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A psychologist on priests' identity crises

Item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: "A psychologist on priests' identity crises" published in The National Catholic Reporter, 17 May 1967, p. 6. The article is about three perceived threats to the mental health of priests. These are described in terms of problems with time, with space and with self-understanding. 1) The new priest starts by giving his whole time to his ministry with little or no demarcation between work and rest. He thrives on being at the center, being available to everyone all the time. In time , because there is little change in fact, this can and does frequently lead to being ‘ an irritated, empty, routine, tired man’. In addition, at a daily level there is no demarcation of time between ‘work’ and ‘home’. No time to stop and reflect or even pray. 2) ‘Besides a healthy use of time, a healthy use of place is of great importance for the mental health of the priest’. Because he is always at work there is no space to find rest; because the people he lives with are the people he works with, there is no personal space. The demarcation lines of authority are vague and unhealthy. ‘…healthy spacing not only refers to healthy defining of places and rooms, but also connected with that, to healthy clarification of responsibilities and authority which belong to the different roofs under which we live’. 3) With a lack of privacy and no demarcation of personal, private relationships the priest often lacks a firm self-identity. ‘Without a spiritual life and a good friend he is like a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal’. In addition, there is a lack of clarity of his role as a professional, he receives little praise from anyone including superiors so he does not know how well he is doing. The author stresses the importance of the priest’s everyday confrontation with living theology in the people he serves and that is not used or appreciated.

A critical analysis

This item consists of a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘A Critical Analysis’ published in Ave Maria National Catholic Weekly, 3 June 1967, p. 11-13, 30. Nouwen discusses the rise and popularity of the Pentecostal movement at Notre Dame University in Indiana and states that the article ‘is an attempt to clarify certain issues and to be of some help in an honest evaluation’. Nouwen looks at the phenomenon from three perspectives: 1) A Historical Perspective: He writes of the past and current religious atmosphere at Notre Dame. Here he credits an article by Killian McDonnell. O.S.B. (The Ecumenical Significance of the Pentecostal Movement) where there is a discussion of the ‘sobriety’ and ‘objectivity’ of Roman Catholic liturgy in contrast to the more emotional freedom and sense of belonging in the Pentecostal services. Nouwen suggests that this latter may answer a need in the new more ambitious and competitive atmosphere at the university. 2) A Psychological Perspective. Here Nouwen asks how we can evaluate this new movement by asking several questions: Does it heal or hurt? He suggests that evidence leads to a conclusion that while there may be a short term benefit ‘it is very doubtful that it will cure deep mental suffering’. He also asks ‘Can it be dangerous’? He states that ‘for those who are not prepared every inducement of a strong emotion can break and do serious harm. He also suggests that for those who do not receive the ‘gifts’ such as tongues or joy there then may be the question ‘what is wrong with me’. This leads to the need for direction, guidance and care. Finally he asks: Does it create community? Nouwen suggests that the powerful emotions of belonging and sharing, may risk creating a community that is inward and elitist. ‘the Pentecostal movement creates a situation of oneness and togetherness, which makes the community highly self-centered and hinders the development of the autonomous Christian…’. 3) A Theological Perspective: here Nouwen is asking if the Pentecostal movement is reflecting the theological developments of Vatican II and suggests that it may not meet the new stress on incarnational theology. He concludes the article by stating: ‘the new wave of Pentecostalism at Notre Dame University obviously answers a burning need in many students. It worries many who are concerned about the effects on the mental health of some…It places heavy responsibility on the leaders of the movement, and it disturbs many theologians’ but it also offers a chance to come to a new realization of the crucial importance of the valid religious experience – as an authentic part of the Christian life’.

From magic to faith: religious growth in psychological perspective

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: From Magic to Faith: religious growth in psychological perspective, published in National Catholic Reporter, 27 September, 1967, p. 7. In this article Nouwen examines the growth or not, of religious maturity beginning with the new baby and ending with the adult man (sic). A. In the section covering the first five years the author identifies several stages: becoming aware that we are not the center of our world and that there are objective realities outside us that we cannot control; the formation of language in which we discover that our first words ‘give us a mysterious power over things which can in later life be part of our use of religious prayer in a magical and not mature way; a ‘third step out of the magical world is the formation of our conscience. This is formed in our contact with others and here the author relates some questions from Freud about our identification of God with our father. B. In the section covering school years 6 – 12 Nouwen identifies this time as one in which the child is exposed to a larger world, new and different values and new interests. The mature religion resulting from this he suggests will be ‘integral in nature…flexible enough to integrate all new knowledge within its frame of reference. …essential for a mature religion is the constant willingness to shift gears’. C. Here are discussed the adolescent years. These the author describes as a time of a more complicated inner and outer world with many conflicts; a time of facing and accepting or not, the shadow part of each person and the effect on the maturity of religious growth. D. This is the stage of the young adult. This is the time of leaving the family atmosphere and going away to study. ‘As we enter college we take with us many religious concepts and ideas which seemed obvious, and which we never questioned. The question is, whether or not we have the courage to put question marks behind many things; if we can allow ourselves to doubt without losing all ground.’ E. In this final section Nouwen discusses the adult man (sic). ‘One facet of adulthood which has special significance for our religious attitude is that the mature adult mind is characterized by a unifying philosophy of life’. Without this unifying philosophy Nouwen suggests that boredom may characterize life. He describes boredom as ‘the isolation of experience’…’every day seems to be just another day, indifferent, colorless and bleak’. Mature religion’s unifying power fulfills here a creative function. Nouwen states finally, ‘We started folded in our mother’s womb, one with the world in which we lived. We slowly unfolded out of the magical unity into autonomous existence in which we discovered that we were not alone but stood in a constant dialogue with our surroundings.

Homosexuality: prejudice or mental illness?

