Monday, July 25, 2005

The Several-Storied Thomas Merton

Discovered an interesting story this morning about the conflicts in Thomas Merton's life. Rather fascinating ! It is titled, The Several-Storied Thomas Merton, by Robert Royal.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Christmas in July

Christmas in July
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
A nice lady sent me her collection of Thomas Merton books which she was unable to keep. What excitement!! In all 90 books of which I do not have 61 of them. What a tremendous blessing this has been. I have been thinking that with any gift we have been given is a responsibility. For me it means giving away the duplicates but also the responsibility of using these books to educate others about Merton. I am excited about the opportunity.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thanks for the Prayers-Facing Hopelessness

Thanks to each of you who have prayed for me this week. It has been so helpful in ways unimaginable. Thanks.

Here is a sermon I preached this week titled: FACING HOPELESSNESS

Text 2 Chronicles 20

1. Situation – hopeless.- vs.12—We have no power. We do not know what to do.
2. Help from unexpected sources - vs.14, see also Romans 8:26f
3. Do not be discouraged. The battle is not yours but Gods…vs 15
4. Preparation for battle…vs 21 they sing a song….front line of battle plan is is praise to God.
5. Unexpected results vs 23 –enemy killed each other

So Keep Depending on God. The battle is HIS !!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Robert Lax

Paul Fromont has a great review of The Way of the Dreamcatcher, a biography of Robert Lax, Merton's best friend.

And in this post he makes an interesting observation:

"Perhaps I need to struggle less and ask for eyes to see and the courage to join in on what God is doing in this place?" link



What need there is for silence in our world. We are engulfed by sounds without relief. How shall we ever hear the whisperings of the Spirit amidst the noise... the clamor without and within. Silence is one of those riches that cannot bought with coin...but only by willingness. This willingness to silence and solitude will be received by the Lord as a prayer in itself. It says to Him 'Here I am, Lord.' What good things will occur when we learn to 'be still' in His Presence? Thomas Merton on silence: "If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence, like the sunlight, will illuminate you in God...Silence will unite you to God."

Thanks Don Brennan

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


If pain in life keep a teachable spirit. Learn to trust the teacher even if he doesn't explain.

Pray for preace.

Contact with the sacred occurs in the stillness of the heart and mind.

Silence is important because it provides direction.

If you have a sacred place and use it, something will happen. (Joseph Campbell)

We must be still enough, simple enough, humble enough, to let him plan the course.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I haven't written much lately. Things have been rough. Where I work people have been losing their jobs. I have an extremely close friend who has only 2-3 weeks to live. Emotionally, I am struggling. I feel cut off from everyone. Too much grief, death, trying to help others and not making enough room to help myself. Say a prayer for me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

MERTON (Monastic life)

"The monastic life by its nature should open out into a greater solitude with more attention given to prayer, meditation, study and the real business of the monk hich is to seek God alone. I realize that this is not something that everyone agrees with, but for some people this is a real necessity since they are called to it by God. Hence I ask your prayers that I amy be able to do what He asks of me and be faithful to my vocation."

THOMAS MERTON THE ROAD TO JOY Letters to New and Old Friends, page 91. Merton wrote this in 1965 as a part of his Christmas letter to friends."

What keeps one from being faith to his or her vocation?

From Wayne Burns

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Dark Night of the Soul and Denman and Vallie Phillips

Last Sunday we made the trek to my parents graves in McDonough, Georgia, to place flowers on them.

Recently,I have been studying the book of Job. Of particular interest is how Job felt so depressed, lost, and without hope. The Dark Night of the Soul is another way of saying it to me.

I have been through the Dark Night several times, but no time greater than at the death of my father on June 12, 1980. He was young, only 60. He had retired less than a year earlier from a demanding job and had freedom for the first time. We were looking forward to a vacation together as a family, the first one is many years. Then, he had a detached retina. Simple surgery they said. But his gigantic heart stopped beating. He was brain dead. A month later we buried him.

I know how Job felt. During a period of several months after my father's death I could not pray. I could not even utter a word toward God. And I could not read the Bible. It seemed so foreign to my mindset. Most importantly, I could not even approach God or sense him speaking to me at all. Isn't that Job?

When his friends comforted him by saying, "Ask God to forgive your sins," all he could say was, "If I summonded Him, he would not pay any attention, he would just batter me with another whirlwind." (Job 9:16) That is how I felt during that time and it is still a remembrance as I stand by my parent's graves. Don't we all remember the Dark Nights of the Soul?

Have you ever been through the Dark Night of the Soul?

All Saints Chapel - Sewanee, TN

All Saints
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
This is All Saints Chapel in Sewanee, Tennessee. Isn't it beautiful? Over 20 years ago I remember going there to worship and a dog came in and napped during the service. It seemed so appropriate. Now, they say they keep the dogs out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

High Falls -- July 4, 2005 - Pontoon Parade

High Falls -- jpJuly 4
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

High Falls, Georgia, is a special place for my family. We have a cabin on a lake there and have been going there for over 30 years. We are a new generation now, but voices of the past still haunt us when there. The uncle who carried us there for the first time, the rains that often drenched us while riding a boat, the sounds of a father and mother whispering in the dark late at night.

During recent days the high point is the annual fourth of July pontoon parade. This year 28 pontoons took part in the parade. Part farce, part patriotism, mostly a time of fun, we decorate our boats with flags and plenty of red white and blue. As we pass houses along the way, people wave and dogs bark and ducks rush to their hiding places. It is a fun time.

Six of us participated this time, three for the first time. So the official picture is now online. In order, left to right, are those with us on the journey. Vivian Glover, Janet Phillips, Alex Steinhauer, Mike McReynolds (my new son-in-law), Melinda McReynolds, and Captain Dan. Can you think of anything more exciting than a pontoon parade?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Apology to Bill Stockland

Several years ago I received a brilliant poem by Bill Stockland about Thomas Merton. For some reason I placed the poem on my website and some how lost Bill's name. Bill I am sorry. I will remove the poem from my site as soon as I can. Enclosed is the poem by Bill Stockland. It is great!! LINK

Monday, July 04, 2005

High Falls Ga

I am vacationing in Georgia. His is Merton quote from Wayne Burns.

"Now you ask about my method of meditation. Strictly speaking I have a
very simple way of prayer. It is centered entirely on attention to the
presence of God and to His will and His love. That is to say that it is
centered on faith by which alone we can know the presence of God. One
might say this gives my meditation the character described by the
Prophet as 'being before God as if you saw Him.' Yet it does not mean
imagining anything or conceiving a precise image of God, for to my mind
this would be a kind of idolatry. On the contrary, it is a matter of
adorning Him as invisible and infinitely beyond our comprehension, and
realizing Him as all. My prayer tends very much toward what you call
'fana.' There is in my heart this great thirst to recognize totally the
nothingness of all that is not God. My prayer is then a kind of praise
rising up out of the center of Nothing and Silence."

Experience and Social Concerns, page 63-64. Merton wrote this on
January 2, 1966, to Abdul Aziz, whose letters sparked Merton's interest
in Sufism. Aziz live all his life in Karachi, Pakistan. )

What is my method for meditation and prayer.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Way of the Dreamcatcher

Steve Georgiou's book about Robert Lax is terrific. Read this terrific review by Paul

Rick and Maria Hoecker

Rick and Maria Hoecker
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
I attended the ordination of Rick and Maria Hoecker two nights ago. It was a beautiful service held on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul in Sewanee, TN at the Saint Andrews Chapel. Everyone was moved by the service.