Coffee with Henri Nouwen
Whilst sitting in my favourite “within walking distance to my office” café, sipping a wonderful example of a café latte, in the shade – yet admiring the delightful morning sunlight that had taken our quiet coastal town from its winter slumber, to a pre-summer bedlam, mild infusion of tourists…….in the shade because I spent a bit too long in the sun yesterday at a ‘Minsters’ Appreciation BBQ’ and with my skin colour and lack of hair…but I digress.
Whilst sitting in my favourite….blah, blah, blah…I was spending some quiet time reflecting on the issue of how the traditional Christian Church relates too (both does and is perceived too) and exists within this post-post [insert as posts as you like here] modern [if you go with that idea], post-Christendom [hard to debate that one] culture, and reading from one of my favourite Christian books of all time – it sits right up there with ‘Left Behind’ [joke] – ‘The Wounded Healer’ by Henri J.M. Nouwen.
I also had going through my mind a conversation that was shared at our small group the other night about the current thinking in Kids Ministry, which separates the stories of the bible (from both Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament) from the moral teachings that exists within them – and the importance of knowing the context of biblical stories, and their places within the meta-narrative of God’s story and revelation to creation…that my head exploded [no – it didn’t, but the potential was certainly there]…but I came across the following two quotes in my reading – and that are really speaking to me at present.
“When we wonder why the language of traditional Christianity had lost its liberating power for those who live in the modern age, we have to realise that most Christian preaching is still based on the presupposition that we see ourselves as meaningfully integrated with a history in which God came to us in the past, is living under us in the present, and will come to liberate us in the future. But when our historical consciousness is broken, the whole Christian message seems like a lecture about the great pioneers to someone on an acid trip.” p13
“Jesus was a revolutionary who did not become an extremist, since he did not offer an ideology, but himself. He was also a mystic, who did not use his intimate relationship with God to avoid the social evils of his time, but shocked his milieu to the point of being executed as a rebel. In this sense he also remains for modern humanity the way to liberation and freedom.” p25
Food for thought, to compliment a good latte