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Being a Monk/Christian in the World: Merton’s Perspective

November 3, 2021

Politics vital—even for monks. But in this, due place and with right measure. To live in a monastery as if the world had stopped turning in 1905—a fatal illusion. November 12, 1957 in A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Self (Journals of Thomas Merton, vol 3)

With this reflection, Merton shares a profound insight that goes far beyond the monastery. As a retired USAF Chaplain, and now pastor, this speaks to my heart. His words are a challenge to me, and in turn, to you dear reader. All too often christians are so focused on the individual salvation experience/relationship with God that they miss the call to be present to the world in the midst of the world’s messiness.

The church can be so caught up in survival of the “old ways” that it fails to hear the call of renewal and a new way of being that Spirit offers it. As one blogger said, stop mourning the church of the past and move into the future. These words challenge the “good old ways and days” to the core. However this challenge must be heeded if we are to be an effective witness today and in the future. To do otherwise, is in the words of Thomas Merton, is a fatal illusion.

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