In this series of notes, opinions, experiences, and reflections, Thomas Merton examines some of the most urgent questions of our age. With his characteristic forcefulness and candor, he brings the reader face-to-face with such provocative and controversial issues as the "death of God," politics, modern life and values, and racial strife-issues that are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago.
"Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander "is Merton at his best-detached but not unpassionate, humorous yet sensitive, at all times alive and searching, with a gift for language which has made him one of the most widely read and influential spiritual writers of our time.
Being the famous man of letters of the Abbey of Gethsemani must sometimes trouble Thomas Merton. "Let us walk along here, says my shadow, and compose a number of sentences, each one of which begins: 'You think you are a monk, but...'" On the other hand: "The error is to lock the windows and doors in order to keep the Holy Spirit in the monastery." A dialectical debate seems to go on at Thomas Merton's desk, but one never without rewards: any of the passages in his current collection of pensees. is worth reading, though they are not all equally impressive, and the antithetical themes of spiritual reflection and social consciousness rarely achieve an ennobling synthesis. The remarks about Marx or Stalinism are conventionally conservative, while those concerning the Cold War or the Negro Revolt adopt the more radical posture of Ramparts magazine. There are vivid reactions to the Cuba crisis and the Dallas tragedy. However, the discussion of worldly matters, despite the freshness of delivery, seems inevitably second-hand, and a wry bit on Oswald has its Jimmy Baldwin touch: "And it is scientific (his background showed it. And when your background shows it, baby, it is proved.)" The stray tableaux on his Trappist order, working in the fields, and lakeside meditations are much finer, and Merton's agile mind gropes with penetrating persuasiveness when confronting the crisis-theology of Barth, the Vatican Council, literature and philosophy, or when drawing interesting, if idiosyncratic, parallels between Heisenberg and St. John of the Cross or Sartre and St. Anselm??. A thousand-things little book, affecting and instructive. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Image Classic
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st April 1994
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.96 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.33
Edition Type: New edition