Books of the Month, Volume 9

From Brokenness to Community – Book of the Month- Part 1

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0809133415″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]Our Book of the Month for April is…

From Brokenness to Community
Jean Vanier

Paperback: Paulist Press, 1992.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

*** Kindle edition only $3.49!!!

We will be reading through the book this month, and posting discussion questions as we go. We hope you will read along with us, and share your thoughts and questions. (Or, even better, get a group of people at your church to read through the book together!)

Part 1:
Pages 1-13

Here are some quotes and questions, please use the comments below to share your own thoughts and questions.

Next Conversation: Part 2

(Coming later this week…)

“These lectures and their insights are indeed the fruits of what has engaged Jean Vanier for many years — prayer, study, reflection, and life lived both in ‘the wisdom of community’ and in a covenant of love and faithfulness with those who are weak.”  – Ronald Thiemann, Introduction (p. 8)


Lecture 1: Through Their Wounds We Are Healed

“I come here to tell you how much life [the people of L’Arche] have given me, that they have an incredible gift to bring to our world, that they are a source of hope, peace and perhaps salvation for our wounded world, and that if we are open to them, if we welcome them, they give us life and lead us to Jesus and the good news.”  (p. 9)

“It is my hope that each one of you may experience the incredible gift of the friendship of people who are poor and weak, that you too may receive life from them. For they call us to love, to compassion, to community.”  (p. 10)

Discuss. Do you agree with Vanier that those who are poor and weak, are a source of hope and peace for us all? Tell a story or two from your own experience.

“Community is a wonderful place, it is life-giving; but it is also a place of pain because it is a place of truth and of growth — the revelation of our pride, our fear, and our brokenness”  (p. 10-11)

Community is such a buzz-word in most churchy circles today, but to what extent have we been honest about it being a place of pain? Tell a story or two of how community has been a place of pain for you.

“When we talk of the poor, or of announcing good news to the poor, we should never idealize the poor. Poor people are hurt; they are in pain. They can be very angry, in revolt or in depression.” (p. 11-12)

In what ways have you been tempted to idealized the poor? What are the effects of our idealization?



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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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