Honest Christianity: spiritual movement allowed

Like many I have been inspired by the writings of the Catholic Priest Henri Nouwen. One of his well known books, Reaching Out, is where he explores 3 spiritual movements for our growth:

1. Loneliness to solitude, focuses on the spiritual life as it relates to the experience of our own selves. 2. Hostility to hospitality, deals with our spiritual life as a life for others. 3. Illusion to prayer, reflects on our relationship to God.

I have been doing a lots of work around articulating a theology for paediatric and maternity chaplaincy. I have realized how much my beliefs have evolved if not drastically changed. When I am asked about children suffering I am mindful of the movement in my language about our God, World and fellow humanity. My first movement in my change of approach and response about our bodies and our World is:

– Fallen to broken to fragile

I share about how how our planet and everything on it is fragile. We have fragile bodies living in a fragile planet It doesn’t work perfectly. We all have things wrong with our bodies, some more serious than others. I find this more relatable, respectful and pastorally caring to those in emotional pain. Even broken, did not seem helpful to those in anticipatory grief. I want to have some theological integrity and this includes also some pastorally integrity of kindness, gentleness and timeliness.

I am doing more work on other movements and will blog on these in due course. What have been some of your movements?

2 thoughts on “Honest Christianity: spiritual movement allowed

  1. Thanks for this Paul. One of my shifts was talking shame instead of sin, as I’ve found most people can relate to thinking of things they’ve done of which they’re ashamed. This happened a long time ago for me but I think shame is particularly relevant in our current culture.


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