Dégonfler des baudruches (PE nr 1090 – 2018/04)

Jean-Michel Laurent, Dégonfler des baudruches. Pensées pour inviter à penser, collection « Béthanie », Fidélité, Namur-Paris, 30 octobre 2017, 128 pages, 9.50 €

Here is a little book somewhat out of the ordinary! It is a collection of thoughts and reflections that the author has jotted down over time (1993 is quoted on page 70). Altogether, 134 thoughts, sometimes very short (1 phrase) or something longer (two pages) on diverse subjects; life, love, history, the wonder of the human body, feelings, God…

The thoughts move easily from a Western context to Africa, from popular wisdom and current events to the interpretation of the Scriptures or the exercises of Saint Ignatius, always with a touch of mischievousness or humour! Besides the Bible, quoted frequently, we find quotations from Socrates and Plato, as well as texts from the Lao-tzu writings, Julian of Norwich, Aragon, Charles Péguy, Annie Johnson Flint, Etty Hillesum and Paul Watzlawick.

A certain number of thoughts refer to God: He does not impose Himself (n°22). Moreover, a kind of refrain reoccurs throughout the book: God does not prove himself, he lives through himself (n°36); God does not prove himself, he meets himself (n°52); God does not prove himself, he experiences himself (n°116).

Sometimes, we get a taste of the Gospel; Better a prostitute who has tried to love than a Cardinal who has thought only of his career and honours (n°74). Or, the fruits of a spiritual experience: The longest journey in spiritual life is that which goes from the head to the heart (n°92). The author even poses a theological question: A theology, according to which forgiveness depends on confession, creates a thought-provoking problem … (n°49).

So, an interesting little book, to be read in small doses and which invites us to think and maybe even to write our own little book of thoughts!

Guy Theunis

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