• Ken Shigematsu "Survival Guide for the Soul" | Episode Transcript

    Karen Pascal: Hello. My name is Karen Pascal. I’m the Executive Director of the Henri Nouwen Society. Welcome to a new episode of Henri Nouwen: Now and Then. Our goal at the Henri Nouwen Society is to extend the rich, spiritual legacy of Henri to audiences around the world. We invite you to share the daily meditations in these podcasts with your friends and family.

    Today, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to interview Dr. Ken Shigematsu. Ken is the senior pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver. It’s one of the biggest and most diverse city-center churches in Canada. Ken’s also the author of a couple of award-winning bestsellers, God in My Everything, and Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World That Pressures Us to Achieve. He is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal Award, for Canadians who are recognized for their outstanding contribution to this country. That’s quite an honor. I first heard Ken speak here in Toronto at a conference at Wycliffe College. It was evident as I listened that the writings of Henri Nouwen had been a source of wisdom and inspiration for him.

    Ken, before we dive into discussing your book on The Survival Guide for the Soul, I think our audience would love to know a little bit about your background and your heritage. Tell us where you came from and how you ended up in Vancouver.

    Ken: Sure. So, I’m originally from Tokyo, and when I was about two years old, our family moved to England. My dad got a job as a broadcaster for the BBC and we ended up in Canada as a family when I was about eight years old. So, I’m originally from Japan but moved when I was a fairly young child. And then as a younger man in my twenties, I returned to Japan and I was working in the corporate world for the Sony Corporation.

    Karen: So, you obviously retained both languages, then?

    Ken: Yeah. I consider myself primarily North American and I speak some Japanese, but if I’m getting into a more technical discussion around theology or philosophy or current affairs, I’m somewhat lost, because I don’t know all the technical terms in Japanese. But in terms of basic communication, I’m okay.

    Karen: So, in a sense you went in a very different route, you ended up going to the opportunity of being a pastor. How did that happen?

    Ken: Yeah, well, this may sound a little bit strange but, when I was about 20 years old and still a university student, I happened to visit this church in Vancouver called Tenth Avenue Alliance. It was on a Palm Sunday. And at the end of the service, I had no intention at that point of being a pastor. The voice came to me very clearly and distinctly, saying, “You’re going to one day return as the pastor of this church.” So, I just thought it was just so weird that I dismissed it. And then I ended up going to Tokyo to work for the Sony Corporation, and then I felt that God might be calling me into some kind of vocational Christian ministry. So, I ended up leaving Tokyo, heading to Boston for a few years to go to seminary, to study theology.

    And then, when I was in my late twenties, I was back in the Vancouver area and was seeking to discern how God might be leading me, whether I was to go back to the corporate world or to pursue some kind of vocational Christian ministry, and I spent about a week fasting and praying. And on day three of the fast – I know this is going to sound strange as well, this doesn’t happen to me very often – but the words “Tenth Avenue Alliance Church” came clearly to mind. And on day five of the fast, the words “senior pastor” came clearly to mind, and I ended up visiting the church. I discovered that they had a pastor, so I thought I must have heard wrong, and it seemed to me that most of the people in the church were older, white Anglo-Saxon, senior citizens.

    And I felt I was just too young, not white enough to be the pastor of this church. And the pastor confided in me afterwards. I didn’t tell him about the sense I had that I might be called to serve as the pastor. But I said that I was just open to some kind of vocational ministry. He told me that because there were no kids his kids’ ages, he was going to leave and encourage me to put my name in the hat. And so, I did, and after I was officially called, I revealed to the search committee and the board that I had the sense of being led here in this time of fasting and praying that I had experienced months earlier.

    Karen: What a wonderful story. I’m delighted to hear that. I bet you needed it. I bet there were times you went, “What am I doing here?” and you needed to remember that you were really called to it. Did that ever happen? Or were you always like, “This is a perfect fit.”

    Ken: Oh yeah, no, exactly. I really needed that. So, the church had cycled through 20 pastors, Karen, in 20 years, included some associates, and had gone from over a thousand people in its heyday back in the fifties to a hundred-and-something just prior to my coming. And I think it was in the first week or second week on the job, the church secretary walked into my office and she said, “Ken, if the ship sinks now, everyone will blame you, because you were the last captain at the helm.”

