henri nouwen: the authority of compassion

Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are “subject” to authority. The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose “subjects” we are willing to be.

It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.

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About greg w

I believe chocolate in virtually any configuration is the finest dessert in the history of mankind. I believe my wife is the sexiest woman in the world. I believe modern capitalism will never be replaced by a different -- or better -- form of economics. I believe in clutch hitting in baseball. I believe the Kimber 1911 .45 ACP is the finest handgun ever made in America. I believe the Mossberg Flex 500 pump-action 12 gauge shotgun is the best home defense ever made in America. I believe Tom Waits is the best songwriter of my generation. I believe unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers. As CS Lewis once beautifully wrote, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. I believe that, on balance, Christianity has done more good for humans than bad. I believe it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant, With that being said, I believe there is a profound difference between knowledge and wisdom. Finally, I believe if I yell at the TV during a Colts game, they will play better.