Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was born in Prades, France. He grew up in France and England before moving to the United States and earning a BA and an MA from Columbia University in New York City. While at Columbia, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism. He eventually entered the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani and became a Trappist monk and an ordained priest. Merton was also a poet, a prolific social critic, a staunch supporter of nonviolence and the civil rights movement, and a pioneer in interfaith dialogue. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), became a popular bestseller. Merton died while attending a conference in Bangkok.
This excerpt lends itself to discussing the impact of how we accomplish our work. If working at a frenzied pace means that we are cooperating with violence, as Merton suggests, what does that mean for the work towards peace we are attempting?
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From Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Doubleday and Company, 1966) p. 73, 258
Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.
How much should I give? What, if anything, might limit my giving?What does it mean to be an organizer or an activist? What defines this role?Is it important to set boundaries? Why?Is my service effective? How do I know?What is the value of work for me? For my community?