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 12, 2006

Wednesdays With Thomas Merton

The Seven Story Mountain

Chapter One


Here are some of the passages that caught my attention:

The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it. page 3

Neither of my parents suffered from the little spooky prejudices that devour the people who know nothing but automobiles and movies and what's in the ice-box and what's in the papers and which neighbors are getting a divorce. page 3

...but any fool knows that you don't need money to get enjoyment out of life. page 4

Churches and formal religion were things to which Mother attached not too much importance in the training of a modern child, and my guess is that she thought, if I were left to myself, I would grow up into a nice, quiet Deist of some sort, and never be perverted by superstition. page 5

There were many ruined monasteries in those mountains. My mind goes back with great reverence to the thought of those clean, ancient stone cloisters, those low and mighty rounded arches hewn and set in place by monks who have perhaps prayed me where I now am. St Martin and St. Michael the Archangel, the great patron of monks, had churches in those mountains. Saint Martin-du-Canigou; Saint Michel-de-Cuxa. Is it any wonder I should have a friendly feeling about those places? page 6

It is a law of man's nature, written into his very essence, and just as much a part of him as the desire to build houses and cultivate the land and marry and have children and read books and sing songs,that he should want to stand together with other men in order to acknowledge their common dependence on God, their Father and Creator. page 13

Mother had stomach cancer. page 13

And since I was destined to grow up with a nice, clear, optimistic and well-balanced outlook on life, I was never even taken to the hospital to see Mother, after she went there. And this was entirely her own idea. page 14

Truro. It was a name as lonely as the edge of the sea. page 17

...I had learned how to draw pictures of schooners and barks and clippers and brigs, and knew far more about all these distinctions than I do now. page 17

You could already see the small white houses, made of coral, cleaner than sugar, shining in the sun, and all around us the waters paled over the shallows and became the color of emeralds, where there was sand, or lavender where there were rocks below the surface. page 18

this terrible situation is the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely abitrary reason that we simply do not want it. We will to separate ourselves from that love. We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it, simply because it does not please us to be loved. Perhaps the inner motive is that the fact of being loved disinterestedly reminds us that we all need love from others, and depend upon the charity of others to carry on our lives. And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation. pages 23 & 24

The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows; not by clarity and substance, but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything. pages 26 & 27
Picture credit:
St Ives, Barnoon Hill (1910)
Owen Merton
Watercolour
Collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
Gift of James Jamieson Family, 1932

3 Comments:

Blogger Hikingalong said...

This passage really touched me too....
"The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows; not by clarity and substance, but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything." I'm reading along with you and Jules! Thanks for your post.

4/12/2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

Well, looks like that makes three of us! We ALL found that one passage riveting. I think it got me so much because it felt exactly what I realized shortly after I reconnected to God last year. Once someone explained to me how Satan works in our lives, it all became so clear and - once you see it - you really SEE it.

4/12/2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

Actually, that was not my favorite. I really like the passage I quoted from page 6:
There were many ruined monasteries in those mountains. My mind goes back with great reverence to the thought of those clean, ancient stone cloisters, those low and mighty rounded arches hewn and set in place by monks who have perhaps prayed me where I now am. St Martin and St. Michael the Archangel, the great patron of monks, had churches in those mountains. Saint Martin-du-Canigou; Saint Michel-de-Cuxa. Is it any wonder I should have a friendly feeling about those places?

4/12/2006 8:46 PM  

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