    I think she was motivating me to work harder. I had gone through a difficult breakup with a woman that I was engaged to be married to. So that was very personally painful, and I wasn’t feeling at my best, and there were times in those early months and years where I felt the church would be so much better off with another pastor. And yet I sensed, even in my vulnerability, that God had called me. And Henri Nouwen’s writings had been a big encouragement to me in that time and then beyond that time. So, yeah, that sense of being called initially certainly acted as an anchor for my soul.

    Karen: How wonderful! Oh, my goodness, I love that. I just love it. And I know it’s a very flourishing church today and a very diverse church today, rightly so because Vancouver is one of the most diverse communities, I think, in the world and it should be reflected in its churches. But that’s pretty exciting. You’ve written a couple of wonderful books and I thought today we would take a look at The Survival Guide for the Soul, and I love the little subtitle to it, How to Flourish in a World That Pressures Us to Succeed. I think that’s incredible. It’s beautiful. Congratulations on that. But it says “pressures us to achieve.” I changed the title for you, but I think “achieve” is the one that you chose.

    Ken: Yeah. I, like probably a lot of your friends, Karen, that are on this podcast, would say I believe in God, I believe God loves me, and yet we continue to measure our actual worth by what we do, by how well we did in school (if we’re a student or not long graduated), how successful we are at work or how our family is coming along. And I felt, in part inspired by the writings of Henri Nouwen, that if a person, if I, or if others could really believe at our deepest level that we are loved by God, that that would fundamentally change the way we move through the world. You know, I am pretty driven and ambitious by nature. But I would have to admit that a large part of that has been motivated by a desire and need to somehow prove my value, justify my existence in the world. And I have found that as I have slowly awakened to a sense that God loves me no matter what, that I still want to contribute something to the world. I want to, in fact, offer my best. But it doesn’t come out of this anxious, desperate need to prove that I’m enough, but out of a deep sense of gratitude that I’m already accepted and cherished by the one who matters most.

    Karen: It’s interesting, because I sensed that as I read the book. I sensed the fact that you, like Henri –and Henri was a driven person, too – that need to achieve, that need to be the best you could be. It sounded to me as I read the book, you could be a perfect workaholic. But ending up finding that other thing. And really, in a sense, it’s the counterpoint, isn’t it, to that need to prove our worth to others, is to receive our worth from God. It’s such an amazing thing that God offers. One of the things that strikes me as I read the book was, it’s an honest struggle. It’s an ongoing struggle for you. That’s one of the things that I kind of found myself hearing, and at the same time, I think you’ve written this book knowing that there are certain tools you can bring into your life that will help you live it this way, which will help you survive that pressure, that tension just to achieve. I was intrigued by one thing that you wrote about, and it kind of gets us off into the book: You wrote about the two Adams. Why don’t you just describe what do you mean by the two Adams? Who are the two Adams that we meet in the Bible and how are they kind of . . . us?

    Ken: Yeah, thanks for asking, Karen. So the two Adams that Karen is referring to from the book, A Survival Guide for the Soul, are the two Adams that we see in the book of Genesis and the opening chapters of the Bible. And I’m getting these ideas from a Jewish rabbi and theologian named Joseph Soleveitchik, who wrote about 50-something years ago. And as he was reading through the first pages of scripture, he noticed that Genesis chapter one seems to have a certain portrayal of Adam as being this person who is called to fill the Earth and subdue it. So, he’s driven, he’s ambitious. Today, this driven Adam would want to start businesses, would want to find very effective vaccines for COVID and other illnesses, and would want to control the world. We need that driven Adam and I call that ambitious Adam, “striving Adam” in the book.

    But then, as we go to Genesis two and three and four, we see that Adam is called into a garden to humbly serve it, that he yearns for connection with his creator as he walks with God in the cool of the day. He’s lonely until Eve appears. And so, while we have this ambitious side, we also have this soulful side that longs for connection with God, with other people, with creation itself. And I call this other part of us, “soulful Adam,” describing Adam and soulful Adam. But in our culture, whether it’s Japan or North America, much of the world, all the focus, the spotlight is on striving Adam. And so, if we are workaholics, we’ll tend to get noticed. If we never keep the Sabbath, we probably get promoted. Whereas we’re not going to be affirmed, by and large, if we cultivate our soul, our connection with God and the most important people in our life. And so, I thought that message was needed – certainly for me, and perhaps for some others as well.

