Item 1590 - Living the questions: the spirituality of the religion teacher

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00389 1-9-1-1590

Title

Living the questions: the spirituality of the religion teacher

Date(s)

  • Fall 1976 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

8 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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Scope and content

This item is an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled,’ Living the Questions: The Spirituality of the Religion Teacher’, published in the Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Volume XXXII, Number 1, Fall 1976 by Union Theological Seminary, New York. Nouwen outlines the purpose of this article, “ I would like to explore the spirituality of the teacher by focusing on three aspects of teaching: 1) Teaching as the affirmation of the student’s search; 2) Teaching as the giving of oneself to the student; and 3) Teaching as the disclosure of the Lord in the relationship between teacher and student.’ In 1) Nouwen suggests that the role of the teacher of religion is ‘not to offer information, advice or even guidance but to allow others to come into touch with their own struggles, pains, doubts and insecurities – in short, to affirm their lives as a quest’. In 2) Here, Nouwen suggests that the teacher must be both vulnerable and a witness. With regard to allowing the teacher to be vulnerable he says, ‘Who wants to be vulnerable and say with confidence,” I don’t know!”. To be a religion teacher calls for the courage to enter with the student into the common search.’ The teacher shares with the students their common searching humanity. In 3) Nouwen says, ‘To be a teacher is to disclose through your own person this mystery of God… To disclose the questioning Lord, therefore, requires the humble confession of our basic human ignorance and powerlessness’. Nouwen concludes by pointing out that for the reasons he has outlined, the teacher of religion may not be very popular in a success-oriented world. Raising more questions than offering answers is vital but, he suggests, a few students may listen to the voice of God and be able to follow it.

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Existence and location of copies

Two copies of this article are available including one in the journal itself.
Preservation photocopy available in Articles by Nouwen Access Copy Box 1.

Related units of description

See also a copy of the article in Japanese: Published works - item 1612.
See also a copy of the article in Korean: Published works - item 1612a.

Publication note

Published in Union Seminary Quarterly Review 32, no. 1 (fall 1976): 17-24.

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Alternative identifier(s)

Accession Number

2000 01

Location

Box 294

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