By Henri J. M. Nouwen
The Lure of Upward Mobility
1. In what circumstances have you encountered the temptation to be relevant? How can we resist this temptation?
2. How does the desire to be spectacular show our insecurity, as well as a lack of faith in God?
3. Why is the experience of God’s unconditional love the basis of all ministry?
4. According to Henri, what is the role of contemplative prayer? What role does this kind of prayer play in your spiritual life? What disciplines does Henri see as necessary for attaining communion with God?
5. Henri sees the desire for power as the most seductive of all temptations. Describe your own experience of this temptation.
6. Why does Henri see power as an illusion? Why is power incapable of giving us security?
7. Discuss the relationship between powerlessness and compassion.
8. Henri states “that in serving God we find our true self which no longer needs social affirmations but is free to offer a powerless ministry” (p. 65). How does the life of Jesus illustrate this kind of ministry? What might such a ministry look like in our world today?
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)