    Karen: Well, I found it very life-giving. I’m grateful for this book in my hands right now. You write at the beginning; this is kind of an introduction to the book. You say, “This letter to myself is a survival guide of sorts. It’s a guide to surviving the damaging effects of a driven life, a way of overcoming the need to succeed by living satisfied in the acceptance and love of God. It’s a survival guide for the soul.” And it’s interesting, because those two Adams exist in all of us. They’re conflicting in all of us and you’re right, even probably more so today. I thought it was fascinating to read at one point that today, when young people write down what they want more than anything, 50% of them want to be famous. They’re just driven with this sense that “I won’t have succeeded in life unless I’m famous.”

    But this book has an honesty to it. You know, it’s not simple, it’s not easy. It reminds me of Henri. It does remind me a great deal, because Henri could identify things, but living them is sometimes really, really, really difficult to do. How do you go about taking this truth, that you’re beloved and that you don’t have to prove it? How do you really get it into your being and keep it there and live out of it?

    Ken: Yeah, and I think this is where some simple, and yet at times, challenging, spiritual practices can make a big difference. So, the Jesuit, Anthony de Mello from India, tells a story – maybe you’re familiar with it, Karen – of a little fish, swimming down a river and comes into the ocean and approaches a big fish and says, “Excuse me, Mr. Big Fish, I’m looking for the ocean. Can you tell me where it is?”

    And the big fish says, “You’re in it; it’s all around you.”

    And the little fish looks disappointed and says, “No, I’m just in water,” and swims away.

    And no matter how people feel right now, who are listening in on this conversation, who are participating right now, God is near. God is closer than our breath, and yet often our eyes aren’t open to the reality of God, and so spiritual practices can help awaken us to a sense of the God who is always with us, the God who always looks at us with love.

    Karen: It’s just vital to take what you’re saying and kind of bring it into our lives. Tell me a bit about these spiritual practices. Tell me what you use and give us a sense, a taste for it.

    Ken: So, right now a spiritual practice really feels like a lifeline to me. So, we’re still in this pandemic that has lasted longer than any of us anticipated and some mornings, if I’m honest, I can wake up feeling a little melancholy, a twinge of the feeling of depression. I feel the weight of folks who have lost their jobs in this time, in our community, people I know who have contracted COVID, and in one case a mother of three adolescent girls was on a ventilator fighting for her life. Thank God she pulled through. And so, I felt the weight of this season, and so some mornings I wake up feeling a heaviness. But what I do first thing in the morning is I’ll leash up our golden retriever, Sasha, who’s eight years old, but still has the vitality of a puppy.

    And we’ll go for a run through our neighborhood toward a little park not far from our home. And as I’m running, I will recount gifts over the past 24 hours. They may be simple gifts, like a delicious meal with our family the night before, a meaningful conversation with someone, the good weather that we happen to be enjoying in Vancouver, which is a gift because it often rains here. So, when the sun comes up, we’re very thankful. So, I begin the run and the day with gratitude. And then I do something that I think maybe Henri Nouwen would have done or could have resonated with. I bring to mind a handful of people who have shown unconditional love to me. So, that would include my wife and parents and some special people, a mentor who have been like the face of God to me.

    And so, I am reminded that I’m loved by God through these people. I lift them up to God in prayer, and when I’m done my run, I come home, I sit, I light a candle and I engage in something called silent, meditative prayer. Some people call it centering prayer. I’m a very easily distracted person, Karen, so any given time I can feel like there are like 1,032 chimpanzees jumping around in my head. And so, I’ll simply take some time to breathe in deeply through my nose, exhale slowly, breathe in deeply, exhale slowly. Then I’ll start to wonder how much time has gone by. I use an app called Centering Prayer. It’s a free app. And I set a timer to maybe 20 minutes, and as my mind wanders, I’ll use scripture like, “Be still and know that I am God,” to still my mind. I’ll continue to breathe deeply, and when I’m done, when the chime sounds letting me know I’m done, I always feel just a little bit more relaxed, a bit more focused, a bit more conscious of Jesus’s presence. And, if I’m honest, Karen, it’s not like I always feel like I’m on top of the world after my morning run and meditation, but I always do feel lifted up and a little closer to Jesus, and it really has been a lifeline for me.

    Karen: Well, I appreciated reading it as a guideline. I’ve read about it. I thought, “Karen, you’ve got to dive in. It’s time to do this.”

