Item 1680 - Creating true intimacy: solidarity among the people of God

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CA ON00389 1-9-1-1680


Creating true intimacy: solidarity among the people of God


  • June 1985 (Creation)

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5 p. of textual records

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This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Creating True Intimacy: Solidarity among the People of God’, published in Sojourners, Vol. 14, No. 6, June 6, 1985, pp. 14 – 18. This is the first part of a 3 part series. Nouwen begins the article by writing of the ubiquitous reality of fear in the world and reminds the reader of Jesus’ words, ‘Do not be afraid’. Nouwen writes of the power of fear when he states, ‘Fear can never give birth to love’ and then asks, ‘ Are we so unused to living without fear that we have become unable to hear the voice of love? ‘ . Nouwen then suggests that there is an invitation to us from Jesus to leave the house of fear and live in the house of love. Throughout this article Nouwen writes of the work of Jean Vanier the founder of the l’Arche communities. It is Jean who spoke to Nouwen of ‘the three essential qualities of a life together in the house of love: intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy’. This article Nouwen writes, is about Intimacy and includes the headings Intimacy and Fear, Intimacy and Love, Intimacy and Solidarity. Nouwen suggests that fear builds up walls which prevent intimacy: ‘fear prevents us from forming an intimate community in which we can grow together, everyone in his or her own way’. Love on the other hand, is the ‘true friend’ of intimacy. Jesus is the home where we can live without fear and we can reach this home in part through prayer that opens our hearts. Nouwen then writes that though we tend to see intimacy as ‘smallness, coziness’ it is the source of solidarity. People ‘come to the awareness that the intimacy of God’s house excludes no one and includes everyone. They start to see that the home they found in their innermost being is as wide as the whole of humanity’. Again, speaking of the work of Jean Vanier, Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘The intimacy of the house of love always leads to solidarity with the weak’.

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Reference copy available in file.
Access copies (2) available in Access Copies - Published Works, Articles by Nouwen, Box 1.

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Item is 1 in a series of 3 articles. See also Published works series, box 296, items 1682 and 1685.

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Published in Sojourners 14, no. 6 (June 1985): 14-18.
This article has been published in a slightly revised form in: Nouwen, Henri: 'Lifesigns, Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstacy in a Christian Perspective', Image Books, Doubleday, New York, 1986.

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2000 01


Box 296

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