Two of my life passions have been in a wrestling match during the last few years. The one is missions and the other spiritual formation. I am constantly wondering how to keep these two in a “creative tension” as David Bosch would have said.
On the this website I am opening two tabs at the top, the one is formation and the other mission (I will populate them in the next few weeks). The reason for this is to keep the tension in conversation even on the website.
A few months ago I read “We drink from our own wells: The spiritual journey of a people” and picked it up again over the weekend. In the book Henri Nouwen (one of the most quoted people in spiritual formation circles), reflects on his own experience with the Latin American people and their spirituality that gave rise to Gustavo Gutierrez writing the abovementioned book.
In the foreword Nouwen makes a radical confession,
“But as I reflect on the impact of this spirituality on my own way of living and thinking, I realize a reductionism has taken place on my side … I became aware of how individualistic and elitist my own spirituality had been. It was hard to confess, but true, that in many respects my thinking about the spiritual life had been deeply influenced by my North American milieu with its emphasis on the “interior” life and the methods and techniques for developing that life. Only when I confronted what Gustavo calls the “irruption of the poor into history” did I become aware of how “spiritualized” my spirituality had become. It had been, in fact, a spirituality for introspective persons who have the luxury of the time and space needed to develop inner harmony and quietude. I had even read the Gospels in a rather romantic way. I had come to look at the children in the New Testament as innocent, harmless beings, and I had come to think of humility, faithfulness, obedience, and purity primarily as forms of personal piety.
But the spirituality of We Drink from Our Own Wells does not allow such reductionism. The poor in Latin America have made us realize that living as Christians in our contemporary world, with an open heart for the real problems of people, challenges us to break out of our individualism and elitism and start listening to the Bible with new ears.
I can’t get this quote out of my head and wonder how you interact with it?