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Homosexuality: Prejudice or Mental Illness? published in The National Catholic Reporter, 29 November, 1967, p. 8. The author is examining two ways of viewing the reality of male homosexuality in his time without, he says, wishing to decide ‘who is right and who is wrong’. The first section discusses homosexuality as a problem of prejudice with three areas emphasized: A) Homosexuality and projection. Prejudice arises, Nouwen suggests, out of our fear of our own sexual uncertainty and ‘feelings which we don’t wish to acknowledge’. B) Homosexuality and the self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘This theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy suggests, just like the theory of projection, that the major problem is one of prejudice. It is our false definition of what a homosexual is which causes the exact behavior which we despise.’ C) Homosexuality in the bible and medieval Christianity. Nouwen outlines several biblical passages which are often used to ‘try to prove that homosexuality is especially sinful, deserving of punishment or suffering...’ He concludes this section by suggesting that these passages are usually misinterpreted. The second section of this article discusses homosexuality as a mental disorder. Nouwen asks here, ‘to what degree do we have to consider homosexuality as a mental disorder with deeper roots than the feelings or ideas of the surrounding culture?’ He then goes on to discuss two standpoints: 1) The psychoanalytic approach and 2) The phenomenological approach. In 1) he quotes from a letter of Sigmund Freud to a concerned mother to show Freud’s kindness and sympathy and also discusses a study done by I. Bieber in 1962. In his discussion of 2) the phenomenological approach he uses material extensively from a study by Hans Giese in 1958 about the homosexual man. Two sub-sections here are: 1.How does the homosexual experience his own body? And 2) How does the homosexual experience himself in the world? This material is followed by a section entitled: Homosexuality and Pastoral Care in which he states: ‘We believe that in our pastoral relationship with our fellow man we can try to understand the deep suffering of the homosexual in the light of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, and make him free for unconditional hope’. The final section of this article is entitled Practical Considerations. These are, Nouwen suggests, his own rather than scientific conclusions. He states here that, ‘Our general attitude toward homosexuality should be free from anxiety and fear, not to speak of disgust and rejection. By a relaxed and understanding relationship to our homosexual fellow man, we might help him more than by an overly-moralistic concern which requires change as a condition for friendship’.

Report on the possibility and desirability of love

This item consists of a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: On the possibility and desirability of love, published in The National Catholic Reporter, April 10. 1968, pp. 7-8. Nouwen begins his article by asking if love is possible at all. ‘Is there a spark of misunderstanding in every intimate encounter, a painful experience of separateness in every attempt to unite, a fearful resistance in every act of surrender?’ He then states that he intends to describe what he calls two main forms of existing: 1) a power or ‘taking’ form and 2) a forgiving form. He then finally intends to ask the crucial questions, ‘Is love a utopian dream or a possibility within our reach?’ There are three major headings in the article: 1) The taking form, 2) The forgiving form and 3)The possibility of love. In 1) Nouwen describes the taking form as a form of power. We objectify the other, we try to control, to manipulate vulnerabilities and weaknesses and classify and label others. ‘This leaves us with the suspicion that the reality which we call “love” is nothing other than a blanket to cover the real fact that a man and a woman conquer each other in a long, subtle skirmish of taking movements in which one is always the winner who manipulates the other… we find ourselves doomed to the impossibility of love’. In 2) Nouwen describes the forgiving form as one of trust, openness and vulnerability. He suggests some characteristics of love. Love is truthful, tender and asks for total disarmament. He asks: ‘Can we ever meet a fellow man without any protection? Reveal ourselves to him in our total vulnerability? In 3) The possibility of love, Nouwen attempts to answer these questions. He begins by noting that life is often a very painful fluctuation between the two desires to take and to forgive. ‘And we have good reasons to be afraid. Love means openness, vulnerability and confession.’ Again, Nouwen asks if real love is possible and answers by saying that it is not if ‘the only real and final solution to life is death’. He then points to the person who he suggests has broken through the vicious circle and quotes from the prologue to the Gospel of John which speaks of Jesus breakthrough. ‘Suddenly everything is converted into its opposite. Darkness into light, enslavement into freedom, death into life, taking into giving, destruction into creation and hatred into love’. He concludes by stating that ‘the core of the Christian message is exactly this message of the possibility of transcending the taking form of our human existence.

Anton T. Boisen and theology through living human documents

This item consists of a 15 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Anton T. Boisen and Theology through living human documents, published in Pastoral Psychology, Volume 19, No. 186, September 1968, p. 49 – 63. This issue of Pastoral Psychology is an Anton T. Boisen Memorial Issue and consists of 9 articles of which Henri Nouwen’s is the last. In this article Nouwen looks at Boisen’s important development of the use of the case study in the clinical training of theological students. Because this development of the case study arose out of Boisen’s confrontation with his own psychotic breakdown in 1920, Nouwen focuses much of this article on the life of Boisen, the relationships that formed his direction from his study of languages, forestry and finally, the ministry. Nouwen states: "In a way, we can say that Boisen’s own psychosis became the center of his identity…there he found his true vocation: the ministry to the mentally ill. There he found the main concepts of his most important publication, The Exploration of the Inner World and there he found the basis of his idea for the clinical training of theological students." The article has a number of headings: The Man, The Central Experience (his psychotic breakdown), The input (here Nouwen discusses some of the people who deeply influenced Boisen), The Outcome (here is discussed his development of the case method, Growth through Conflicts (the growth of the case method and evolutions which Boisen found difficult) and The Last Years (covers the years from Boisen’s retirement until his death in 1965 at the age of 89).

