Books of the Month, Conversations, Volume 9

From Brokenness to Community – Book of the Month- Part 3

[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 3:
Pages 26-39

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

<<<<<< Prev. Conversation: Part 2

  “Experience has shown that one person, all alone, can never heal another. A one-to-one situation is not a good situation. It is important to bring broken people into a community of love, a place where they feel accepted and recognized in their gifts, and have a sense of belonging. This is what wounded people need and want most.”  (28-29)

Is there a story, when you thought you could heal / fix someone? What was the outcome?

The calling of Jesus:

  1. “he called people into a deep relationship of communion with himself.”
  2. “Jesus calls those who accept this communion of love with him into community, to live and be with others who have also been called.”
  3. “as the community of the disciples is born, Jesus sends them”  (29-30)

In what ways are you living into this calling? What parts of this calling are most difficult? Why?

Community is a place of conflict:

  1. “Conflict between the values of the world and the values of community”
  2. “Learning to give space to others so that they may grow, rather than competing with them and lording over them.”
  3. “Conflict between caring for people and caring only for oneself.”
  4. “Between being open and being closed.”

In what ways is your community experiencing these types of conflict?  How are you handing the conflict?


“More and more people are becoming conscious that our God is not just a powerful Lord telling us to obey or be punished but our God is family.  Our God is three persons in love with each other; our God is communion. And this beautiful and loving God is calling us humans in this life of love. We are not alone; we are called together to drop barriers, to become vulnerable, to become one.”  (35)

Does our life, both our daily life and our church life, reflect the reality that God is family?  If so, how? If not, why not?


“We are not striving for perfect community. Community is not an ideal; it is people. It is you and I. In community, we are called to love people just as they are with their wounds and their gifts, not as we would want them to be.. Community means giving them space, helping them to grow. It means also receiving from them so that we too can grow”  (35).

In what ways have we thought of and acted as if community was an ideal? What were the results?


“At the heart of community, as we learn to care for our brothers and sisters, there is forgiveness. Reconciliation is at the heart of community. To grow in love means that we become men and women of forgiveness of reconciliation.”  (39)

In what ways are we learning forgiveness as a church community? 



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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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