Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Seeking A Settled Heart: The 16th Century Diary Of Puritan Richard Rogers

Yester-night (that’s Puritan talk I’ve absorbed while working on this manuscript) Ginny could hardly rouse me for supper and I went straight back to sleep afterwards.

Yes, as soon as I shut my computer down yester-day (more Puritan talk) I fell asleep in my chair and slept for twelve hours straight.

Why did I so unwind and collapse?

Because I finally put the finishing touches on my edition of the book I’ve been working on for months.

Yes, my burst of enthusiasm means that Seek A Settled Mind: The 16th Century Diary Of Puritan Richard Rogers is now published!

Thanks be to God!

Yestermorning (see how it works?) Helen, a graphic artist, designed the cover for me. She came over and worked with me to include this book in my on-line book catalog for Bluefish Books. More samples of her work can be seen at http://www.elemental.name/

Here’s a photo of the book cover she designed for the Rogers Diary:

Notice that classy red border in the cover background? Here's the secret of graphic art: That's really my old red tee shirt draped over the torn ancient page on the computer scanner glass. Who says I'm not high-tech?

Richard Rogers, a Puritan minister in the time of the first Queen Elizabeth, lived between 1550 and 1618; his extant diary covers from February 28, 1587 to August 26, 1590. This present text (yes, I did check out copyright compliance and permissions) is based on materials transcribed by Dr. Marshall Mason Knappen. in 1933.

When I first encountered the Diary Of Richard Rogers, the man’s search for God moved me to seek the Lord myself with more intensity and less pretense. The diary of this good and godly man inspired me in my own spiritual walk. That’s what spiritual diaries are supposed to do.

Yet, as I read for my own inspiration, the antique language interrupted my flow of thought and obscured the meaning. Therefore, to make this spiritual classic available to other readers who also seek a settled heart, I edited the text with a goal in mind — ease of reading for modern people.

Throughout his diary, Rogers speaks of being “settled” or “unsettled”. He constantly seeks to have a settled heart, by that he means a heart focused on God, a mind relishing the majesty of the Almighty and enjoying the thought of His presence.

To Rogers, focus on the Beauty of the Creator rather than on the drab affairs of life and lesser things leads to peace of mind.

Yet he was not abstract. He sponsored a boarding school in his home, raised funds to buy armor for the English soldiers fighting off the invasion of the Spanish Armada, comforted suicidal people, survived church politics, and lived under the daily threat of arrest.

He lived fully in this world while focusing his mind on the glories of the next.

He speaks to my condition.

I smiled at his frustration as he tried to he tried to write books while constantly being interrupted by “strange visitations” (visits by uninvited callers) and as he drew up a list of pros and cons about the possibility of a second marriage, and as he fumed about price increases.

He lived in a real world while seeking a settled heart on the things of God.

This may not be a book readers would want to take to the beach this soommer (that’s Puritan talk for Summer); it’s not for relaxing. But it is a book for pondering as we also seek a settled heart amid busy lives.

Rogers diary resonates with the ideas of the Prophet Isaiah when he said,

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on Thee;
Because he trusteth in Thee.
Trust ye in the Lord forever.

Please check the display at John’s On-Line Book Catalog at Bluefish Books for this and others of my books to see if you might like to buy one.

One other thing: Remember that new car Ginny and I bought Monday? Well, I’ve been so busy finishing the Rogers Diary that I have not even sat in the car except for the ride home from the dealer.

But I’ll get to ride in it to-day (more old Puritan talk). Ginny’s driving me to the doctor’s for him to do another prostate exam and take another look at my prostate cancer.

Now, if that doesn’t focus my mind, nothing will!

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:06 AM


At 6:36 AM, Blogger Seeker said...

Now,after today's appointment, you'll REALLY be able to unwind and collapse.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger LeiselB said...

Wow. I really enjoyed your discussion of this seeker....thanks John.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger agoodlistener said...

Forsooth! Congratulations again on finishing this project. I appreciated your explanation of your motivation to carry on.

Thanks too, for your support in our recent carryings on. I'm sure you know exactly what we are going through.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Congratulations on finishing yet another book project! If I knew how to say that all Puritan like, I would. :)

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Val said...

What a creative idea, using an old shirt to achieve that effect for the book cover.

You deserve a bit of a collapse after your marathon effort. Enjoy!

At 2:03 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Congratuations on finishing yet another book - congratulations also on surviving your appointment...Sleep Well!

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Margie said...

that t-shirt really gets along.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Susan Davis said...

I didn't know you write... but that's great! And I hope you like your new car. God bless!

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Pat said...

Congrats (that's non-puritan talk) on a job well done.
Me thinks (more puritan talk) you could use a major time of rest and relaxation.
Now it's time to get in that new car and go for some ice cream!
By the way, thanks for the kind words regarding my "restoration" post....I appreciate them very much.


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