“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)
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.