A Christian Society

I recently ran into this quote from one of Thomas Merton’s lesser-known books:

“A Christian society? Such a society is not one that is run by priests, not even necessarily one in which everybody has to go to Church: it is one in which work is for production and not for profit, and production is not for its own sake, not merely for the sake of those who own the means of production, but for all who contribute in a constructive way to the process of production. A Christian society is one in which men give their share of labor and intelligence and receive their share of the fruits of the labor of all, and in which all this is seen in relation to a transcendental purpose, the “history of salvation,” the Kingdom of God, a society centered upon the divine truth and the divine mercy.”
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

What Merton seems to be saying to his readers, and to us some 50 years later (published first in 1968) is that a Christian society, a Christian Nation, is not one in which the Right Party is in rulership, or the legal system is in alignment with Right Theology.. but one in which everybody participates AND receives the benefits of their participation, for the benefit of each other.  Not for the benefit of the priests, the rulers, the businesses… but for the benefit of each other.

This is worth fighting for, and being an active activist for.

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