Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to decide?

From Merton's Witness to Freedom:
[T]here is one basic idea that should be kept in mind in all the changes we make in life, whether of career or anything else. We should decide not in view of better pay, higher rank, "getting ahead," but in view of becoming more real, entering more authentically into direct contact with life, living more as a free and mature human person, able to give myself more to others, able to understand myself and the world better.
pp. 254-255, quoted in
Echoing Silence, Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing
edited by Robert Inchausti
What a beautiful word of advice! Why do I need to read this? I guess that I (and maybe you?) have been paying too much attention to those other things -- "getting ahead" or the like.

Why do we do that? I think of the command in Colossians 3:2 Give your heart to the heavenly things, not to the passing things of earth (Phillips I think) and as my friend Jim says, there's a reason that's a command. We tend to look at what's right in front of us, and if everybody around us is talking about status and toys and money, after a while we start believing that stuff is what's important. More than that, we get into the habit of measuring ourselves by status and toys and money -- silliness.

How can someone like me change into someone more real, more authentically engaged, more generous and all that? As I've written before, this isn't something you or I can do on our own; we need help. Monitoring and changing what goes into our minds (reading the World Vision newsletter, rather than watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, for example), prayer, fellowship, the Scriptures... That's my plan, and will be for the next 20-30 years.

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