The new pastor

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: The New Pastor, published in the National Catholic Reporter, December 4, 1968, p. 6. This article was written shortly after the Second Vatican Council. In this article Nouwen is raising questions about the role of the pastor following the upheavals that are affecting the church. He states as the underlying concern, "Familiar channels through which we could function and reach thousands of men, women and children are leaking or completely broken down…we feel ourselves victims of a religious strip tease in which the critical modern man is insisting we remove one vestment of office after another…" In order to discuss what he feels can be the role of the priest in this new situation he uses two major headings: 1) How can the parish priest be an efficient and skillful pastor in our modern society? and 2) How can he remain a whole and integrated man in a rapidly changing world , which by its own nature is constantly challenging his own commitment? Under heading 1) Nouwen suggests that a pastor should be able to offer his parishioners three things a) a climate in which questions which challenge faith can be raised without fear b) a word given by the pastor to others which is uniquely tailored to the need of the individual: "a word directed to the highly individual needs of our suffering fellowman can create new life" and c) a home in a parish which provides "intimacy with a vital balance between closeness and distance" for the parishioner. Under heading 2) Nouwen provides three further headings a) Silence which is necessary for the priest to listen to God and his own deepest center b) Friendship. Here Nouwen suggests the need of the pastor to find friendship outside of the parish, most particularly in what he suggests should be a carefully formed group that lives together in the rectory and c) Insight. "By insight, we mean a sound perspective of the pastor on the significance of his own priesthood". Nouwen concludes the article by stating: "when a priest is well-prepared for his task and is in lasting communication with those he wants to serve, he can fulfill his task without fear. With a realistic confidence in his abilities, with a sense of inner harmony and most of all with trust in the value of his service, he can be a free witness for God, who can strengthen hope, fulfill love and make joy complete".

The death of Dr. King

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: The Death of Dr King, published in the National Catholic Reporter, December 18, 1968, p. 4. This article is a subjective reflection by Nouwen on the atmosphere, experience and people he encountered following the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Nouwen uses a number of headings : 1) The News – this begins in Chicago where he first hears of King’s assassination. He describes the muted responses of the people he meets, 'Martin Luther King was dead, killed, assassinated. Everybody knew it but nobody wanted to know it'. 2) The Party – Here Nouwen describes the atmosphere at a party following his talk and notes particularly that most people are avoiding speaking of Dr King’s death. 3) The Cool City – moves on to Topeka, Kansas where Nouwen reflects on the contrast between the ‘slickness and artificiality’ and ‘the madness’. ‘We were killing the prophets…Between the hollow voices of those who tried to advertise their latest product, it became clear that violence was cutting through the thresholds of restraint. Topeka seemed a cool and indifferent city’. 4) In Kansas City Nouwen visits a young man in prison for draft evasion. This young man speaks of the influence of Dr King on his life and the lives of his fellow prisoners and the atmosphere in the prison: ’when they heard that he was dead they doubled the guards. They did not understand that we were just crying, my Afro-American friends and me’. 5) The Cab Driver –this speaks of Nouwen’s decision to change his plans and travel to Atlanta for the funeral. He describes his encounter at the airport with a cab driver who is also going. The cab driver shares with Nouwen: ‘ Dr King just tried to take Christ’s words seriously. He realized he had to follow him all the way. What would happen if we really would do just that?’ The remainder of the article describes the atmosphere in Atlanta: ‘It was a special occasion in which happiness and joy merged with sadness and distress. Perhaps it had never been different for them.’ Nouwen concludes this article by reflecting on his hope despite all the ‘anger, grief and frustration’. ‘I knew that out of my exhaustion a new faith could grow, a faith that it is possible to love’.

Feature review

This item consists of a 3 page book review by Henri Nouwen and Joseph Wissink of A Search for God in Time and Memory by John S. Dunne C.S.C., Macmillan Publishing. The authors begin the review by stating that ‘John Dunne has written a great book. Certainly not an easy book but a personal, unique and insightful study worth entering as deeply as possible.’ Nouwen and Wissink indicate that the subject of the book is ‘ how is God relevant to modern man in his search for meaning?’ ‘The autobiographies of men like Augustine, Luther, Pascal, Newman, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus and Jung serve as the main data for the quest...’. Nouwen and Wissink describe the book as: having a unique clinical and empirical touch; as having a high degree of insight…’which does not lead to a proud “now I know” … but to a compassionate understanding that the night can pass into day and to some inkling of the turning point which lies ahead’. They go on to describe Dunne’s method suggesting that ‘A better title might be “From Time Out of Mind to Time Within Mind” because the whole book is based on the process of bringing to one’s mind the time that is absent from the mind’. The reviewers then go on to describe what this means : ‘Here we are meeting the great time history books are written about. We all live in it, but it is not the exclusive property of anybody, unless maybe of God, or death…what is the place of my life in this great time, in the death time or, hopefully, God’s time?’. Nouwen and Wissink end the review by stating, ‘Again, this is a great book. It offers more than a new idea, a new concept or a new insight. It offers a new perspective on life for modern man’.

Generation without fathers: Christian leadership of tomorrow

This item consists of an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Generation without Fathers: Christian Leadership of Tomorrow, published in Commonweal, June 12, 1970, pp 287 – 294. The article begins with an old Jewish story in which a young fugitive hiding in a village is handed over to soldiers by the Rabbi in order to save the people. The Rabbi is then informed that he should have met the young man and then he would have known he was handing over the Messiah. Nouwen then goes on to say as introduction, ‘We are challenged to look into the eyes of the young man and woman of today running away from our cruel ways. Perhaps just that will be enough to prevent us from handing him over to the enemy and enable us to lead him out of his hidden place into the middle of his people to redeem them from their fears.’ Nouwen then discusses what he sees are certain behavioral trends in the lives of those who are ‘in the process of becoming’. Throughout the article Nouwen quotes both from a book by David Riesman entitled The Lonely Crowd and a paper by Jeffery K. Hadden in Psychology Today, October 1969. Nouwen heads the first section of this article The Man of Tomorrow. He describes these people as the children of the lonely crowd who exhibit three characteristics: Inwardness, Fatherlessness and Convulsiveness. Nouwen uses a definition of the inward generation from the work of Hadden: ‘It is the generation which gives absolute priority to the personal and which tends in a remarkable way to withdraw into self’. In the subsection entitled Parents but no Fathers Nouwen states,‘ We are facing a generation which has parents but no fathers, a generation in which everyone who claims authority …is suspect from the very beginning’. In this generation the authority figures are ones peer group with all the tyranny that can involve. Convulsiveness is described as ‘A fundamental unhappiness with their world, a strong desire to work for change, but a deep doubt that they will do better than their parents and a nearly complete lack of any kind of vision or perspective’. In the section of this article entitled Tomorrow’s Leader, Nouwen outlines the characteristics of the Christian leader needed for today’s youth. There are three characteristics suggested: 1. The leader as the articulator of the inner events, 2) The leader as a man of compassion and 3) The leader as a contemplative critic. Each of these sections is discussed fully and summarized at the end. Nouwen states,’ The Christian leader who not only is able to articulate the movements of the Spirit but also is able to contemplate his world with a compassionate but critical eye may expect that the convulsive generation will not choose death as the ultimate desperate form of protest, but instead the new life of which he has made visible the first hopeful sign.

