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Community And Growth

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  466 ratings  ·  47 reviews
This book is a recipe for successful living together. It is a series of starting points for reflection discovered through everyday life, through mistakes and set-backs, through inspiration, through moments of dissension as well as unity. To Vanier, living with others is an adventure whose end is interior liberation -- the freedom to love and be loved. The greatest of Vanie ...more
Published September 18th 1989 by Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (first published October 1st 1979)
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This was required formation reading as a secular Carmelite. Having finished those minimums, I have continued to enjoy referring to this book for meditations on living in community with others, which is what this book is all about. It can be helpful for group or personal reflection. Its honesty, depth and yet straightforward simplicity are refreshing. Highly recommended.
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Commited Christians
Recommended to Peter by: Lawrence Cooper

Every Christian should read this!
A feast of hard won wisdom and outworked revelation.
Food for the soul, Spiritual meat, milk and honey
I want to live where this is practised!
Lisa Kentgen
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book for my research on modern models of community. Jean Vanier is a theologian and philosopher, and remarkable human being, from a Catholic tradition. As someone who has deepened spiritually through eastern contemplative traditions, I read this text in a way that asked the question of whether I could apply it to community without needing to invoke God or Jesus which is central to Vanier's faith. The answer for me was yes. I did not give it five stars because it was reliant on a trad ...more
The other John
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, sociology
This is one of the best books on my shelf. Jean Vanier has lived in the L'Arche community for a number of years and Community and Growth talks about the challenges and blessings of living in community. And while many people don't live communally, it offers insight in basic human relationships. I decided to reread it as I wrestled with some issues we've been having at our church. It offered some comfort, but also pointed out places where I had fallen short in being a good neighbor and member of t ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Community and Growth by Jean Vanier is one of the best books I have read relating to living in a spiritual community in today's world. There were so many passages I underlined as significant. One of the most challenging for many may be his criticism of the over use of television in a community. Since this is an older book it was written well before the age of texting and I Phones, Smart Phones, I Pads, etc. We have so many more temptations to draw us away from being present to the ones with whom ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Many interesting thoughts on building community. The last 1/3 of the book was basically restating the same ideas from the first half or so. Switch out Christian for Thelemic, Christ for Horus/your HGA, and skip over the occasional we're-not-worthy attitude, and you'll undoubtedly find things applicable to OTO and other religious organizations. ...more
Jean Vanier: Living. Saint. Weakness is part and parcel with humanity; and personal weakness becomes salvifically instructive if we have the guts to humbly admit, examine, and ultimately own ours.
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book to experience and grow with. I don't want to return my copy to the library because it would be great to reference it in the future! ...more
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Community And Growth by Jean Vanier (Shorter Book Reaction)

Our world needs a rekindled sense of community. We sense it; we feel the isolation and our isolating habits and we groan for something more.

Vanier sensed this many years ago when he wrote the original version of *Community and Growth* (1979). His wise words carry just as much wisdom for today as they did thirty years ago.

“The essence of community,” Vanier wrote, “is a sense of belonging.” (p.16) “It is a place where people are earthed
Glen Grunau
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche community for the mentally handicapped and their helpers, has written a masterpiece on community. In 1986 Henri Nouwen left Harvard University to join one of these Christian communities of ‘L’Arche’ just outside of Toronto. He lived in this community until his death in 1996. Henri Nouwen is one of my favourite spiritual writers. His humility in his suffering has been of great encouragement to me. Henri's life in this community undoubtedly had a profound influe ...more
Pat Loughery
This 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 Growt
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I've read, and re-read parts, of this over a long period, which I think is the best way to use it. I'll return to it again - very thought provoking on how we see our communities and our own place in them, and ways of living in community. ...more
Thomas Christianson
One of the best books I've ever. His voice is prophetic, and we should have listened; but it's not too late to start. ...more
Sean Post
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Vanier has not written this book so much as he has lived it. Robert Clinton describes a stage that some Christian leaders are privileged to experienced called: afterglow. One gets the sense that "Community and Growth" is an afterglow-like celebration of Vanier's ministry at L'Arche.