    I’m really grateful because there’s also a simplicity to it, and it is that stillness. It’s interesting how crowded our minds and our days can become and how much we need to live out of that relationship that we’ve been given with God, which gives us hope in the midst of this pandemic storm that we’re in and all the realities of a challenging life. Everybody has things happening to them that can throw you off your game. But I appreciated that idea of centering prayer. You even mentioned the Examen. I find it so interesting that we Protestants and the evangelicals are really finding these incredibly valuable tools that were held by wonderful people who somehow seemed like they were on the other side of the fence to us. But they’re not, and they are so rich. Do you use the Examen? How do you do with that?

    Ken: At the end of the day before going to bed, I will scan the last 24 hours and look for the gifts, whether it was a chance to go for a swim or a run in the morning – some mornings I swim; I’ve got a pool that’s been partially open, even during the pandemic. I will give thanks if I’ve become aware of a breakthrough in someone’s life, a special connection with a person. So yeah, I definitely do the Examen. And here’s the thing about the Examen: If you engage in a practice like the Examen, where you look back and you give thanks to God for what felt like gifts coming into the day or the week or the year, you tend to notice more of the positive things in your life.

    So, I’ve got a colleague, Edlyn, who I think you’ve been in touch with. She is a big help to me, and she was in the market recently for an Austin Mini Cooper, one of those little British cars. And she started noticing Austin Mini Coopers everywhere in Vancouver and around her home. And it wasn’t like, you know, the dealer was saying, “Oh, she’s on the fence, we’re going to flood her neighborhood with more of these little cars,” just that she was primed to notice them.

    And when we take even three or four minutes in a day to thank God for the gifts of the day, whether we speak them or write them down, we’ll start to notice more of the gifts of our life, and as we associate those good things with God’s goodness to us, we’ll feel more of his love in our lives.

    Karen: That’s lovely. And one of the challenges is to really keep a Sabbath. I think that struck me as being a very important word to be giving: “cultivating holy rest,” you called it. Tell me a little bit about that. You would assume a pastor would know how to do that, but tell me what you’ve had to learn in your life about Sabbath.

    Ken: Yeah, first of all, you mentioned pastor. So, I was giving a class at Regent College, which is a theological school on the campus of UBC, some years ago, and it was full of would-be pastors or pastors’ wives, and I spoke about Sabbath. And a woman in the front row raised her hand and said, “My husband is a pastor and he hasn’t taken a Sabbath in seven months,” or something. I feel like they’re too busy to take a Sabbath, but you know, if you take a Sabbath, Walter Brueggemann, the great Old Testament scholar, has said, “If you rest one day in seven and do those things that draw you closer to God and to people into joy, into life, that you will experience the other six days differently.”

    So, it’s a powerful, powerful practice. Ann Voskamp, the Canadian writer who I think probably is not that far from you, relatively speaking, says that in our busy age, “Sabbath is the gift we cannot afford to refuse.” It ought not to feel like a have-to, but a “get-to,” where we, as I said, delight in God, in the most important people in our lives. And during the pandemic, that might be through a phone call, it might be through Zoom. We might not be able to gather in person as well as the things that bring us joy.

    Karen: I love the fact that you emphasize it’s a gift, it’s not something you earn, but it’s been important to God from the very beginning. The Sabbath is really something God invites us to enter into, and demonstrated himself and then invites us to enter in. Something that I was struck by in the book is that you’ve made some choices. You’ve chosen to live in simplicity, in simple abundance, as you call it. I thought that was very interesting. It’s interesting because, kind of the more we have, the more we have to tend to, and I’d like to hear just a little bit about some of those choices that you’re making.

    Ken: The social science coming out of the research that people like Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, clearly shows that we shouldn’t glorify poverty. If you’re living in abject poverty, you’re not going to experience all the joy that you could be experiencing. So, if you can get yourself out of poverty, that’s a good thing. But then, after our basic needs are met, (and Professor Kahneman measures that as $70,000 of household income, if you’re living in an affluent city in North America, like San Francisco or Vancouver or Toronto or New York) then if you have additional money, you might be able to drive a slightly nicer, newer car, live in a slightly bigger apartment or home, but you’re not going to be any happier. And so, we know that additional money, beyond our basic needs, doesn’t make us happier.

    We also know from social science research done by people who don’t necessarily believe in God, that as we give, we experience profound joy. And I have sort of tested this in my own life. You know, I’m not living heroically, I don’t consider my life to be sacrificial, but as I’ve been writing books like God in My Everything and Survival Guide for the Soul, I realized I’ve got a daytime job. I’m a pastor, and so in the book contract with Harper Collins, I signed off all the royalties so that they’re directed to missions that work with the most vulnerable children in the world. And thus far, between God in My Everything and A Survival Guide for the Soul, and related proceeds, we’ve been able to give between $400,000 and $500,000 away to support some of the most vulnerable kids in the world. And there’s joy in that. And so, if you’re up for an experiment, those of us who are joining the conversation, pray about how God might lead you to live a life of joyful generosity. The two are definitely connected.

