Episode 13 – “We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology” guest Doug Jackson

Episode 13 – “We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology” guest Doug Jackson

If you’ve listened to the show…
Please click our audience survey button so we can better understand who’s listening.
(It takes about 1 minute to complete and it’s 100% anonymous.)
Spark My Muse
Thank you!

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!

Will you fan the spark?

Inspired by how musician Amanda Palmer put it, “Don’t make people pay [for art]. Let them,” I am altering how Spark My Muse stays alive…from bottom to top (literally).

How does it work?

It’s up to you. I need at least $75 per episode to keep it solvent.
Every little bit helps!
So, I invite you to just listen, read, and give as you can.


Thank you! Enjoy the show!

With love,



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!


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!


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.

Reformers and the necessary correction in contemporary times.

Confronting individualism
and thoughts on human flourishing.

on the idea of being “spiritual but not religious”

on his work about CS Lewis

Mere Christianity

The importance of imagination for understanding that isn’t covered by rationalism.

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.”

James Sire

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

Brainpickings.com Maria Popova (an admitted secular atheist on a continual spiritual search)

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….

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.


“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)

on How people appeal to a standard outside themselves. (CS Lewis)

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.


Doug answering the question….”Is fundamentalism evolving”?

Richard Foster’s classic over 50 years old “Celebration of Discipline”

A story of a crucial pivot point for Doug.

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.”


“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.”

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.

Demons come in our solitude (Desert Fathers). The outcome is awareness and purification.

Wanting “the listening heart” (what Solomon really asked God for).
on the importance of listening to God…

My Stockholm syndrome at parties. (Lisa)


“(My) Inability to be with people was driven by a failure to have a real self.”

“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…

St John of the Cross
(Exploring the spiritually obscured times and darker emotions.)

“the nada” (God is “no thing” the silence before God

…on staying in the problems and not panicking.

…on the crucial lesson from his mom that revealed his theology

(unknowing) Apophetic theology

“John of the Cross didn’t want that we should abandon the metaphors but move through them.”


“We cannot encapsulate God in our Theology.”

(which is terrifying but life-giving)

Further exploration in a future episode of John of the Cross with Doug coming soon!


If you enjoyed the show please give it a stellar review on iTunes here!

Watch for new episodes each Hump Day (Wednesday).

In which Sarah Bessey Writes a Letter to Bloggers…

In which Sarah Bessey Writes a Letter to Bloggers…

In which I post Sarah Bessey’s photo

Sarah Bessey writes at Emerging Mummy where she has become an accidental grassroots voice for postmodern and emerging women in the Church on issues from mothering to politics and theology to ecclesiology. Her writing has been well received in many publications including Church Leaders, Relevant Magazine, A Deeper Story, SheLoves Magazine, and Emergent Village. Sarah also works with Mercy Ministries of Canada, a non-profit residential home for women seeking freedom from life-controlling issues. She is a happy-clappy follower of Jesus and social justice wannabe. Sarah lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada with her husband, Brian, and their three tinies: Anne, Joseph and Evelynn

Hey, everyone! Lisa, here.

I’m happy to include a lovely person, champ blogger, and Canadian beauty– the one, the only: Sarah Bessey. I could tell you that I love Sarah and that I love reading her blog, but then you would just think, “Duh? Who doesn’t, Stupid?!”

Yesterday, she had a gracious response to the flap about under-represented female bloggers by posting her own list, which you can check out with her handy dandy button (link):

So, I’ll just use this valuable spot, after the 50 Button and before the letter from Sarah (yes, it’s beachfront property, baby) to encourage you to sign on for RSS or email updates for continued awesomeness. Lots of great writers are my splendid guest contributors ( a.k.a Series #4Bloggers ). My first ebook comes out May 1 “Soul Care for Creators and Communicators”. It’s free (until NOV 2012) if you sign up for it here. (It too is part of the awesomeness. More on that in the coming days and weeks)

And now, enjoy!

Dear Blogger:

There are so many ways to be a better blogger, to increase your traffic, to maximize your SEO, to make money. 

I practice almost none of them.

After nearly 8 years of writing my life out online, I’ve made almost every mistake one can make. I’ve learned the hard way to write angry, but publish when I’ve calmed down. I’ve received my fair share of angry criticism and lavish praise. I’ve been convinced that I’m God’s gift to the blogosphere and, usually within a few moments, pretty sure that my blog is an abomination upon the earth. And I discovered that what is good for the Google analytics isn’t always good for my soul.

In the midst of the reactionary, often inflammatory, competitive, over-saturated, addictive world of online writing, I repeat to myself, “Remember who you are, Sarah.”

That simple phrase has helped me decide what to write and what to publish, what to leave to other bloggers. It’s helped me focus my content, reconcile my values with my work, make decisions about blog growth tactics, advertising opportunities, networking or relationships. It’s helped me not to crash into despair when someone emails with harsh criticism or fries me up in their own blog post as a “response” served with chips. And it’s also helped me not to get too full of myself when praised, I’m very well aware of who I am and, as every one that knows me in real life can attest, I’m disgustingly normal with flaws and frustrations.

But even beyond the world of blogging, that phrase has helped me make decisions about my priorities and values. It’s helped me to shut the computer down most days, to go outside with my tinies, to make space for spiritual disciplines like silence and secrecy, to make cookies instead of nasty comments. It’s helped me to engage in the hard work of real, skin-on community, to put my physical hands to justice and mercy, to rock my babies to sleep. 

