Wednesday, June 29, 2005


"Things are never quite as hopeless as they appear to us in our moments of crisis. Unexpectedly a good Bishop appears or someone open-minded is on the scene when needed and things just clear up, at least to some extent. Or you get support. If you have been patient, and stuck to your principles without making a federal case out of them, your turn will come."

( THOMAS MERTON WITNESS TO FREEDOM Letters in Times of Crisis, page 333. Merton wrote this on May 20, 1967, to a Priest. )

How do I respond to things when a crisis is before me? (Via Wayne Burns)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Weekend Pleasures

Quite a nice, socialable weekend. Friday night saw Batman with the
Kryders, the Browns cooked breakfast for us Saturday morning, the
Denny's ate pizzza with us Saturday night, and today lunch after church
with the Stabnows, and tonight the Bluegrass festival with the Stabnows.
It has been a long time since we were so sociable ha. Neat weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2005













--mary anne MLB radmacher

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Southern Baptist Convention

Yesterday, I went to the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville for an hour. I saw 6 people I knew. Things have so changed since I pastored and was so a part of it all. The first convention I went to was in Dallas, TX in 1972. It was fun then. There was no political agenda. No one was afraid of moderates. The SBC President elected was a surprise, not someone presented by a religious political machine. I remember someone was elected who had never even led a prayer in the association. How different now. Everything is done before the convention, elected by a short list of politically elite fundamentalist. Oh well, that's the way it is !!

Monday, June 20, 2005


I remember my grandfather some many years ago putting cornbread in buttermilk every night before bedtime. I like to do the same but tonight, without cornbread, I am eating ice cream on top of angel food cake and swishing it down with buttermilk. What could be better?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bell Buckle, TN

Bell Buckle, TN
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Many people ask how Bell Buckle got its name. Many folks believe Bell

Buckle got its name from a bell tied with a buckle around a tree. It

seems a cow belonging to a settler wandered too close to an Indian, who

killed it, and then apparently took the cow's bell, fixing it with a

buckle to a tree as a warning to the settler's to keep their cows home.

Now Bell Buckle is famous for the Webb School and the annual RC Cola and

Moon Pie festival. Some of the highlights were a parade, the southern

country cloggers, comedian Phil Campbell, and the crowning of the RC

Moon Pie King and Queen.

What do you do in your state that compares to this?

Rc Cola Festival

Rc Cola Festival
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
This is the 11th RC Cola and Moon Pie festival. One of the highlights

was synchronized wadding.

RC Cola and Moon Pie

RC Cola and Moon Pie
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
That's me with a rc cola and moon pie at the rc cola and moon pie festival in Bell Buckle. TN.

Friday, June 17, 2005


"What a great joy it was to receive your two letters. It has given me much food for thought, this bare fact of the communication between us: at a time when our two countries are unable to communicate with one another seriously and sincerely, but spend millions communicating with the moon...No, the great business of our time is this: for one man to find himself in another one who is on the other side of the world. Only by such contacts can there be peace, can the sacredness of life be preserved and developed and the image of God manifest itself in the world."

THOMAS MERTON THE COURAGE FOR TRUTH Letters to Writers, page 89. Merton wrote this to Boris Pasternak on October 23, 1958.

What is the great business of our day in communications?

Via Wayne Burns

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thoughts on the ITMS

I have not been blogging for several days. The Merton Conference wore me out. I have had an interesting thought. Maybe I am mad, but I never remember anytime when there were prayers during the entire conference. Is that not ironic? Or maybe I missed it.

Another thought: Every year I have been involved with this conference it has been about the later years of Merton's life. Father John Eudes Bamberger said this week, "I believe Merton's first books were his best." If that is so, why not at the next ITMS we have the whole conference on Prayer and Contemplation. It might be a good change, right? Think about that.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Made it home this afternoon about 3 p.m. local time. Took a short nap. I am totally water-logged on Merton. I need some rest, then I will relive the experience and see what I have learned.

On a sad memory note, my Dad died 25 years ago today.

Time for rest. Lord, thank you for safe journeys.

Joan Kroc Center for Peace and Justice

What a beautiful building. The Merton and Day letters/play was performed here. I was surprised at the number of years that their correspondence lasted. Merton wrote many articles for the Catholic Worker.


