Voices for Peace | National Catholic Reporter

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  1. Voices for Peace | National Catholic Reporter

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    “Toronto Conference Explores
    Christian Tradition of Peacemaking”

    by Cassidy Hall | National Catholic Reporter

    Over 100 veterans and newcomers to the peace movement gathered April 28 in Toronto for a daylong conference covered in prayer, music, poetry, readings and speakers. “Voices For Peace” began with a film about the International Indigenous Youth Council at Standing Rock and then offered a deep-dive into the Christian tradition of non-violence, resistance and peacemaking.

    The event included sessions exploring contemplation and action, dreaming, nuclear disarmament, nonviolent action, the economy of weapons and numerous other topics related to peacemaking. It was bookended by a seemingly unlikely pair: 76-year-old author and peace activist Jim Forest and 35-year-old, Juno award-winning, hip-hop artist Shad K.

    The conference was sponsored by Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer, The Henri Nouwen Society, Citizens for Public Justice and The Basilian Center for Peace and Justice.

    “What brought us here today?” Forest asked in his opening lecture, “In my own case, I’ve been thinking about war and peace since I was 8 or 9 years old. I’m now 76. How surprising it is to have reached such an age. In my twenties, I thought it very unlikely that I’d live to be 30.”

    The audience laughed until Forest interrupted.  

    “Anticipated cause of death: nuclear war,” he said. “By the skin of our teeth we have lived with nuclear weapons without their being used in war since 1945 — 73 years.”

    Forest is best known by way of his friends: Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Dan Berrigan, Thich Nhat Hanh, Henri Nouwen and many more. He told participants that he went to the university of Dorothy Day and recounted numerous stories and times with all of these well-known friends who have been so central to his peacemaking work. He is the former editor of the Catholic Worker, co-founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and the author of more than 10 books.

    Click here to read the full story.

  2. “Voices For Peace” – National Catholic Reporter

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    “Toronto conference explores Christian tradition of peacemaking”

    May 9, 2018 | by Cassidy Hall

    TORONTO — Over 100 veterans and newcomers to the peace movement gathered April 28 in Toronto for a daylong conference covered in prayer, music, poetry, readings and speakers. “Voices For Peace” began with a film about the International Indigenous Youth Council at Standing Rock and then offered a deep-dive into the Christian tradition of non-violence, resistance and peacemaking.

    The event included sessions exploring contemplation and action, dreaming, nuclear disarmament, nonviolent action, the economy of weapons and numerous other topics related to peacemaking. It was bookended by a seemingly unlikely pair: 76-year-old author and peace activist Jim Forest and 35-year-old, Juno award-winning, hip-hop artist Shad K. 

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  3. Doctoral Program in Spiritual Formation

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    Are you interested in continuing your MDiv or Theological studies? If so, you may be interested to learn about the Nazarene Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. Of interest to Henri Nouwen readers is that the program features two courses focusing on Nouwen’s approach to spiritual formation.

    The Doctor of Ministry Degree is a professional degree. Students interested in the Doctor of Ministry program can expect to develop further in their professional practice. Further, they will make important contributions to their field of practice.

    The Spiritual Formation and Discipleship track engages seekers who desire to deepen their journey of personal transformation for the sake of spiritual renewal in their communities. Students will explore diverse approaches to formation and how they can be contextualized in various settings. Dr. Michael Christensen and Dr. Rebecca Laird are involved in leading this track. Michael and Rebecca were popular guest speakers at our Way of the Heart conference in Toronto last year — and are featured presenters at our upcoming Revolution of the Heart conference at the University of San Diego on February 9-10, 2018.

    For more information on the Doctor of Ministry program and admission requirements, click here.

    Dr. Rebecca Laird

    Dr. Michael Christensen

  4. We Don’t Need More Data, We Need Mystery

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    by Christian Crook [re-posted in part from Huffington Post]

    Last summer I attended a talk by Esther de Waal, a foremost scholar in the Benedictine and Celtic traditions, where I heard her boldly say: “I don’t want more investigative journalism, what I want is mystery.”

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    We’ve just stumbled out of weeks that have baffled and horrified us. A torrent of factual and “alternative news” has filled our newsfeed while Instagram has continued to churn out perfectly curated photographs, (scheduled in Hootsuite, no doubt, weeks ago.) We are all sifting through a sea of data, advertising and misinformation seeking clarity, searching for answers.

    In a similar time of upheaval, more than 50 years ago, a newspaper posed the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ Catholic thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:

    ‘Dear Sirs: I am.’

    Mystery.

    Chesterton understood the immense capacity of the human heart: a mysterious well capable of deepest compassion and incomprehensible evil.

    It’s evil we’ve seen in these days.

