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"KEEPING FAITH is a tour de force -- a moving memoir of an American boyhood as well as a deftly written exploration of Christian and Buddhist monasticism. Fenton Johnson's urgent inquiry traces religious impulse to its source in the very springs of human desire -- where he finds much longing, much trouble, and enduring beauty." --Patricia Hampl, author of A ROMANTIC EDUCATION
"Johnson's account of his passage from skepticism to faith is exceedingly refreshing and pure in its honesty..." Publishers Weekly
Posted August 25, 2003
The premise of 'Keeping Faith' is compelling. The reawakening of curiosity at the extraordinary meeting of Buddist and Trappist Monks following the life long work of Thomas Merton grabbed me from the beginning. The first-hand accounts of life among both sets of Monks in the months that follow was illuminating. This part of the book is unlike anything written on the subject. However, midway through the book Johnson strays from the expertise and credibility of recounting his own experiences. He begins an resitation of Church history that is inaccurate both historically and theologically and reflects a gay and liberal world view. That he would present such information as an arguement after reflection on all the facts would be valid. That he presents such disputed information as fact without examination is void of the credibility of his early narrative. Through this muddled middle the book loses its way and ends with a self-centered theology that gives Johnson spirituality on his own terms. His discovery is not really a discovery at all, and the exercise is rendered pointless.
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