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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith Hardcover


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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: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,302 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The editors have done a masterful job of preparing Henri Nouwen's writings for publication.
R. Miller
The book was well presented and gives good insights to those who like myself have directees for spiritual direction.
Amazon Customer
The book is a good group read with questions and suggested exercises in each of the 9 chapters.
D. Leaver

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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alex Tang on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Christensen is the director of the Doctor of Ministry program in Drew University and Laird is a spiritual director and associate pastor for Spiritual Development at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, New Jersey. Christensen took a course with Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School.

Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996) is a well known spiritual writer. He never did consider himself a spiritual director though he did receive and gave spiritual direction. He considered himself more as a spiritual companion. Nouwen did not write much on spiritual direction and spiritual formation. The core of his spiritual writing were on the heart, Word and church and was more about his inner own conversations, even though it continues to offer spiritual guidance to many of his readers.

In this book, the authors, drawing from both published and unpublished writings of Henri Nouwen set him up as a spiritual director. The chapters are designed in such a way that the reader is being engaged with a one way spiritual direction with Henri Nouwen. The chapters deals with questions that generally asked in spiritual direction such as "who am I?" and "who is God to me?" The answers are drawn from Nouwen's writings. Sometimes reading a passage may be jarring because the personal pronoun "I" is used. One expect to look up to see Nouwen sitting across the table!

The danger of such a book is that it will be inevitable that some of the authors' biasness and personal values be embedded in the choice and paraphrase of Nouwen's writings. Nevertheless it is a good book to read as it is the closest we can get to having Henri Nouwen as our spiritual director.
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