Henri Nouwen was invited to speak on Christian Leadership for the Center for Human Development in Washington D.C shortly after beginning work at Daybreak, one of the L’Arche community houses for disabled people. The shift from being a writer and lecturer, to intimate involvement with people who didn’t care about literary or academic honors, radically changed Nouwen’s view of ministry. The book, In the Name of Jesus, is taken from that talk on leadership. It is a short evening’s read and after a bit of perusing, I brought it home to read. Again.
“The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.Therefore, true ministry must be mutual. When members of a community of faith cannot truly know and love their shepherd, shepherding quickly becomes a subtle way of exercising power over others and begins to show authoritarian and dictatorial traits.” — Page 62
Four days before our Literary Party, In the Name of Jesus was still the best book I had read all month. But how was I going to attach it to the on-the-road theme? Slogging through a box of books — pricing, shelving — I came upon The Road to Daybreak; A Spiritual Journey, also by Henri Nouwen. Can you believe it? Road and Journey are both in the title. AND the book is a journal of the year leading up to Nouwen's decision to join the Daybreak community, which is what fueled In The Name of Jesus; Reflections on Christian Leadership. Hallelujah!
The index card I stuck in The Road to Daybreak, quickly became a repository for quotes:
"Time given to inner renewal is never wasted.” — pg.
"The central words here are not equal rights' but rather 'sharing the gifts’." — pg. 62
"God has created life as an expression of love.” — pg. 139
In the end, I waved both books around. There is value in looking at both a journal of days on the road, and a rest-stop book — a synthesis of things learned along the way.
November’s Literary Party theme is music.
PS If you missed Sons with Guns, my *In the Spirit* column in the Sentinel this month, the on-line link is * Here *