Soul School-Lesson 63: The Four Loves

Welcome to Spark My Muse!


Soul School Lessons
 are released each Wednesday
(that is on aka “Hump Day” or Midweek).

• On FRIDAYS, I feature guests on a variety of interesting topics!

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Soul School – Lesson 42: The Good Bad Guy (Old Parable, New Twist)

Welcome to Spark My Muse!

Thanks for your generousity.

(I bring you enrapturing audio delights–twice, each week–and you give me some money.)


Soul School is delivered to you weekly on Hump Day – Wednesday, mid-work week, to nourish your inner world. Enjoy. 

Today is something intriguing from my friend Dr. Doug Jackson.



(You can share an audio clip using the Clammr App below. Just click the red and white logo below!)

Read his original post here.

Hear the two other previous episodes with Doug Jackson.

Episode 13

Episode 22

Hear other recent episodes:

Pick an option to get the next episode on FRIDAY. A thrilling madcap recap with the dynamic duo from the Deconstructionist podcast Adam and John.deconstruct

EPS 45: Staying RELEVANT – Guest Cameron Strang


This episode was originally an audio and visual conversation (on Blab- Cameron’s first!) and you can view that as a REPLAY below.

Cameron Strang is the founder of Relevant magazine and Relevant media group–arguably the most influential media forces for Christians under the age of 30 in the world. This powerhouse reaches over 17 million people per month through their various media efforts of tv streaming, podcasts, books, music, magazines, and more.

How did he do it? Why? What makes it work? What’s the future for Relevant? The answers will surprise you.


New here? Well, then….Here’s the skinny….

SPARK MY MUSE is a twice-weekly broadcast!

Friday episodes are longer conversational ones with guests. Find the full list here.

Wednesday episodes are shorter, potent ones called “Soul School” with homework for you overachievers–you know who you are. Find the full list here.

Spark-LIVE: Catch some of the Spark LIVE. The LIVE discussions with friends and guests are on interesting topics about 3 times per month and they are great. Catch the Replays you miss here at the website.

• To join in for the LIVE events you Sign up HERE; (YES they are FREE). BUT! follow me on Twitter for links and info too. (This is smart because some discussions are listed elsewhere with with colleagues on their accounts.)

Scroll down for Show notes marked by the minute.

Related links from the episode:

• RELEVANT magazine on twitter
strang• Cameron Strang on Twitter

• RELEVANT Magazine website!

• The STORY of Relevant (Video)

• Reject Apathy

• Rick Warren

• Rick Warren on Twitter


MIN 8: writing the business plan in college.

MIN 11: Target demo is a psyco graphic – average reader is 27 years old.

MIN 12: Reorganizing the company in 2012 – pruning process. Cutting 2/3 of staff and going from 750,000 thousand viewers to 17.3 million each million.

MIN 16: Working 8 years to get the 1st issue done. Doing a podcast for 10 years.

MIN 18: What’s next?

MIN 19:30: The surprising November (2015) cover about martyrdom.

MIN 20:30: Reject Apathy themes are not marketable on newsstands

MIN 22: What the name for the magazine “Relevant” means

MIN 24: When the church wanted to be relevant and changed it’s delivery method.

MIN 25:30 Social Justice issues / Reject Apathy, sustainable change and help for the poor, and how that began with Rick Warren.

MIN 30:30 (since 2006). Moving past print and onto screens and living rooms,

MIN 32:00 Hillsong United

MIN 33:30 on pop music

MIN 35:30 Why they are based in Orlando

MIN 37:30 Where their readers are located and the surprising international readers

MIN 38: Will Relevant be translated into other languages an go into other countries?


VIEW THE Original LIVE conversation (replay)

Episode 20 – Puncturing the Illusions of our own Ableism and Flawed Ideas of Normal (with Tom Reynolds) part 1

Tom Reynolds
Tom Reynolds, PhD


Shownotes: PART I
A conversation (in 2 parts) with

the author of Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality, by practical theologian 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, 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


MIN 4:00

Incorporating the theology of disability into his work training pastors at Emmanuel Seminary, because theology is personal, and not disconnected from the real world concerns of the church and people living their lives.


About his son Chris sparking his interest and work in the theology of disability.

