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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith

Preview — Spiritual Direction by Henri J. Nouwen ,. Michael J. Christensen Goodreads Author.

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Rebecca Laird. Spiritual Direction gives us the unique and unrivaled experience of having Henri Nouwen as our personal spiritual director, answering our questions about the spiritual life in his wise, comfortable, and engaging style.

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With Nouwen's guidance, we can reorient our lives and open the door to true spiritual transformation. Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and co Spiritual Direction gives us the unique and unrivaled experience of having Henri Nouwen as our personal spiritual director, answering our questions about the spiritual life in his wise, comfortable, and engaging style. Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepened by accountability, community, and relationships.

Though he counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of spiritual direction were never written down. Now two of his longtime students, Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird, have taken his famous course in spiritual direction and supplemented it with his unpublished writings to create the definitive work on Nouwen's thoughts on the Christian life. Stories, readings, and thematically organized questions for reflection and guided journal writing provide an unparalleled resource for spiritual direction, both for individuals and for small groups. Get A Copy.

Hardcover , pages. Published May 23rd by HarperOne first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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To ask other readers questions about Spiritual Direction , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 02, Walter rated it it was amazing. This is the author's last book, published posthumously and representing an edited compilation of his work in this area. Therefore, one might expect it to differ in form and substance from his previous work; this would be a mistaken assumption. It is a very well-done piece of meaningful insight and practical application rolled into one. As a discipline, spiritual direction is something that Henri Nouwen both practiced and preached, so to speak, serving in the role of spiritual director for many wh This is the author's last book, published posthumously and representing an edited compilation of his work in this area.

As a discipline, spiritual direction is something that Henri Nouwen both practiced and preached, so to speak, serving in the role of spiritual director for many while he was also led by others himself. I believe that it's this experience of the process from both sides - that of being the leader in the relationship and that of being the follower - that informs this work. In this book, his colleagues set out to collect his work in this domain and to develop it into a coherent guide to the art and practice of spiritual direction.

They do so ably. The format of the book is to focus on an aspect of the discipline of spiritual direction and then to conclude each corresponding chapter with an exercise that is the practical application of what preceded it. In fact, the exercises are so reflective and comprehensive that they could form a separate piece of work.

The theory and theology that are contained in the work are also outstanding. For example, Nouwen's treatment of relationships or being in community as he calls it and the expectations that we bring to them is particularly insightful. Distinguishing between what is possible for us as humans - our love is always somewhat conditional, he maintains - versus what emanates from the experience of the divine - which is truly unconditional - he then suggests a re-orientation: given that we cannot provide to ourselves or to others truly unconditional love which is only God's provenance , we must be able to forgive and to celebrate.

In other words, we recognize each other's limits, respect them and work within these boundaries to achieve a synergistic, mutually beneficial relationship. As he puts it, "Community is solitude greeting solitude: 'I am the beloved; you are the beloved; together we can build a home or place of welcome together,'" a place he acknowledges will be happy at times and less so at others.

That he acknowledges the reality of fluctuating human emotions makes his theology both more accessible and more practical for daily use. Similarly, as he points out, the questions in our lives must be lived though we tend only to want to find the answers and in so doing to conclude our unknowing as quickly as possible and then to move on. Our lives are not problems to be solved but journeys to be taken with Jesus as our friend and finest guide. There are some challenges with the book. For example, there are passages that are so "touchy-feely" that if one has even a touch of skeptic in him or her, there will be a tendency to want to discard the attendant insights.

Also, some of the author's revelations about himself are a bit overwrought and can distract somewhat from the points that he's trying to make. This being said, these are mere quibbles about an otherwise strong work. Those who are interested in this discipline and open to the wisdom contained in this book will be deeply moved and effectively developed by the experience. Therefore, this effort represents a fitting coda to the author's incredible body of work. Read it and be moved, skilled, guided and lifted View 1 comment.

Apr 17, Kirsten rated it really liked it.

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This is the first new Henri Nouwen book that I've read in a few years after a deep dive into his work in college and it was so much like returning to an old friend. I just find his words to be so comforting, gentle, and wise; it was exactly the book I needed for a more stressful and anticipatory stretch I was in.

I particularly liked his thoughts around solidarity, downward mobility, and compassion here, but the book as a whole was great. Jan 19, Stacey Lozano rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , I tried to read this semi-slow, but it didn't work out. The best way I suggest to read this as they do at the beginning of the book.

Once straight through, and then once taking a chapter a week or month to work through the questions, topics, and ideas. There is a lot here which I can take away from the book, and I will probably go through it slower after I finish the trilogy. Jul 17, Ann Gemmel rated it it was amazing. Such a wonderful read. As was suggested - it is one to read through initially and then go back and take a chapter at a time.

So much to ponder. I particularly was both challenged and touched by the chapters on community and service. This really is one that all Christ followers should read at some point in their spiritual journey. Jan 14, Brenda H. This posthumously written book still captures Nouwen's passion for ministry and spiritual formation. This book is filled with very approachable material and guidelines to implement these disciplines in your everyday life.


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