(#345) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY – SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, THOMAS MERTON, HENRI NOUWEN, ROCHARD ROHR
The book’s description is as follows –
New Book on Thomas Merton
Make Peace before the Sun Goes Down: The Long Encounter of Thomas Merton and His Abbot, James Fox
In the 1950s and ’60s, Thomas Merton, a monk of the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani in Kentucky, published a string of books that are among the most influential spiritual books of the twentieth century—including the mega–best seller The Seven-Storey Mountain. He was something of a rock star for a cloistered monk, and from his monastic cell he enjoyed a wide and lively correspondence with people from the worlds of religion, literature, and politics. During that period he also explored and wrote extensively on Buddhism, Sufism, art, and social action. The man to whom he owed obedience in the cloistered life was a much more traditional Catholic, his abbot, Dom James Fox. To say that these two men had a conflicted relationship would be an understatement, but the tension their differences in orientation brought actually led to creative results on both sides and to a kind of hard-won respect and love. Roger Lipsey’s portrait of this unusual relationship is compelling and moving; it shows Merton in the years his imagination was taking him far beyond the walls of the monastery, and eventually, literally to Asia
When looking through books in the Christianity section of a local bookstore, it is not uncommon to see a few books published by Shambhala Publications. Most authors from these books are not familiar to me. But sometimes i see the following authors – Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Richard Rohr who are commonly considered Roman Catholic or Christian.
When I go Shambhala’s website, it quickly becomes apparent that the site is not a Christian based website. The site brags itself in its counter-culture tradition and its book categories span the range of various New Age and Eastern Mysticism topics. Common topics include meditation, mindfulness, Zen….etc.
However, one can find some books being offered with the word Christian in its title or in its descriptions. But most of the handful of books offered are related mainly to Merton, Nouwen, and Rohr. All three of these guys have some serious issues with combining New Age / Eastern Mysticism beliefs into Christianity. These authors are popular today – especially within those who are influenced by the Emerging Church Movement.
For now, without getting into a deep theological discussion, but instead just thinking about a basic question which comes to mind – why does a non-Christian website containing a boat load of resources on Zen, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age….etc, contain books either written by or about these three guys?
Well, there are several posts on this blog stream relating to these guys and their relationship to Eastern philosophies. It is no surprise that these guys promote early Catholic Church mysticism and tradition. As you probably well know by now, a common theme in several of these postings show the relationship between what many in the Emerging Church today call meditation are practices found in Eastern based religions and philosophies.
So, I think it is not an accident that these authors/teachers have resources which are being promoted by a non-Christian website. If you think about the irony of that, it spells out a great deal of some of the major concerns that are affecting most Evangelical & mainline churches today – whether these churches realize it not.