Education to the ministry

This item is a 9 page copy of a paper given by Henri Nouwen entitled : Education to the Ministry included in Integrating the Disciplines in Theological Education; Report of the Twelfth Biennial Meeting of the Association of Professional Education for Ministry, June 15 – 18, 1972 Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, p. 8 – 16. Nouwen indicates at the beginning of his paper that his intention is to ‘present to you some ideas on ministry from the perspectives of hospitality in the hope that these can help us to see how the spiritual and professional life of the minister are related and what the implications of this relationship are for seminary formation’. Nouwen outlines his thoughts under three headings followed by his conclusion: 1) Ministry as Hospitality, 2) Ministry and Spirituality and 3) Education to the Ministry. In 1) Ministry as hospitality, Nouwen opens by saying that ‘the call to ministry is the call to be a host to the many strangers passing by.’ But he also points out that our attitudes toward strangers are ambivalent : sometimes hostile, sometimes hospitable and that the minister is to convert hostility into hospitality. It is ‘the opening of an opportunity to others to find their God and their way’. In 2) Ministry and Spirituality Nouwen asks how the minister can remain faithful to hospitality to the stranger. He suggests that ‘This will come to pass only when ministry is undergirded by spirituality,.. when the outer movement from hostility to hospitality is supported by an inner movement from property to poverty. Poverty means that my identity in the final analysis is not determined by what I can do, say or think, but by what God’s Spirit can do, say and think in me’. This then allows the pastor to be open and not defensive and free to listen. In section 3) Education to Ministry, Nouwen outlines three general principles: 1) The first and most important ministerial task of every educator is to help the student face his own condition and that of the world realistically and without fear. 2) The second principle in education to the ministry is to help the student become available to himself, that is to become at home in his own house. 3) The third principle to guide us in education for the ministry is the principle of compassion. This latter principle Nouwen suggests, is powerful in a world which is ‘on the edge of suicide’ as a ‘power for world peace in which the many barriers visible in prisons, hospitals, ghettos and war fields can slowly be taken away and in which this world can become again a hospitable place for man.’

Nuclear man: in search for liberation

This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Nuclear Man: In search for Liberation, included in Reflection, Volume 70, No. 1, the quarterly journal of Yale Divinity School and the Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, 1972. Nouwen opens the article by describing nuclear man as someone who “does not look forward to the fulfillment of a great desire, nor does he expect that something great or important is going to happen. He looks into empty space and he is only sure that if there is anything worthwhile in life it must be here and now”. Nouwen then states that the purpose of his article is “1. to come to a deeper understanding of our human predicament and 2) to hope to discover in the midst of our present ferment new ways to liberation and freedom”. 1) In the first section Nouwen describes nuclear man as “one who realizes that his creative powers hold the potential for self-destruction and can be characterized by Robert Jay Lifton’s 3 categories of a)’ historical dislocation’ which include the realization that “symbols used by his parents cannot possibly have the unifying and integrating power which they have for people with a pre-nuclear mentality”. There is a lack of continuity with the past. In b) ‘Fragmented Ideology’, there is a condition of “fast-shifting value systems” and nuclear man finds that he “does not believe in anything that is always and everywhere true and valid”. In c) ‘A search for new Immortality’ Nouwen states, “ When man is not able anymore to look beyond his own death and to establish for himself means to relate to what extends beyond the time and space of his own life, he loses his desire to create and with that the excitement of being human”.2) In the second section entitled Nuclear Man’s way to Liberation Nouwen outlines “two main ways by which [nuclear man] tries to break out of his cocoon and fly: the mystical way and the revolutionary way”. a) “The mystical way is the inward way. Man tries to find in the center of his own inwardness, a connection with the ‘reality of the unseen’, with ‘the source of being’, with ‘the point of silence’. b) In The revolutionary Way Nouwen describes someone who “is tired of pruning the trees and clipping branches and wants to pull out the roots of a sick society”. Nouwen concludes this article by asking “Is there a third way, which we can call a Christian way?”. In this third way Nouwen describes Jesus as bringing together in himself both mystic and revolutionary and so “in this sense he remains also for nuclear man the way to liberation and freedom”.

Finding the friendly space

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Find the Friendly Space: Post Easter probing into the heart of worship’, published in ‘The Episcopalian” June 1973, P. 9 – 10 & 44. Nouwen opens the article by relating the story of the meeting of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus with the risen Jesus. Following the breaking of bread the two disciples recognize Jesus and return to Jerusalem with joy to tell the others. Nouwen states that this story is important because ‘it helps us realize that liturgy is hospitality’. He then goes on to say that ‘We need to look at our liturgical ministry as a way to create a friendly space’. After discussing what liturgy is not Nouwen states, ‘ liturgy is the indication of simple boundaries, a book, a table, a small piece of bread and a small cup of wine, within which the God of power and might can appear to us as…the God with us, the humble servant, the son of man. In the space created by these simple, basic human symbols, we can be touched by what is deeper that our own self-understanding and wider than our own life experience and can lift our hearts above the immediacy of our daily pains and sorrows.’ Nouwen then goes on to look at this in more detail. He concludes by drawing attention to several things: He states that ‘every liturgy must be highly flexible in terms of closeness and distance…that we especially today, should be open to a variety of liturgical celebrations’. All of this, he suggests requires ‘flexible and sensitive priests’. He reminds the reader that ‘Any celebration that does not move us outward is in constant danger of degenerating into a cozy, self-feeding, stuffy clique’.

