Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest

Merton, Berrigan, Yoder, and Muste at the Gethsemani Abbey Peacemakers Retreat

By Gordon Oyer

Foreword by Jim Forest

Afterword by John Dear

Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest

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  • ISBN: 9781620323779
  • Pages: 298
  • Publication Date: 2/28/2014
  • Retail Price: $35.00
Web Price: $28.00
Web Price: $28.00
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  • ISBN: 9781620323779
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 2/28/2014
  • Retail Price: $35.00
Web Price: $28.00
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Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest

Merton, Berrigan, Yoder, and Muste at the Gethsemani Abbey Peacemakers Retreat

By Gordon Oyer

Foreword by Jim Forest

Afterword by John Dear

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781620323779
  • Pages: 298
  • Publication Date: 2/28/2014
  • Retail Price: $35.00
Web Price: $28.00
ebook-logo

eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781620323779
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 2/28/2014
  • Retail Price: $35.00
Web Price: $28.00
Web Price: $28.00
 

*All eBooks are non-returnable

** Click here to review our ePub FAQ and policies.

About-

2015 Thomas Merton "Louie" award winner for a publication that provides "fresh direction and provocative insight to Merton Studies," presented by the International Thomas Merton Society.

In the fall of 1964, Trappist monk Thomas Merton prepared to host an unprecedented gathering of peace activists. "About all we have is a great need for roots," he observed, "but to know this is already something." His remark anticipated their agenda--a search for spiritual roots to nurture sound motives for "protest."

This event's originality lay in the varied religious commitments present. Convened in an era of well-kept faith boundaries, members of Catholic (lay and clergy), mainline Protestant, historic peace church, and Unitarian traditions participated. Ages also varied, ranging from twenty-three to seventy-nine. Several among the fourteen who gathered are well known today among faith-based peace advocates: the Berrigan brothers, Jim Forest, Tom Cornell, John Howard Yoder, A. J. Muste, and Merton himself. During their three days together, insights and wisdom from these traditions would intersect and nourish each other. By the time they parted, their effort had set down solid roots and modeled interreligious collaboration for peace work that would blossom in coming decades.

Here for the first time, the details of those vital discussions have been reconstructed and made accessible to again inspire and challenge followers of Christ to confront the powers and injustices of today.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"If Thomas Merton held a retreat in the '60s on the spiritual roots of protest--attended by Daniel Berrigan, John Howard Yoder, A. J. Muste, and ten more great Christian peacemakers--would you want to be there? Gordon Oyer's exhaustively researched, inspiring story of just such a legendary retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani feels like faith on trial at the edge of the end of the world. Read it and see."
--Jim Douglass, author, JFK and the Unspeakable

"A meticulously researched account of a historical event whose ramifications are as apposite today as when they were first discussed, perhaps more so. The prophetic voices and the witness of the retreat participants are brought to life in Oyer's engaging narrative, echoing from the Gethsemani woods down through the ages, still struggling to be heard against the techno-babble, the inertia felt by so many, and the ever more sophisticated war machine of our world today."
--Paul M. Pearson, Director, Thomas Merton Center

"Three powerful faith traditions . . . converged for the first time at that legendary1964 retreat hosted by Merton. . . . 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 century ago. . . . We are walking in their footsteps. Oyer has gifted us with a magnificent chronicle of the contemporary spiritual roots of protest."
--Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries

Contributors-

Gordon Oyer
Jim Forest
John Dear

Bio(s)-

Gordon Oyer learned to question priorities that drive Western society early on, reared in the Anabaptist Mennonite tradition. Oyer grew up on a small dairy and grain farm in central Illinois, and received his BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His readings in nonviolence introduced him to writings of Thomas Merton, which in turn led him to appreciate Merton's contemplative reflections and social critique. Beyond these influences, his parents' love of history encouraged him to seek insights into faith and culture through historical inquiry. His professional career in University of Illinois administrative offices offered the occasion to complete his MA in history at its Urbana-Champaign campus. These experiences combined to inform his interest in the 1964 Merton-led retreat of peacemakers and their consultation about spiritual roots to challenge America's embrace of violence and related maladies. Parallel to his professional career, he participated in denominational history projects and leadership. This included serving on various regional Mennonite historical committees, assisting with aspects of Illinois Mennonite Heritage Center programming, and serving on the board of the Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA, including a two-year term as conference president. He served eight years as editor of Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly and has written various articles on Mennonite history. Oyer lives in Champaign, Illinois. His work, Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest, has heightened his desire to "continue the conversation" Merton and thirteen others began fifty years ago at Gethsemani Abbey.

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