It would be fair to say that we are conditioned to measure ourselves in terms of our productivity and accomplishments.
We learn from a young age to gauge our worth by comparing ourselves to others. Our achievements. Our skills. Even our possessions. We define ourselves by asking habitually and subconsciously, “Am I more or less than you?” And we construct an identity – a singular sense of self and self-worth – by differentiating ourselves from other people.
Even when we know that life’s success and failures are not what define us, it’s still a pretty easy trap to fall into.
That’s why it’s so good to have a new opportunity for Henri Nouwen to speak into our lives. And that’s why we’re so excited about the new book Community.
“The great news of the gospel is that self-identification based on outstanding differences makes us competitive and violent people who hold on compulsively to our distinctions and defend them at all costs. Jesus Christ reveals to us that our real identity is not to be found on the edges of our existence where we can brag about our specialties, but in the center where we can recognize our basic human sameness and discover each other as brothers and sisters, children of the same God.”
— Henri Nouwen
Henri Nouwen wrote and spoke often about community during his life and ministry as pastor, priest, professor and prolific author. His search for community propelled his writing and many of his most significant life choices, including his decision in 1986 to leave his teaching duties at Harvard Divinity School to serve as chaplain to the L’Arche Daybreak community in Richmond Hill, Ontario. There, living alongside those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their assistants, his understanding and commitment to community ripened and matured.
And yet, surprisingly, he never actually wrote a book on the subject.
Researched and compiled by Stephen Lazarus from a trove of Henri’s previously unpublished material as well as a number of his published articles over many years, Henri Nouwen’s Community provides a complete picture of Nouwen’s understanding of Christian community and why he felt it to be such a necessary and integral part of the spiritual life in all its many dimensions.
Join us Wednesday, November 24th for greetings and introductions. Then beginning Sunday, November 28th, we’ll journey through Advent reading and discussing this timely and meaningful new publication.
Facilitated by Ray Glennon, the Advent online book discussion is a wonderful way to celebrate Jesus’ arrival as Emmanuel (God with us) into our global community at Christmas. What a wonderful way to give special meaning to your Christmas preparations. We do hope you will join us.
A reading schedule will be posted prior to the beginning of the book discussion.
Need a copy of the book? It is available at many bookstores, or you can order it online through the Bookstore tab in the menu bar above.