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Life of The Beloved: Spiritual Living in a…

Life of The Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World (original 1992; edition 1992)

by Henri J Nouwen

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Title:Life of The Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World
Authors:Henri J Nouwen
Info:Crossroad Publishing Company (1992), Hardcover, 120 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:religious studies, roman catholic, philadelphia, november 2012, book corner

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Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J. M. Nouwen (1992)



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This was originally written by Henri Nouwen for a secular Jewish friend of his. He wanted not to 'convert' him, but to help him understand how much God loved him, to sense that he was a beloved child in a broken world.

The writing is powerful and moving, using as themes for individual chapters the four words: Taken, Blessed, Broken and Given. Nouwen examines what these concepts have meant to him over the years, and how he has - very slowly - come to accept the love of God no matter what his circumstances.

It's honest and often moving, and reads very much like a letter to a friend, although at times I forgot that there was a specific audience. There's a prologue and epilogue which talk more about it, but the bulk of the book - barring a few specific comments about the friendship - are relevant to anyone.

It's a short book, but very thought-provoking, so I didn't want to read too much at one time. I read just a chapter (or less) per day for nearly two weeks. Highly recommended. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. Section 3B: General Christianity. Nouwen, the late Dutch Catholic priest, has written many books. His works are easy to read yet very profound. Here’s the premise of this book. Nouwen met a journalist named Fred, who interviewed Nouwen for a newspaper article. Nouwen and Fred got to be friends. Fred asked Nouwen to write a book even he, a Jew, and his agnostic friends could relate to and learn about the Christian life. This resulting book’s main point is that every human being is a beloved child of God on whom God’s favor rests. Nouwen borrows this terminology from the bible where St. John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, and God’s voice is heard saying, “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” If we can just let the fact sink in to our hearts that we are beloved children of God and God’s favor rests upon us, this knowledge will enable us to live in new ways, being part of life around us, but being im mune to cultural forces that cause us to become broken by competition, rejection, loneliness, or temptation.
Nouwen borrows the words of institution from Holy Communion to describe our beloved lives. We are “taken” (Nouwen uses the word “chosen”), “blessed,” “broken,” and “given” to the world. Book chapters discuss each of these terms fully. God chooses us as his own long before we are even conceived (it is God who does the choosing, not us – so “accepting Jesus as our personal savior” as fundamentalists do is a fallacy). God blesses us and our endeavors; we are broken and sinful but can grow out of brokenness stronger in knowledge and character; and God gives us to the world – our hands do God’s work, as the new ELCA motto says.
The Tuesday AM bible study class found this book very useful, full of sentences they liberally underlined, full of mysterious statements ripe for unpacking and discussion. We had some very rousing discussions, didn’t we, attendees?
If you were unable to attend this 8-week study, you can borrow this book and read it for yourself. There are discussion questions at the end. As the group facilitator, I wrote up additional discussion questions; if you want them I can e-mail them to you. This is just an excellent book!
Other books by Nouwen in our church library are:
With Open Hands in section 5, Devotions & Prayer
Jesus, a Gospel, with illustrations by Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch priest, Dutch artist!) in section 3B: General Christianity, and
With Burning Hearts: Meditations on the Eucharistic Life, section 5 (How we come together in brokenness to share our holy feast, with lovely color illustrations of paintings by Duccio, an early Italian Renaissance artist)
I am going to look for more books by this brilliant theologian who writes so well for us laypeople. ( )
  Epiphany-OviedoELCA | Feb 28, 2015 |
One of the all time spiritual classics. Every Christian should read this book. www.darianburns.com ( )
  dgregoryburns | Jan 3, 2015 |
I picked this up at a book sale because it's written by Nouwen and he's an author I always grab if I can. I read it because it was chosen by The Facebook Method. I hated it. It's fluffy, saccharine and weak. I get that he is writing for secular Jews. I get that it's not for Christians. But seriously, it's so fru-fru. There is nothing about WHY we need Christ. I agree that it is nice to hear God loves us, and how much He loves us. But this sort of nonsense is what let's people think they can be Christian without facing sin and repentance. This isn't to say there weren't some good points and quotes. But not enough to redeem this work. I would not recommend this unless someone specifically told me this is what they struggled with. I'm sure there are people who would find this book to say just want they need to hear about God. But for me, I think there are better works out there. ( )
  empress8411 | Feb 28, 2014 |
We discuss this book every week in the Bible Study meeting.
  asambul | Feb 13, 2014 |
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Seit du mich darum gebeten hast, dir und deinen Freunden etwas über das geistliche Leben zu schreiben, beschäftigt mich die Frage, ob es ein Wort gibt, von dem ich möchte, dass es dir nach dem Lesen all dessen, was ich dir sagen möchte, im Gedächtnis haften bleibt.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0824519868, Paperback)

Initially written for a Jewish friend, Life of the Beloved has become Henri Nouwen’s greatest legacy to Christians around the world. This sincere testimony of the power and invitation of Christ is indeed a great guide to a truly uplifting spiritual life in today’s world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:40 -0400)

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