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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith Hardcover – May 23, 2006


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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith + Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit + Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (May 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060754737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060754730
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It's a little jarring to see a new book from an author who's been dead for 10 years. Yet these clearly are the words and teachings of Nouwen, prepared by two people close to him when he was alive (Rebecca Laird and Michael Christensen). Much like Nouwen's Making All Things New, this is by a spiritual master for everyday people longing to be closer to God. It is not about how to become a spiritual friend, mentor or director, but focuses on ways individuals can find their spiritual direction in the broadest possible sense. Although there is an essay on what a spiritual director does, there is much more about how to pray, practice solitude and overcome the fears that keep us from knowing ourselves as God's beloved. Many Christians who struggle with the image of a punishing God will appreciate the section on becoming attentive to and working with our image of God. Following each chapter there is a recommended spiritual practice and questions to ponder. This is a brilliant addition to Nouwen's canon of work as a writer and will enrich both longtime Nouwen fans and newcomers to his wisdom. (June)
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Review

“Read this book and you will understand why I chose Henri Nouwen as a companion on my own spiritual journey.” (Bill Moyers)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Easy to read and very insightful.
Gillian J. Wolfe
Each chapter contains both Henri Nouwen's wonderful insights and "spiritual exercises" for going deeper.
R. Miller
It is easy to read, yet can be read multiple times because there are many layers to process.
Lynne M. Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By R. Miller on July 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books on spiritual direction that I have read -- and I have read many. It is clear, focused, practical, and thoughtful. It is good as a starting point for one wanting to learn about spiritual direction -- and it is good as a resource to re-focus one's spiritual journey. Each chapter contains both Henri Nouwen's wonderful insights and "spiritual exercises" for going deeper. The editors have done a masterful job of preparing Henri Nouwen's writings for publication. I recommend this book very highly.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on September 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Henri Nouwen was a great promoter of the practice of spiritual direction, but he never wrote a book on the subject. This is surprising since he wrote a wide array of books on just about any given subject in the Christian spiritual quest. He did write a number of articles on the subject, and there are a number of unpublished article and writings pertaining to the subject. Two close friends and associates of Nouwen, Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird have compiled these writings into a book that is entirely Nouwen's writings (without commentary) and could just be the book Nouwen would have written if he had approached the subject.

While the book is meant to be an introduction to spiritual direction for a person interested in the subject, Nouwen's rich writing and his ability to speak to the heart will make this book a treasure for any reader. The book covers the basic topics that any book on spiritual direction should include. It begins with life's basic questions, looking at direction in life, the quest for God, and prayer. While the book is ecumenical in approach, Nouwen is indebted his roots in the Roman Catholic tradition. He does not mention different spiritual traditions specifically, e.g. Jesuit, Trappist, or Carmelite, but readers familiar with these approaches will see glimpses of each as well as Nouwen's unique ability to include the longing and goodness of humanity in general as a way of approaching God.

For most of Christian history, spiritual direction was practiced almost exclusively by clergy and religious, and more often than not, the spiritual director was the person's confessor.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anne H. Duffy on March 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Even though I have not entirely finished this book--it is designed to be a slow read--Henri Nouwen is a strong, gentle hand leading the way. His questions to the reader provide an opening into one's own soul and allows it to grow. He is making my "Long Walk" a most pleasant one and I am so excited and anxious to see where my walk will take me.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Peni Johnson on January 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is superb for anyone looking to deepen his or her relationship with God!

P.S. Read From acknowledgements all the way through or you may miss some insight.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dee on January 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
One of the most interesting things Nouwen affirms is that you are not going crazy if you feel driven to seek a closer relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. That was His intention. It is a bit scary to have it also affirmed that the unnerving intensity may be a lifelong thing here on earth. I especially like the reference he makes regarding present despair. Nouwen states to not think that the experience you may be struggling through is the last experience and encourages that we focus on the place "on the other side" of this experience where we will be held in love.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ana M. Gonzalez on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It has since become the prime source of inspiration for my meditation. Although written by two of Henri's disciples, the thoughts and words are his. Beautiful writing, deep thought-inspiring ideas make this book truly special. I have given it as a gift to friends who are dear to me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James C. Jones on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith is a compilation of the writings and lectures of Henri Nouwen, the late professor, spiritual director, and member of Daybreak L'Arche community in Toronto. Nouwen is renowned in the literature of spiritual formation, and his writing career was prolific, but none of his works speak directly to spiritual direction. Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird set out to remedy this hole in the Nouwen bibliography by pulling together articles, recording, notes, and unpublished writings that speak to this topic.

The result is a most helpful resource to those who want to grow in the Christian faith and a deeper relationship with God. The work is divided into three primary sections that deal with spiritual formation as disciplines of the heart, the Word, and the community. All three were essential in Nouwen's approach to spiritual formation. Each chapter begins with a parable, used by Nouwen, to provoke thought and discussion, but also to illuminate some of the mysterious steps in growing spiritually. What follows is a discussion of the discipline and then a practical guide to allowing this discipline to grow in our lives.

The book has a conversational quality that draws the reader in to the mind and heart of Henri Nouwen. It is as if he is answering the questions that we have always wanted to ask of someone this wise and steeped in his pursuit of God, or as Nouwen himself puts it, in allowing God to find him.
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