    Karen: I love that. I love it. You’re speaking a language of love that has practical feet on it, which I really appreciate. You know what’s kind of fun about the now? People are listening to you, and obviously I’m going to encourage them to get your books. They’re wonderful books, Survival Guide for the Soul, and God in My Everything. I’m going to encourage people to get the books and find them in the notes on our podcast.

    But the other thing that I think is really fun is that we can go and hear you. One of the advantages of COVID is that there’s an awful lot of online opportunities, and we can hear you in action on a Sunday, or whenever you’re in action at Tenth Church, and have a listen. I know your books have been feeding my spirit, but I am delighted that I can probably go and listen to you in action as well, and I look forward to doing that.

    I was struck by something – I’m taking us back, way back, probably just something that we haven’t really talked about, but I was very struck by – and you as a pastor, I’d love to hear what you think about this. You write: “Many of us, even those of us who intellectually believe that God has allowed to have difficulty, truly believing that we are loved. As simple as the word sounds, many of us cannot easily accept the fact that ‘I’m accepted. The perceptive priest Henri Nouwen observes that the greatest temptation we face is self-rejection.”

    Do you come across that a lot?

    Ken: Yeah, absolutely, and you know, it’s not just among people that maybe weren’t in the in-group in high school, or who were told by their parents, “You’ll never amount to anything,” or who were told as kids, they were stupid or ugly or whatever. It’s people that are really successful, that have achieved something in business, maybe they’re a CEO, they’re a prominent leader in the city – I don’t want to name names here – they’re folks who’ve succeeded as professional athletes. They can feel this sense of not being enough, of somehow needing to do a little bit more to prove themselves. And so, I think Henri Nouwen is exactly right when he says that the greatest temptation isn’t success or popularity or sex or power, but it’s self-rejection. The other things are real temptations as well, but they’re part of that larger temptation of rejecting ourselves.

    Karen: One of the things that I valued in reading your book was your honesty. I felt you didn’t have it all solved. I felt that the battle to, not to just want to achieve – that might be the very natural drive, and often when you’re very capable, that’s more than natural, and I think you even drew attention to the fact that you can end up feeling. . . It’s hard to be humble. It’s hard to be humble in it and to find true humility. And yet part of that, as you go through this survival guide for the soul, you talk about some of the things that are needed. And humility is needed, and it comes, in a sense by some choices. Tell me a little bit about what in your life, where that learning comes from. Some of us would say our humility learning comes from our failures; when you have a life with a lot of successes, how do you learn to be humble?

    Ken: Yeah. This may sound like kind of a weird exercise, but on my Sabbath day – we talked about Sabbath – what I’ve been doing recently is, I take a long walk on the beach with our golden retriever, and I do a, you mentioned the practice of Examen, Karen. I do a lifelong Examen. I start with my birth, the gift of being born – it happened to be in Tokyo, Japan – to parents who wanted me, a grandmother who was there. And I go through my life and I give thanks to God for everything that felt like a gift that comes to my mind and heart. Even things that I look back on, and that at the time felt really painful, like a breakup with a girlfriend or a fiancé, as I mentioned, and yet I see how God has fulfilled his purposes for that person and for me.

    And here’s what I found, Karen. I mean, I’ve worked pretty hard in my life, if I may say so, but all of the most significant things have been stuff I couldn’t have controlled. And so, for example, (I haven’t talked about this), but a big turning point in my life, Karen, came when I was a teenager. I was shoplifting. I was trying to be cool and loved the adventure of that, and I got caught. And my parents sat me down in my bedroom, had me kneel Asian-style, and I wasn’t very flexible then. So, I remember how much it hurt. And my dad told me, “You brought shame to our family by stealing.” And I realized in that moment that I needed to change my life. I didn’t know about Christ at that point, but not long thereafter, my dad took me first to a prison and said, “Son, I just wanted you to see your future home, courtesy of my tax dollars.”

    And that didn’t scare me straight. And my dad, who had been raised as a nominal Buddhist, took me to a Christian youth conference. He had just become a follower of Jesus. And I heard about the gospel and that opened up a new way of life for me, as I began to take my first steps following Jesus. So, I didn’t choreograph that.

