This booki belongs alongside Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" on the bookshelf of anybody who's pursuing Christian community.
Vanier describes hiThis booki belongs alongside Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" on the bookshelf of anybody who's pursuing Christian community.
Vanier describes his experiences with community as a leader of L'Arche, a global network of intentional communities for people with develomental disabilities. The wisdom in this book is true, real and powerful.
Definitely a book to read over and over again.
Following is the 1-page book summary paper I wrote for my doctoral class in Rhythms of Living:
Community and Growth by Jean Vanier Paulist (1989)
Description of the Book Community and Growth is Jean Vanier’s reflection on spiritual growth in intentional communities, and is written from his experience with L’Arche communities for developmentally handicapped people.
In the author’s words, Community and Growth “tries to clarify the conditions which are necessary to life in community. It is no thesis or treatise. It is made up of a series of starting-points for reflection, which I have discovered not through books, but through everyday life, through my mistakes, my set-backs and my personal failings, through the inspiration of God and my brothers and sisters, and through the moments of unity between us as well as the tension and suffering. Life in community is painful but it is also a marvelous adventure and a source of life.” (p. 12)
Interpretation of the Book Vanier’s book is organized into eleven sections, each with a topical focus. Within each section there are 10-15 short topics, and each topic includes a smaller number of extended thoughts from a few sentences to a few paragraph. The effect is that of a meditation on community.
Vanier provokes deep thought by telling stories from his experience, from his historical study on monastic Christianity and from his social context. Although it would be difficult to outline Vanier’s thoughts as progressively moving toward a conclusion, the result is similar to holding a diamond in front of the light and rotating it to see different ways in which it shines and reflects the light.
Application The great strength of Community and Growth is that it is written from the field, not from the school. It stands next to Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a classic text on spiritual community, both for its lofty vision and for its realistic portrayal of day-to-day life.
I suggest that anybody interested in spiritual community read this book; in particular, all who live within or wish to live in intentional communities would be well served by reading this book and discussing their way through it with others in community. I suspect that it would give words to the normal challenges of community life. ...more
The last half of this year I've determined to read more broadly into theologies. I've read a bit of this previously but didn't sit with the whole bookThe last half of this year I've determined to read more broadly into theologies. I've read a bit of this previously but didn't sit with the whole book, and I started reading work from brown and black men and women, inside and outside the American story.
Thurman's thesis is this: The religion of Jesus was the story of God's involvement in the transformative life available to everyone, ESPECIALLY the outsiders and outcasts, those with their backs against the wall. American Christianity has mutated and become the story of comfort for those who have privilege and power. He speaks to the power of fear, deception and hate, "the three hounds of the oppressed", and then to the power of love to overcome. But the power of love is costly and difficult, requires endurance and commitment.
It's often said that Martin Luther King Jr. carried a copy of this book with him on many of his travels. I can certainly see that likelihood.
As much as I resound with Thurman's call to the good news of inclusion and the hard work of love, it horrifies me to read this book, written in 1949, against this year's high-profile violent responses by those with power against those without it, and to see that Thurman's call to commitment is as applicable now as it was 65 years ago....more
One of Frederick Buechner's memoirs, Now and Then is an honest look at his various intermingled vocations of minister and writer. If you've read otherOne of Frederick Buechner's memoirs, Now and Then is an honest look at his various intermingled vocations of minister and writer. If you've read other Buechner, whether fiction or nonfiction, you'll enjoy this story from behind the scenes. If not, you'll also enjoy a good memoir from a kind and creative soul.
Of particular interest are Buechner's comparisons of love in Christianity and Buddhism; and Buechner's interaction with Agnes Sanford, one of the wonderful lay leaders of healing prayer in the past century....more
This is a six-star book. Heck, call it eleven stars. Absolutely classic.
Life Together was young Dietrich Bonhoeffer's manifesto about the Christian cThis is a six-star book. Heck, call it eleven stars. Absolutely classic.
Life Together was young Dietrich Bonhoeffer's manifesto about the Christian community, written as he was leading an underground seminary for the confessing church under Nazi German rule. The members of the seminary knew that they would be executed if they were found; Bonhoeffer was martyred in the process.
Still, the book deals with the everyday nature of conflict and falling short between one person and another; it drives us into deeper relationship and forgiveness and community.
I'll teach from this book in academic and lay coursework around spiritual formation in communities and networks. It's a bit Lutheran and liturgical in some spots for some readers, but it's overwhelmingly powerful throughout....more
Carl McColman's Big Book of Christian Mysticism is a readable and engaging introduction to Christian contemplative spirituality. It is well written anCarl McColman's Big Book of Christian Mysticism is a readable and engaging introduction to Christian contemplative spirituality. It is well written and well researched, and will be helpful on the bookshelf of any who wish to experience God in prayer....more
A thorough and broad summary of the Celtic Christian church. This one is unique in that it emphasizes the evangelical and charismatic flavors of thisA thorough and broad summary of the Celtic Christian church. This one is unique in that it emphasizes the evangelical and charismatic flavors of this early church. ...more