Hospitality

This item is a 28 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Hospitality’ published in Monastic Studies, Number 10, by Mount Savior Monastery, Pine City, New York, Easter 1974. Nouwen has divided his article into 3 major divisions 1. From Hostility to Hospitality 2) Forms of Hospitality and 3) The Dynamics of Hospitality. Nouwen begins 1. By saying ‘it is God who reveals to us the movement of our lives. It is not a movement from weakness to power, but a movement in which we can become less and less fearful and defensive, and more and more open to the other and his world. This movement allowing us to receive instead of to conquer is the movement from hostility to hospitality’. Nouwen follows with some examples of difficulties arising from the presence of hostility which prevents hospitality. He then describes hospitality as meaning ‘primarily the creation of a space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. It is not an attempt to change people, but to offer the free space where change can take place.’ Nouwen discusses the difficulties in our society of creating this hospitable space and ends the section by saying ‘To convert hostility into hospitality, to change the stranger from hostis to hospes, from enemy to friend, asks for a persistent attempt to create the free space where such a conversion can take place. In section 2. Nouwen indicates his intention as ‘to show how different forms of service can be seen as hospitality. He identifies the forms of service as: teaching, preaching, counseling, organizing and liturgical celebration. In his conclusion to this section Nouwen says, ‘ …they are all forms of ministry by which we create space for the stranger, space where he can enter into deeper contact with himself, his fellowman and his God’. In a short third section 3.The Dynamics of Hospitality, Nouwen speaks of ‘receiving and confronting’ by which he means by the latter, setting boundaries. The second heading is entitled ‘participation in a certain plenitude’. Here, Nouwen states, ‘ The people who have had the most influence on me in my life…are men and women who never tried to convert me, change me, or make me do or not do certain things. …They were people who were so much in touch with themselves, were so self-possessed and eradiated so much inner freedom, that they became a point of orientation for my own search’.

The poverty of a host

This item consists of a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Poverty of a Host’, published in Monastic Studies, No. 10, Easter 1974 by Mount Savior Monastery, Pine City, New York, p. 65 -69. Nouwen begins this article by stating,‘ Poverty makes a good host. This paradoxical statement needs some more explanation. In the context of hospitality I like to focus on two forms of poverty’. The two forms Nouwen describes as 1) Poverty of Mind and 2) Poverty of Heart. Nouwen focuses particularly on these two forms of poverty as they apply to ministry. With regard to poverty of mind Nouwen describes it by saying, ‘ Someone who is filled with ideas, concepts, opinions and convictions cannot be a good host. There is no inner space to listen, no openness to discover the gift of the other.’ With regard to poverty of heart Nouwen says, ‘ Even more important than poverty of mind is poverty of heart. When our hearts are filled with prejudices, worries, jealousies, there is little room for the stranger…Poverty of heart creates community…’ Nouwen concludes the article with the following ‘ Ministry, diakonia, service, care – they are all expressions for an attitude toward our neighbor in which we perceive life as a gift which we have received not to own but to share.’

A time for quiet, a time for action

This item is a half page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ A Time for Quiet, a Time for Action’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, April 26, 1974, p.11. This article begins with a quotation from Mark 1:32 -39, “In the morning long before dawn he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there”. Nouwen then points to all the action in Jesus’ life that surrounds these words and develops the idea of the importance to Jesus’ fulfillment of his ministry of these moments alone and at prayer. “ In the lonely place Jesus finds the courage to follow God’s will and not his own, to speak God’s words and not his own, to do God’s work and not his own”. He then states as the goal of this article, “I want to reflect on this lonely place in our own lives”. Nouwen suggests that we tend to know that we too need a lonely place and silence and that without it there is a danger that our lives will be governed only by what we ‘do’. He says, “practically all of us think about ourselves in terms of our contribution to life”. In the remainder of the article Nouwen suggests that our attempts to find our identity in the busyness of the world is leading many people to depression and anxiety. Nouwen emphasizes the importance then of silence and solitude in human life: “ Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures”.

Find your center

This item is a half page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Find Your Center, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 3, 1974. This article is a continuation of Nouwen’s article from the National Catholic Reporter, April 26, 1974. He introduces this article by saying,” To live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it. It is in solitude that this inner freedom can grow”. The entire article is a development of his statement that” A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center,, easily becomes destructive since by clinging to the results of our actions as our only way of self-identification we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life”. Nouwen discusses the importance to Jesus of his times of solitude and silence which fed his ministry and enabled him to face his death. The article concludes,” When you are somewhere able to create the lonely place in the middle of your actions and concerns, your successes or failures can slowly lose some of their powers over you.”

Protecting intimacy

This item is a half page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Protecting Intimacy’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 10, 1974. Nouwen begins this article by stating,”A most painful thing to say is that intimate love does not take our loneliness away but protects it and converts it into solitude. Therefore intimacy is first of all a protecting intimacy allowing us to move from loneliness to solitude.” Nouwen then goes on to give an example of a family whose mode of living is to avoid pain in their relationships. Nouwen suggests that “this world is full of lonely people trying hard to love each other without succeeding. The question is if this is not largely due to the fact that we are not able to face the pain of our loneliness”. Nouwen concludes by stating,“ Intimacy,..does not mean entering the other with an intruding curiosity or a hungry need for satisfaction. Intimacy touches gently, intimacy does not take, but gives, does not suffocate but lets grow, does not conquer and possess but sets free and keeps free.”

Listen to the inner voice

This item is a half-page article entitled: Listen to the Inner Voice by Henri Nouwen, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 17, 1974. Nouwen continues his emphasis on the difference between loneliness and solitude. The article begins with Nouwen saying, “ Sometimes I wonder if the reason so many people ask support, advice and counsel from so many is not, for a large part, due to the fact that they have lost contact with their innermost self and are no longer able to listen to the voices speaking in the center of their solitude.” Nouwen uses an extensive quote from R. M. Rilke to someone who asks about his vocation as a poet. Rilke emphasizes the need to look inward, to question whether there is necessity. Nouwen goes on to say “As long as I am trying to run away from my loneliness I am constantly looking for distractions with an inexhaustible need to be entertained and kept busy. Then I become a passive victim of a world asking for my idolizing attention…but when I have converted my loneliness into solitude, the world starts losing its claim on me…”.

