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Division – A Reflection

February 4, 2020

While reading Thomas Merton’s Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, I came across this passage. If we want to bring together what is divided, we cannot do so by imposing one division upon the other or absorbing one division into another. But if we do this, the union is not Christian. It is political, and doomed to further conflict. We must contain all divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in a Christ. (p. 14)

Merton was discussing the idea of dialogue between among others, Eastern and Western Christian thought and devotions. Merton knew first hand the results of divisions in Christianity and the antagonism between Christianity and other world religions. In his later writings, he was truly entering into dialogue with other faith communities. The purpose was not to prove one right or wrong but to truly learn from each other.

This quote also speaks to me of the divisions in this country. Between religion and politics, there is a lot of division and mistrust to say the least. Instead of dialogue and cooperation, we dig into our defensive works and lob verbal bombs at each other. With Merton, I am prayerfully considering how to overcome divisiveness and work together for the good of all of God’s children and for the good of creation. That is our challenge and that is our mission, dear reader. By grace perhaps we can make a difference in this world.

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