Reading: Prologue, p. 1 to 5
I wasn’t thinking of using the Rodleighs as illustrations for great spiritual
truths, but was simply trying to write a good story. —Henri Nouwen p. 5
Along the way, you may also catch some unexpected
insights. —Carolyn Whitney-Brown p. 5
A warm welcome to each of you as we gather at this “most wonderful time of the year” for another Henri Nouwen Society book discussion. As always, a beautiful community of people will gather for a fruitful discussion as we journey toward Christmas together. If you’ve joined us in the past, welcome back! If this is your first book discussion, we are so glad you are here!
This Advent we will read and discuss the recently published Flying, Falling, Catching: An Unlikely Story of Finding Freedom—a unique collaboration between a spiritual master, the late Henri Nouwen, and his friend and colleague Carolyn Whitney-Brown writing today. As Carolyn describes in the Prologue, during the last five years of his life, Henri Nouwen became close friends with a group of trapeze artists, The Flying Rodleighs. Through the Rodleighs, Henri discovered more about himself and gained significant new insights into how to live a spiritual life. Henri began writing about his experience with the trapeze troop, however, his book remained unfinished at his untimely death. In this book, Carolyn presents Henri’s unpublished trapeze writings framed by the true story of his rescue through a hotel window by paramedics during his first heart attack. With Carolyn as our guide (using Henri’s own words wherever possible to narrate the story), we will follow Henri on his deeply personal, often difficult, and ultimately fruitful and inspiring spiritual journey.
While our primary source will be the book itself, you might be interested in resources that Carolyn has posted on her author website (https://www.writersunion.ca/member/carolyn-whitney-brown) including book launch events, podcast interviews, and book reviews. We will refer to a few of these in the coming weeks.
I’m looking forward sharing a spirit-filled Advent season with this online community of seekers as we gather together to to discuss Flying, Falling, Catching by Henri Nouwen and Carolyn Whitney-Brown. Our discussion begins in earnest on Sunday, November 27th with the first reading assignment and suggested questions.
As we begin our journey together, it’s always nice to know something about our companions. 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 and read Henri Nouwen and whether or not you have participated in previous Henri Nouwen Society online discussions.
- What you hope to gain from this experience.
Please scroll to the bottom of the page to post a comment introducing yourself and to share other thoughts as we embark on our Advent journey.
Shown below my signature is a brief personal introduction followed by the book discussion instructions for those joining us for the first time or interested in a review.
Ray Glennon, Moderator: Ray and his wife Dawn live in Columbia, Maryland. He came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he discovered The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass in Singapore at a difficult and transformative point in his life. He began participating in Henri Nouwen Society book discussions in 2010 and has served as a moderator since 2014. He has developed and led several adult education courses based on the life and work of Henri Nouwen. Ray and his wife are professed members of Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) and he volunteers in various ministries in his Catholic parish and at the Franciscan Shrine of St. Anthony. You may contact Ray by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter.
Henri Nouwen Society Online Book Discussion Instructions
Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.
Beginning this Sunday, November 27th, and each Sunday throughout Advent, a new entry or post will be added to the book discussion (the blog) home page. The post will identify the reading for the week, present a brief moderator’s reflection, and suggest some questions for discussion. Participants are invited and encouraged to comment on the post by responding to the suggested questions, by sharing their own reflections, and by replying to the comments of others throughout the week.
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. After you submit a new comment or a reply, it needs to be “approved” either by me or Will at the Henri Nouwen Society so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page. If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at email@example.com.