Tuesday, September 14, 2010

THOMAS MERTON

I am now reading again the journals of Thomas Merton as well as his book "The Inner Experience." Even though Merton is often the whipping boy of fundamentalist Christians and a fair amount of Catholics, one can not argue with his intellectual honesty. There is something in his writing that is accessible to all regardless of education or background, something I discovered when I first encountered his writing, reading "The Seven Story Mountain" in 1975. I had the good fortune to speak with a fellow monk that was Merton's driver before he was sent to the Trappist house in Vina, California. The driver had some great stories. One story involved a beer run for the famous monk. Anyone that has not read Merton is really missing a chance to meet one of the finest writers of the past century. Perhaps it is time to pay another visit to the Trappists in Oregon for a short retreat, something that is also worth doing if one has yet to spend any time at Trappist monastery.

2 comments:

moshpitmarsha said...

John

I believe the Bible is inerrant, infallible and inspiring. I myself do not feel lead to read Thomas Merton. I might be considered a fundamentalist by your definition. I would like to know what concerns do the Catholics see and are these the ones that could believe some of the things classic Classic Evangelicals believe

John said...

@moshpitmarsha

I too believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible. The concern of some Catholics and Protestants regarding Thomas Merton centers primarily on his views regarding contemplativer prayer. There is the concern that he was becoming a Buddhist. When one studies Merton, which because he was such a prolific writer, it requires a fair amount of reading, I do not see that he ever lost his faith in Christianity. One can disagree with much of Merton's writing, especially some of his politics, but he is interesting because of the honesty he brings to such a wide range of topics.