How about another quote from Thomas Merton? I know, I’m almost done with the book and I’ll move on, but this is a good one. He is speaking of sincerity–telling the truth.

“The arguments of religious men are so often insincere, and their insincerity is proportionate to their anger. Why do we get angry about what we believe? Because we do not really believe it. Or else, what we pretend to be defending as the truth is really our own self-esteem. A man of sincerity is less interested in defending the truth than in stating it clearly, for he thinks that if the truth be clearly seen it can very well take care of itself.”

Amen Mr. Merton! It is amazing how little people are able to explain what they believe and would rather resort to calling names and getting mad. Their indignation scares off any debate so they think they’ve won. Really, all they are doing is covering up for their shallow knowledge and trying to save face.

It is also scary that this is most true of Christians. Those who have followed the way, the truth and the life. We have the truth yet few actually know it (him). The less people know, the more adamant they seem to be.

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Here’s another update on the Bush/Kerry bike riding news. This article compares the two riders and the bikes they ride. Apparently, President Bush fell off his bike while mountain biking off-road, much more commendable and in fact, the thing to do while mountain biking.

Kerry just wiped out on sand on the road, which seems about right. The article proposes maybe the two candidates have a bike race. I think that would be entertaining. Perhaps the citizens should demand one! Maybe they’d both fall together.

This morning’s message may not have been the most exciting, no matter how hard I tried to find illustrations to spice it up, it’s awful hard to tell stories demonstrating the difference between burnt and peace offerings!

However, seeing the system of sacrifices and how annoying it all was, even boring to read through, it shows us just how great things are when Christ takes care of it. I am grateful all the time that one of my functions as pastor is not to have to slaughter animals!

I am also grateful because under the Law I would not be allowed to be a priest/pastor. Being legally blind would have disqualified me from service. What a huge difference Christ ending the Law makes for us all! Thank the Lord that every message in church is not, and does not have to be about sacrifices!

More From Thomas Merton:

“It is, therefore, a very great thing to be little, which is to say: to be ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others to see how big we are.”

This is driving at the idea of placing other’s wills above our own and humility. When we assume we are better than others we don’t do much for them, they should do for us! But the real issue is that you are acting self-centered. Anytime we can stop thinking about ourselves there is a chance we might think of others.

After wandering away from his babysitter, a 22 month old boy was found floating in a canal. After trying to revive the child rescuers gave him up as dead.

While preparing his body for the funeral home, a nurse noticed that the boy was breathing! That would be one very relieved babysitter I’m guessing!

So, is this a true to life resurrection? Hmm. Does it make you a believer? I hope not–faith is based on the evidence of things not seen.

Here is the web site of the monastery where Thomas Merton spent his time in Trappist, Kentucky. There is also a biography of him there.

Like I said before, he’s got some issues I would strongly disagree with but he’s still rather interesting.

Just a note of clarification: just because I am quoting Mr. Merton does in no way imply an endorsement of all he says. He has made many a statement, even the majority of one chapter, that I found a bit off the mark.

He made a statement that you can only get the Holy Spirit through the sacraments of the Church. I would disagree strongly.

However, Merton is an interesting thinker and philosopher with a bit of Bible thrown in. I would consider him to be a “Christian” philosopher of the Catholic persuasion. When he’s right he’s very right; when he’s wrong he’s very wrong!