Nouwen on The Desire for Community

kinnon —  March 14, 2007 — 5 Comments

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.” – Henri Nouwen

via JR Woodward – via Matt Shedden

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

5 responses to Nouwen on The Desire for Community

  1. The idea of presence doesn’t do much for me. I know what he means, but it is a bit too vague a concept. Instead what I think he is saying is that we need to live in the moment. We need to treat each encounter with someone as something sacred and good, regardless of whether there some agenda attached to it. This isn’t something I know much about, but I’m learning, and it primarily means that I focus on one thing at a time, without mentally multi-tasking twelve other tasks.

  2. Bill…really enjoy your blog…hope you don’t mind that I added you to my list of “respected blogs.” If that is not OK, please let me know. …blessings, Wes

  3. Wes,
    Thanks for the link on your blog. Much appreciated!

  4. This was water to my soul this morning. Thanks, Bill!

  5. Ed,
    Well said.
    I know exactly what you mean. That’s how it hit me when I read it on JR’s blog.


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