5.10.2008

The opposite of distraction

Thanks to Len for blogging this great quote from Henri Nouwen.

“In a society in which entertainment and distraction are such important preoccupations, ministers are also tempted to join the ranks of those who consider it their primary task to keep other people busy. It is easy to perceive the young and the elderly as people who need to be kept off the streets or on the streets. And ministers frequently find themselves in fierce competition with people and institutions who offer something more exciting to do than they do.

“But our task is the opposite of distraction. Our task is to help people concentrate on the real but often hidden event of God”s active presence in their lives. Hence, the question that must guide all organizing activity in a parish is not how to keep people busy; but how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks in silence.

“Calling people together, therefore, means calling them away from the fragmenting and distracting wordiness of the dark world to that silence in which they can discover themselves, each other, and God. Thus organizing can be seen as the creation of a space where communion becomes possible and community can develop.” Nouwen, The Way of the Heart


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