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Posts Tagged ‘Henri Nouwen’

There’s been a lot going on lately.  In the midst of the roller coaster I’ve been living, I’ve been slowly working my way through Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love.  Last night I was brought to tears as I read and re-read “Let Jesus Transform You.”  This is good stuff folks, a window into my soul in the words of Henri Nouwen:

You are looking for ways to meet Jesus.  You are trying to meet him not only in your mind but also in your body.  You seek his affection, and you know that this affection involves his body as well as yours.  He became flesh for you so that you could encounter him in the flesh and receive his love in the flesh.

But something remains in you that prevents this meeting.  There is still a lot of shame and guilt stuck away in your body, blocking the presence of Jesus. You do not fully feel at home in your body; you look down on it as if it were not a good enough, beautiful enough, or pure enough place to meet Jesus.

When you look attentively at your life, you will see how filled it has been with fears, especially fears of people in authority: your parents, your teachers, your bishops, your spiritual guides, even your friends.  You never felt equal to them and kept putting yourself down in front of them.  For most of your life, you have felt as if you needed their permission to be yourself.

Think about Jesus.  He was totally free before the authorities of his time.  He told people not to be guided by the behavior of the scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus came among us as an equal, a brother.  He broke down the pyramidal structures of relationship between God and people as well as those among people and offered a new model: the circle, where God lives in full solidarity with the people and the people with one another.

You will not be able to meet Jesus in your body while your body remains full of doubts and fears. Jesus came to free you from these bonds and to create in you a space where you can be with him.  He wants you to live the freedom of the children of God.

Do not despair, thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years.  Simply enter into the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you.  You cannot make yourself different. Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body.  Let him transform you by his love and so enable you to receive his affection in your whole being.

I’ve been walking lately through some of the refining fires of the process of transformation by Jesus’ love.  How is Jesus working to transform you?

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Well, so much for a regular update on the status of my 101 Things list.  I haven’t even been very good at keeping up the list here at the site.  I did go back and make some updates, though – so here’s what’s new with 101 Things:

#1: Call one friend a month just to catch up
I’ve done a fairly decent job of keeping up on this one, making some intentional effort to connect with friends the good-old fashioned way over the phone.  So far, three months and at least three phone calls.

#20: Read the Bible in its entirety
Thanks to seminary classes that require a fairly heavy amount of Bible-reading, I’ve been keeping up with this one.  So far: Matthew, Mark, John and Galatians (all for classes), and Philippians (during my silent retreat at Mowana)

#30: Attend 30 On-Turf Youth Events
Three PSHS varsity basketball games, one community league indoor soccer game, and a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the PSHS volleyball teams.

#43: Complete the One Hundred Pushups Challenge
I began this program at the same time as the Two Hundred Situps Challenge.  After four weeks of the program, I am currently able to do 32 consecutive pushups.  I’m hoping to be able to do 100 by the time the next few weeks are over!

#47: Tackle the Tower
Finished!  February 7th Scott and I joined a group from PLC to Tackle the Tower for Ronald McDonald House.  It may not have been my best athletic performance to date, but I did it nonetheless!

#49: Complete the 200 Situps Challenge
Finished!  After completing only four weeks of the six-week challenge, I was able to do 210 crunches on 4/5/09.  I will be finishing the last two weeks of the program and then maintaining by doing a minimum of 200 crunches three times per week.

#52: Read and Finish 101 Books
I’ve definitely been keeping busy with this one – between reading for classes and a voracious appetite for personal reading that I’ve had lately, my list now includes the following titles:

  • The Shack by: William P. Young
  • The Synoptic Problem by: Mark Goodacre
  • Mad Church Disease by: Anne Jackson
  • She Said Yes by: Misty Bernall
  • The Way of the Heart by: Henri Nouwen
  • Holy Bible, Human Bible by: Gordon Oliver
  • Eat This Book by: Eugene Peterson
  • The Last Word by: NT Wright
  • Fundamentalism and American Culture by: George Marsden
  • The Real Billy Sunday by: Lyle Dorsett
  • Crazy Love by: Francis Chan

In addition to those, I’ve got about nine more that I am currently in the middle of reading both for class, ministry and personal enjoyment.

#53: Spend an entire day in silence
Finished!  In fact, I spent two entire days in silence while on a personal silent retreat at Camp Mowana from March 22nd through 24th.

#54: Watch 101 movies I have never seen before
Added to the last list are: Wall-E, The Final Cut, and Down With Love

#82: Go one week without logging into Facebook
Finished!  And beyond a week, since I gave up Facebook for Lent, it has currently been 41 days since I was last on Facebook.

#88: Spend at least 15 days at Camp Mowana
Two down, 13 more to go!  I’m definitely hoping to make a few more silent retreats down to Mowana during this 1001 days, and hopefully a few trips with the youth group and this goal will be more than met!

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Things have been pretty quiet around here lately.  Maybe it’s the fact that my Lenten journey has led me away from my internet presence, or perhaps it’s simply a lack of words to say.  Whatever it is, I’m still alive.

I spent the first half of this week on a personal silent retreat among the pines of Camp Mowana down in Mansfield, OH.  Armed with little more than a Bible, a journal and a few good books, I set out Sunday evening for two days of un-wired bliss.  I hiked around camp.  I had several close encounters with various furry friends.  I sat in front of the fireplace for hours on end.  I walked the prayer labyrinth.  I read.  I journaled. I prayed.

It was exactly what I needed.  It fit perfectly into an already challenging Lenten journey.  Perhaps I’ll choose to share more as the week unfolds.  On the other hand, perhaps I won’t.

In the wise words of Henri Nouwen, with which I spent a large portion of my retreat:

“We have been made to believe that feelings, emotions, and even the inner stirrings of the soul have to be shared with others… But let us at least raise the question of whether our lavish ways of sharing are not more compulsive than virtuous; that instead of creating community they tend to flatten out our life together.  Often we come home from a sharing session with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from us or that holy ground has been trodden upon.” (45-46, The Way of the Heart)

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