“Remember who you are” means remembering that I’m more than a blogger. I’m Brian’s wife. I’m Anne and Joseph and Evelynn’s mummy. I’m my parents’ daughter, my sister’s best friend. I’m Auntie-Mama to my little nieces. I’m someone who would rather eat popcorn for supper. 

And beyond all that, it helps me remember: I walk in the ways of Jesus. I am a peace maker. I am committed to speaking Love as my first language. I am an advocate for Mercy. I am a grace-receiver, a forgiver, a woman after God’s own heart.

So my friend, remember who are. In the midst of the blogging, beyond the blogging, and through it all, remember this: you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. 

Remember who you are, my friend.  

Love, Sarah

Featured Writer: Dr Doug Jackson on Trinity Sunday


I wanted to feature this fine Sermoneutics article because I’ll be bringing the concept of Trinity to my class this Sunday.


Sermoneutics is a weekly column authored by Doug Jackson. Before coming to South Texas School of Christian Studies, Dr. Jackson pastored churches for nearly twenty-five years. For more from Doug Jackson, check out his blog at djackson.stscs.org.
Click here for the Sermoneutics archive.

by Doug Jackson
Trinity Sunday,
2 Corinthians 13.11-14

The good news is that the Western church has conspired to disobey the clear command of Scripture. The bad news is that our disobedience obscures our doctrine.

Augustine warned that anyone who disbelieves the Trinity is in danger of losing his salvation . . . and that anyone who attempts to understand it is in danger of losing his mind! Actually the Trinity is one of those things, like fried crawdad tails or dancing or being in love, that one understands not by pondering but by experiencing.

“We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.” Athanasius puts it rather neatly but perhaps leaves us wondering how to pull off the tricky business of inhabiting what we believe. The doctrine makes us psychological heretics whose nerves don’t connect with our confession.

Paul takes a more practical tack, perhaps because he writes as a pastor and not as a theologian. Just before rapping out one of the clearest Trinitarian statements in all of Scripture, he lays a command on us: Greet one another with a holy kiss. That’s the injunction I am so glad the Church exiles to the exegetical antipodes along with head coverings for women and not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk.

I don’t like it when people hug me; you can imagine how I feel about kissing. And I claim apostolic authority on this one: C. S. Lewis shared my aversion. “It is one of my lifelong weaknesses,” he writes in his autobiography Surprised By Joy, “that I never could endure the embrace or kiss of my own sex.” But there it is, right in the Bible and everything.

See, the problem is that the Trinity states, not an abstract mathematical puzzle but a common-sense relational truth: God is love, and either the Almighty is the ultimate cosmic narcissist eternally self-involved, or God has eternally had Someone to love. And since only God is eternal it must be that the Father has eternally loved the Son, the Son has eternally loved the Father and the Spirit has eternally been that love. And therefore Christians can only study the Trinity by risking the sloppy business of loving one another. And because God makes us bodies we can only love with our bodies. Every hug that breeches my barriers brings me closer to inhabiting the unity of Trinity. Amplexo ergo creedo: I hug, therefore I get it.

In this light, it is interesting to note that this year Trinity Sunday falls on the same day as Juneteenth, a nationwide observance for African-Americans commemorating the day the Emancipation Proclamation actually took effect. Perhaps instead of breaking our brains over the complexities of cosmic calculus, we could study the Trinity by repenting of past segregations and handing out a few hugs across the barriers we have built throughout Christ’s body.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,



Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are love from all eternity. Make us one as You are one, that in us the world may see the grace, love and fellowship of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.


May you be broken enough to help one another,
For wholeness comes from healing.
May you disagree enough to hear one another
For oneness comes from listening.
May you be lonely enough to hold one another
For touch defeats division and discord.
In the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

Copyright © 2011 South Texas School of Christian Studies, All rights reserved.

FAST Fasting Facts. 3rd/Final Post

There’s only so much you can write about fasting. The topic is starved from the start, but with this concluding post, I’ll tie together the rest of my summary on FASTING.

I should point out that I hate being hungry. Being hungry sometimes makes me get, not just grouchy, but angry. Part of why I encountered this topic publicly was to encourage myself to take on this valuable spiritual practice with more devotion. But because I enjoy the process? ….WHOA. OH NO; it’s because I see unquestionable spiritual benefits from undergoing the practice which cannot so thoroughly occur by another method.

Dangers of Fasting

It may become False Religion (fast verse link: Col. 2:23)

It may produce the idea that God is obligated to do what we’d like.

May feed our control issues (Do you have starving-yourself powers or issues? Then, be careful. Gandhi (an heroic and virtuous man) didn’t do fasts, he had hunger strikes. Notice the difference.)

May intensify health ailments (Be extra cautious when fasting if you have health issues.)

What are some you can think of?

Benefits of Fasting

Prayer and worship producing

Calls our cravings into question

Useful for thwarting (great or small) neurotic thoughts or activities, vices, obsessions, and addictions.

• We learn that our cravings need not control us

• It nurtures a dependence on God.

Kinds of FASTS

1. From 1 meal

2. From Sundown to Sunrise, or Sunrise to sundown

3. From certain foods (sweets, coffee, meat, etc.)

4. From enjoyed or frequent activities (tv, internet, sports, shopping, snacking, etc.)

What fasts have you tried, or would recommend?

You may like this fasting resource: the book and guide for individual, and group fasts, called Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer L. Towns.

Please leave any of your guide books or fasting recommendations in the comment section, if you have them.

useful guide for fasting

What will you do?

Will you commit to fast at least once per month?

Which type of fast (or fasts) makes sense for you?

What would you like to pray about during your fast?

Thanks for your participation!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...