EPS 37: James Prescott on Rob Bell, Spiral Dynamics, and creating

Today, I welcome writer and recently minted podcaster JAMES PRESCOTT from all the way across the pond!

Scroll down for shownotes and my book release new at the bottom!

Go here for James’ website.

Make sure you listen to the James Talks podcast!


Early formation and suffering, including his parent’s problems and his mom’s death and pivotal spiritual influences.

10 min
Being changed by Rob Bell at camp/

About how our formation directs our lives whether we know it or not

15 min
Christian Mystics and the commonalities

Spiral Dynamics a theory about human consciousness

26 min Church as a place of grace

29 James’ book
Dance of the Writer

(join his Facebook group here)

34 min
The War of Art

38 min
The monotheism of money in the U.S. (Lisa)

44 min
Wrestling with the lie and myths of success

50 min How quickly what we do will be forgotten. How much do you know about our great grandparents? (Lisa)

Booming the right kind of person now and surrendering the outcome of the work of passionate creation.

 Thanks for listening to the podcast!

A message from Lisa

The new book is called FORKED: A Discernment Pocket Guide (for Choosing Between Two Good Things).

Watch the trailer!

If you’re in the middle of a tough decision or at a crossroads season of your life, this is the resource for you.

• To read a sample click HERE.

• Click the image for more info.


EPS 36: 30 Books in 10 Years, Mary DeMuth talks about healing through her career


Mary is the author of thirty books, including her latest: The Day I Met Jesus: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels. She has spoken around the world about God’s ability to uncage a life, bringing needed freedom to her audiences. You can visit her website at MaryDeMuth.com

Scroll down for shownotes and be sure to see the news about Lisa’s new book on godly discernment and decision-making HERE.



What is an “Uncaged Life”?

Being set free from the past and living with an abundant mindset.

The Day I met Jesus

co-authored with Frank Viola
Name Your Link

Worth Living (new book in Spring 2016)

Finding healing through writing books.

How to have a broken heart without becoming walled-off.

Praying through the Lord’s Prayer as an avenue for healing a broken heart with a mindset towards relationships (community).

Mary’s story of how she realized how true healing could be found.

The cost of shutting out pain is the cost of the love and joy that is also shut out.

The treadmill of wanting to be noticed.

Finding worthiness through self-centered consciousness.

How has she found safe people.

Traits of safe people.

What draws us to others.

On conversational parenting

Modeling authenticity, authentic faith, and being real and imperfect.

Why kids often rebel.

Bringing stability to the home. Thinking of relationships as an unfolding story.

When you can’t measure it (i.e. relationships).

How life is measured: relationships and connections.

Not too many books about launching your children in the world.

The Many Lives of the Hippest Street in America

What if YOU lived on the coolest street in America?

Ada Calhoun writes for the New York Times, (and has written for O magazine, The New Republican, The Atlantic, and Cosmopolitan, among others). She grew up as the daughter of 1960s Bohemians who came to live in the East Village during the Bob Dylan era.

Maybe the most ubiquitous thing about the most famous (and infamous) hip section of New York City is how commonly people declare that it’s not as cool as it was before. And strangely, there’s a 100 year- history of just that thing.

Calhoun researched the 400 year history of New York in the St Marks area and she has written a fascinating book called St Marks is Dead which is an excellent commentary on the idea of “cool” as well as a glimpse into one of the most culturally powerful streets in the U.S.

Ada Calhoun / Author
Ada Calhoun / Author

Her book “St Marks is Dead” can be found here.

A peek at The East Village


MIN 1:00
The background for her article that went viral “The Wedding Toast I’ll never Give”

Realism for love and marriage.

The “and yet” philosophy of paradox in life and love.

The big flight fight.

Ada’s mother says, “The way you stay married is you don’t get divorced.”

The marriage “toolbox” for staying together only had a bent screwdriver and tweezers.

How her parents’ marriage defied the odds.

Thinking of a spouse as “family”.

Thinking of marriage, not as a dating phase, but as becoming family.

There’s going to be joy and pain both.

Ada’s parenting book about how you should ignore all the parenting books and look at your kid and figure out who they are, instead of worrying about being the perfect parent:
“Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids”

On growing up as the child of 1960’s Bohemians of the Bob Dylan era in New York City’s East Village in the St Mark’s Place neighborhood and being one of the only kids in the neighborhood during a time when it was not child-friendly. (Many fires, the AIDS epidemic hit the area hard, drugs, junkies, homelessness and tent cities, prostitution were all nearby).

Working at the Austin Chronicle

On being a journalist in New York City

On her new book “St Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street”

20:30 High rent, and neighborhood changes to St Marks Place cause people to wish for the way it was. They feel betrayed.

Ada researched and found that each generation had the same experience throughout the last century.

Malcolm Cowley: “Bohemia is always yesterday.”

What St Marks Place is like in 2015.

(Lisa) My first experience in New York City.

Complaining is the one constant in NYC neighborhoods.

