I found myself headlong into catalogs of new release books this week. With a sense of giddiness I flipped through the material tearing out pages advertising new books I would like to read. I then found myself in the academic section almost drooling over new commentaries and a book about Karl Barth! Oh how it stirred the academic in me and yearning to study once again.
Today however my mind is in quite a different place. After receiving a word this week about being in the “sweet spot of the Lord I’ve been searching for” I find more joy in the quietness of intimacy and prayer with Him. Then yet another passage from Volume Two of the Thomas Merton Journal “Entering The Silence” rings true to my spirit. Since my Asbury Seminary days I’ve always been fascinated with the writings and spiritual journey of Thomas Merton. As I read this particular journal I’m discovering the battle he had between writing as a vocation and drawing near to God in the contemplative life as a calling. The entry which quietly screamed for attention today centered around writing.
Merton’s thoughts on April 23, 1947 begin with “Our typewriter is broken again”. He then writes;
“I say it is obedience, God wills it and I go ahead and write a piece of junk like the thing I did on St. Lutgarde last year. I had to look at it again today. It is a crime to waste time with that stupid and heavy stuff. It looks learned but it is not. It will never do any good to the simple who won’t be able to read it, and those who know something will know enough not to bother with it”.
Is this where we find the problem with The Message today? In an effort to make the message simple have we merely made the simple complicated? We throw around terms like “seeker sensitive” and “culturally relevant” wasting much time with complicated studies and papers when we simply need to “keep it simple”. My Dad used to always say “It ain’t brain surgery son”. The phrase could be used for any situation we found ourselves in. Today maybe we need to remember that phrase for many situations we find ourselves in as well.
Could it be as we journey through life God is saying to us once again, “It ain’t brain surgery son. Keep it simple and ‘give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus'” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).