Well I’m off to the other side of the pond for the next week or so to deliver academic papers at two conferences, the first in England and the second in Italy. The British conference is the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland meeting, which takes place every two years. The International Thomas Merton Society, the larger organization, hosts a conference in North America every two years and on the alternate year the TMSGBI hosts a conference in Europe. For the last several meetings the conference has taken place on the campus of Oakham School, an elite British boarding school that is Thomas Merton’s alma mater. It’s located in the very cozy little town of Oakham in County Rutland in the British Midlands. I have had the great privilege to present papers there for the previous two meetings and I’m very much looking forward to returning this weekend. I have made lasting friendships with Merton scholars from Europe and I’ve really come to enjoy my time spent in the town of Oakham. The title of my paper this year is: “Raids on the Impossible: The Poetics of Nonviolence in Merton, Caputo and Hauerwas.”
Following this conference in the UK, I’ll head to Italy where I’m presenting at a conference on interreligious dialogue located in the home land of the Franciscan family, Assisi! The conference is titled, Where We Dwell in Common: Pathways for Dialogue in the 21st Century. This conference is drawing top scholars from around the United States and Europe. I’m humbled to be on the same program with such an outstanding collection of theologians and other academics. What is also nice is that a number of friends that I’ve met over the years at different academic gatherings and conferences stateside will be in attendance or presenting papers too, so I’m looking forward to catching up with them. While the schedule will surely be a busy one, just having the opportunity to spend a few days in the town of Assisi is exciting. It’s been eight years since I was last there and it is the first time that I’ve been to Assisi as a Friar.
So if my postings are somewhat infrequent, please pardon the delay. I’ll try to give a little play-by-play as best I can throughout the travels, so stay tuned! It will all depend on internet access at various locations throughout my travels and will also depend on my schedule during these conferences. Please keep me in prayer and remember all those who are traveling from various locations to reach both of these very important gatherings.
Peace and good!