Arts at Old First presents: Mary Gordon, with James Martin, "On Thomas Merton"

February 13, 2019, 7:30 PM

Old First Reformed Church
729 Carroll St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
$0.00

Arts at Old First is honored to host acclaimed novelist, critic, and memoirist Mary Gordon to present her new book On Thomas Merton, a meditation on the beloved Trappist monk focused on his life as a writer. Gordon, a practicing Catholic who has written about her own faith and twentieth century Catholicism, discusses the book with fellow author and Jesuit priest Father James Martin, as part of Old First's ongoing literary series on art and faith.  Audience Q&A and book signing to follow.

Seating is limited, and RVSP via Brown Paper Tickets is required. A wine reception follows the event. Books offered for sale by Community Bookstore. A portion of all book and ticket sales benefits the Old First Restoration Fund.

Please note: online ticket sales end at 7:30 PM on February 12, but additional tickets are available at the door.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

From the best-selling novelist and memoirist: a deeply personal view of her discovery of the celebrated modern monk and thinker through his writings.

“If Thomas Merton had been a writer and not a monk, we would never have heard of him. If Thomas Merton had been a monk and not a writer, we would never have heard of him.”

So begins acclaimed author Mary Gordon in this probing, candid exploration of the man who became the face and voice of mid-twentieth-century American Catholicism. Approaching Merton “writer to writer,” Gordon illuminates his life and work through his letters, journals, autobiography, and fiction. Pope Francis has celebrated Merton as “a man of dialogue,” and here Gordon shows that the dialogue was as much internal as external—an unending conversation, and at times a heated conflict, between Merton the monk and Merton the writer. 

Rich with excerpts from Merton’s own writing, On Thomas Merton produces an intimate portrait of a man who “lived life in all its imperfectability, reaching toward it in exaltation, pulling back in anguish, but insisting on the primacy of his praise as a man of God.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mary Gordon is the author of eight novels, including Final PaymentsPearl, and The Love of My Youth; six works of nonfiction, including the memoirs The Shadow Man and Circling My Mother; and three collections of short fiction, including The Stories of Mary Gordon, which was awarded the Story Prize. She has received many other honors, including a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York City.

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER:
Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication, and author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and My Life with the Saints, which Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of 2006. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media, having appeared on all the major networks, and in such diverse outlets as The Colbert Report, NPR's Fresh Air, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.  Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

ABOUT ARTS AT OLD FIRST:
Arts at Old First carries out Old First's mission to offer hospitality to creative and art-minded community groups. This includes the annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash, the annual Park Slope Messiah Sing-along, and various other events supporting the visual, literary, and musical arts. Arts at Old First events benefit the Old First Restoration Fund.

ABOUT OLD FIRST BROOKLYN:
Old First Reformed Church, founded in 1654, is a diverse, open, and supportive church community that welcomes persons of every ethnicity, race, and orientation to worship, serve, and love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Its 200 members and adherents are from all walks of life and reflect a diversity of backgrounds.  Old First's main sanctuary has been closed since 2011 when plaster fell from the ceiling, revealing wear in the 19th century structure. Listed on the National Register of Historic Place and a hub for community events in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, the building is undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration project, supported by grants as well as community contributions. More at oldfirstbrooklyn.org/restoration.