, and, yes, humor. But with each of these elements he did more than met the eye. His “comic relief” is like drinking sea water: It briefly relieves our thirst for wholeness only in order to make us crave the real thing even more.

It would seem that comic relief still has its place. Jokers ARE wild.

But, whether a comic gives the challenge due diligence is another question.

What’s been your favorite bit of satire, recently?

I hope you’re enjoying this series.



Here are the other related articles.

1. (humor at birth)

2. (Humor studies: Step 1-Tickle Rats)

3. (On comedic distance-funny to whom?)


For the latest info on my humor related projects sign up here.



So, I’ve noticed something:

It’s really common for creative types (musicians, writers, artists, filmmakers, etc) to get into a serious funk, especially come Autumn season. Whether it’s the chilly weather, the shorter periods of daylight, the pre-holiday blitz, or whatever else…plenty of us hit up against FUNK.

I’m not talking about catchy music (Funk as in…Soul music with a greater emphasis on beats, influences from rhythm and bluesjazz and psychedelic rock). No, I’m talking about the feeling that something is wrong in the universe.

I was all up in a funk when I read an article from Tim Ferriss. If this successful Mr Moneybags type who’s arguably America’s favorite life hacker gets hit up with a phase of Funk, why should I think it’s strange for me to splash into one. I started listening and looking around, and it turns out it’s “a thing”.

Perhaps it comes out as cynicism, annoyance, restlessness, or ennui.



  [ahn-wee, ahn-wee; French ahn-nwee]  


a feeling of utter weariness and discontent
resulting from satiety or lack of interest; 
The endless lecture produced an unbearable ennui.

(ennui isn’t mere boredom though, the connotation is really more of a life-weariness…a “funk”)

Maybe it’s just low-grade blah or maybe it’s full-blown depressive feelings.
Whatever it is, it’s common. You are not alone.


We have to push through. Yes, Winter will be long, but we can use the time to germinate our ideas and bloom in a few months.
If you’re feeling the onslaught of FALL FUNK let me know!
We’ll check up on each other. We’ll un-funk-ify!
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