5:30 Learning that disability isn’t a problem to figure out, but rather it’s about a person who I love and live with, and care with and for, which radically reoriented my perspective on theology.


Disability and God’s Providence

(Questioning does God “cause” disability as a curse or opportunity for healing…or a kind of moral lesson…)


His son exploded the theological categories (and assumptions) pertain to Providence…making everything confusing and needing to be re-thought.


What is abnormal? What is “faulty” humanity?

Amos Yong, Hans Reinders, John Swinton writing on the topic too.


Tom details the new book on the Theology of Care which builds on the first book.


Some churches stress Cure over Care in terms of disability.


(Lisa) My visit to a church where the leadership was interested in healing my son from his non normative experience of the world.


The range of responses churches have when encountering people with disabilities.

The  church’s “urge to cure” is better than outright exclusion, which plenty of families have encountered.


It comes from the the idea of remaking and fixing someone in a way that is more comfortable for non disable people and normalcy (what they consider normal). Not helpful or Christian.


About the church that didn’t want his son as a disruption and a church that did receive them.


“How can we help you?” was water for his parched soul. How the church accepted and welcomed the uniqueness of his son.


Hospitality vs. a narrow view of what is preferred.


The messiness of various kinds of people, in general, means we have to expand our view of grace.


Who gets to be a full-fledge member of the church community?

and the “mascot syndrome” for those with disabilities.

16:30 – 17:50

Levels and types of responses:

• Tolerate disabled, but they do not get to be a true part of the church.

• “Inclusion” sometimes means means the the “outsiders” get invites to the inside group based on the good graces of the in group, but are still treated as problems to be solved, or people that are to receive the gestures of charity from others (people for whom things are “done for (them”)”. Doing for instead of “being with”.


What is access? In is not just accommodations (i.e. ramps and special bathrooms) and alterations but ongoing…

Faith communities may be not expecting and not ready to receive those with disabilities.


It’s not an issue about outsiders, because disability extend to a broad range of issues, both visible and not visible, including mental health challenges that are already there.


Thinking of the word “BELONGING”

as in “to be longed for when you aren’t there in the fullest sense.”

John Swinton and belonging


Jean Vanier “In giving and receiving do we really thrive as people”


Unconscious bias that includes “fear of the stranger” and “fear of the stranger within”.


We fear weakness and vulnerability.


Before “mainstream”…the stigma of “retard”…and fearing and disposing weakness.


Nathan means gift. (Lisa) I learned that I had to recognize weaknesses (shortcomings) in myself the I saw reflected in my son…and communities can do the same type of thing unconsciously.


“The encounter with disability punctures the illusions of what we think of as our own strengths.”


The journey with a child with disabilities is isolating.


Societal epidemic that fears being vulnerable or perceived as weak or unable to perform in ways that are considered valuable by society.


We have to see what are myths about autonomy, independence, and productivity where are assume we are self-reliant and these qualities are prized so highly. “Able-ism” (The idea that being able in body and mind is normal and most vital which serves as the lens by which we see and judge the world and others outside those parameters as faulty.)


Tom’s latest work called “A spirituality of attentiveness”. Christianity: St Paul’s strength in weakness serves as a prophetic witness against a society that prizes the strong as the main thing of value. 1 Corinthinians pretense of strength undercuts our ideas of grace)


We are all only temporarily-abled. (Lisa).


On hearing “You must be so blessed to have a disabled person as a teacher.” Is this sometimes a reframing of the situation that spins the situation to be more palatable? A glossing with spiritual truths and making it about spiritual growth.


Instead, Chris’s life seeks its own flourishes, and he may at times function as a teacher.


Thoughts on intellectual ability (or inability) and belief in terms of Salvation.

God’s works God’s own path in different ways and in different capacities with people. This undercuts my arrogance (as a theologian), so I don’t think I can so easily map it out definitively and universal for all people in all places.


His son’s atheism (who is the God he doesn’t believe in)…and how that challenges our presuppositions about God.


“It is in the kind of relationships of mutual belonging that the full image of God is borne out.”


(Lisa) To my son I said, “when you see someone who is loving you, you are seeing God.”

(Lisa) On how I changed from thinking “right belief” as the way to understand God was central. Our intellectualizing what God has done is not salvific.