Hippy boom, punk era, DIY art scene, then the GAP moved in in the late 1980s, then the tv show Kids era, then the Bloomsburg era.

Answering: Where in Manhattan is the artistic cultural hot spot now?

once a franchise moves in….

The franchises that opened and then closed in the East Village.

Places she recommends on St Marks Place. 3rd Avenue to Avenue A: 3 blocks that ends at Thomkins Square Park.

The median apartment costs more than a million dollars.

Neil Patrick Harris in Harlem and the upswing of that area.

Music, and art and going outside can happen in NYC public schools now.

What was St Marks Place like 400 years ago?

St Marks Place, the church, is the oldest place of continuous worship in New York City.

About the racial tension and the hippy priest in 1969, named Michael Allen who was kicked out of St Marks Place.

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

Email: tom.reynolds@utoronto.ca

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!

Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Nicole Unice

Nicole Unice is on staff at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, and the author of the breakout book: “She’s Got Issues” which she wrote from her counseling and ministry experiences. The book produced and encouraged a refreshing and radical honesty that she’s built on in her new book “Brave Enough”.

Enjoy the Shownotes and links below and please share this with friends that you know CAN be “Brave Enough“. Thanks for listening!




P.S. Would you like to get a special, cozy Spark My Muse t-shirt?

Let me know HERE.



Get  Brave Enough or find out more here:

Like to listen instead of reading? Get the AUDIO book here.

Shownotes – Episode 18 Nicole Unice is honest, enthusiastic, and “Brave Enough”, so you can be too.


MIN 1:10

Nicole on staff at Hope Church

on the Richmond VA place and new midtown location.



Nicole’s podcasting experience (the Becoming Podcast) doing hundreds of episodes with her pastor doing 15 minutes shows for commuters.

Lisa asks: Is “campus” a Christian code word for mega church?


How she grew with Hope Church for 18 years, as they started out small in an elementary school “cafetorium”.


The “Youth Lodge” plans and the unique setting with wetlands and hills.


On the importance of Beauty, Setting, and Art in architecture and church building planning to evoke the imagination, inspire awe, and connect with the heart.


Collaborative workspace, and place where kids can do their homework and where people can enjoy the time away in a beautiful setting.


“artist come through the side door of the soul and preachers come through the front door.”


The history of the church and Christian tradition is one where the Church is source of beauty, wonder and connected to art because God is a the Creator.


Her first book: She’s Got Issues

6 main issues women (and men) face that can be a hinderance.

A rich relationship with God can come to a dead end as the ways we do life stop working.


How was it received? The #1 thing Nicole heard was, “You’re so honest.”

Why would honesty be such a revolution in Christianity?


She leaned into that for her next book “Brave Enough”


The story of how she got the title for the book:

To the question, “Do you think you can be brave?” Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia says, “I think I can be brave enough.”


Few women will self-identify as brave. [and not many men will either]

“After we identify the hinderances, what does it look like to walk forward in freedom?”


Brave Enough is about Grace and its effects, inside and in action.


Nicole answering the question: Do men have the same problems in this area?


“Women hearing teaching from women is like hearing in your first language.”


Ways Nicole leads and teaches men.


on how women have to translate teaching from men into their “language” and context.


On how, similarly, Brené Brown was challenged (by a man) to include men in her writing and teaching. (Lisa)


How men and women have similar vulnerabilities though they might deal with them differently.


“up speak” tones in language in women and men revealing different insecurities. (Lisa)


Nuggets from the Brave Enough book:

How the ingredients mixed into something she didn’t expect. It follows a narrative “arch of the heart”. How we can be full and free and confident in life.


on why (inner) freedom is illusive for men and women.

On “Fake Grace” in our head. (the excuses we make or how we blame others). Inviting God/Jesus into those places.


We all (default) and go back to rules and laws and how to short circuit that pattern.

It’s about resetting the heart with a new spiritual reality.


Radical honesty about our ugly parts inside the heart.


Nicole’s Parable: The violently stopping of the elevator door…(and how it relates to our soul).


Open ourselves to God’s Presence and healing.


(Lisa) God uses what bothers us about other people is a mirror of what we don’t like in ourselves.


How our baggage works to impede our progress.

Brave Enough includes major parts on forgiveness


God’s breathing on us and giving us the mission of forgiveness, first.

(Click to read the reference John 20:19-23)


When we keep living out of a wounded place.


How we continue categorizing our experiences to support our false and faulty premises and hypothesis about ourselves.


Questioning what is really true about ourselves (and the mental “tapes” we play).


God gives us opportunities to practices forgiveness every single day, often in small ways in the relationships and event of regular life.


If we can’t be gracious to ourselves we can’t be gracious with others.


The economy of our heart: if we forgive little then we love little.


(Nicole asks Lisa) “What have you learned in doing podcasting?”


We have the chance to never stop growing and transforming and God never gives up on us.


Brave Enough is also an AUDIO book. Find it here.


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Want to extend the good times and answer the question of the day?

What “bad/negative tape” do you have playing in your head most often?