Support the Café
Search our site

Boyd meets Merton

Boyd meets Merton

Malcolm Boyd recalls the day he was met Thomas Merton.

He welcomed me to his home, a large, silmple room in the monastic community. Books and LPs were stacked everywhere, including my book of prayers, “Are You Running with Me, Jesus?” Ours quickly became a torrent of conversation. We know our time together was limited. So we talked about virtually everything. War. Peace. Race. Prayer. Literature. He explained that he did not see films because his was an isolated rural life. Yet he included French cinema director Jean-Luc Godard in our conversation.

We gossiped! We dissed both the Vatican and the Episcopal Church! Both religious institutions clearly stood in need of a sense of humor, particularly in relation to themselves. So our conversation covered glaring faiilures of organized religion as well as scintillating reflections of hopefull signs for a future. I was struck by his alert humor, easy grace and gentle openness. He was a unique sort of holy person, totally human, devoid of posturing. His life was clearly not a scripted one. Thomas Merton was not playing a role. I found him a pure delight because, as much as I cherish theatre, I prefer to keep it on a stage. In my view all the world’s not a stage at all. So I was delighted simply to meet a kindred soul.

What struck me with considerable force was an instant awareness that we weren’t meeting as two persons in an instititutional setting, religious or otherwise. In other words, we weren’t locked into “ecumenical” or “interfaith” recognized categories. We carried no religious passports. No so-called allegiance to any religious institution defined us or in any way limited our freedom to be ourselves. I guess one could say that we un-self-consciously celebrated the peculiar and wonderful freedom of faith.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jonathan Galliher

What strikes me about Fr. Boyd’s recollection is how much it’s grounded in the facade that is social interaction. From this and from other things I’ve heard about him, Thomas Merton seems to have been a very dynamic and passionate individual, a really wonderful person to talk to. Those aren’t particularly saintly characteristics, however, and I’m somewhat troubled by what I’ve heard about how poorly Merton lived out his commitments.

Jonathan Galliher

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_012
2020_013_B
2020_013_A

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café