9/11: Remembered, Revisited, Redirected

Jesus is Lord!

The question of the week is, “Where were you on 9/11?” There is another question to be asked but we will hold that for a moment.

I had recently retired as a public school educator in Gwinnett County, Georgia and I was fortunate to get a post-retirement consultant’s job with a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts; however, I would be working with schools in Georgia. Having been offered the job, I was invited to a training session for all the company leadership and consultants in Boston. I boarded a Delta jet in Atlanta on 9/9/01. It is the only time I have been on a plane that was returned to the gate because of mechanical problems. Repairs were made and we took off for Boston. In hindsight, the delay may have been an omen of things to come. Continue reading

Merton’s Prayer and 9/11

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, we are witnessing a surge of anti-Muslim attitudes. A Florida church is threatening to burn the Quran. Protesters across the nation are trying to stop the building of mosques. Our fear of the other and our insecurities based on memories of 9/11 are rendering us less than Christian in our approach to real-life situations.

Thomas Merton believed that we find God in the ordinary circumstances of life. He nurtured and developed a great innate ability to cut to the chase, to drill down, to peel back the onion to get at the truth of matters. Merton developed an appreciation for world religions and took to heart the Vatican II teaching that we are to honor that which is true and holy in other religions. Much of Merton’s contemplative spirituality comes from Sufism–the mystical tradition in Islam. In his final pilgrimage–the Asian journey–Merton encountered the truth and beauty of Eastern religions. Some have speculated that Merton was about to abandon Catholicism and his monastic vows; however, Abbot John Eudes Bamberger writes that there is no justification for this conclusion. Continue reading