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Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Image (December 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385517521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385517522
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A provocative essay that places compassion at the heart of Christian life as a counterbalance and a challenge to a world governed far too long by principles of power and destructive control. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

A provocative essay that places compassion at the  heart of Christian life as a counterbalance and a  challenge to a world governed far too long by  principles of power and destructive control. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It is profound and still accessible.
papillonchick
This book delves into the heart of the difficulty in expressing true compassion.
Tehila
This is my second book by Henri Nouwen.
Debbie Moody

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Brad McBride on May 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I know that's a big claim, but the fact is that it did. At the time that I read this book, I was frustrated with God, Jesus, the church and anything that had an air of religion about it. I'm not sure why I picked it up and read it, but I'm thankful that I did.
This book's exploration of what compassion is and what it means to a Christian is without a doubt the best explanation that I have ever read. The book examines how God is compassionate and then looks at how this impacts the lives of those who would follow Him (the introduction alone is reason enough to read this book). It challenges people to embrace the sorrows and pain of others and to truly live a compassionate life.
This books simple approach and "no-holds-barred" attitude towards compassion showed me that God was in fact compassionate and that those who followed Him could be too. If you have any questions or doubts about who God is, or if you want to know more about how God wants people to react to hurting, you MUST read this book. I can't say enough good things about it.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By matt on September 19, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The not too well known poet Yosano Akiko wrote, "This one thing will I ask you: Are you with the people or apart from them? Depending on your answer, you and I will be forever divided between heaven and earth." This is the heart of Compassion. Nouwen and his co-authors argue that it is only genuine compassion, the ability to go outside of one's self in love for the other, that we find the meaning of God's love in Christ. It speaks directly to the heart of the Gospel, an incarnate faith in a life of compassion. Christ is known in "the least of these," in the person who is next to you now, on the bus, in the office, at your home. This is one of the books that I would really like to recommend to any Christian, regardless of their interests in theology or spirituality.
Centered around the self-emptying, kenotic love of God in Christ, the book reminds us that Christianity is not a dogma, or a rule, or some system, but rather a Person. The authors use St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, 2:6-11, as the scriptural touchstone of the book. "In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus..." Dogmas and theologies are footnotes, Nouwen suggests, to the reality of the crucified and risen Christ as experienced by the disciples and his followers. They are essential, but they are not the "thing" in itself. To come to know the meaning of our lives, our creation, we must enter into the love of God directly through compassion.
Anyone in the field of social services would benefit from this book immensely. Sometimes we loose sight of the value and meaning of our lives. This book is an antidote.
This insightful work is divided into three parts. 1) The Compassionate God- examining the nature and mission of Christ and what he tells us about the Father.
Read more ›
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Wendy on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most important How-To books ever. There are a lot of books out there offering to make us feel better, or to solve our various problems and anxious concerns, but few books give us concrete ways to give back of all that we've been given in our lives. This book simply, powerfully, intelligently, and at times, overwhelmingly, shows us how to relate the service and compassion of Jesus' life, and the love, patience, and generosity of God, to our own lives and the world around us. It answers the question of our human purpose in the world, and it suggests a way of being in this world that supports and encourages others and fulfills the will of God. This book teaches us how to serve God by daily and humbly serving man. This book is all about love. I know I will read and reread this book for the rest of my life. It is that essential and full of truth. And it is that challenging.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on October 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Everyone interested in Jesus should read this book. Yes, everyone. A couple of times. It has been one of the most influential books I've ever read. Nouwen pulls no punches, is not afraid to say anything. His message is hardcore and thought-provoking and if it was listened to honestly, would change the world. Read this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These authors cut straight through the lighter, more popular, aspects of society and dive straight into a radical life of Christ-baised community that challenges evil face to face, without returning evil for evil. If this book were to be widely accepted it could turn our society upside down. If you read it carefully, it might just turn your own world upside down (or more accurately right side up). I first read this book 5 years ago and still, today, I feel a flood of emotions go through me, whenever I pick it up.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Michael Friends on April 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book, Compassion, a Reflection on the Christian Life, by Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill, and Douglas Morrison is about the meaning and role of compassion in a Christian's life. The book is a collection of reflections by the three authors and some of their friends, gathered in a series of weekly meetings, as they discussed what compassion means in our society. The book was written many years after these meetings. The book does not mention how the writing was divided among the three authors. The introduction makes it clear that these authors are not talking about simple compassion, as most people understand the concept, but rather, a literal "suffering with" compassion; one that requires us to enter into places of pain, and to share the misery of those who suffer. It is a compassion that is contrary to our natural goals in life; competition for a better life, to be on top, to have distinct identities. To really understand compassion we need to make a radical change of heart and mind, which the authors feel Jesus' meant when he said: "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate."The authors suggest our service to our fellow human being requires radical commitment and self self-sacrifice (in my opinion, they are suggesting self-flagellation). Compassion happens in the world when true Christian community is formed. Each member of the community can contribute with their own skill set, according to God's will for each of us, in order to the serve a great variety of needs (page 58). In my opinion, the best part of the book was the chapter on prayer. Prayer and action are an essential part of patience. Prayer strengthens our discipleship, and allows the Spirit of God to speak freely to us.Read more ›
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