Pendle Hill Pamphlet 224, 1979
In The Belly of a Paradox BookedPDF
Parker J. Palmer

"This pamphlet is a happy surprise. It is a surprise because of the smiling way in which it calls our attention to the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. In this, it differs from most writing on him. Merton, who never thought of himself as a scholar, has probably inspired more scholarly theses than any other contemporary spiritual writer.

"Parker Palmer, whose own life is so full of creative contradictions, has found in Merton a brother whose inconsistencies and irregularities invite us to enter them deeply and to discover there, beyond all contradictions, the One who cannot be caught, grasped, or understood but only intuited and recognized with a smile.

"Parker must have loved Merton as much as he studied him, and must have understood Merton long before he had worked his way through Merton's bibliography. This essay is short, fresh, and obviously written with a twinkle in the eye. And the greatest surprise of all is that it not only leads us closer to the spirit of Merton, but closer to Him in whose service Merton juggled contradiction and paradox."

From the Foreword by Henri J. M. Nouwen