Men’s Group

Men’s group: I was in the middle of writing my final paper for the class I took during Intensives. I got a text from my sister in law: can you speak to the men’s group Thursday evening about treework and logging? The scheduled speaker had a death in the family.

I was planning on going anyway. Judy’s brother, John, is a member there and Dennis often attends. Sure. Why not.

Main points: 4 more years, I’ll have been climbing professionally for 50 years. Today they’d tell me to sit down, shut up, be still & give me a scrip for Ritalin. What we’ve lost in the search for security.

I explained that tree work is just applied vector physics. I said “imagine a pulley on the ceiling. If we run a rope through it and tie it to this end of the table, that end will hang down. And if we tie it to that end, this end will hang down. And if I tie it in the middle, the table will hang flat, balanced. Depending on where the rope is tied on the branch, the same things apply. Now imagine if the pulley is over here on this beam. The table will want to swing so that it hangs directly under the beam. It’s all vector physics. All a vector is, is a force in a direction.


Then I opened to them the idea of being in conversation with the Holy Spirit. Paul entreats us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). It is the glory of God to conceal things; it is the glory of kings to seek them out (Prov. 25:2). Finally, Ask and you shall receive. (Jn. 16:24). Using these statements as practices, the world is transformed. Worship is no longer limited to church on Sunday morning, but becomes a perpetual practice. I have cut trees for several of the men who were present. I said that if there was a grace and ease observable in the way I work, it is a reflection of the Presence in my life, of this ongoing conversation.


Then I showed a video from Youtube about how to cut a tree down. John & Dennis joined in with tips & pointers.

After the presentation a fellow named Dalton approached me. He said I really should consider being a supply preacher. Dennis has noted in our supervisory sessions that he was dragged by the Spirit, “kicking and screaming,” to the pulpit.


That part about being a preacher is eerily similar to my call to seminary. Continual nudges. It has been said that one of the marks of a true leading is persistence. But God, I don’t want to be a preacher. Writing is so much safer. I can hide in the anonymity of my words. OK. So writing is a Kind of preaching. God, You know what I mean. Moses, can you help me out here?

4 thoughts on “Men’s Group

  1. Susan Talcott Flynn

    Hey Martin! Thinking of you, great piece! Still grueling through my intensive paper, much love hope you get the right amount of snow for your well-being! – Sue

  2. martinmelville Post author

    Sue (and others):
    As for the snow, rather more than I felt I needed. Having said that, I find that I get what I’m supposed to. So while it may not suit me, I’ll figure out what to do with/about it.

    What’s funny about the post is that it was a reflection from a supervised ministry log. I think I was avoiding going back to work on the final paper. (it is coming together) Stephanie had asked for a little more detail in the reflections. I found that as I told the story, the post is what I wound up with. As I reread it, I thought, huh. that’s not half bad. Many blog posts start that way.

    As for that sneaky minister thing, hold me in the Light. I’ve said all along that’s not where I feel I’m called, but that if God really thinks that’s where She needs me, I’ll go. Hence the line about “Moses, can you give me a hand here?”

  3. Suzanne C

    “That part about being a preacher is eerily similar to my call to seminary. Continual nudges. It has been said that one of the marks of a true leading is persistence. But God, I don’t want to be a preacher.”

    Did you write this post or did I write this post? 🙂

  4. martinmelville Post author

    Suzanne: My fingers remember typing the words. That’s not to say that we don’t share their origins. Or it may be part of the human condition. Nice to hear from you. Liked your Friends Journal article.


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