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.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Thomas Merton on Writing

Sign of JonasFebruary 15, 1949
I had been worrying and bothering for two months about being unable to get anywhere with this new book, The Cloud and the Fire.  There were some forty pages of it, written mostly in blood, since the end of the retreat.  And they were terrible—great confusion.  Too long-winded, involved, badly written, badly thought out and with great torture too.  Finally it has come to seem obvious that God does not want the book and that He has simply blocked it by not giving me the strength, the sense, or the time to write it.

Yesterday when I had to do a prefatory note for The Waters of Siloe, it went like a breeze.  I had six pages done in an hour and a half, and time to spare to write to Bob Giroux before the end of the work.  And besides that I had taken time out to read a long letter from Laughlin and another from Sister Thérèse.

I had been thinking of tearing up The Cloud and the Fire for a long time.  I haven't done that, exactly, but I have simply stuffed it into an envelope, plans and all, and reconsidered what it was I was supposed to start.

About The Cloud and the Fire—I have in mind something that needs to be done some day:  the dogmatic essentials of mystical theology, based on tradition, and delivered in the context and atmosphere of Scripture and the liturgy.  In other words a mystical theology that is not a mere catalogue of "experiences" many of them outside the range of the ordinary economy of the Gifts—but a book that drinks contemplation de fontibus Salvatoris and exploits all the mysticism there is in the Liturgy and in revelation: an objective mysticism, integrated with the common intellectual heritage of the Church as a whole and yet with its full subjective application to the experience of the actual or potential mystic, the concrete and individual contamplative.  The contemplation of the Mystical Body in all its members.

And this is what I seem to be incapable of writing at the moment.

from pages 160 and 161.


Blogger AveMaria1 said...

Thomas Merton is inevitably the most deeply spiritual writer. May I suggest Thomas Merton on Mysticism? Excellent read. I am a HUGE Merton fan.

12/26/2005 11:07 PM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

Well, you KNOW how I feel about Thomas! Never knew this book existed. Add another one to my list...

12/27/2005 2:54 PM  

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