The quotable Thomas Merton

Introduction to a "Signs of the Times" collection of Thomas Merton quotes

by Ken Sehested

My favorite definition of God is Thomas Merton’s:
God is “mercy within mercy within mercy.” —Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB

A special issue of “Signs of the Times” devoted to Thomas Merton (31 January 1915 – 10 December 1968) quotes was already in the works, to mark the centennial of his birth. But when Pope Francis, in his historic address to a joint session of Congress, lifted his name for special recognition (along with three other Americans), it seemed timely to move up the schedule. Read more ›

Our job is not to end war

A collection of texts on war

by Ken Sehested

        Our job, as Christians, is not to bring an end to war. Any more than it’s President Bush’s job to “rid the world of evil.” There is a dangerous arrogance in both sentiments.

        Our calling is to speak the truth, to expose propaganda to public scrutiny, to call into question the self-serving justifications, to betray the lie of military necessity.

        To those who say this is how it’s always been—and how it always will be, we say No: another future is possible. Read more ›

Reversal of fortunes

What if schools enjoyed pork-barrel largesse and the military depended on corporate charity?

by Ken Sehested

     One recent slow morning, in late August, the grocery stores’ circulars in the newspaper caught my attention. I began to wonder how things might be different if certain fortunes were reversed. Instead of “back-to-school” it’s “back-to-basic-training” discount offers.

     Imagine, if you will:

      •At Ingles, earn $1,000 for mops for the Navy, boots for the Army, when you use your Advantage™ Card. And keep your eyes out for our “Box Tops for Top Guns” special deals to ensure cockpit decal maintenance. Read more ›

Molly Ivins quotes

A brief collection of personal favorites

My collection of favorite quotes from political commentator and satirist Molly Ivins (blessed be her memory). —Ken Sehested

•So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. ’Cause you don’t always win. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

•It's hard to argue against cynics—they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side

•I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag. Read more ›

Meditations on Labor and Leisure

Several reflections on Sabbath keeping

by Ken Sehested

#1: Sabbath House mission

Written as a steering committee member shaping the mission statement
of a new retreat center, with particular reference to serving
the needs of perenially over-extended clergy
Read more ›