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Posts Tagged ‘Henri Nouwen’

Who is Henri Nouwen

http://www.wayoflife.org/files/54e57520d9bdb070befbdd992cbae139-313.html

 

http://apprising.org/2008/08/12/who-is-henri-nouwen-2/

 

http://grahamintheroom.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/book-review-the-return-of-the-prodigal-son-by-henri-nouwen/

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We were tootling along just fine in our schedule at small group last night, when, as far as I’m concerned, a grenade was dropped. One man, prominent in our group, mentioned a book that he said, “is the best book I’ve ever read.” Uh oh. It’s not the Bible, so what could it be? A book on the prodigal son by Henri Nouwen. He’s reading it, and will pass it on to the eager next person in the group. Another woman wrote the title down. I sat there, quietly taking it in. Now I have to proceed carefully. The man is not a bible study leader nor pastor. He’s also not necessarily tainted because he likes this one book. I do think, however, that we need to figure out how to address this so I am carefully taking advice from people I respect. I will not go in guns blazing, but I do not believe we should ignore this. My husband was proud of me, I am usually blasting away when I see a problem. I’ve learned. There is wisdom in silence for a time while we gather information and carefully present the problems with Nouwen.

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I recall the venom my former pastor spit at us(not literally, ick, that would have been a sight) when my husband and I gave him a letter that connected dots.  It went from pastor’s sermons to those they quoted to others those quoted to heretical beliefs.  Rick Warren didn’t even bother to quote a person who quoted a person today on twitter, he lead his followers straight to Henri Nouwen.  Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves” -Nouwen   Funny that, our former church not only quoted Rick Warren and Dallas Willard, but they have implimented the programs.  Now, with Warren and Willard both being into people who into mysticism…I know my dots were rightly connected.  Sadly, my former pastor tried to hide those connections, tried to make my husband and me look like liars, even called us liars “from the pit of hell.”   Very sad. 

Adam and Eve hid when they sinned.  Of course, I could be taking Nouwen out of context, you see, I have no idea what book that quote comes from.  So, he might be talking about something  good, but it’s such a short quip.  Sounds bad though to me.  The point is Nouwen’s work and quotes show his mysticm, show his affinity for Buddist ideas.  No place for a Christian.

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Like being intwined in seaweed, or brambles in the forest, we Christians are often entangled in things that make it hard to walk the path of truth.  We get into men’s teachings, and follow men.  We get into the world’s ways, become woven together with these ways.  Soon, they become a part of us, like barnacles on a whale, entwined and braided, the thorns have broken off and splinter inside.  Cutting ourselves free will hurt.  I can say, when I read about influences in the church these days I see this entanglement.  Entanglement with the mystics and the belief that it is supposed to be a part of Christianity.  The claim that to be deeper with Christ we must pracitice spiritual disciplines.   I thought Christ was our mediator, and that nothing we do can save us.  The sacrifices desired are a “broken and contrite heart….” and not contemplation. 

From personal experience, I saw entanglement coming from my very own pastors.  If writers like Nouwen, Willard, Hybels, and Warren are producing good fruit, then why do pastors who are following after them continue to loose long time Christians who are serious about following after God?  It is not the numbers that are the measure of fruit, but I believe (and I am not God so anyone out there can correct me on this) that wise people will stick with a wise pastor if God doesn’t call them to something else.  If you are loosing elder members, you might consider why.  If a church looks like the world, then it might as well be the world. 

The entanglement is confusing.  I have asked elders and pastors about contemplative prayer.  I’ve gotten some interesting answers. 

“Do not let terminology frustrate you, the Bible speaks about contemplation” (this also included transformation and meditation).  My question further would be “does it include spiritual formation?”  We didn’t ask much about that as we had enough issues…

The lead pastor of our former church said, “If you are referring to lectio divina, it’s been around since the Reformation.”  Interesting.  Many things have been around since even before the Reformation, and that doesn’t make them right.

I have heard other unsatisfactory responses when it comes to such entanglements.  “Why would you attack a ministry that has done so much to advance the kingdom” and there’s always the “you’re being unloving.” 

It hurts when people pull on the tangles, no one ever likes the rats brushed out.  It can pull and hurt.  Cutting out the cancer and treating it hurts.  What is hard, is that we were warned the weeds would grow among the fields.   We are to snatch some from the flames, but we will not be able to untangle all the knots until the return of our risen Lord.  This hurts all the more.  We can do our part, and it will not be enough but we are still called to do it.  It is finished in Christ Jesus.

Sadly, I have to admit I am entangled too.  The world is on me, though I am cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.  I pick up a thorn here, a barnacle there.  I get caught up too.  I am sure the first thing that will happen after I rejoice in seeing Jesus is sheer on my face mourning.  At least for the second He allows it.   I so long to be untangled. 

Maranatha.

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