the tentmaker

daily thoughts on the common lectionary

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Location: Sharpsburg, Georgia, United States

"...because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. Tentmaker is a title taken by bi-vocational pastors. As such, I am both a pastor and a project manager. I am a pastor of a local congregation of moderate, accepting and affirming people who worship in the Baptist tradition. We call our church "Hope Memorial Baptist" and we are about 40 in number. I am also a project manager of major construction projects for the State of Georgia. My home and church is in rural Coweta County, between Peachtree City and Newnan, with a mailing address of Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Merton update

On Christmas Day, I posted a quote from Merton, dated February 15, 1946. In that post he was through with The Cloud and the Fire, and since no book was ever published with this title, I took him at his word. But then I cam upon this (I started to write post) journal entry from April 29, 1946:
It is extremely difficult to write theology well. The main reason why I can't write it is that I don't know it. I don't know precisely what I mean to say, and therefore when I start to write I find that I am working out a theology as I go. And I get into the most terrible confusion, saying things which I try to explain—to myself more than to anyone else—and rambling off the track of the plan I had arranged.
   I wonder how many plans I have made for this book, The School of the Spirit? Perhaps six—including the ones I made for it when it was called The Cloud and the Fire. So I sit at the typewriter with my fingers all wound up in a cat's cradle of strings, overwhelmed with the sense of my own stupidity, and surrounded by not one but a multitude of literary dilemmas.

I like Merton's journals in much the same way I like blogging and reading your blogs. What is visible is a process of thought. When we read a completed book, that book is a snapshot of the author's thought at the time of the last edit. Reading Merton's journals helps me see that good and even great writing doesn't happen all at once like an inspiration from the Holy Spirit and a rapid dictation of words on the printed page. Creative writing is really a process. Anyone reading Merton's journals without knowing the corpus of his published work or how it has been received by posterity, would never guess that he had in him what has come out of him. I know that I am reading the online-journals (blogs) of future writers who will be as well read and well revered as Merton. And I am confident that if Merton were alive today, he too would be a blogger.


Blogger HeyJules said...

You're right. Merton would most definitely be a blogger. I thought that, too, the moment I started reading him. I think he'd have loved reading all the religious banter on the internet and probably would have been one of the most read blogs on the planet. He just never fails to make me stop and think, revise my feelings, delve a little deeper...

What an amazing man we all missed meeting.

12/28/2005 9:36 AM  

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