Monday Merton 6.17.13

Today’s Monday Merton comes from chapter 10, “Sincerity,” of No Man Is An Island. What Merton means by sincerity is being a person who lives and speaks in a way that is truthful. He opens his chapter with a single sentence that blows my mind: “We make ourselves real by telling the truth” (188). There are so many dimensions to which that is true. In a lot of ways, that is the central problem that Christianity resolves. Jesus makes it possible to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). When we live in the world of masks in which we hide our inadequacies and embarrassments from each other, there’s nothing real to any of it. Even our smiles have more to do with making sure that we’re fitting in with other people than expressing genuine contentment. Continue reading

Monday Merton 5.27.13

I’m pre-loading my Monday Mertons for the next two weeks in my insomnia before leaving on a trip to the Dominican Republic. So I don’t have enough mental energy to analyze the quotes I’m going to share, but they’re gems nonetheless. This first set of quotes is from chapter 6, “Asceticism and Sacrifice,” in No Man Is An Island. Continue reading

Monday Merton 5.20.13

The chapter for Monday Merton this week is very apropos. We just started a blogger’s collective called the despised ones, based on 1 Corinthians 1:28, “He has chosen the despised ones and those who are not to bring to nothing the things that are.” So here is what Thomas Merton has to say in “The Word of the Cross,” chapter 5 of his No Man Is An Island.

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Eternity is living in the moment

It sounds like an ignorant hippie thing to say and the greatest possible contradiction. Eternity is a word for forever, for things of grave significance. A moment is definitively fleeting, unimportant. How could eternal and moment be used in the same sentence? And yet, this was the paradoxical insight shared in a video at our church men’s retreat last weekend by Ed Dobson, a famous pastor who has been living with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) since 2001. As Ed puts it, “When you are worried about the future, it’s hard to find God. When you’re living in the moment, God’s right there with you.” I think the reason America is so spiritually emaciated both inside the church and without is because we are a culture that is built entirely around not living in the moment.

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