Reading: Forward by Richard Rohr, OFM and Editor’s Note by Gabrielle Earnshaw
As much as I knew that Henri Nouwen was a spiritual writer, in real life he was spiritual seeker and believer—always filled with the desire for
more wisdom and for more capacity to love.
Richard Rohr, OFM from the Forward
A warm welcome to each of you—friends returning and people joining us for the first
time—as we gather at this “most wonderful time of the year” for a special book discussion. This Advent we have the rare opportunity to read and discuss a never-before published work by Henri Nouwen shortly after its release.
Following Jesus – Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety is based on a series of six talks that Henri gave during Lent 1985 to an ecumenical community gathered in the basement of St. Paul’s Church near Harvard University where he was teaching. This was an anxious time in Henri’s life as he was unhappy at Harvard and seeking a new direction. Four short months after giving these talks, Henri resigned from Harvard and joined the L’Arche community where over time he found the home he had been searching for.
Deftly transcribed and faithfully edited by Nouwen archivist and scholar Gabrielle Earnshaw, Following Jesus is Nouwen’s personal testimony about how to live a spiritual life. Through Scripture and his keen understanding of human nature and our woundedness, Nouwen gently guides us to follow Jesus in our anxious times by taking the six steps we will explore in the coming weeks. As we journey toward Christmas together, perhaps we will come to understand, as Henri did, that “(Following Jesus is) to live fully in the present, because God is always the God of now, of here. The day in which we live is the day of the Lord.”
Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.
Beginning on December 1st and each Sunday during Advent, a new entry or post will be added to the book discussion (the blog) home page. By clicking on the Home link in the black bar under the photograph at the top of the blog you will know you are in the current week. You can then click on the bold title to open the post and any comments. The title of post will include the dates and topics for the week ahead. The post will present a brief moderator’s reflection and suggest some questions for discussion. Participants are encouraged to comment on the post, by responding to the suggested questions, by sharing their own reflections, or by replying to the comments of others.
To read the comments or to leave a comment of your own, scroll down to the bottom of the post. If you don’t see any comments, click on the small link at the bottom that says
## Comments. To leave a new comment, continue scrolling down and use the “Leave a Reply” box. To reply to someone else’s comment, click the Reply link directly below their comment and complete the box. After you submit a new comment or a reply, I as moderator or Will at the Nouwen Society need to “approve” it, so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page. The instructions on how to submit and reply to comments are also included at the bottom of the Reading Schedule (follow link in the black bar above). If you have any questions about the blog, please don’t hesitate to ask either by submitting a comment or sending me an email at the address in my bio below.
As we begin our journey together, it’s always nice to learn a little bit about each of you. Over the next few days you are encouraged to introduce yourself. You may choose to share:
- Your general geographic location
- To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why
- How you came to “know/read” Henri Nouwen and whether or not you participated in a previous discussion.
- What you hope to experience during this discussion
- Any insights, thoughts, or questions that arose as you read the Forward by Richard Rohr and Gabrielle Earnshaw’s Editor’s Note.
Welcome to each of you and I look forward to your introductions!
We begin Following Jesus in earnest this Sunday, December 1st. Join us.
RAY GLENNON: Ray came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he discovered Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass at the cathedral in Singapore at an important point in his life. He began participating in Henri Nouwen Society book discussions in 2010 and has served as a moderator since 2014. He recently led a six-week adult education course on “Henri Nouwen and A Spirituality of Living.” Ray volunteers in his parish Confirmation program and other ministries. He and his wife are candidates in the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS). You may contact Ray by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/@RayGlennon.