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Self-Reflection – Thomas Merton

August 21, 2022
Silverwood Park in Saint Anthony, Minnesota

Yesterday we had the absolute pleasure of celebrating the marriage of a dear couple, Tory and Trent. I went to seminary with Tory’s parents and the reception wasn’t too far from the old campus of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

Denise has been reading one of the books for my Transitional/Interim Ministry Week Two class that we will be attending beginning a week from today. The book is Tod Bolsinger’s book Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change.

At the beginning of Chapter Four (Heating: Strength is Forged in Self-Reflection) he shared this quote of Thomas Merton from the book Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master: Essential Writings. (p. 375) He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.

This gives me a lot to think about as we prepare for a bumpy flight from Dallas to Pensacola (thanks to weather). As an intentional Interim/Transitional Minister, I am coming to realize the truth of Merton’s words about self-understanding and how important they are when one walks with a congregation through a threshold time of transition.

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