Thomas Merton and the Individual Witness: Kingdom Making in a Post-Christian, Post-Truth World

By David E. Oberson

David Oberson illuminates Thomas Merton’s unique view of his own society, aiding Christians in navigating a post-Christian, post-truth world.

ISBN: 9780718897703


Thomas Merton proclaimed, over sixty years ago, that we were living in a post-Christian world. Since then, in an increasingly secular society where the influence of the institutional church is under doubt, Thomas Merton’s reflections are more salient than ever. David Oberon’s discussion and analysis brings this mystic, monk and spiritual leader’s view of the opportunities presented to Christians by cultural changes to the forefront, focussing on how the individual’s witness can take precedence.

Oberon situates the reader in the current cultural context, and handles Merton’s work with care and clarity. He illuminates Thomas Merton’s unique view of his own society, which credibly speaks to our present, aiding Christians in navigating a post-Christian, post-truth world.

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About the Author

David E. Orberson teaches theology at Bellarmine University, Louisville, and studied at Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He has authored multiple works on Thomas Merton.



1 Where Are We and How Did We Get Here?
2 Post-Truth
3 Why Merton?
4 Merton and the Individual Witness, Part I
5 Merton and the Individual Witness, Part II


Endorsements and Reviews

At a time of increasing political and religious polarisation, David Orberson rightly points us to the witness of Thomas Merton, a contemplative monk and writer whose voice is needed today. Orberson shows how Merton’s focus on dialogue rooted in genuine encounter provides a convicting message of hope that can steer us through our own tumultuous times. Gregory K. Hillis, author of Man of Dialogue: Thomas Merton’s Catholic Vision

Orberson contextualises Merton for the modern-day Christian, allowing Merton to join the conversation about what it means to live in a post-truth culture. Acknowledging Christian complicity, Orberson and Merton remind the reader of the ways we’ve become distracted from the injustices which require our action. Cassidy Hall, Director of Days of a Stranger>

Orberson paints a comprehensive and compelling portrait of contemporary religious life and the trends, beliefs, and insights influencing people of faith as well as the prodigious number who describe themselves as spiritual seekers. Into this picture Orberson inserts the timeless wisdom of Thomas Merton, whose reflections on technology, consumerism, racial justice, war, peace, nonviolence, and true communion with God and with others is as relevant today as when he first wrote on those subjects decades ago. Judith Valente, co-author of How to Be: A Monk and a Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship