Adam's House
Adam’s House*

I’ve heard David Brooks speak and I regularly listen to him on the PBS Newshour and read his column in the New York Times.  He’s a very impressive, thoughtful, moderate Conservative.  And I realize there are Neo-Cons who criticize him for reasonably discussing issues with the dreaded Libs.  I don’t agree with everything he says (can’t think of anyone I agree with 100%), but Brooks sometimes surprises me with insight that we don’t often get from any of our ubiquitous pundits, Right or Left.  Here’s a prime example that applies directly to relevant Chaplaincy.

The Art of Presence 

*Photo:  Adam lives on the street.  I saw him yesterday and we shook hands.  I reminded him of his painting of the house he grew up in.  We put it on the wall of a local church.  A houseless man painting his boyhood house.  Something you only see and know and feel through presence. . .the art of presence.

2 thoughts on “Presence

  1. I think “presence” is so fundamental because it is the most basic way to cross the line between isolation and connection, which is almost as fundamental as crossing the line from non-life to life.

    By the way, I find Brooks’ definition on theology a stripping down to essentials as well: “A grounding in ultimate hope, not a formula book to explain away each individual event.” -Karen, of

    1. This makes sense, Karen. The only relevant model of chaplaincy, in my experience and view, is “presence” based. Those who do the work for any other agenda, theological or otherwise, seem off the mark and mostly unhelpful, if not destructive.
      Yes, Brooks is intriguing sometimes when he ventures into religious realms. If “ultimate hope” is not associated with “otherworldly hope” I think there is value in his statement. The formulaic approach is much too ingrained in most theology to hold much meaning for me. Thanks again for your comments.

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