Henri Nouwen, the widely read Christian author, was a professor at Yale University Divinity School and later at Harvard. But in 1986 he resigned from teaching to become pastor for the Daybreak community of people with disabilities in Toronto, Canada.
He was welcomed into one of the homes to live with the men and women with a disability and he was asked to help Adam Arnett, a severely disabled man, with his morning routine. In Henri’s book “Adam, God’s Beloved”, written shortly before he died, he describes how Adam became his friend, his teacher, and his guide.
However, just a year after arriving in Daybreak Henri suffered a severe depression.
“I had been received with open arms, given all the attention and affection I could ever hope for, and offered a safe and loving place to grow spiritually as well as emotionally. Everything seemed ideal. But precisely at that time, I fell apart – as if I needed a safe place to hit bottom.” (Henri Nouwen)
Prior to that time things were too ordered, too pleasant, perhaps even too superficial in his surroundings. But that place was safe. Safe to discover the brokenness that had been there all along.
A safe church is a safe place to bottom out. To be safe is not just to know about Christ but rather to be fully known by Him and others who are on the journey with you!