Thursday, May 18, 2017


The Executive Team and I have just completed a book study.

For folks who don’t know, the Executive Team at FCC Scottsdale is comprised of our Moderator Judy Kares, our Vice Moderator Scott Eubanks, our Treasurer Curt McCormick, and myself.
We meet regularly to discuss important items for the church, set the agenda for the Administrative Council Meetings, and discern the ways that God is calling our congregation forward. In order to set a theological grounding on those wider conversations, we have just finished reading Henri Nouwen’s spiritual classic “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life.”

Henri Nouwen was a prolific writer, a deep Christian thinker, and bringer of profound insights into life and faith. Nouwen was a Catholic priest, author, professor and activist. He taught at the University of Notre Dame as well as the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering to the mentally and physically disabled at the L’Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, Canada.

“Reaching Out” details the three movements of a spiritual life. They include:
  1. The movement from loneliness to solitude;
  2. The movement from hostility to hospitality;
  3. The movement from illusion to prayer.
Ultimately the book is about the fullness of right relationships. The first movement in a spiritual life is about coming to right relationship with our truest, inner self. From there we are prepared to move to right relationships with others. Finally we move all the way to the transforming power of a true relationship with God.

It is a beautiful, vivid way of envisioning the Christian faith, and in our discussion together the Executive Team came to see that the second movement (from hostility to hospitality) is actually the key component. Here is how Henri Nouwen puts it:

“Once God has touched us in the midst of our struggles and has created in us the burning desire to be forever united with him, we will find the courage and the confidence to prepare his way and to invite all who share our life to wait with us during this short time for the day of complete joy.”

This coming Sunday during our Administrative Council meeting we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about hospitality – about how our individual ministry teams can bring it to life; about the ways we create “safe spaces” for others in our church; about how we can grow in relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God.

I’m looking forward to continuing this conversation about hospitality, and seeing all the wonderful ways that God uses us to reach out to the world!

No comments:

Post a Comment