If the you of five years ago, doesn’t think the you of today a heretic, you’re not growing spiritually.” – Thomas Merton, (1915-1968), arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century.”

Today I finished a month long purge of approximately 350ish books on theology and pastoral subjects. It was surprisingly easy. It may have been disturbingly too easy.

I kept the writers I most deeply value – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Augustine, N.T. Wright, C.S. Lewis, Karl Barth and many others as well as some quality reference works.

As a great and passionate lover of the written word, I am, of course, an avid (insane) collector of books and other printed materials…I still retain somewhere in the range of 500-600 books on the shelf – not to mention the digital copies on my tablet and Kobo.

The purge comes as a result of an imminent move (as most purges do) and in some ways seems to reflect a spiritual purge that has been going on within me for about seven or eight years.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline. It is a discipline of denial. This long period has felt like a spiritual fast for me and I feel I am coming out streamlined somehow. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen.

To the opening quote – the me of five years ago would most likely see the me of today as a heretic.

Oxford Definition of heresy in English:

noun (plural heresies)


1. Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine:Huss was burned for heresy

I am remarkably at peace with this.

In reference to my inner spiritual life and theology, I remain committed to Christ much in the sense of my seminary’s (Tyndale Seminary) motto – Douloi Christoi, or in my case, Doulos Chistos.

As to who I am now?

I am the same as who I have been and who I will be – I am forever a slave to the grace of God, cheap or costly; I am a slave to Christ, constantly needing to be washed, constantly needing to hear his command for me to “COME FORTH” as Lazarus that I might leave the dark tomb that I continue to crawl back into.

2 thoughts on “heretic

  1. A serendipity of sorts is your blog entry, Peter. Last Saturday I met over coffee with one of the more significant mentors of my youth from the period 1975-1982. It has been some 30 or more years since we have had any significant conversation. I was nervous going into the conversation knowing that at some point he would ask me if I was attending church and what I was doing for a living. In 1982 I was pastoring a small Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada church in a small Saskatchewan town. From the age of 10 to my graduation in 1977 from High School and then Bible College in 1980, I had attended Calvary Temple, Winnipeg where my mentor was the Associate Pastor. It is one thing to think of my younger self as the orthodox critic of my present self but it is quite another to think about a conversation with a mentor. Looking back on the conversation, I should have been less interested in explaining my journey of faith and much more interested in how my journey and his journey have affected those around me and especially my marriage. My journey continues to be a journey toward integration without compromising my personal confession of faith. My wife has been impacted by my journey but we have grown together and learned to meet in one ‘new man’ where we pursue truth together and learn to mute those matters that we do not agree on.

    I was reminded of M. Scot Peck’s definition of Love as I read your blog today: “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” I was gratified to experience the love of my mentor and friend last Saturday regardless of the moment of my own spiritual journey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.