The book has been translated from French but that is only obvious at a few rare points. At points the author seems to ramble a bit which can wear on the reader. But he states up front that these are "reflections". Wh
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Warning, if you attempt to read this book with no experience in an intentional community, it may come off as overly romantic, scattered, and made up of nice short soundbites without any real depth. Those were my thoughts when I started the book. I eventually put it down for about a year. Fastforward to living in community for almost a year and a half and I found myself "getting it." The anecdotes Vanier used and the lessons he attempts to teach all made a lot more sense, because I had my own exp ...more
James Millikan SJ
An illuminating look at why communities thrive or fail. Through short and accessible reflections on honesty, acceptance, and celebration, Vanier points the way forward towards steady and sustainable growth in common life.

While most frequently applied to L'Arche communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live tother in mutual support and learning, Community and Growth is also broadly applicable to schools, families, businesses, and service organizations.

Highly recommended
Oct 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been recently blessed with the opportunity to spend some time with Jean Vanier (blessed, I stress), I'm still kind of basking in the awe of his Jean Vanier-ness. This is a man of overwhelming humility, kindness, and grace. A very human holy man. This book is, in many ways, targeting a very specific audience of people trying to live in some kind of intentional community and he aims to share his own experiences of living in the l'Arche Community. That said, it has something to say about jus ...more
Joy Matteson
Tired of monotonous and lonely suburbia? Ready to live together with like-minded people who have similar goals and interests? Love the idea of being accountable to one another in Christ? Then pick up Jean Vanier's classic novel, "Community and Growth", which gives practical advice and wisdom about what it means to live and grow in real, pick-up-your-shoes-then-let's-pray-together community. My favorite thought of his from this book is his articulation of Christ's suffering and our need to suffer ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
In our world in the global north we are often distracted from the fact that we live in community.
When I lived in Calgary I volunteered with the L'Arche movement founded by Jean Vanier. This book tells the story of Vanier's spirituality and ways people can live together and support one another, finding love, happiness and mutual support while in the process living in as Christlike a manner as possible.
The book is an inspiration to those interested in living in community.
I feel richer for having met Jean Vanier through his writing. Definitely a kind, wise, gentle man. And there are some very interesting things in here.

However, I'm not sure that I agree with his core idea— that most people would do better to live in community— and I'm rather iffy about his assumption that all mental issues/distress are caused by imperfect parenting. Both aspects are rather undermined by my life experience. So. Anyways.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting book about living harmoniously in community (in a commune). Vanier shares some fascinating insights into human behavior and helps one analyse relationship to the Savior. I would recommend this book for any Christian contemplating living in a closed community, such as an abbot, nunnery, commune, Hutterite group. ***
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this book, I thought it was just abstract BS. However, as I started to read it from front to end towards the end of 1st year at L'Arche, Vanier's words and stories spoke to my own experience in community. I will keep coming back to this book as I continue to live life in community. ...more
wes Goertzen
May 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fleshiereading
we're reading it as a book study here. C, H and I. I think the book affirms us and challenges us and poses us with some serious questions about how we pursue community and the structures we've created that we call community. ...more
Richard Barber

It's a nice well intentioned book but seems a bit fluffy and repetitive. I'll save you some time. Community is good and should be our goal(as a community) however its hard because people aren't perfect (which is common sense)......
Apr 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Kept my attention-3
May 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fleshiereads
Practical, genuine. Kicked my butt in the region of "community consideration" (that's kind of on the left cheek, usually). ...more
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful. Jean Vanier eloquently describes the ups and downs of living in community and loving others intentionally. Simple read, full of wisdom, pick it up and read bit by bit.
Katrina Becker
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well, next time I think reading this in less than 6 months would be beneficial (Oh, just maybe...). Still quite wonderful though.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Jean Vanier had some excellent thoughts on community and living together. The actual book dragged for me, but is a great resource for thoughts on living together in community.
Brandy Nicks
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rts-summer-2012
Really great stuff on Christian community. I think all group leaders (and even members) would benefit from reading the first 2 chapters.
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Jean Vanier was educated in England and Canada, entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England in 1942. He went to sea in 1945 in the Royal Navy and in 1947 transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy. He resigned from the Royal Canadian Navy in 1950 while serving H.M.C.S. Magnificent. He then went to France to work in a students' community outside of Paris. He studied philosophy and theology and ...more

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