Martin Luther’s theology of the Cross:

The pretense that we know exactly where God is and how God works. Where God is most hidden is where God is most vividly revealed in saving ways.


“Who I am to declare that God’s grace only works in some ways? and the God’s capacity and God’s own mystery is limited to what I would deem and my community would deem adequate.”


What the practical theology of disability tells us about Grace with God and relationships with others.


“The longer I live and work as a theologian the more I realize the limitations of theology and the true infinite mysteries of God.”

Jesus was disruptive to religious pretense and suppositions. “You say this..but I say this…”

Theodicy – The question of why does God allow suffering and how should we think about suffering.

How Tom, as a theologian, answers the question,
“Why would a sovereign God allow a person to be born disable and encounter such suffering?” (This is great!)

The best is yet to come! Come back for part II next week.

Will you help me meet my goal of raising $100.00 in August to keep Spark My Muse going? Use the Donate button on the left sidebar. Thank you for being a big ball of love!

The Surprise for readers of “Dog in the Gap” [Video]

Doug Jackson
Doug Jackson

 Here are a few excerpts of some advanced praise for our book!

Dog in the Gap: Brief Explorations of Canine Care-Taking and Human Flourishing” (It releases on Amazon: Monday August 19th!)

From Evelyn Romig:
What a refreshing read! And by refreshing, I mean not only crisp prose and photos that are–wait for it–so doggone cute! but true living water for the spirit. This collection of small essays by two different stylists not only celebrates the wonderful relationships of humans and their best friends, it examines the spiritual significance of ownership, training, domestication, and companionship. Doug Jackson and Lisa Colon Delay complement one another: one will write about a specific experience (the true “Labrador” nature of her pup) and then the other will challenge the reader with questions about animal souls, using sources as varied as C.S. Lewis and St. Francis. Hard for the Christian reader to finish this treat of a book without wanting to do two things–share the book and volunteer at the local animal shelter. Thanks, Doug and Lisa, on behalf of the sweet souls that cannot speak for themselves!”
From Michelle Moore Mitchell:

“Just finished reading the review draft. I want more! … Not sentimental — but lots of tears. I’m going to read it again, starting tomorrow. This time, a chapter a day, so I can live with, experience, think about, and feel what is there more fully….”

From Clark Roush:

“Only on page 30, and I can already confidently declare you will want to read “Dog in the Gap.'”

Would you be willing to write a review? Hooray! Use the contact form here.

ONLY 7 days until you can get the much anticipated book I’ve written with esteemed professor and long-time pastor Doug Jackson.

I’m really proud of the content and layout of this book. For instance:
• Nearly all of the 88 pages include a captivating photo which really adds a lot to the experience.

Anyone who’s had a dog they loved will “get this” book (both editions). It’s powerful. It put into words and takeaways those deep bonds and lessons we experience uniquely when we have a furry companion.

• The BONUS EDITION (will also be released on the same date) has well over 100 pages of extras, secret links to exclusive videos for this group, and plenty of extra photos and humor. (It’s the hardcore doggie fans Edition.) See below for the Charity component.

It’s set up to be easy to read. It’s no dense tome. There are terrific stories and there’s plenty of material and insights even a non pet owner can enjoy.

• We are donating portions of the money you pay for the book (which is an affordable $2.99. You’d shell out $3 to help dogs, right?) to two local non-profits:

For Doug, it’s the Gulf Coast Humane Society of Corpus Christi, TX.

For me, it’s a low-cost spay and neutering clinic in Allentown, PA (named alliteratively: “No Nonsense Neutering“). They offer low cost services in Reading, Allentown and Quakertown, PA as a humane and preventative alternative to regulating overpopulation through euthanasia. (Unlike PETA who funds mass euthanasia programs secretly. “Fur is murder!” they say, but they have a mass extermination system in place for kittens, rabbits, and puppies. VIEWER CAUTION ADVISED: Previous link has some grisly and disturbing photos.)

Doug was kind enough to sit down and answer a few interesting questions on video for me. Some I’ve saved for the Bonus Edition for you super fans!  You’ll have to hold tight patiently for a few more days!

In this video (just 80 seconds long) Doug shares what he thinks will most surprise readers about the book.

I hope you’re as excited as we are!

Want a sample to read for free?
Just sign up just below! We’ll be sending it out soon.

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“Dog in the Gap”

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