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Jonathan Montaldo and Dorothy Hulburt were greeting members as they entered the theatre for the play celebrating the letters written between Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

Long Distant Attendee

Long Distant Attendee
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
My favorite friend Father Raymond attended from Christ Church, New Zealand. I always enjoy seeing him. Surely he is the distant winner for this event.

The Yellow Cab

The Yellow Cab
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
This is the cab we were waiting for. It was 25 minutes late.

Whatever Happened To Mark

Whatever Happened To Mark
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
There was quite a fiasco at 5:30 am in front of the University Center. The Orange Cab showed up but not the Yellow Cab. And Mark, who was in charge of cabs, did not show.

After a couple of more phone calls and a police chase to lead the cab in the right direction, these frazzled travelers and myself made it to the airport. The fellows travelers included Kevin Morse, Peggy and Ed Farley and myself.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Thomas Merton Books

Thomas Merton Books
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Jeanette and Jim Cantrell are wonderful supporters of Merton. Their book exhibit is second to none. What a wonderful selection they have had for this conference. Their address is: 214 West Stephen Foster, Bardstown,Ky. 40004. Phone number is 502-348-6488.

Sr. Jose Hobday

Sr. Jose Hobday
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I don't think I was anyway prepared for 76 year old Sister Jose. What a ball of dynamite. She every year since she was 13 year old she has written a valentine to the Pope. Of all those Popes only one ever responded. "Sister Jose thanks for your valentine." (Pope John 23) Quotes:

"Whenever you talk to new people always tell them what is the matter with you."

Sit with our question. Let that direct our way.

Pray for those who hurt you. You have to be a fool for Christ

Prophets are always running interference for the little people.

If the Catholic Church needs anything it is female leadership. Could it be that the Holy Spirit could work through a participatory democracy in the Catholic Church,

For Confession: Father forgive me, I have committed a mortal sin, I have failed in imagination.

What is your inner work? BE STILL. What are you passionate about? I pray God puts a burr in your saddle.

What a wonderful exciting talk.

Merton Foundation

Merton Foundation
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Robert Toth is the President of the Merton Foundation. His wife helped

us with Lax concrete picture.

Merton's Ministry of Letters

Merton's Ministry of Letters
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I was the presiding official at the Merton's Ministry of Letters concurt

session. Lucien Miller and William Abel were the presenters.

Lax and Witnesses

Lax and Witnesses
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I was the photographer and these were witnesses of the Lax in concret

sign. Mary Ellen Toth, Steve Georgiou, and Tony Russo.

Robert Lax

Robert Lax
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
On the sidewalk behind the University Center Robert Lax name suddenly

appeared. An apparition?


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Ate lunch with Father John Eudis and Steve Georgiou. Here they are.


Ate lunch with Father John Eudis and Steve Georgiou. Here they are.

Pat and Dottie - wow

Pat and Dottie - wow
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
This whole thing could not have been done without Pat Hulburt (left)

and her daughter in law Dorothy. What a wonderful job they have done.


Thoughts in the Morning

Father John Eudes Bamberger said yesterday that today he first met
Thomas Merton 55 years ago.

"I have always thought Merton's best writings were his early ones."

"Violence doesn't work. War is terrorism. War can not deepen us in the
spiritual life." (John Dear)

My whole life has been a lie, a difficult ascent, a painful unlayering
of falsehood. (Anonymous speaker)

When Merton was accussed of not speaking of Christ enough, he said, "Let
the Christ come alive in us so others will see what Jesus is about."
(From Patrick Collins - Note: Merton died an hour later)

"Our real journey is interior. We need to surrender. Let something
happen in us. Make ourselves available." (Patrick Collins)

Contemplation: you get there by standing still. A door opens in our
being. (Collins)

"Out of our night God makes a day." (Collins)

From Father Matthew on becoming a contemplative. "Well, you cut down on
the input. It is a gift. We do not choose to awaken ourselves, ours is a
response to a call who has no voice. (From Collins)

From thoughts before breakfast.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Closing Day 2

I have not even mentioned the keynote address tonight by John Dear, but
it is 11:48 pm my time and they are still going. I am exhausted. There
come times when we need sleep more than anything. Good night.

Dan Coughlin

Dan Coughlin
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I ate supper with Dan Coughlin (on left). He is the chaplain of the U.S.

