Eps 181: The Way Up is Down; Guest, Marlena Graves

My conversation today is with Marlena Graves about her book “The Way Up is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself”. (Like me, Marlena is originally from Puerto Rico and grew up in Pennsylvania. Her Spanish is way better though.) She’s a professor, an activist, has worked in ministry, and authored a number of books. Now working on her PhD. at Bowling Green University in Ohio.  Stop by the extras page to get all the show notes and links HERE: https://www.patreon.com/posts/39670162 😃. (patreon.com/sparkmymuse | Episode 181)

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Descending and Ascending [SSL151]

Today’s Soul School Lesson contains some snippet readings and reflections from the book “The Artist’s Rule: A 12-week Journey-Nurturing your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom”, by Christine Valters Paintner on the powers of rightly aligned humility in the spiritual life and what toxic versions of it look like too. [See the audio player below.] You can hear my interview conversation with Christine – here

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• Learn about the Sacred Spaces experience coming soon. June 5-7, 2020 • More information and tickets can be found here.

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EPS 56: Implanted Memories, False Memories, and False Confessions

Welcome to Spark My Muse.

Today my guest is
Dr Stephen Porter who is the Founding Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science & Law at the University of British Columbia and he is a Registered Forensic Psychologist.

Click on image to visit Dr Porter's website

Dr Stephen Porter

I know you will really enjoy this episode.
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(Scroll down to find links, highlights, and details from the show)

Dr Porter started his career among the prison population in the field of forensic psychology.

His two main topics of research in the last 15 years: The nature and fallibility of memory (false memories) and deception detection.

He wanted do study memory empirically and he set up the Centre.

MIN 3:30

Why would somebody ever confess to a crime they haven’t done?

1,000 years of judicial systems have held the assumption that a confession of guilt is to be believed unless the person is deranged or they have been tortured.

In the last 30 years we now know this to be very false.

MIN 5:00
Studying people who believe they have actually committed a crime (and have a false memory of the crime) when they haven’t down any such thing.

Elizabeth Loftus – Implanted Memory studies (click for info)

Lost in the shopping mall studies (25% could be convinced of and falsely remember this frightening childhood event that never happened to them).

Julia Shaw (click for info)

70% of study participants were implanted with memories. They were convinced and falsely remembered committing a serious crime when they were teenagers in just 3 interviews for an hour each.

MIN 8:00

Events we remember are slightly or majorly different from the last time we recalled it.

A true memory is recalled almost exactly the same way in the brain as a false memory.

The systemic issue in the criminal justice system arises when a lot of time has elapsed and also when interrogators can and are allowed to ask [questions] in very inappropriate ways that really mess with a person’s memories.

MIN 12

The implanting of memories studies.

The 1990s “repressed memory era”

MIN 14

The role of emotion, negative events, and authority figures in implanted memories.

MIN 19

The Innocence Project

In 25% of wrongful convictions the accused confessed to the crime.

In 63% of wrongful murder convictions, the accused confessed to the crime.

MIN 23:30

The 3 major types of false confessions.

MIN 28

The details within the false memories are analogous to real memories.

MIN 30: Psychopathic people who implant memories and destroy reality for their victims.

MIN 34:30

The surprising ways the experts detect deception –
What to look for in a liar. (It is not what you’ve heard.)

To access this bonus material GO HERE – support Spark My Muse.

• Visit Dr Porter’s website HERE

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EPS 46: Community Life and The Power of Confession (part 2)

As promised this is the part 2 with Tammy Perlmutter about Communal Life. Below are photos from Tammy.

To hear PART 1, click HERE.

Listeners asked questions about the particulars of communal life and I had questions too. Tammy and I recorded another episode and we also discuss the terrifying and powerful concept and discipline of confession in a way you may not have heard before.

This is a good one!

• Scroll for the detailed show notes by the minute, and please, please, please, share this episode with others!

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-as-it-happens. The LIVE discussions with friends, viewers, and guests are on interesting topics about 3 times per month. They are great. Catch the Replays you may 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. (Some discussions are listed elsewhere with with colleagues on their accounts and not on mine, so I’ll tweet out links.)

Show Notes

Tammy Perlmutter is a talented creator who lives (along with her husband and daughter) with the intentional community of Jesus People USA, a commune of Christians that dates back over 40 years.


MIN 2:
Q: What is the hardest part about living in community for people who first come to live with you?

MIN 4:
Q: How does the “common purse’ work? Can you make your own money and keep it for things you want to do or must everything you make go into the common purse?

MIN 8:
Q: How are conflicts dealt with?

MIN 10:
Q: How do shared meals, food, and cleaning work?

MIN 13:
Q: Personally, what is the hardest part about living in community and what’s the best part?

MIN 15:
Q: What are the main challenges and needs within the communal setting?

