Becoming interested in a person or topic causes me to root around in it until I come to the end of my curiosity. Thomas Merton has been my person and topic for awhile now, and I’m still enjoying the process of discovering him. It’s been enjoyable knowing that others have had the same enrichment from his life and writings.
I found this quote in the book I’m currently relishing, and it hit home. Whack! It was part of a letter written to Etienne Gilson.
"Please pray for me to Our Lord that, instead of merely writing something, I may be something, and indeed that I may so fully be what I ought to be that there may be no further necessity for me to write, since the mere fact of being what I ought to be would be more eloquent than many books."
Such single-minded aspiration takes my breath away.
Especially when I come across its opposite.
Shortly after my morning reading, breakfast, and chores, I read one of my favorite blogs, where the blogger presented her reading list. She inquired if anyone had suggestions of books to add. In the comment box I read some replies, taking notes as many of the recommendations were new to me. I love stuff like this! People sharing their love of literature.
Then I noticed an ‘anonymous’ comment, suggesting simply, the Bible.
I’m not sure why, but I got a bad mojo vibe when I read it. It felt somehow judgmental.
This intelligent, kind, sometimes sarcastic blogger wrote back that it was too bad because she’d burned all her Bibles years ago. I smiled. Whether she actually has burned her Bibles or not, I have no idea. It was her quick wit that made me chuckle.
‘Anonymous’ wrote back, “That explains all.”
“What a jerk,” I thought.
But his or her snide comments have stuck with me all day today. Gandhi’s words came to mind: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
A few months of regularly reading the blog I’m referring to have revealed its author to be bright, sensitive, insightful, compassionate, funny, opinionated, determined, wise, and vulnerable. She’s a seeker, a quality person.
Reading only five words from ‘Anonymous’ leaves me without any evidence as to his/her intentions. Maybe it’s a friend who’s playing a joke, I don’t know. The slam seems genuine enough, through these eyes that read many comments.
Even if it’s not, I have encountered genuine slams from 'Christians' too many times. I've been the third party witness to such rudeness, as well as the recipient. It happens. Often. How can insults and condescension produce relief or goodness?
In the past I have, without conscience and to my shame, peddled down-the-nose, smelly sanctimony to those who don’t share my spiritual beliefs. I hope that unenlightened, stupid part of me has been put to rest once and for all. The deeper one seeks, the more apparent becomes the shallowness of his progression. I have a long way to go. Who am I to judge another’s journey?
Bothersome it remains to be a truth-seeking, gospel-believing Christian while the term ‘Christian’ is slopped around by posers as though it were a pair of giant, spiked, clodhopper boots designed for climbing over the indiscriminately crushed souls and ideas of ‘unbelievers.’ It hurts my heart.
For those faux-Christians who, in the name of Christ, can only insult, judge, ridicule, slap, spit, and strut, I say please examine your hearts and actions. If you can't find compassion for others, then for God’s sake, shut up...until you can.
For the rest of us, St. Francis has good advice, “Preach the gospel everywhere. Use words if necessary.”