Out of solitude, healing

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Out of Solitude, Healing, published in the National Catholic Reporter, c. May 24, 1974. Renewing the theme of solitude from his previous articles (April and May) Nouwen states, “In solitude history becomes Kairos, which means history converts from a random collection of disconnected events into a constant opportunity for a change of heart and mind”. He goes on to say in clarification, “When history becomes Kairos, I am called to search for hope even in the middle of crying cities, burning hospitals and desperate parents and children”. Kairos, Nouwen suggests brings the depths of the heart into the actions of mind and hand; in Kairos which we touch in solitude, our actions are transformed. Nouwen concludes, “Every time in history that men and women have been able to respond to the manifestations of evil and death as to a Kairos, a historic opportunity, an inexhaustible source of generosity and new life has been opened, offering hope far beyond the limits of human prediction”.

Loneliness contagious

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Loneliness Contagious, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 31, 1974. In this article Nouwen speaks of loneliness as a pervasive experience in modern life. He speaks first of his own loneliness and then states “ Loneliness is one of the most universal human experiences but our contemporary western society has heightened the awareness of our loneliness to an unusual degree”. He describes the loneliness people feel in crowded subways or at parties even though the images or words of welcome seem to imply warmth and closeness. “The language with which we are surrounded suggests anything but loneliness… it is a language which reveals the desire to be close and receptive to the stranger, but which in our society sadly fails to heal the pains of our loneliness, because the real pain is felt where we can hardly allow anyone to enter”. Nouwen concludes “The roots of loneliness are very deep and cannot be touched by optimistic advertisement, substitute love images or social togetherness”.

Encounter loneliness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Encounter Loneliness, published in the National Catholic Reporter, June 7, 1974, p.11. This article continues the focus on loneliness found in the article of May 31, 1974. Nouwen opens the article by stating, “Basic human loneliness threatens us and is so hard to face. Not seldom we will do every possible thing to avoid the confrontation with the experience of being alone and not seldom we are able to create the most ingenious devices to prevent ourselves from being reminded of this condition”. Nouwen speaks of our culture’s tendency to avoid loneliness; to fill all available time with activity. He suggests however that society also suffers because individuals also believe that they can take others’ loneliness away. “When my loneliness drives me away from myself into the arms of my companions in life, I am in fact driving myself into excruciating relationships, tiring friendships and suffocating embraces”. Nouwen goes on to develop the possibility that loneliness or unsatisfactory relationships can drive people into violence. He suggests at the conclusion that there must always be a private, ‘mysterious’ place in each person in order to develop community and healthy personal relationships.

Openness can get stale

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Openness can get Stale’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, June 21, 1974, p. 13. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘There is a false form of honesty that suggests nothing should remain hidden and everything should be said, expressed and communicated’. The article suggests that a lack of boundaries in relationships and a lack of silence and solitude can lead to a violation of our ‘inner sanctuary’. Nouwen writes that for all the openness we offer to one another there is however, still a ‘desire for protective boundaries by which man and woman do not have to cling to each other but can move graciously in and out of each other’s circle’. He then asks how we can find the road to conversion, ‘the conversion from loneliness into solitude. Instead of running away from my loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, I have to carefully protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude’. Nouwen ends the article with a reference to his own struggles with this issue and concludes by stating, ‘The few times however in which I followed the counsel of my severe masters and listen silently to my restless heart I started to sense that in the middle of my sadness there was joy, that in the middle of my fears there was peace, that in the middle of my greediness there was compassion and that indeed in the middle of my irking loneliness I could find the beginnings of a quiet solitude’

Openness can get stale

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Openness can get Stale’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, June 21, 1974, p. 13. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘There is a false form of honesty that suggests nothing should remain hidden and everything should be said, expressed and communicated’. The article suggests that a lack of boundaries in relationships and a lack of silence and solitude can lead to a violation of our ‘inner sanctuary’. Nouwen writes that for all the openness we offer to one another there is however, still a ‘desire for protective boundaries by which man and woman do not have to cling to each other but can move graciously in and out of each other’s circle’. He then asks how we can find the road to conversion, ‘the conversion from loneliness into solitude. Instead of running away from my loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, I have to carefully protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude’. Nouwen ends the article with a reference to his own struggles with this issue and concludes by stating, ‘The few times however in which I followed the counsel of my severe masters and listen silently to my restless heart I started to sense that in the middle of my sadness there was joy, that in the middle of my fears there was peace, that in the middle of my greediness there was compassion and that indeed in the middle of my irking loneliness I could find the beginnings of a quiet solitude’

Marriage as ministry

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Marriage as Ministry’, published in Notre Dame Journal of Education, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1974, p. 101 – 106. Nouwen has divided this article into two parts: 1) Marriage as the binding of each other’s wounds and 2) Marriage as the healing of the suffering guest. Nouwen begins the first part by stating, ‘ What is man’s wound?...Words such as alienation, separation, isolation and loneliness have been used to indicate man’s wounded condition. I like to use the word loneliness in this context and try to understand our loneliness in the context of marriage’. Nouwen asks if ‘we are not trying to avoid a confrontation with our basic human loneliness ‘ by looking for another to fill all the loneliness of human life. He suggests that a marriage relationship is healing when the ‘love between husband and wife means a deep respect for the holy center where they are different, where they cannot reach each other, but must remain strangers’. He goes on to say that ‘many marriages are ruined because neither partner was able to fulfill the hidden hope that the other would take his or her loneliness away’. In part 2, Nouwen writes of how marriage, ‘can become a form of ministry not only to each other, but to strangers as well’, but that this is most healing when the stranger can enter into the space on their own terms, where the relationship between the couple creates ‘room for the other and…a friendly space where he can feel free to come and go, to be close and to take distance, to rest and to play, to talk and to be silent, to eat and to fast’. Nouwen suggests that in such a space each is free to recognize and own the loneliness and pain of the other which is a reality of human life. Nouwen concludes the article by saying, ‘Marriage is a ministry because marriage is where we can bind each other’s wounds with care and heal with our carefully protected wounds the many who pass us on their way. Loneliness is man’s wound.’