House of Representatives. He was among the official U.S. Delegation to

Pope John Paul's funeral. Tears welded in his eyes as he shared being at

the funeral.

Raymond Desutter

Raymond Desutter
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I chatted over breakfast with Raymond Desutter. He was a novice under Merton in 1957. He left the Abbey in 1963 to return to a family farm in Illinois following the death of a family member.

In remembering Merton he spoke of Father Louis "tremendous capacity of humor." Not a practical joker but one who used his word knowledge was Merton's favorite ways of humour.

He also shared a poignant moment when during Holy Week of 1968 he took his 18 month old son to the hermitage and spent the afternoon with Merton. Of course, Merton died the same year, a tremendous shock to him.

This was Raymond's first Merton meeting. He also spoke of the influence of Daniel Walsh on his life. He was an honored guest at Walsh's ordination, appreciated the sincerity and compassion of Walsh to his students, even those less intellectually endowed. He also said that Walsh was the godfather of one of Robert Kennedy's children.

Thomas Merton, Prophet and Spiritual Mentor

<b>Douglas Beardsley</b>, poet and hockey author, shared his personal
experience with Thomas Merton. "Ascent to Truth" by Merton has been a
pivotal book on his journey. There are moments of great beauty in this
book. <br> "I feel that Bread in the Wilderness is one of his finest
works," he says. Most of his lecture was on books often unread of

Merton, Racism & Non-violence

Kristen Wisniewski, a former Daggy Scholar and personal friend,

spoke in this session. Using Merton, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King as

common travelers on the journey, she spoke of discrimination in Merton's

day and in our day.

"We are more sophisticated today," she says, but our techniques allow

us to kill and hurt others without seeing the fear in their eyes. We can

now do it by remote control. Violence against non-whites continues. "The

cycle of violence continues," she states, and "we have not learned to

treat others with dignity." She describes Gandhi and his influence on

Merton. "Racism is alive and well today in America," she says. The war

on terrorism is another way of continuing the war of violence and


Scenery Beautiful

Scenery Beautiful
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
The scenery at times borders on the spectacular.

A Kairos Moment

A Kairos Moment
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
The highlight of the morning was the speech by Jim Wallis. He spoke of

our time as a Kairos Moment, a moment when time stands still, something

is coming together, a moment when something is happening.

He mentioned that many people seeking his autography for his book God's

Politics included young kids. He said he could not understand it. One

morning he asked an 11 yr. Old why he was reading the book and the kid

said, "I think we are going to have to change the world.

How did Jesus become pro rich and pro war he asked. "There is a moral

edge to what we do," he said. He quoted Merton as says that "at the root

of all war is fear." He went on to describe how much of our political

problems are driven by fear.

He sure makes one think. I appreciated his candor and his sense that God

is alive and working in our world.

Newscaster Stranded at Merton conference

Bob Grip is the chief newscaster in Mobile, AL. and a great Merton supporter. Unfortunately a tropical storm is about to hit Mobile and he is here with a non-refundable ticket. He could miss a tremendous storm. So guess Mobile will have to do without him.


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I ate breakfast with Ginny Bear (left) and Christine Bochen (right).

Christine was the editor of volume 6 of Merton's Journals called

Learning to Love. That was the journal telling of Merton's love for M.

She says there is lots of interest among the Daggy scholars about

Merton's love life.

Bro. Paul and Father Patrick

Bro. Paul and Father Patrick
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
That's me (left) beside Brother Paul Quenon, a Gethsemani monk who was a

novice under Merton, and Father Patrick Collins who does Merton retreats

around the country and concerts.

Attenders are from everywhere

Enclosed is a picture of my suite mate, Rev. Jamie Fazio the chaplain at

Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, and two of his studebts, Laura

Bentuivegna and Kerry Krasha, both Daggy Scholars.

Nazareth College has done so much for the Merron legacy.

Also thanks to Jordan Cooper for

mentioning this website on his.

AM with MERTON (Ungrateful)

"If we are not grateful to God, we cannot taste the joy of finding Him
in His creation. To be ungrateful is to admit that we do not know Him,
and that we love His creatures not for His sake but for our own. Unless
we are grateful for our own existence, we do not know who we are, and we
have not yet discovered what it really means to be and to live. No
matter how high an estimate we may have of our own goodness, that
estimate is too low unless we realize that all we have comes to us from

( NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, page 116 )

How grateful or ungrateful will I be today?

