By Father Columba
For anyone who has visited Mepkin as a retreatant, they will know that during the midday meal, which is taken in silence, one of the monks reads each day from a book. This book is read through completely and when it is finished, it is replaced by another book. And so, over the year, we have the opportunity to listen to some very good material. From now on, I will write an occasional piece on the web site mentioning the book we’re reading and giving you some thoughts about it, in case you’d like to get the book and join with us in reading it.
The book we are currently reading is Writing Straight with Crooked Lines: A Memoir by Jim Forest. It was published in 2020 by August Books. Jim Forest has lived an extraordinary life and been a witness and disciple of Christ. He has dedicated his whole life to peacemaking and has used the Gospel and Catholic social teaching for his compass. In reading this book, you will learn a lot about nonviolent commitment to peace and justice. It is beautifully written, and one of the joys is that it will introduce you to some extraordinary characters. You will get to know them, not just as well-known figures, but in all their humanity as Forest shares stories with anecdotes about them, including Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Father Dan Barrigan, Phil Barrigan, Thich Naht Hanh, Henri Nouwen, Al Hassler, and Joan Baez. We have still a fair bit to go in this book, and I am looking forward to reading about the author’s trip to Rome, where he met Pope John Paul II, and his journey behind the Iron Curtain. Also to come is the account of Forest’s conversion to Orthodox Christianity.
The Brothers are enjoying this book, and it is one I gladly recommend to anyone.