Living L'Arche explores the origins and characteristics of compassionate love in those who care for the disabled. It shows that authentic compassion is only distantly related to individual talent or will, and selfless care for others is not evoked on the basis of fair exchange or individual benefit. Instead, the craft of compassionate love is slowly learned from disabled persons living at the furthest margins of modern society.
Based on a two-year scientific study of L'Arche communities, founded by Jean Vanier, in which disabled core members and caregiver assistants live together, the book shows that compassionate love involves work, and risk, and commitment, but offers the possibility of transformation. With recognition of our own brokenness comes the realization that we are made for relationships, places of safety where compassionate love enables us fully to know ourselves and God.
Kevin Scott Reimer is Professor of Psychology at Azusa Pacific University, and ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Educated in the United States and Canada, he holds degrees in developmental psychology, biological sciences, theology, and literature. His other book projects include The Reciprocating Self (InterVarsity Press 2005) and A Peaceable Psychology (Brazos, 2009).