Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of a historic peacemaking retreat with Merton

Feb
3

One of the joys of assessing manuscripts by new authors is discovering both a good story and a good storyteller.  So it was a delight working with Gordon Oyer, a midwest Mennonite, on his book project documenting the historic retreat of pioneering peacemakers with Thomas Merton in the fall of 1964 (in photo above), which included A.J. Muste, J.H. Yoder, the Berrigan brothers, Jim Forest and others.  

Three powerful faith traditions--Anabaptist peace ecclesiology, Catholic radicalism and Protestant political theology--converged for the first time at that legendary retreat at Merton's hermitage.  The resulting synergy has fueled North American Christian activism ever since.  Any of us who seek today to bear public witness to the gospel, justice and political imagination are truly “children” of that conversation a half a century ago; whenever we gather in a retreat setting to discern the times and our response, we are walking in their footsteps.  Oyer has gifted us with a magnificent chronicle of that seminal eventin his forthcoming Pursuing The Spiritual Roots of Protest, now out from Cascade Books.  

Two retreats around the book are being planned.  The first is just two months away, and will be held at Kirkridge in PA.  I urge you to check it out (share the Facebook page with your circles).  Another is being planned for October 24-25 at the Merton Center in Louisville, KY.  Please help spread the word!