Stone Prayers

I went to Laity Lodge on June 7th, hoping that if I remained open and worked hard at listening, I might hear from God.

What follows are excerpts from the journal I kept that weekend.

Thursday – 6:00 pm

As I emerge from the river, water streaming from my car onto the dusty road that winds upward from the bottom of the canyon to Laity Lodge, a thought comes to me. If I have come to this place with a desire to hear from God, then I should be prepared to pay attention to everything. Whatever happens to me will be my reality. And in any reality there is the possibility of lessons learned and messages received.

My first vow of the weekend is to accept what comes to me and to seek meaning in all things great and small.

My second vow follows logically from the first. I vow to allow myself the luxury of believing that God might have a message just for me.

Read the full essay here.

  • BobInBG

    Thanks for writing this. It is very good to read your writing again.

  • FLDave67

    Long Comment Warning

    Hello Gordon,

    I’m a long time reader, since 2004, who’s never commented. I just discovered Tertium Squid yesterday, and I’m thankful that you’re writing again. RLP had a significant and lasting impact on me, and I want to tell you.

    I’m 45. I grew up in a big SBC Church, decided to become a pastor, got an M.Div. from SWBTS (1993), and later a D.Min. I pastored several churches, climbed the denominational ladder, and ultimately wound up at a decent-sized, fairly visible church in South FL. I never felt at home, though. You once wrote an essay titled “y=.9x,” or something close to that. It described my situation perfectly. I was playing a role, even for my wife and kids. I was drowning. I internalized my struggle as a sin problem. There was something wrong with me.

    When I could stand it no longer I decided to look for a way out. I gave up pastoring for a staff job at another big SBC church. That wasn’t working, and I was lost. I had no idea what to do. That’s when I found RLP.

    What you taught me is this. It’s not that big a deal that I don’t really fit in a big, evangelical church. I’m not sinning by being a little different. God isn’t mad at me. It’s OK to see the world the way I see it and then act accordingly. I’m not expressing it very well, but it was life changing. Not to be sacro, but it was a little like being born again.

    It took a while, but I got out of the evangelical game and rediscovered my true self. He had been almost completely doormant for nearly 20 years. I am now living an authentic life shared with my wife, kids, and a real community. I have a job that pays the bills (not as well as pastoring a big church, but hey) and allows me to do good for people who aren’t used to having good done for them. I am, quite possibly, the happiest person I know.

    I just wanted to say thanks.

    • http://tertiumsquid.com Gordon Atkinson

      FLDave67,

      Sounds like we have the same story. I’m now in a new job and loving life. I feel my true self is happy. Harder to find time to write. Covenant Baptist Church rather subsidized my writing for those years. But that will work itself out in time I feel.

      • FLDave67

        It’s too bad there’s not a market for your brand of spirituality. You’re a better writer than most authors on the shelves of Christian bookstores. Clowns to the left, jokers to the right…

        • http://tertiumsquid.com Gordon Atkinson

          There probably is a market, but it’s not an easily found market. And it would require me to become a full time personality. Agent, speaking, writing for this and that place. I’ve chosen instead to abandon all hope of making money as a writer. I’m currently forming my own business. Have been for over a year now. And at some point I should be ready to begin some kind of writing in earnest, perhaps here. Thanks for the encouragement.

          • FLDave67

            Good luck with the business.

            After I quit preaching, it gradually dawned on me that I was largely free of the expectations of others. It felt really good. I pushed my liberty a bit too far a couple of times, but eventually found some balance of responsibility and freedom. Funny thing is, I think I’m more generous with my time and energy and attention now that I can do as I please. I say all that just to encourage you to write only and exactly what you want. Things will probably turn out like they should that way. Anyway, you don’t owe any of your readers a thing. You’ve done more than enough.