Disputed Questions

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985 - Religion - 297 pages
3 Reviews
"Reflecting Thomas Merton's lifelong examination of the relationship between the monastic, contemplative life and the need for spiritual expression in the secular world, these essays explore the coming together of the active and the contemplative life and the relationship of persons to social organizations. Ranging from an account of the Greek monastic community on Mount Athos to a look at the spiritually destructive power of racism, Merton's writing manages to be both lively and profound as he leads the reader through the hard questions of modern existence, bringing together traditional religious values with a concern for the spiritual needs of the present day.".--cover matter.
 

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User Review  - Goodreads

Merton was once my passion. Now he often feels a bit dated. But I still like him enough to finish this collection of essays. Read full review

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User Review  - Stephen Jenkins - Goodreads

Merton was once my passion. Now he often feels a bit dated. But I still like him enough to finish this collection of essays. Read full review

Contents

THE PASTERNAK AFFAIR
3
MOUNT ATHOS
68
THE SPIRITUALITY OF SINAI
83
THE POWER AND MEANING OF LOVE
97
CHRISTIANITY AND TOTALITARIANISM
127
SACRED ART AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
151
Blessed Paul Giustiniani
165
PHILOSOPHY OF SOLITUDE
177
The Ascetic Doctrine
208
the primitive carmelite ideal
218
ABSURDITY IN SACRED DECORATION
264
MONK AND APOSTLE
274
APPENDIX A
291
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About the author (1985)

Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. His parents, nominally friends, had given him little religious guidance, and in 1938, he converted to Roman Catholicism. The following year he received an M.A. from Columbia University and in 1941, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death. His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, "The Seven Storey Mountain" (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.

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