Thomas Merton was a monk, a poet, a contemplative, a peace activist, a nurturer of interreligious dialogue—and much more. Countless books have been written exploring most of these facets of Merton's life and work in the years since his tragic death in 1968.
I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out." So complained 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot. It is true that much that passes for theology fails to illumine the path, and it does not help to claim that nontheological reasoning is often equally opaque. Thankfully, a few lights shine brightly.
Egypt is facing a severe water shortage, which is getting worse as the population grows. Researchers at Alexandria University are developing an innovative desalination process using a membrane that binds with the salt as salt water passes through it. Since no electricity is used, the process requires about half the energy that other desalination methods use. It is hoped that the membrane, consisting of five components, can be mass-produced and used worldwide (Christian Science Monitor, October 28).