“I appreciate Thomas Merton’s perspective that “we will never be anything else but beginners.”” April Yamasaki
At her Sacred Pauses book launch at a Christian Bible and book store, author and pastor April Yamasaki ended her book promotion with this quote from Thomas Merton (at 14:15 minutes HERE):
“We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners.”
Thomas Merton, Excerpts from Contemplative Prayer, in Richard J.Foster and James Bryan Smith, eds., Devotional Classics (Harper: San Fransisco, 1993), 64
-From page 180, Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal, Herald Press, by April Yamasaki
To find out who Thomas Merton was, listen to the following discussion (between the 5-8 minute marks) with Christian author and researcher, Ray Yungen:
As mentioned in the above video, when Trappist monk Thomas Merton went on his spiritual quest to meet with the Buddhist monks, he went as a pilgrim, not as a missionary evangelist. After reading the Merton quote in her book Sacred Pauses, April Yamasaki went on to read more from her book:
“Just as evangelism has been described as one beggar telling another beggar where there is bread, that applies here too. When it comes to spiritual practice, we are all like beggars telling other beggars where there is bread to nourish our souls.”
-April Yamasaki, page 180, Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal, Herald Press
In the Bible, a beggar was someone in want, a poor and needy person of the lowest class, oppressed, afflicted and wretched, needing deliverance from trouble by God, as we read in 1 Samuel:
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”
1 Samuel 2:8,9
Beggars were reduced to begging because they were lowly, afflicted, often full of sores, helpless, powerless, and lacking in anything. A beggar cowers down, slinks or crouches in fear. They are destitute of wealth, influence, position and honour. But believers are not beggars, they are rich in Christian virtues and an eternal inheritance. Paul prayed for believers in Christ that:
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”
Believers in Jesus Christ who have been rescued by God are not destitute beggars:
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Ephesians 2:19
To believe that we as Christians will never be anything but beggars and beginners is walking in contradiction to the Bible, which tells us that we are to grow in our walk, not remain babes. Believers are to grow in knowledge according to Christ’s divine power (2 Peter 1). The Bible addresses those who are never anything but beginners:
For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Would you agree that Christians who admire quotes from Thomas Merton which contradict the Bible, or believe that as saints in Christ we are merely beggars, may need to get back to the Bible and be reminded who they are in Christ?
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
– Jesus Christ, John 15:15
Pausing to Examine ‘Sacred Pauses’
Ray Yungen will be speaking at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, B.C. Canada, this August 15th-17th. [See SCHEDULE.] Also speaking at this conference will be Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries. How ironic that these men, who speak so strongly against contemplative Roman Catholic spirituality entering the evangelical church, will be speaking at a Mennonite college that has been promoting those exact things.
Will Mennonites Be Attending This Conference?