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In Thomas Merton, conference panelists see a model for racial justice and healing

If the influential Catholic writer Thomas Merton were alive today, he would likely have strong words about police brutality and racial profiling.

Back in 1963, Merton called the civil rights movement "the most providential hour, the kairos not merely of the Negro, but of the white man."

His words echoed Saturday among black pastors at a conference, titled "Sacred Journeys and the Legacy of Thomas Merton," hosted by Louisville's Center for Interfaith Relations. The event marked the 100th anniversary of Merton's birth.

The core message of the Gospel: God first loved us


The lessons today really demand our close listening, our paying very close attention, trying to absorb what they tell us because really, this is the core message of the Gospel. A year or so ago, Pope Francis published what he called an exhortation, a letter to the church. He called it "The Joy of the Gospel" -- Evangelii Gaudium. It's been circulating around the world now.

Jesus loves me


Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) is often regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century. Some have called his body of work "a theology of the Word."

He exercised profound influence on other 20th-century figures, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jürgen Moltmann and John Updike. Barth actively opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, and vigorously attempted to prevent the Nazis from establishing a state church.

Church institutions have to continue to change through our experience of Jesus


As I was reflecting on these Scripture lessons during this past week, I was reminded of a book that I had read quite a long time ago that had left a great impact on me. It's called Jesus Before Christianity. In other words, before there was a structured, organized, institutional church, in the very beginning -- Jesus before all that organization took place. It's written by a Dominican theologian priest, Fr. Albert Nolan.



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November 20-December 3, 2015


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