Soul School – Lesson 25 – Why you are craving STABILITY

Soul School – Lesson 25 – Why you are craving STABILITY

Welcome to Soul School!

Deconstruction and Reconstruction is a lifelong process.
After a season of growth and rebirth, things CHANGE and that means you will CRAVE stability and a return to “normal”. Today, is about that and what to do about it. I wish I had known this 20 years ago!!

After you listen to PART I (the audio button you can click below) be sure to Watch the video, PART II. It comes with a handout and is part of Varsity Club.  It goes into Lesson 25 in a deeper way and has action steps and a specific guide to enact rebirth in your relationships. Find that here.

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Watch the Video – PART II of Soul School.

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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!


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,

~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).

The Myth about Roots.

My dad told me that trees have roots that go down as far as the tree is tall. That was an impressive statement and it stuck with me for a long time.

It was, of course, untrue.

He didn’t know much about trees. He was, by his own admission, a “city boy”.

I don’t blame him; lots of people think tree roots go deep.

They don’t.

Any photo of a knocked down tree makes it clear.
See? Roots go out not down.
(The mistake about roots becomes pointedly obvious.)

fallen_tree

Tree roots reach out, not down.

Roots aren’t so much much like anchors hold the tree to the ground, but rather more like feet planted in the soil, in all directions, to create stability and nourishment. They can extend nearly as long as a tree is tall.

The California Redwoods seem even more impressive now, don’t they?

Forests are interconnected places where trees stretch out their roots and touch the other trees nearby, below the surface.

A web of root holds a forrest together as if the trees are playing a long game of forest footsie.


The takeaway:

Like the myth of tree roots, the roots of community don’t go down either–in ideal circumstances.  Instead, they go out, or the forest dies.


On Sunday, I’ll go back to church for the first time in 2 months. My work schedule has kept me away, but I’m happy to go back and remember everything I need to remember all over again:

• Who I am in God, in community, and in the scope of human history and the Church worldwide and over the course of eons.

Maybe I’ll learn something new about me, or about church (God’s people), or about what sacred ritual does for me.

I haven’t been separated from this weekly occurrence (for this long) in over 20 years. I’m wondering what it’ll be like to go back. (The next post -or a short series- will get into that.)

My thoughts are forming like questions:

• Will I sense the roots of others stretching out to meet me?

• Will my absence have been noticed at all?
(If a tree falls in a forest…er, um, never mind.)

• Will everything be the same or nothing, or will I be the only one who has changed?

• Will I realize how much I’ve missed it, or be surprised that it hasn’t mattered like I thought it would or should?

• Am I really part of a forest, or am I more like a lone tree on a hill?

Whatever happens, I want to be the tree that stretches out into the stream, into the living water, for nourishment and life.

german-305898_640

Jeremiah17:7-8
“Blessed is the [one] who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. “For [s]he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

Dispatch from Prison Ministry: on Life Sentences

skypennscaveIt’s hard for me to think about being anywhere for more than a few years.

Do you like staying in one spot? Or do you like the idea of finding a new place to live, or at least getting away for a vacation destination?

When I was growing up we moved about every 3-4 years.

Then, for about 7 years we lived in a rural area just outside Murrysville, PA (east of Pittsburgh). Though I lived the same house that whole time, my parents marriage blew apart and my dad got his own place. At that point I was sort of “moving” every other weekend when I went to see him.

Then at 16, I began to bounce around again. Two years living with my dad and his wife, then college (continual moving every few months), then a newlywed apartment, and then our first home purchased. But, since 2001 Tim and I have lived in one spot and raised two children.

They can’t possibly appreciate the stability this has given them, but I’m happy it’s worked out this way for them. I didn’t think we’d settle down here in the boonies or for this long. There isn’t much civilization…not even a Starbucks closer than 27.7 miles away. (Yes, I just checked.)

I’ve been itchy to go and find some new place to live for about a decade.

That’s one reason the concept of a life sentence is so hard to really grasp. It’s a revolting thought.

More than a few of the men I work with in prison ministry will die in jail. Some of them have 30, 40, and 50 year + sentences. A few have a official life or life + sentences.

This situation can make incarcerated men (and women) do crazy, bitter things. “What do I have to lose?” they think.

Penitentiaries are for inmates who commit violent crimes or for inmates who hurt or kill other inmates. They are places where the most violent, disturbed, and sick criminals go.

Where I minister is not a penitentiary. It’s a prison. Most of the inmates are “non violent” offenders. Some of them have done violent things, but they got away with them and were imprisoned for other sorts of crimes. Many have had drug addictions or they did gang or drug-related crime, like stealing, scamming, or running money or drugs for dealer higher- on the food chain. They don’t tend rapists and killers, etc.

Some of the guys did do awful things, but they behaved themselves for 10-20 years and got moved into the prison setting as a reward.

These men understand the privilege it is to be there, and they don’t want to be sent back to the pen.

Still, many struggle with lack of purpose, regret, sadness, boredom, dealing annoying or difficult cell mates, and missing family and friends.

Some lifers find it hard to stay positive. Not surprising, of course.

But here’s the real miracle:

Some lifers try to make the world a better place–their small world. They are (mostly) peaceful and transformed.

Really, you meet all types in prison. You see every mood and attitude. You see all levels of education. All colors of skin. All kinds of hair dos. All shapes and sizes. All economic and social class backgrounds…from guys who lived on the streets to ivy league college graduates, the prison has them.

But the thing that really makes the biggest impact for me lately is getting to know the guys that are grateful and joyful even though they know and everyone else knows they will die behind bars. They will never be freed no matter what good they do or how changed they become. They try to be good and do good because it’s the right thing, not because their situation will improve.

I find that inspirational.

This means that in prison ministry you get the chance to question your own (sometimes) poor attitudes because you can see people in these “lifer situations” go out of their way to be kind, thoughtful, and pleasant; or helpful, generous, and happy.

You ask yourself:

“What’s so bad about my life, really?”

You find some inspiration to say:

“I have my freedom, and for that I should and will be grateful.”

No, not everything is just how we want it to be, but we can take a lesson from these sorts of prisoners.

Besides, our attitudes can be a prison, can’t they?

We may have our freedom, but we may chose a cell of our own making.