MIN 17:
Our Lady of the Mississippi Abby, Dubuque, Iowa.

Being an oblate near Chicago.


MIN 21:
On being downwardly mobile and simplifying things, and considering the essentials in our lives and relationships.

MIN 26:
On why Tammy started writing.

MIN 30:
Cornerstone Magazine 

MIN 32:30
Explaining “the gift of going first”

MIN 37:30
“Confession feels like a fever breaking.” (Lisa)

Jean Vanier

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

MIN 39: The power of confession to create breakthroughs.

“Confession is discipleship.”

Creating trust and community.

Depression and sin dissipate when exposed to community and life together.

MIN 44:
Tammy’s final thoughts on community. Being, not just doing.

MIN 48:
The invitation to those of us not living in communal situations.


Jesus People USA is a self-sustaining , tent-making community. We support our home, church, and ministries through businesses we have created.

Jesus People USA: A church & an intentional community, living together, creating a place to discover who you are and to be challenged to live an authentic life in Christ.

Wilson Abbey: Community. Faith. Art. Concert venue, theater, art gallery, conference center in Uptown, Chicago.

JPUSA Internships: 3-12 month internships in specific businesses and ministries.

Group Missions: Bring your small group, church, youth group, family!

Cornerstone Community Outreach: Homeless shelter

The Rummage Room: A re-sale boutique whose proceeds go entirely towards Cornerstone Community Outreach.

Uptown Tent City: Providing protection, support, and material needs for homeless living under the viaducts in Uptown.

Zeppelin Design Labs: Avant-Garde Audio and Electronic Products.

Grrr Records:The home of Glenn Kaiser, GKB, The Crossing, Leper, Aracely, Exegesis, Resurrection Band (aka Rez), Anti-World System, and many others.

Everybody’s Coffee: Professionally-trained baristas devoted to making delicious, soul-warming, fresh brewed fair-trade coffee and urban artisan baked goods.


Nine3Nine CreativeA web and graphic design business doing top quality, cutting edge work. 

Belly Acres Designs: High-quality screen printing.
Deeply Rooted: A Gathering. A one-day faith and creativity gathering in Chicago for women, taking place in May and November.
#1 Worship

#2 Fellowship

#3 Work

#4 Social Justice

#5 Art

#6 Music








6. JPMusicCollage

Dear listener,

What did you think about this episode?

• Have you too been guilty of ditching situations, relationships, and people when things get messy, uncomfortable, or inconvenient?

• What has helped you live a more authenticity community-minded life?

• You can share your thoughts at the Spark My Muse group page here.
If this topic interests you, listen to the episode with activist Shane Claiborne who started the intentional inner city community in Philadelphia called The Simple Way. HEAR that here. 

HOW Confession Heals

hearseesayOne aspect of the pre-Easter season (Lent) is confession…

Well, not really. The majority of Evangelicals avoid or ignore the command to confess and even the concept of confession. One great excuse is that we don’t have to be like Catholics who have to answer to a priest for our sins and then do penance. We don’t need a mediator between us and God. How empowering!

But, ignoring or avoiding confession also gives us a chance to hide in our sin and deceive ourselves and others…hum…not so empowering! That’s like putting our soul in jail.

True and thorough Healing and transformation come in and from the context of community.

Jame 5:16
International Standard Version (©2012)
Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

But –Why would confessing heal us?

There is a kind of cleansing that happens in confession. That’s why it’s not optional. It’s not just a purge from our end either.

Revealing ourselves to others has transformative power. Thousands of 12 Step followers will tell you countless tales of life-altering transformation that came through this route.

Simply put–God purposefully makes healing real and possible when authenticity happens with others. It will not happen on our own. This is by design because it makes us healthier to be connected in such a way.

There are no AA groups with 1 member because that would ensure failure. Healing works the same way for all us in that regard. Isolation keeps us stuck and unwell. Blind.

The Holy Spirit uses our honesty and uses our transparency and does his good work. Transformation! A confession is not just an apology (“Hey, sorry I made you feel that way.”) but rather it’s a careful decision to be authentic, to expose one’s self to the light of truth, to change, and to take a new course. So it is blessed.

This is the power and efficacy of prayer and repentance.


In the next post I’ll cover who we should or could confess to…

Do you think it matters who we confess to? (leave me a comment or voicemail)

Do you confess your sins and shortcomings regularly? (leave me a comment or voicemail. Yes or no and why or why not.)

 It’s easy to forget to visit this blog, because you’re busy. I know how that is. I update with new content about 3 times per week. You can get the new stuff sent to you AND you can use my content as well. So, click in the side bar for new content delivery and please check out the Permission Policy page for the rules for fair usage. Thanks for spending some time here today. :)


LASTLY- Is there anything you should confess? You are invited to do that here, or simply admit to confessing to some other human here (if you want to confess in another venue).

photo image found here: