Money for a Monk

I know what it is like to want to give up “public speaking!” After it is all done sometimes I feel like I was maybe too funny, almost like a comedian. I can remember a few times when someone thought I could be a stand-up comic. I wanted to cry.  Other times I seem way too intense or serious. My daughters once made great fun of me at the way I contortioned my face while praying. My wife wasn’t much of a help, shaking her shoulders to hold back the guffaws! Not everyone appreciates how you express your personality or what you say on stage. There have been a few churches that have not invited me back to speak. I don’t blame them. But I don’t think I’ve ever infuriated people to the point that John Wesley did. He must have been pretty straight to the point at times. Look at some of these journal writings:

Sunday, A.M. May 5 Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore. Sunday, P.M. May 5 Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.” Sunday, A.M. May 12 Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there either. Sunday, A.M. May 19 Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return. Sunday, P.M. May 19 Preached on street. Kicked off street. Sunday, A.M. May 26 Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service. Sunday, A.M. June 2 Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway. Sunday, P.M. June 2 Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me. John Wesley…

 I wonder what caused people to want to get rid of him, what was Wesley’s topic? Was he all about hell-fire? Was he simply disturbing the comfort of his hearers who needed it? I also note that John preached in various settings not that typical to today. I’ve never preached in a meadow to people. I’ve preached to the birds though! Not much of an offering. The other day I was sitting in an open restaurant with Patricia in Mae Sai and a monk came by and stood still with his alm’s bowl in front. He just stood there waiting for customers or the owners to give food or money for what must have seemed like forever. No one moved. As I observed his unflinching face I felt to bless him. I went over and laid my hand on his shoulder and prayed out loud in Thai a blessing. He stood still not looking in my eyes, but listening to every word that I prayed in my blessing. It was role reversal as usually the monk gives the blessing. I then laid a twenty baht bill in his bowl. When I went to my table again, he had gone.

Some might say that I, as a Christian leader, was not correct or maybe even a bit stupid to give a Buddhist monk money. For me, though, it was a challenge from the Spirit to my lack of boldness of late. When I read John Wesley’s journal entries today it spoke loudly to me that boldness in action or speaking is a rare and needed commodity in my life. I am not talking about going out in a public setting with a purpose to offend. I guess I am saying that we need to be willing to be criticized for the things we believe in, hold to, espouse and live. If we simply repeat yesterdays slosh then it elicits no response whatsoever, except maybe boredom. Who wants to be remembered for that?

Maybe we need to all rethink how we live our lives…


One thought on “Money for a Monk

  1. I like it Peter. Good word. I have been challenged in this area lately too and just wrote about it the other day. Blessings on you and New Song.

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