Tag Archives: spiritual reading

To Be or Not To Be Therefore To Be…Or Not – Thoughts on The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

On the surface Thomas Keating’s The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation has the appearance of being a thought provoking book.  It is in fact two lectures he gave at The Divinity School at Harvard University.  The problem is Keating brings nothing new to the table and what he brings is a bit of a deception.  Continue reading

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Thomas Merton: A companion for the solitary walk

Merton is deep.  I knew this going into this volume.  I’ve read other works by Merton and I have encountered just how high my waders need to be.  I think that is what draws me to his writing.  He forces me to think and does so without tossing in scholarly rhetoric and all those words and catch phrases that so many Catholic theologians seem to be enamored with.  Merton makes me think using average, everyday language.  When reading Merton I don’t have to stop and consider if I have the proper understanding of a school of thought that has been referenced, or if I have the proper definition of some esoteric word rarely seen outside the works of theological tomes.  Continue reading

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The Next Leg of the Journey of 100 Books; Anne Rivers Siddons and Thomas Merton

The next two reads on my Journey of 100 Books will probably prove to be quite different from each other.  One is to entertain me.  The other is to make me think.  That’s my usual pattern for reading.

For entertainment I am diving into Homeplace by Anne Rivers Siddons.  So far I’ve read two books by Siddons that I liked (Heartbreak Hotel and The House Next Door) and one I absolutely could not drag myself through (Fox’s Earth).  So far the balance is in her favor.  Until the balance tips I’ll keep reading her.

For the thought provoking side I’m taking up Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton.  Thom is deep.  He was a Trappist monk until his untimely death.  He is also controversial in Catholic circles mostly because of how much he draws from Eastern religion later in his career.  Thom makes me think.  He makes me think about my inner self and, as the staunch social commentator that he was,  he makes me think about the world around me, and how the two are inextricably woven together.  I have of late been considering the depth, or perhaps the shallowness, of my own interior life and Merton is always good about showing sides of myself to which I may be prone to turn a blind eye.

These next two steps in the Journey of 100 Books will be interesting.  I’m already getting the itch whenever I drive by a bookstore or yard sale.  I’ve fallen off the wagon once and blamed it on a special occasion.  I am determined to get through my 100 books already owned before buying more.

Here’s to the next fork in the road.

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No Rules, Just Right

I had once gotten it into my head that I wanted to be a Benedictine Oblate.  I felt this after being swept up by the romance of Kathleen Norris’ The Cloister Walk.  I dove in.  I found a monastery in Indiana that took long distance oblates and began my investiture.  Basically I was supposed to pray daily, read as much of The Liturgy of the Hours as I could fit into my normal life and read prescribed selections from the The Rule of Saint Benedict each day.

It didn’t take me long to discover that I was not, never had been, and never would be that disciplined.  Continue reading

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