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.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Seven Story Mountain

My copy of Merton's autobiography is a paperback published as a Harvest Book by Harcourt Brace & Company in 1978. Chapter One begins on page 3 and the book ends on page 422. I originally read this work in the early 90's during my processing of a call to pastoral ministry. There are extensive underlinings and hand written notes in the margins, but none of them are dated to help me remember exactly when I read the book. I do remember that it was a time following the suicide of my daughter-in-law's twin sister, which had a life altering affect on me (you can read this story when it is published in Ordinary Time.) We were living in Ringgold, Georgia at the time. Ringgold is a suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee. My work took me into Chattanooga where I was Director of Planning and Construction at Erlanger Medical Center.

SSM had such an impact on me that I had a passion to find and read everything Merton. At that time, the local book stores only carried the Seven Story Mountain and were releasing one volume of his journals on an annual basis. As time went by, I acquired a considerable collection of his published works. It will be nice to revisit this original work that sparked such an interest in this little Trappist monk, now almost fifteen years ago.

"For I tell you that God is Able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham." (from the title page of SSM, Matthew 3:9/Luke 3:8)


Blogger HeyJules said...

Tentman, I'm so excited we're all going to be reading this together! I'm digesting a few pages a night and letting them sink in like the warmth from a hot bath. I was thinking the other night that Merton would be one of my top three "I would give anything to have met them" people - and the good news is, some day I will. Won't that be a party we'll all love going to?

4/05/2006 1:07 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

I've mentioned before that we have a Trappist monastery near here. It was planted by monks from Gethsemane in the mid 40's. One of the older monks, who is now dead, was Father Charles. I talked with him for about an hour one day. He knew Thomas Merton when they were at Gethsemane together.

4/05/2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

I was telling Gayla yesterday that when I see Thomas in heaven he'd better start running cause I wasn't going to stop hounding him with questions for at least a thousand years!

4/06/2006 2:10 PM  

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