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, April 25, 2006

The Sign of Jonas... a journal that Thomas Merton kept during the years 1946 to 1952. I have been reading a few entries each day now for about a year. I'm near the end of it. There are only a few entries left before I get to the epilogue. It seems that Merton kept the journal at the request of his Abbott and then came back at a later date and added an introduction, forewords to each of the six chapters, and an epilogue.

I have tried to keep a journal on many occasions. I have not lasted long enough to see any change take place in my life as a result. I wonder what it would be like to write a page or two every day for six years and then look back at the personality of the person who wrote the first entries.

I suppose that I can see something of a growth in my spiritual life, a becoming, if you will, by reviewing my old sermons. Whenever I do so, I wonder at how naive and unpolished I was then. Some of you may think I probably haven't changed all that much.

A few nights ago, laying in bed reading The Sign of Jonas, I got to the following entry:
It is sometime in June. At a rough guess, I think it is June 13 which may or may not be the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua. In any case every day is the same for me because I have become very different from what I used to be. The man who began this journal is dead, just as the man who finished The Seven Story Mountain when this journal began was also dead, and what is more the man who was the central figure in The Seven Story Mountain was dead over and over. And now that all these men are dead, it is sufficient for me to say so on paper and I think I will have ended up by forgetting them. Because writing down what The Seven Story Mountain was about was sufficient to get it off my mind for good. Last week I corrected the proofs of the French translation of the book and it seemed completely alien. I might as well have been a proofreader working for a publisher and going over the galleys of somebody else's book. Consequently, The Seven Story Mountain is the work of a man I never even heard of. And this journal is getting to be the production of somebody to whom I have never had the dishonor of an introduction.
Then there is a break in the manuscript and the next entry on the same day begins thus: Ecce nova facio omnia! (Lat. Behold, I make all things new.)


Blogger HeyJules said...

Oh my, that was GREAT! How cool to think I am reading "The Seven Storey Mountain" and knowing this about him! Thank you so much for this.

4/26/2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

I thought you'd like that entry. I posted it just for you.

4/26/2006 9:13 PM  

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