Isolate self at times

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Isolate Self at Times’ , published in The National Catholic Reporter, July 5, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen continues the theme of fruitful solitude which he began in previous columns of this paper. Nouwen states at the beginning, ‘It is probably difficult if not impossible to move from loneliness to solitude without any form of withdrawal from a distracting world’. He speaks of monks and hermits who go into the wilderness seeking solitude but goes on to say, ‘ But the solitude which really counts is the solitude of the heart, an inner quality or attitude which does not depend on physical isolation’. Nouwen speaks of the difference in being present to another in loneliness or in solitude. In solitude, he suggests, we hear the other and respond. He also suggests that we all move back and forth between these poles even from hour to hour. Nouwen states ‘ Sometimes I wonder if the fact that so many people ask support, advice and counsel from so many other people is not, for a large part, a result of their having lost contact with their innermost self’. Nouwen concludes the article with a lengthy quote from Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.

Love protects aloneness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Love protects aloneness’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, undated but possibly July or Sep. 1974. Nouwen is continuing his focus on the importance of solitude for the spiritual development of the individual. He begins, ‘By slowly converting my loneliness into a deep solitude, I create that precious space where I can distinguish the voice telling me about my inner necessity- that is, my vocation’. He follows this point by raising the question, ’How many people can claim their ideas, opinions and viewpoints as their own?’. He states that ‘frequently, we are restlessly looking for answers, going from door to door, from book to book, or from school to school, without having really listened carefully to the questions’. Nouwen points out that our society tends to pull us away from fruitful solitude and encourages seeking answers instead of listening to the questions. He suggests that in solitude we can become present to ourselves and from this we become closer to others. ‘In this solitude we encourage each other to enter into the silence of our innermost being and discover there the voice which calls us beyond the limits of human togetherness to a new communion.’

Friendship inner quality

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Friendship inner quality’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, August 7, 1974. Nouwen begins the article by describing a visit to him from a former student in which they sat in companionable silence for a good portion of the visit. They each recognized the presence of Christ in the other and the student ended the time by saying ‘ From now on, wherever you go, or wherever I go, all the ground between us will be holy ground’. Nouwen then quotes Rainer Marie Rilke,‘ Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other’. Nouwen interprets this understanding in the following way, ‘It made me see that the togetherness of friends and lovers can become moments in which we can enter into a common solitude which is not restricted by time and place’. He goes on to say, ‘Only slowly I become aware of the possibility to make the human encounters of my life into moments by which my solitude grows and expands itself to embrace more people into the community of my life. It indeed is possible for all those with whom I stayed for a moment or a long time to become members of that community since by their encounter in love all the ground between us has indeed become holy ground and since those who leave can stay in the hospitable solitude of the heart’. Nouwen goes on to cite examples of the ways humans relate but which need not replace this fruitful solitude of the heart.

Solitude not withdrawl

This item consists of a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Solitude not withdrawal’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, August 16, 1974, p. 11. In this article Nouwen is continuing his focus on the difference between loneliness and solitude and the importance of solitude as the ‘place’ from which each human being acts. He begins by stating ‘The movement from loneliness to solitude is not a movement of a growing withdrawal but instead a movement toward a deeper engagement on the burning issues of our time’. ‘As long as I am trying to run away from my loneliness I am constantly looking for distraction…’. Nouwen points to the need to be ‘fully aware of my world and very alert so all that is and happens can become part of my constant meditation and can be molded in the center of my solitude into a free and fearless response’. Nouwen suggests finally, that ‘in my solitude, my history no longer can remain a random collection of disconnected incidents and accidents but has to become a constant call for the change of heart and mind’.

Share human sorrow

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Share Human Sorrow’, published in The National Catholic Reporter, August 30, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins this article by stating ‘It is tragic to see how the religious sentiment of the West has become so individualized that concepts such as “a contrite heart” have come to refer only to personal experiences of guilt and the willingness to do penance for it’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that the great catastrophes of today do not become part of us and contrition for them becomes ‘no more than a pious emotion’. He asks why the hurtful and corrupt actions of people in our society that are everyday in the newspaper don’t ‘crush our hearts and make us bow our head in an endless sorrow?...Shouldn’t that bring us finally to a confession that we as a people have sinned and need forgiveness and healing?’. Nouwen then asks, ‘how can I live a healthy and creative life when I am constantly reminded of the fate of the millions who are poor, sick, hungry and persecuted?’ Nouwen admits he does not know the answer, but suggests that even though we may feel powerless to do anything we can accept that ‘although the events of the day are out of my hands, they should never be out of my heart. I hope that, instead of bitterness, my life will yield to the wisdom that only from the heart a humble response can come forth’.

