For our Wednesday, August 12th (2020), meeting, we will continue our now-monthly tradition of getting together online, via Zoom.
In fact, we plan to meet via Zoom until Michigan Gov. Whitmer gives us the okay to meet in person. For sure, we miss seeing everyone in person. The hand shaking, hugging, and treat sharing in a room next to stacks and stacks of wonderful books is unbeatable. We miss being together at Baker Book House. But the reality is we can’t do that for the time being. So, the next best thing is Zoom.
I mean, we can whip up some truly delicious treats for our next meeting. But until we can figure out how to shove them through the phone lines, it’s just not the same thing, is it?
If you haven’t yet tried Zoom or joined us online, please give it a chance. It’s so much fun – not to mention spiritually and emotionally rewarding – to see everyone’s face and hear their voices every month. Even if you’re a hardcore anti-online person, I think you’d dig this. The people in our group are amazing.
Zoom is a free app that can be downloaded here.
We pay for the Pro version so we can have a two-hour meeting without it cutting out as it does with the free version. Because we host the meeting, you can get the free version and stay on as long as the meeting lasts at not cost to you.
Author/poet Bob Hudson sent us an e-mail that proves once again just how influential Thomas Merton has been in the last 100 years. Bob wrote:
I’m sure you’ve heard this story already from others (and perhaps have known it before), but Bill Clinton just eulogized John Lewis in Atlanta and asked, Do you know what John Lewis was carrying in his backpack on Bloody Sunday, the day he was beaten at the foot of the Edmund Pettis Bridge?
Lewis assumed he’d be spending time in jail, so in his backpack he had an apple, an orange, a toothbrush, a book on American political history, and Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain.
I didn’t know that. So I was as amazed as Bob was when he heard it. Thank you, Bob, for sharing that with us!
By the way, Bob’s latest book – The Poet and the Fly: Art, Nature, God, Mortality, and Other Elusive Mysteries – is astounding. Very, very good. I highly recommend it. Find it on Amazon, where you’ll also find no less than eight five-star reviews – and counting! – for Bob’s book.
For next week, we will continue our discussion of Merton’s profound little book Life and Holiness. Here’s our reading schedule for Merton’s book:
July 8: Pages 3-42 (“Introduction to the 1996 Edition” and “Introduction” through “What Is the Will of God?”)
August 12: Pages 43-83 (“Love and Obedience” through “New Testament Faith”)
September 9: Pages 86-119 (“Charity” through “Conclusion”)
If we need to back up to discuss some of what we covered on July 8, that’s okay We’re not in a marathon here. We don’t get gold stars in a sticker book if we read x number of books every year. We discuss until we’re done discussing and then we move on. (The book we’ll announce in September for our October meeting is another classic. You’ll love it.)
Finally, remember last month I passed along Larry’s question for the group:
What do the following have in common with Thomas Merton?
Brother John Spaniard
Frater Maria Ludovicus
Marco J. Frisbee
The answer is: They were all pseudonyms Merton used over the years.
If you’d like to join us via Zoom on Wednesday, August 12, please send us an e-mail to let us know. We’ll add you to our list. Next Wednesday, around 5:30, we’ll send an invitation e-mail from Zoom. At 7pm, click the link and join us.
See you next week!