From Wayne Burns daily Merton thought.

Closing Day One

After the Presidents closing remarks we were greeted by a mariachi band.
We followed them into the plaza for a delicious mexican buffet. It was a
little chilly. I had ro leave the fellowship a little early as it was
getting dark and I was afraid I could not find my way back ro my room.

All in all a great day. Still NO OTHER bloggers and I know the reason.
Most Mertonites are older and have far fewer computer skills. At least
that is my reasoning. See you manana.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Opening Convocation

The work that Pat and Dottie Hurlburt have put in this conference is
astonishing. This afternoon interfaith prayer service has featured
Father John Eudes Bamberger, Bro. Paul Quenon, and James Finley- a
former novice under Merton.

Fr. John described his knowing Merton as a brother to brother
relationship and that Father Louis was a prophetic voice speaking for
God. He was a man in tune with his time. Quoting Merton "war as a crisis
of man's spirit," he speaks of peace.

"Father Louis was a man enthusiastic for prayer, accessible, one who
cared for rhe good of the community, a man with acute insight, and a man
aware of his gifts," said Bamberger.

Bro. Paul Quenon gave a poignant story about Merton always being aware
of someone who was being mistreated and his standing up for him.
Merton's poem ELERGY FOR A TRAPPIST tells the story.

The session concluded with Erlinda G. Paguio's Presidental Address.

Steve Georgiou-The Way of the Dreamcatcher

I have been corresponding with Steve for several years. I even started a

Robert Lax website

because of him. I was so excited reading his Lax book that I went to the

island of Patmos and had my picture made in front of the Arion


Steve began by reading Robert Lax's poem PSALM. In case you don't know

Robert Lax was Thomas Merton's best friend. They met at Columbia

University in the 1930s. Lax was also a mentor for Jack Kerouac. Lax was

an editor for The New Yorker and later a circus performer, a jugler and

clown, for many years. His most famous poem was Circus of the Sun.

Steve shared some of Lax's words to him. "Put yourself in a place where

grace can flow. Go with the flow. Let go. Relax. Trust in the


Lax learned to "live in the present moment at all times." Included in

the lecture were slides of Patmos. Pictures of Saint John of the

Theologian monastery, the Arion Cafe, images of Lax with his cats, and

many sea side pictures.

The highlight of the lecture was Lax reading his own poetry. Steve had

recorded some of his poems them set them to pictures of the island he.


I am always amazed at the throughness of the scholars at these events.

Studious, insightful, serious, with a through knowlege of the lecture

being given. GREAT LECTURE. Buy the book !!

Welcome to the University of San Diego

Well, I finally got organized. This is the welcoming sign at the

University Center. I had to change rooms to get one with sorta a private

bath. It is a good 10 minute walk UP the hill to the University Center.

Notably good workout.


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
It is cold here. 62 degrees. Windy. Overcast. No sun. Welcome to


Reading Merton on the Way to San Diego

Crimes Against the State

"I confess that I am sitting under a pine tree doing absolutely nothing.
I have done nothing for one hour and firmly intend to continue to do
nothing for an indefinite period. I have taken my shoes off. I confess
that I have been listening to a mockingbird. Yes, I admit that it is a
mockingbird. I hear him singing in those cedars, and I am very sorry. It
is probably my fault. He is singing again. This kind of thing goes on
all the time. Whenever I am. I find myself the center of reactionary
plots like this one." (The Behavior of Titans-Thomas Merton)-----
And I confess I have read about 50s music, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Living in
Nevada, Master Magician Lance Burton, and have worn my mp3 player out
listening to Krall, Sinatra, Steve Tyrell, the Beegies, and Monica
Mancini, between a buffet of Southwest peanuts and oriole cookies
filtered through an ocean of tomato juice.

And I have committed crimes against the state by being silent, listening
to words not on the Fox News, and being the first to throw the stone
from the hidden place where no one could have seen me. And when I
prayed, I faked it --taking a shortcut pass the solitude and silence and
tempting quietness with a mouthful of piety wrapped in sparkled magic,
the message being a product of sound bites for heaven and meticulous
images clothed in sex and sleezy lies.