Case-recording in pastoral education

This item is a 9 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Case-Recording in Pastoral Education’ published in The Journal of the Academy of Parish Clergy, by the Academy of Parish Clergy, Minneapolis, Mn., 1974, p. 16 – 24. In this article Nouwen is writing about the value for parish clergy of note-making in their interactions with parishioners. Although Nouwen suggests that such note-making is rarely done he outlines in the article a number of reasons why it is valuable and offers some case-studies as evidence. Nouwen first identifies some reasons why there may be resistance in clergy to undertake note-making: 1) That the interactions are private and privileged, 2) That note-taking is a form of creativity which pastors may not see as being relevant to their work 3) That pastors may not see the relevance of what they do to the development of pastoral theology. Nouwen then discusses some values of note-making for pastors: 1) It is a professional task and one which, if the pastor is to be considered a professional among other professionals, must be done.. ‘The pastor cannot seriously claim a place on the professional team if he does not have his case-record by which he presents his work with the patient for discussion, criticism and evaluation. 2) It is a form of self-supervision. Here Nouwen quotes Russell Dick, BD, that note writing ‘is a check upon one’s work; it is a clarifying and developing process; it relieves emotional strains for the writer.’ Preceding the presentation of several case studies Nouwen states the following, ‘ One of the reasons it is so difficult to learn from experience is that the nature of the experience itself often remains obscure, ambiguous or vague. Sometimes the pastor feels happy after a visit, sometimes disappointed, sometimes sad, angry or depressed. In many ways the pastor senses vaguely that something went right or wrong, but cannot put a finger on it. Usually he does not stop to think or reflect but moves on to another experience allowing his feelings to drift into the background, unavailable as a potential source for learning. But if the pastor sits and writes the conversation as he or she remembers it, and tries to formulate personal observations of the situation and reactions to it, the cloud can vanish and the experience can become clear and visible’.

Listen to pain with heart

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Listen to pain with heart’, published in the National Catholic Reporter, September 6, 1974, p. 15. Nouwen begins this article by stating that ‘when my response to the world remains hanging between my mind and my hands, it remains weak and superficial….Only when my mind has descended into my heart can I expect a lasting response welling up from my innermost self’. Nouwen speaks of the solitude of the heart as the place from which effective and meaningful actions flow. ‘It is in the solitude of the heart that we can truly listen to the pains of the world because there we can recognize them as strange and unfamiliar pains but as pains which are indeed our own’. Nouwen suggests that it is from being in touch with out inner solitude that we can avoid self-righteousness and grow in compassion. Nouwen quotes several passages from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who speaks of the fruitfulness of solitude as a school for compassion. Nouwen concludes the article by stating ‘The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain. And in our solution-oriented society it is more important than ever to realize that wanting to alleviate pain without sharing it is like wanting to save a child from a burning house without the risk of being hurt’.

Hostility to hospitality

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Hostility to hospitality’ in the National Catholic Reporter, September 13, 1974, P. 11. In this article Nouwen begins by speaking of a human desire to ‘stand out, be different, exceptional’ and that we ‘are slowly seduced into the illusion that our value is seated in those few qualities that make us different from all other people’. Nouwen goes on to say that maturity however, is to accept the reality of our human condition and our union and likeness to other human beings. Nouwen points to Jesus as the one who came ‘like us’ and then states ‘And so it is God who reveals to us the movement of our life. It is not the movement from weakness to power, but the movement in which we can become less and less fearful and defensive and more and more open to the other…’. Nouwen points out the difficulty of this movement but suggests that the hostility and fear that we experience prevent us from becoming truly human. Nouwen concludes by suggesting that ‘when we have become sensitive to the painful contours of our hostility, we might start identifying the lines of its opposite toward which we are called to move: hospitality’.

Hospitality frees guests

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Hospitality Frees Guests’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, September 27, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘If the first characteristic of the spiritual life is the continuing movement from loneliness to solitude, its second characteristic is the movement by which hostility can be converted in hospitality’. Nouwen suggests that if we meet others out of needy loneliness that will not create an open space of hospitality to help the other be who they should be. Nouwen states that he believes the biblical concept of hospitality ‘might offer a new dimension to our understanding of a healing relationship and the formation of a recreating community’. Hospitality creates ‘not a fearful emptiness , but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free…’.

Protecting intimacy

This item is a half- page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Protecting Intimacy’ published in Dignity, A National Publication of the Gay Catholic Community, Vol. V, No. 10, October 1974, p.4. Nouwen begins this article by stating, ‘A most painful thing to say is that intimate love does not take our loneliness away but protects it and converts it into solitude. Therefore intimacy is first of all a protecting intimacy allowing us to move from loneliness to solitude.’ Nouwen then goes on to give an example of a family whose mode of living is to avoid pain in their relationships. Nouwen suggests that ‘this world is full of lonely people trying hard to love each other without succeeding. The question is if this is not largely due to the fact that we are not able to face the pain of our loneliness’. Nouwen concludes by stating,’Intimacy,..does not mean entering the other with an intruding curiosity or a hungry need for satisfaction. Intimacy touches gently, intimacy does not take, but gives, does not suffocate but lets grow, does not conquer and possess but sets free and keeps free.’

Wisdom of emptiness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Wisdom in Emptiness’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, October 4, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins the article by stating that most people need constant occupation and without it are restless and feel useless. He says ‘Being busy, active and on the move has nearly become part of our constitution’. Nouwen goes on to state ‘this is why silence is such a difficult task’. He suggests that occupation and preoccupation are our ’fearful ways to keep things the same’…’we hold on to the familiar life items which we have collected in the past’. Nouwen uses as an example of this a story by Carlos Castaneda and the story of Jesus’ exhortation that we should ‘not worry …your heavenly father knows what you need’. Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘ Conversion is an inner event that cannot be planned or organized, but needs to develop from within. Just as you cannot force a plant to grow, but can take away the weeds and stones which prevent its development, so you can… offer the space where such a conversion can take place’.

Schools stifle feelings

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Schools Stifle Feelings’, published in the National Catholic Reporter, October 11, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins the article by stating his purpose: ‘I would like to show how different forms of service can be seen as hospitality’. Nouwen then goes to speak about teaching as a form of ministry. Nouwen suggests that ‘ Practically every student perceives his education as an endless row of obligations to be fulfilled…In such a climate it is not so surprising that an enormous resistance to learning develops and that much real mental and emotional development is inhibited by an education situation in which students perceive their teachers more as demanding bosses than as guides in their search for knowledge and understanding’. Nouwen suggests that what is needed is for there to be a space created ‘where students and teachers can enter into a fearless communication with each other and allow their respective life experiences to be their primary and most valuable source of growth and maturation’. Nouwen states that he sees teaching also as a form of hospitality and that a most important task of the teacher is to create ‘ a fearless space’ where questions can be asked and explored.

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