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The Problem For Contemporary Christianity – Thomas Merton

Writing in the 1960’s, Thomas Merton’s words are timeless l, prophetic, and oh so appropriate as I observe what is going on in this nation and world…

It is my intention to make my entire life a rejection of, a protest against the crimes and injustices of war and political tyranny which threatens to destroy the whole race of man and the world with him… the problem for contemporary Christians is to end the identification of Christianity with those forms of political society that dominate Europe and the West, just as was done by the early Christian monks in the fourth century in distancing themselves from a church that had become the object of imperial favor, membership in which meant career advancement…

From the preface to the Japanese edition of The Seven Story Mountain as shared by Jim Forest in his book, The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers

Ruminations: wrestling with splinters and logs…

…The examine I am proposing here, is deeper. I am aware that I need to confront the toxic atmosphere in our various societies by first, as the Christian Scriptures say, plucking the log out of my own eye before I attempt to yank the splinter out of anyone else’s eye…

Profound words, Nancie, thanks for sharing them ❤️❤️

The Prayerful Peacock

Like many people I know who blog, I have found myself experiencing the “gee, I am just too exhausted to write today” phenomenon lately. Thus, my best intentions have been thwarted by simple physical and mental fatigue.

It’s not that I haven’t written a hundred different blogs in my head. No, material is not at a lack. By the time my brain wrangles through five or six scenarios, I am to wiped to write.

So today, I am choosing to sally forth and put pen to paper, er, finger to keystroke. Where to begin…

I almost find it silly to share sewing plans, fashion observations and cosmetic buys with you when my conscience is prodding me to speak prophetically to our national and international nightmare.

On the one hand, life goes on, clothing is made and sunscreens that function as foundations are a nice idea. Reporting on these little items…

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Love Your Neighbor, Even Your Enemies – Thomas Merton

Again, just as relevant today, if not more so in today’s atmosphere of hatred and demonization of those who are “different”… while Merton’s language is not inclusive, his intent and meaning most certainly is. And this Prophetic voice is incredibly relevant today!

From Jim Forest’s book, The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers

Merton never felt at home in arguments that sought to establish the ethical limits of violence… He preferred the gospel, in which everything is centered on love of God and Neighbor, with “neighbor” meaning whoever is standing in front of you, friend or foe… To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as an other self, we resort to the impersonal “law” and “nature.” That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunications of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature with its rights, its claims, its demands. And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother; he is merely an adversary, an accused.

As I learned in my military studies while in uniform, we were trained to see the enemy as someone other than human… a thing… an enemy… that way, we were told, it would be easier to kill… I also learned long ago from my experience as a Chaplain that this concept was Bull!

Cold War Letters – Thomas Merton

In Jim Forest’s discussion of his own conversations/letters with Thomas Merton, he addresses Merton’s non-violence thoughts… even though in the context of the Nuclear Arms Race and the Cold War, the discussion is eerily relevant today…

“…if the conditions of a just war were taken seriously, no war could be considered just insofar as it targeted no combatants or used weapons of mass destruction. As he put it to a correspondent in Kansas: Though not a total pacifist in theory myself, I certainly believe that every Christian should try to practice nonviolence rather than violence… Killing achieves nothing.

The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers

World News This Week In Prayer – 20 July 2018

World News This Week in Prayer

Jesus said to the disciples, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:31-34 NRSV

Amid the chaos and confusion, the demands on our time and attention, we long to hear you call us away for a time of rest and renewal. God of Grace and mercy, the news weighs heavy on our hearts. Sometimes we don’t even know where to start, how to make an impact in this world. It can feel as though everyone we encounter is a sheep without a shepherd. Fill our hearts with the compassion of Jesus, that we might both find the rest we so desperately need, and the strength and courage to do the hard work of mercy, justice and reconciliation.

God, we pray for all those in political offices, that they might lead with the best interests of the people, and the planet, in mind. We pray especially for the leaders of Israel and Palestine, that they might make steps toward a sustainable peace.

We pray for researchers seeking to detect and cure cancer and other diseases, as Australian researchers may have developed a blood test which can detect melanoma at an early stage, and may lead to saving many lives.

We pray for police, first-responders, EMTs, and all public servants, as they serve others in difficult and trying situations. We pray especially for the firefighters who are battling overwhelming wildfires in Sweden, and for the neighboring countries who are providing much-needed resources.

We pray for all those who labor, sometimes working in nearly unbearable situations, to afford us the comforts we desire. We pray for miners and all who work in dangerous professions as five miners have died in a South African copper mine.

We pray for business leaders, that they may realize the impact their decisions have on families, and on the environment we all share. We pray for just and fair trade practices as leaders in Japan and the European Union have recently come to a significant trade deal.

We pray for families, that parents are able to provide the needed support and be the role models our children deserve. And, we pray that all children would have their basic needs met, especially when their parents are unable or unwilling to meet those needs.

And God, we pray for ourselves, that we might hear your voice, discern your will for our lives, and have the courage and strength to work for justice. And may we find peace and rest…so we might be empowered to show the compassion of Christ to all those around us.

Amen.

From World In Prayer

Verse & Voice – Sojourners – 20 July 2018

verse of the day

But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

– Isaiah 40:31

voice of the day

To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.

– Raymond Williams

prayer of the day

God of hope, we wait for you. Renew our souls, Lord, for your strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Evening Prayer – 19 July 2018

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

A day of ministry

A day of study

A day of preparation

An evening in the beauty of your creation

Time spent in fellowship with friends

Time spent making new friends

A cool evening on the deck

Lord, for so many gifts and activities

For all of your blessings

For your presence in our midst

We offer our heartfelt thanks

In your mercy, hear this prayer

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…