LORD FORGIVE !! (Dan's Confession)

Merton Conference -Leaving Nashville

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has

a song" (from Pamela's calendar)

I am at the airport catching a flight to San Diego for Merton

conference. Looking forward to it.

I am carrying only one Merton book, A Thomas Merton Reader, edited by

Thomas P. McDonnell. I remember when I bought it. It was in 1982-3. I

was in Washington D.C. as a guest of GTE for the launch of a satellite

in French Gyuana. I was working for the Baptist Sunday School Board

engineering the satellite side of our new television network, Baptist

Telecommunication Network. It was one of the great experiences of my


Check back often here. Trip is 4 hours long eating peanuts all the way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Merton and San diego

In less than 16 hours I will be on a flight toward san diego.

Doggone it, it ain't gonna seem right without Wayne Burns. It has always
been nice having him around.

Not exactly sure what to expect. That will be part of the joy of it. I
am looking forward to the mexican fiesta.

Yall follow the blog below. It will keep up with my wanderings in

Monday, June 06, 2005

Merton and M the nurse

In his later life Thomas Merton fell in love with a nurse. He was 51 and she in her 20s.It was a tremendous crisis for him. Marriage or monkhood? What a choice.

His life was in turmoil. He could not stop thinking about her. "Just walking around trying to collect my thoughts is not much help. They all tend to be about her and I become desperately lonely."

So how does he deal with it? "All I can think of is to pray for her as earnestly and honestly as possible and leave the rest to God."

Do you ever have difficulty praying?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Basil Pennington dies

Fr. Basil Pennington died during Second Vespers of the Sacred Heart on Friday, from injuries he suffered some time ago in an auto accident. In addition to being a
well-known author, he was also briefly Abbot of Holy Spirit Abbey in Conyers, Georgia. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

For much greater information go to this website by St.James Episcopal Church.

Affectionately, TomKay (aka DomTom)


"Buber tells a story about a rabbi who wanted to fast. The man was going to fast from Sabbath to Sabbath without any food or drink. He makes it till Thursday evening, when he gets very thirsty. He can't bear it any longer, so he goes to the well. But just as he gets there, he overcomes himself; he doesn't drink. Then he feels proud about this and thinks it would probably be better to overcome his pride and take a drink. When he goes to the well to overcome his pride, his thirst suddenly disappears. So makes it until Saturday, having had this swing back and forth. Then he goes to report to the master, who takes one look at him and, before he can say anything, says, 'Patchwork!''


How often is what I do patchwork?

From Wayne Burns

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Jim Wallis - Key Speaker at Merton Meeting

Jim Wallis will be one of the keynote speakers at the Merton meeting in San Diego. He was in Nashville this week and Ray Waddle wrote this story about Jim Wallis.

It looks like to me that we are all in for a treat at the meeting.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thomas Merton - International Thomas Merton Society

I am beginning preparation for next weeks International Thomas Merton Society semi-annual meeting in San Diego, California. I will be arriving on Thursday and will, hopefully, be able to blog the whole convention on my T-Mobile Sidekick. Be sure to check next week for updates.

Also if you are a blogger going to the convention please let me know and I will place your address on my site so you people can read your blog as well.

For further details go to:

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mrs. J.O. Williams -The Divine Ring

Mrs. J.O. Williams -The Divine Ring

Many times when I go to Woodlawn Cemetary in Nashville I make a pilgrimage to the grave of Mrs. J.O. Willams. She was one of the greatest Christians I have ever known.

I stayed with her for 3 months when she was 86 years old. For 3 months her goal was to make me a better Christian by teaching me Baptist History ever night when I rerturned from work at the Baptist Sunday School Board

Her prayer time was midnight every night. She would awaken then. "Call me at midnight with your prayer requests," she would say.

She was energetic. Loved Psalm 139. Kept an immaculate garden. Perhaps she gossiped too much, but she loved Jesus, people, and me.

I was with her the night before she died. She lacked 18 days being a hundred. "Why would anyone want to be a 100 years old," she had said. How she blessed my life. How I wish I could be like that.


David Williamson, an excellent writer from Wales, has a wonderful article on solitude. We seek solitude to listen to God he says.