armchair cultural observation since 1995

News and Notes: Merton documentary to debut

Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk who was one of the most important spiritual voices of the 20th century, is celebrated in a new PBS documentary by filmmaker Morgan Atkinson.

Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton will air on Dec. 14, 2008, a few days after the 40th anniversary of Merton’s death on Dec. 10. A companion book also entitled “Soul Searching” (Liturgical Press) adds to the portrait of Merton with additional rich material.

The film and book contemplate the life and work of the “believing beatnik” who influenced generations of seekers through his writing, particularly his memoir “The Seven Storey Mountain,” in print for 60 years.

“Merton connects with a remarkably wide array of readers,” stated Atkinson. “He thought outside of conventional ‘spiritual boxes’… Despite his extraordinary gifts, he had an abundance of human foibles and wasn’t too proud to admit it. It’s his struggle with his humanity that makes his writing and life so interesting.”

Clips from the film can be viewed at:
morganatkinson.com/images/merton.html

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