Christianity 201

December 25, 2011

Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen on Ministry

This is from Abba’s Child (p 52)

If I must seek an identity outside of myself, then the accumulation of wealth, power and honors allures me.  Or I may find my center of gravity in interpersonal relationships.  Ironically, the church itself can stroke the imposter by conferring and withholding honors, offering pride of place based on performance, and creating the illusion of status by rank and pecking order.  When belonging to an elite group eclipses the love of God; when I draw life and meaning from any source other than my belovedness, I am spiritually dead.  When God gets relegated to second place behind any bauble or trinket, I have swapped the pearl of great price for painted fragments of glass.

Two pages later, Manning quotes from Henri Nouwen’s  Life of the Beloved (p.26)

I came to see that it was in my brokenness, in my powerlessness, in my weakness that Jesus was made strong. It was in the acceptance of my lack of faith that  God could give me faith.  It was in the embracing of my brokenness that I could identify with others’ brokenness.  It was my role to identify with others’ pain, not relieve it.  Ministry was sharing, not dominating; understanding, not theologizing; caring, not fixing.

Best wishes for December 25th from Christianity 201.

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