    When I think about meeting my wife, I thought I might be single, which is a noble calling as well, after my fiancé and I had broken up. And I was heading to Japan, as a fairly new pastor here at Tenth, to discuss a very personal problem with a friend there, on basically a private island. He had done well in business. He wanted a really secluded spot to discuss this very personal matter. And just before going, an older woman in our church who had been a missionary to India, approached me and said, “Ken, I’m praying that on this trip, you will meet your future wife.”

    I said, “Oh, don’t get your hopes up. I’m going to a private island to meet with a guy friend of mine to talk about a problem that he’s facing, and I’m not there to socialize.”

    But while I was there, I don’t want to get into all the details, but my friend said, “I want you to reconnect with one of my friends from college.”

    And so, he introduced me to someone that I wasn’t expecting to meet, actually to reconnect with. And one thing led to another, we got married. And so, when I look back over my life, I feel that the biggest doors were gifts. That if something hadn’t happened and something else hadn’t happened, if God hadn’t choreographed something, it wouldn’t have gone through. And so, I think if people look back over their lives and trace some of the casualties, they’ll be able to connect the dots to God. And if you’ve been really successful, you’ll be humbled and filled with gratitude and hope, and if you’ve had a lot of failure and discouragements, you’ll also see God’s faithfulness, and so I think that will lift your spirit.

    Karen: That’s lovely. A life Examen on the beach sounds like a good way to enjoy the freedom that we have and to press in and remember all the ways God has led us. That’s really good. Oh, I am so glad to have had a chance to chat with you in person, and to recommend this. I want to say to others, Survival Guide for the Soul is good food for the soul. And it’s actually wonderful to know that when you purchase this book, you’re actually also benefiting children with great needs. I’m so grateful to hear that that’s a decision that you made Ken, that’s lovely. Thank you so much. Are there any other things that you’d like to share? Anything that you kind of think comes to mind to you in particular that has come from your reading of Henri Nouwen, or where you’re heading now? Anything that you would like us to hear?

    Ken: One of the things that struck me most about his book, Life of the Beloved, is that I think near the end, he talks about how the greatest gift that we offer the world is not what we do, but who we are, the light that we have made, the love that we offer. And when I was writing Survival Guide for the Soul, my own father was dying and I began to think about him more. My dad grew up as a boy in a very impoverished Japan that had been decimated by the war. And he loved to learn, but he couldn’t afford books, and so he’d go to a local bookstore and the owner was very kind and said, “Look, I’m going to let you take these books, pay for them when you can,” and so he would be up late at night with a flashlight and he’d be reading.

    And eventually he went on to study at an Ivy League college in the States, which was very rare at the time. And he went on, as I mentioned, to become a broadcaster for the BBC, and even had a chance to have a little tea with the Queen once, which is a big deal if you’re living in England. I think about his life. To paraphrase the journalist David Brooks, he had pretty good resume virtues, but he had even better eulogy virtues. As he was dying, what I appreciated about Dad most was not his accomplishments, but who he was, his immense kindness, his genuine humility, his quiet, but very real love for God. And if you will surrender yourself and receive the love and light of God, you’re going to get enough done, trust me; your striving Adam will be at play. But you’re going to become this beautiful person. You will become the gift, and that will be the greatest contribution that you will offer those you love and the larger world. And Henri Nouwen has been a great teacher to me in that path, and I’m deeply grateful for how God has spoken to me through him and his writings.

    Karen: Thank you, Ken. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. I really enjoyed it and I really do encourage people that this is a book that will feed your spirit. So, I encourage them to get Survival Guide for the Soul.

    Ken: Thank you, Karen. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and thanks for all you’re doing for the Henri Nouwen Society and the ministry. Yeah, his message is timeless and needed, especially now. So, thank you for all you’re doing to help facilitate that.

    Karen: Oh, I have so enjoyed listening to Ken Shigematsu today. I hope you got as much out of this chat as I did, and I do highly recommend his book. He’s got a couple of books, but I want to say, Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World That Pressures Us to Achieve, has been good food for my soul, and I’m grateful for it.

    If you enjoyed today’s podcast, we’d be so grateful if you’d take time to give it a stellar review or a thumbs-up, or even share it with your friends and family. For more resources related to today’s podcast, click on the links on the podcast page of our website. You can find additional content, book suggestions, and other material, including a link for books to get you started, in case you’re new to the writings of Henri Nouwen. Thanks for listening. Until next time.

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