A Thought

Some people have been saying things to me lately like, “When are you going to write a book?”  Which is baffling, and flattering, and head-inflating, and humbling, all at the same time.

The answer is, most likely, not anytime soon. I’ve been meditating on two thoughts:

1. The oft-quoted quip whose origin I confess not to be certain of, but it goes something like this, “She who never quotes will never be quoted,” and,

2. This excerpt from the preface of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s magnificent essay Love Alone Is Credible:

It goes without saying that the following essay contains nothing fundamentally new, and that it seeks in particular to stay true to the thought of the great saints of the theological tradition: Augustine, Bernard, Anselm, Ignatius, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, Thérèse of Lisieux… Lovers are the ones who know most about God; the theologian must listen to them.

 

So I am trying to slow down and listen. I feel a little head-over-heels sometimes, with so much I feel called (truly, called) to do and say, but I also am acutely and, frankly, painfully aware that I was pretty disorganized, anxious, and distracted in seminary and missed a great deal of the basics. When called upon to read Augustine, Anselm, and John of the Cross over my three frantic seminary years, I skimmed and boiled down to what was needed to make a B+ on a paper.

Part of this was necessary for survival, just the nature of the beast of graduate school. But I think that at least part of the nature of the succeeding beast, your first few years of ministry, is to play catch-up. I feel I’ve been sent on a run– a very important, lifelong sprinting marathon of a run– without my shoes tied, and now’s the time to bend down (while still running, I suppose) and try to get the knots in place.

I appreciate your interest in my journey, and will continue posting here– hopefully more often!– with the things I’m learning, doing, seeing, hearing, feeling, experiencing, screwing up, hating, loving, enjoying, and bearing with.

In the meantime, lovers of God, I listen to you and to the chorus of witnesses, for it is through you that I will come to know something of this Being I address when I cry, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

Merton on The Hope of Results

“All the good that you do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used for God’s love….
The great thing, after all, is to live, not to pour your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration, and confusion….
Our real hope… is not in something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it beforehand….”

–Thomas Merton, from a letter to a friend.  Quoted by a friend from the Bruderhof Communities website. Subscribe free to “Your Daily Dig” at http://www.bruderhof.com