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Its funny how sad bits of news arrive, like buses, two or three at a time. Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche has died, aged 90. Vanier was perhaps one of the greatest contemporary examples of what it means to live a life that is ‘other’ focused.

But he wasn’t interested in the grand gestures or well groomed posturing that is so prevalent in campaigning circles these days. His way was to be deeply involved in people’s lives – to identify closely with their suffering and their humanity.

So much of contemporary Christianity is about trying to get people to believe the right things – as if any one of us can hope to come to all the right conclusions. Vanier’s Christianity was profoundly more ‘earthed’ than that: “The message of the Gospel is to become men and women of compassion. If you become a man or a woman of compassion, you will be like Jesus.”
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