Listenings: Resumes on October 14

Some of you have asked if the “Listenings” category is going to resume.  You are remembering that it is this category which contains the basic postings about attentive spiritual formation, the heart of Oboedire.

The answer is, “Yes.”  We will resume the post on Mondays, beginning October 14th.

If you have been a follower of Oboedire for a while, you know we are in the middle of our study of Henri Nouwen’s book, Spiritual Formation (HarperOne, 2010).  Perhaps a brief review of where we have been will be helpful as we resume the exploration next week.

The book is actually a compilation of writings by Nouwen, assembled by Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird, to provide a fundamental look at Henri’s vision of Christian spiritual formation.  He approached spiritual growth in three movements:  early, middle, and mature.  We are about halfway through the second movement: middle formation.

In the early movement, Nouwen advocated journeying from opaqueness to transparency, and from illusion to prayer.  The early movement was essentially a purgation–a cleansing of obstacles to spiritual growth–so that an honest openness to the Spirit of God could occur.

In the middle movement, he turns to journeying from sorrow to joy, resentment to gratitude, and fear to love.  The middle movement is essentially an illumination–a cultivation of characteristics that dispose our hearts to a deeper life in Christ.

The mature movement focuses upon a journey from exclusion to inclusion, and from denying to befriending death.  This final movement is essentially the classical concept of union–an entry into abundant life, and a growth in grace that never ends.

Without ever saying so, the book is constructed in relation to the classical “mystical way”–purgation, illumination, and union.  And as such, it serves a useful purpose in describing spiritual formation in this historic and ecumenical pattern.

When the weekly writings ended on March 18, 2013 we were in the midst of looking at middle movement’s journey from resentment to gratitude.  We will pick up there next Monday.

In the meantime, you can go to the sidebar on the Oboedire Home Page and click on to the “Listenings” Category.  It will take you to the previous posts and get you ready to pick up and move ahead.  You will want to do this if you have become part of the Oboedire family since last March, and it may be good for us all to do in order to step back into the stream of this important exploration.

So….let’s get ready to let God speak a formative word to us through the writing of Henri Nouwen.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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