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Free the monks

13 August 2010

When my mother died in November 1983, we went to Zululand Hardware in Melmoth and asked for a coffin. They took us into the yard at the back of the shop, and there was a plain and simple pine one on a shelf under a corrugated iron roof. It was a bit mouldy from exposure to the wind and the rain, but quite serviceable. It cost R40.00. With inflation being what it is, I’d expect it to cost about R400.00 at today’s prices. It had no handles, so we went into the shop and bought six handles which cost about R5.00.

We took the coffin to a friend’s house. He was a keen woodworker and had a workshop, so he put the handles on for us, and sanded the coffin to remove the mould. While he was working on one side our son, then aged 2, found a carpenter’s pencil and scribbled on the newly-sanded coffin. Our friend said he could remove it, and we said no, leave it, his granny would like that.

But if a family member died in town, would we be able to do that? Would it take an 800 km round trip to Zululand to buy a coffin? Where do you buy a coffin in town?

It seems that some monks, aware of the problem, came up with a solution, and found themselves caught up with price-fixing business cartels in cahoots with politicians.
Free the monks, free entrepreneurs nationwide | The Daily Caller :

In Louisiana, monks are under attack.

Quite literally. In an outrageous example of economic protectionism at its worst, a group of monks is facing crippling fines and even jail for the “sin” of selling simple monastic caskets.

Thankfully, they’re fighting back.

Ask yourself this question: Can the government restrict economic liberty just to enrich a group of politically favored insiders? Remarkably, our courts have left it unclear. The monks seek to answer this question – with a major federal lawsuit.

Specifically, the Institute for Justice and its client, Saint Joseph Abbey, have filed suit today to challenge the constitutionality of Louisiana’s outrageous requirement that the monks of the Abbey become licensed funeral directors and convert their monastery into a licensed funeral home in order to sell simple handmade wooden caskets.

Hat-tip to Daniel Lieuwen.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 August 2010 4:52 pm

    Bless the monks. I hope to be buried in a simple wood box and buried in the country somewhere. I certainly won’t care when I’m worshiping Him! But let’s talk about the monks… If our assignment is to make disciples of all the nations, how do they do it from their monastery? Is it OK to just hang out with other believers and get holy?

    • 13 August 2010 7:08 pm

      If our assignment is to make disciples of all the nations, how do they do it from their monastery?

      Franco,

      For at least 1000 years, from about 500 to 1500 nearly all Christian mission (making disciples of all nations) was done by monks. And a lot of it has been done by monks since that period as well.

      • 13 August 2010 10:46 pm

        Steve, I have to repent for my flippant remark. I do know some church history, and those men of God who interacted with the outside world certainly fulfilled their commission. And they kept Christianity alive. I was stereotyping. I feel that much of the church does the same thing I was finding fault with. We live lives sheltered among other church attenders: it’s cozy, it’s warm fuzzy, it’s easy and never risky. Missional lives are uncomfortable, challenging, risky, and not always pleasant. But His presence makes it all worth while! Again, forgive my generalization.

  2. 14 August 2010 4:58 am

    Dear Steve: I wrote something with you in mind. Go to cfmpl.org find my name and read it. I’m also finishing up my essay for you to criticize concerning Eastern Orthodoxy. I appreciate your patience.
    Peace,
    William
    wjholland.wordpress.com
    Faith & Reason Collide

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