    In the wake of the U.S. executive order on immigration, we’ve seen the poem from the Statue of Liberty – for decades a symbol of American immigration – shared all over social media: “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The poem was written by a Jewish woman, American poet and essayist Emma Lazarus (1849-1887,) drawing inspiration from her Sephardic Jewish heritage and her work on Ward’s Island helping refugees detained by immigration authorities.

    “Wherever there is humanity, there is the theme for a great poem,” she once said, according to the Jewish Women’s Archives.

    Mystery.

    (To read the article in its entirety, click here.)

  5. Henri Nouwen: The Catholic Priest Who Embraced His Demons

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    “In our woundedness, we can become sources of life for others.”  — Henri Nouwen

    Henri Nouwen was a renowned Catholic priest, author of numerous books, and beloved confidant to many troubled souls. He was a professor at Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School, but went on to live in community with people with mental and physical disabilities at the L’Arche Daybreak community in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

    “When Nouwen talked, it was like someone talking into your own ear with the language of the heart — simpler, more direct, talking about his weaknesses but not being exhibitionistic,” recalls Ronald Rolheiser, Catholic priest and author.

    Fred Rogers, the creator and host of the hit kids’ series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, said that Nouwen taught him to “grow into a thoughtful person who cares about the essentials of life.”

    (To read the article in its entirety, click here.)

  6. Priest, Writer, Mentor, Misfit: Understanding Henri Nouwen

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    by Michael W. Higgins [re-posted in part from Commonweal Magazine]

    Two decades ago, on September 21, 1996, while on the way to St. Petersburg to shoot a documentary based on his acclaimed spiritual meditation, The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen—priest, writer, professor, and pastoral mentor—died of a heart attack in his homeland of the Netherlands. His friends and countless admirers were stunned. Prolific author of more than three dozen books, and a much-called-upon speaker and preacher, Nouwen was a large presence in Catholic circles and a growing influence in Protestant ones as well. His loss was felt not only in his immediate community but around the world.

    I knew Nouwen slightly, having had two memorable personal interactions with him in the 1980s. Asked to establish an adult education and pastoral information structure at my new university (St. Jerome’s in Ontario), I was seeking an inaugural speaker for the opening of the university’s Centre for Catholic Experience when my dean, Peter Naus, suggested his close friend Henri Nouwen, then a professor at Harvard Divinity School. Though my awareness of Nouwen was limited to his early book, Thomas Merton, Contemplative Critic, which I had found superficial, I did not demur; after all, I was untenured, new on campus, and the dean was Nouwen’s friend and a big name to boot, so it seemed a good thing to do.

    And it was. Nouwen’s address—a dramatized homily titled “The Spirituality of Peace-Making”—was informative, skillfully constructed, and masterfully delivered. But what most impressed me was his request, prior to his talk, to spend some time in our chapel. The interval of prayer and solitude set a tone, a disposition, that flowed into Nouwen’s presentation in the packed hall. He asked the gathered multitude to join him for several minutes of Taizé hymns, after which—moving about the dais with awkward strides—he spoke with the passion of a televangelist, eschewing academic jargon, delighting in the anecdotal, and not once referring to a text. It was performance art, and he was very good at it.

    (To read the article in its entirety, click here.)

  7. Henri Nouwen’s Intimate Letters Shed Light on his ‘Theology of the Heart’

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    [Re-posted in part from Religion News Service, October 04 – story by John Murawski]

    (RNS) As one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent Christian spiritual voices, the Catholic priest and missionary Henri Nouwen touched millions of people worldwide with his moving lectures and 39 published books.

    Revered as saintly by Catholics and Protestants alike, Nouwen eschewed dogma and judgment in favor of a personal, confessional style that affirmed a theology of the heart.

    In the two decades since his death from a heart attack at age 64, Nouwen’s popularity and influence have spawned at least five biographies. His reflections on faith, loneliness, vulnerability, love, prayer, social justice and sexuality have won over modern audiences.

    But this beloved priest had an even more intimate side, known only to those who corresponded with him privately.

    During his lifetime, Nouwen penned some 16,000 letters, expressing professional advice, pastoral counsel, reading recommendations and vows of friendship.

    Nouwen’s letters chronicle his lifelong struggles with celibacy, his disaffection with academia and his prolonged recovery from a nervous breakdown — among the many spiritual stations that marked his remarkable journey.

    Now a selection of Nouwen’s letters, 204 of them, has been published in “Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life,” commemorating the 20th anniversary of Nouwen’s death.

    Nouwen’s correspondents were friends, colleagues, public figures and total strangers who wrote to him in periods of anguish and despair. He responded to virtually all of them.

    This volume contains Nouwen’s letters to then-Sen. Mark Hatfield, the Oregon Republican investigated on ethics violations; Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”; and Joan Kroc, the philanthropist and third wife of the founder of the McDonald’s hamburger empire.

    (To read the full article, please click here.)

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