Posts Tagged: "Henri Nouwen"

If I allow myself to be a companion of the poor, if they give me their permission to walk with them…

I’ve been reading a book called Spiritual Journeys – An Anthology of Writings by People Living and Working with Those on the Margins, compiled and edited by Stanislaus Kennedy. Some of the contributors to this book include Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen (my favorites).

The book includes a chapter by Edward J. Farrell – who had been a priest working in a poor parish in inner-city Detroit. I wanted to share some of what he said in this book…

*     *     *

Immense gaps between people exist worldwide. Such disproportionate inequity touches every sphere of human existence: the economic, the educational, the psychological, and the cultural.

Life is not fair.

The experience of the poor has confronted me with my own poverty. I am poor because I never had the genius to make a significant difference for people in need. I am poor because I have done so little. I am poor because I live so comfortably. The Gospel is a constant reminder to me that I must… Read More

What Henri Said

There is much emphasis on notoriety and fame in our society.

Our newspapers and television keep giving us the message: What counts is to be known, praised, and admired, whether you are a writer, an actor, a musician, or a politician.

Still, real greatness is often hidden, humble, simple, and unobtrusive.

It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without… Read More

Advent Day 3: Hope in the Wait

*photo above: inside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan

I am so tired of waiting, aren’t you,
 for the world to become good and beautiful and kind? —Langston Hughes

We don’t like waiting. We want everything right now. Stores announce “Christmas is Here” the day after Thanksgiving… but Christmas isn’t here. Not yet. A more accurate statement would be “Advent is here.” Advent is a word that comes from the Latin and it means “coming.” Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of God’s promise – the arrival of Christ.

I have a tendency to be an agitated waiter—and there’s a rhythm to my agitation… sighing, texting “I’M WAITING,” checking the time again, shaking my head, rolling my eyes, scrolling through my Twitter feed for a momentary distraction, and repeat. When I’m deep in my cycle of agitated waiting, I can feel my blood pressure rise along with feelings of anger and resentment. Nothing good ever comes from this. Agitated waiting doesn’t make me a better person and it doesn’t help whoever or whatever I’m waiting for either.

Waiting isn’t exactly something we’re very good at in 21st century America. We’ve been trained to expect no wait. But maybe waiting isn’t all bad all the time.

Maybe God created the wait for our good.

Expectant mothers and fathers wait. Farmers wait. We all must wait.

The question isn’t whether or not we will have to wait—the question is: what kind of waiters will we be?

A few days ago, my family and I were in New York. While walking down 5th Avenue, my daughter said she wanted to… Read More

Lent Day 31… Love Is Little, Love Is Low

In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds. —Henri Nouwen

Last night I attended my daughter’s school choir concert. The opening song was a Shaker Hymn called “Love Is Little.” The lyrics stuck with me…

 

Love is little, love is low

Love will make our spirits grow

Grow in peace, grow in light

Love will do the thing that’s right

 

Love is tender, love is… Read More

If You Listen You Will Hear

Behold the One who can’t take his eyes off you. Marinate in the vastness of that. —Father Greg Boyle

Our world is a noisy place. Especially right now it seems.

There are so many voices clamoring for our attention.

But there is a voice that matters most. And if you listen, you will hear…

Henri Nouwen said:

Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, “Prove that you are… Read More

Loving People Means Divesting Ourselves of Status

*picture above: Henri Nouwen, attempting to ride a skateboard

 

On Sunday, my sermon was about “leadership” – I was attempting to point out that the world’s idea of leadership doesn’t hold much water in the kingdom of God. The big idea of the message, the call to action, was to “base my leadership success on how well I am following and imitating Jesus.”

At the end of the 5pm service when Shari came up to join me and say some stuff… well, what she said was better than the message. She talked about a young woman named Chelsea, who is a… Read More

Catholics Aren’t Christian

Growing up in Pentecostal church, I picked up on this idea: Catholics aren’t Christians. The typical charges against them were things like praying to Mary, worshiping the Pope, praying to the saints, and elevating the teachings of saints and church leaders to the same level as Scripture. They also had cool necklaces – and I wanted to wear one.

And then there were the wild accusations from the end-times obsessed folks, claiming the current Pope is most definitely, 100% for sure, obviously THE Antichrist (these guys are still doing this too).

I was smart enough to detect the crazy on the doomsday prophets, but the underlying message “Catholics aren’t Christians” stuck with me. When you hear something enough times, you just begin to believe it.

So I believed Catholics aren’t Christians… Read More