vanier-jean-2The Work of the People has an extensive collection of videos by a number of notable authors, theologians, thinkers and artists. Notably, there are many video interview clips with Jean Vanier. Most of us are familiar with Vanier’s work, from his founding of L’Arche in 1964 to his continued work as a thinker today. One of the things that strikes me most profoundly about his thought is that, while he touches on themes that are powerfully related to disability, his insights are just as applicable to any of us who are human, who crave friendship and belonging. We all need each other, in our gifts and in our brokenness. The following video is no exception. Here Vanier draws inspiration from Luke 14:12-14, where Jesus instructs his dinner host,

When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.

Clicking on the following image will bring you to the video:

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L’Arche Canada recently posted Jean Vanier’s message to the North American Interfaith Network from August 10th, 2013. In this video, Jean reflects on personhood and the importance of interfaith dialogue. Similar to the emphasis of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, he stresses that the purpose of coming together is not to dilute one’s own religious beliefs but rather to love/deepen our own religious beliefs while growing in love and respect for one another.

This is the space, the home, the dwelling that we share and fortunately it is a place of belonging vast enough for us all. When we encounter weakness or difference in others, it cuts ‘too close to home’ because we recognize our own weakness and self-stigmatization that we try to submerge. Ultimately, refusing the Other is not about the ‘strangeness’ of the Other but about the strangeness of ourselves to ourselves that rejects the Other. Read More →