Unlearning the Business Model [SSL 311]

What does a revival of spiritual formation look like?

In my opinion, it will look like the opposite of the business model that we’ve superimposed on most aspects of our lives. When procuring success in the marketplace and the church spheres, ways of doing things often do more long-term damage than good for the humans involved. Let’s converse about this.

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Eps 145: Born to Wander; Guest, Michelle Van Loon

Today my guest is Michelle Van Loon the author of “Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of Our Pilgrim Identity “

To get some EXTRAS for this episode and more info about Michelle, go the Spark My Muse Podcast special Patreon page HERE. (small fee to access)

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Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Question

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Here, just the Father's beard could wipe out planet Earth
(Hey, God doesn’t have a body.)

Shownotes for the Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Questions


1. It’s hard to pray to God as Father when you’ve had a bad dad. What should I do?

• How do we think about God? (usually like a human person or institution)

• God is Spirit not an old white man in the sky with a long beard.

What adjectives will help you connect with the Being typically called “God”


Hebrew word for God is a description too (yahweh “I am” a verb) that was not used. Adonai  was substituted and that simply means “Master/Lord” and is a term of respect.


It’s misguided to think that God can be contained or described well using a “Proper Noun”. God can’t be called a proper name/noun…like “Billy” (and that would make Jesus “Billy Jr.”).

Hebrew names are descriptive when referring to people (not how we use names to address people today).


YAHWEH (Hebrew word), means I AM (or “is”) and works like a verb denoting Presence an Love in Action. It defies typical proper names and descriptions.


2. On Forgiveness

“What should I do to forgive when I can’t forget?”


Forgiving is a continual process.

Thinking of forgiveness as transactional–a debt clearing mechanism. Be an accountant and don’t worry about your emotions being on the same page.


Remembering that you are not your thoughts.


What Justice is actually (Shalom). Making things right and reconciliation.


3. What to do about envying others (in this case writers in the field) and being jealous of their success.


Seeing the negative emotions as tools. Reframing them to use them to find our calling, gifts, and passions.


Not getting caught up in “should” and “oughts” and comparisons.


When you can say of your work, “Wow, I get to do this!” you can have enough gratitude to be comfortable with the success of others.


It’s common and normal to get feelings of jealousy. It’s only when the take over our hearts and mind do we need to reevaluate and recalibrate what we are doing and thinking.


Deciding that the options of other people and the opinions should have huge power is a choice we can change.


4. Getting over feeling guilt and shame that keeps resurfacing.

Daring Greatly Brene Brown (the difference between guilt and shame.

• Guilt is important so we can learn and correct and grow and become better people.

• Shame is a belief that something, un fixable, is wrong with you.

Shame whispers lies in your ears. Shame becomes a decision of who we are as person.


Being put to shame by parents and others.


A mistake isn’t part of who you are.

Redemption is always possible. You can start anew.


My caveat.


5. Church isn’t working for me anymore and I feel guilty leaving the church, but I don’t feel fed.

In the U.S. we often go to church as a consumers and look for what we can get out of it. Church can be piss poor.


Look for ways to give and minister and find connection in other ways.


For me, small groups were a starting point that lead me to seminary.


Bringing back the potluck and sharing life with people.


Sometimes we sense church isn’t “working” when meaningful connection is lacking.


“we” is better than “me”.

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2nd Sunday of Advent-Peace

cropped-90_05_20-Christmas-Lights-Regent-Street-London-England-_web.jpgA short Advent reflection today!

At my church we light Advent candles during the four Sundays before Christmas. It’s a tradition I’ve embraced and enjoy.

The first week stands for Hope, the second stands for Peace, the third for Love, and the fourth for Joy. (Various places do it in different ways.)

I’ve been thinking about peace. How to get it. How to keep it. Does it exist in a way that matters?

Advent is literally about a pregnant pause. We think about what is not yet here, like the girl Mary waited for many things expecting the Christ baby. Waiting.

It’s amazing how un-peaceful this time of year can be. There’s a lot to do, there’s bad weather to get around, there’s extra cooking, baking, and wrapping. And plenty more. The blitz from media alone is enough to get you ornery and want to opt out.

We’re are watching various Christmas themed family movies lately on the ABC Family Channel and the 8 minutes bombardment of commercialism propaganda in the commercials after every ten minutes of movie time gets me pretty frustrated!

So what about PEACE?

The peace that comes from the Spirit of peace really is inclusive of many others words, isn’t it?

The word peace is closer to Shalom which is a full-bodied concept. It included a fullness, a well-being, an “all will be well” over-arching attitude and sense. Provision. Rescue. Comfort.

Shalom is not contingent on circumstances but endures and carries an abiding joy (sturdy happiness).

It’s a lack of discord too.

There is a generosity to the word. There is a mercy there.

When Jesus offers peace to his followers in troubling times, he says the words, “Peace be with you”. It’s to bring comfort and stillness–ease of breath. Relief and placidity. Peace feels like coming home to a home you somehow remember but have never quite found.

“Peace on earth, goodwill to [humankind].”

It’s something you buy into. It’s something you put on and do things with.

Carry a bit of that with you today. Better yet, do something with it, and spread it, too!

(Start by spreading this article)

A Blessed Advent to you.

Now a question to ponder or reply to here: What else is peace (to you)?