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Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life Hardcover – June 25, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fine book that delves into the answers to questions of what a Christian should do with his/her life....Nouwen’s gifts as a writer for the spirit rarely failed, and this posthumous volume is as valuable as his other writings.” (Library Journal)

“Henri Nouwen was one of the greatest spiritual masters of our time. This exciting new collection gathers together in one volume Nouwen’s wisdom about, insights on, and practice of spiritual discernment. It is, therefore, a treasure for all believers.” (James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything)

Discernment uses Nouwen’s material to open up the way to deep listening that is both comfort and challenge. Using Nouwen’s insights allows the reader to hone a sensitivity to God alive in our midst.” (Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK)

“Henri Nouwen continues to inspire and enlighten. One gets the sense that Henri is talking directly to you, and touching you deeply. The book reads like a seamless piece of writing that on almost every page has something that enlightens the mind or touches the heart at a deep level.” (William A. Barry, S.J. coauthor of The Practice of Spiritual Direction)

“Nouwen artfully explores how nature, our neighbors, and our own hearts reveal God’s active presence all around us. Life-giving and beautiful, yet practical and wise, he invites all those who doubt, feel lost, wounded or broken to discover the beating heart of love at the center of world.” (Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion)

“An absolute gift to mind and soul. Christensen and Laird have seamlessly and thematically woven a luminous tapestry of both Nouwen’s published and previously unpublished work on discernment. The result is an even richer and more accessible Nouwen than most of us have ever seen before.” (Phyllis Tickle, author of Emergence Christianity)

“Henri Nouwen’s writing is mystical, heartfelt, and wonder-filled. He has helped shape a whole generation of Christianity, and his legacy is still being written. I can’t think of a better teacher on discernment. Read it, live it, and transform the world by doing small things with great love.” (Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and wounded healer)

“Nouwen hits the mark with his commentary on discerning vocation, presence, identity, and time..” (Spirituality & Practice)

“For most people, the very word discernment implies something heady, private, and maybe even elitist. Henri Nouwen, as always, makes seemingly complex things personal, practical, intelligent, and very readable—all at the same time! This is a rich and helpful book.” (Richard Rohr, O.F.M., author of Falling Upward)

“I knew Henri Nouwen well. He possessed a unique capacity to combine genuine wisdom with winsome simplicity, and could help people look deeply into themselves. In these writings these qualities shine through, and the down-to-earth practical hints on no-nonsense spirituality will be a source of refreshment for readers.” (Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard and author of The Future of Faith)

“In this volume we listen to this master spiritual teacher illustrate what it means to discern in daily life. As we “listen in” on Nouwen’s own continual discernment, we learn that we too, can listen for God in the big and little of our lives, day in, day out.” (Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM, author of The Way of Discernment)

“I remember when I first encountered Henri Nouwen. He won my heart and became one of my mentors. In this new book, we gain insight into Henri’s own mentors, and we have the sense that Henri is sitting beside us, helping us discern the signs of God in our lives.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity)

“A book on discernment from the writings of Henri Nouwen—what could be better? Tender and true, Nouwen’s distinct voice brings a fresh perspective to this ancient and deeply Biblical practice. Discernment, when it is given, is always of gift. So is this book!” (Ruth Haley Barton, Founder, Transforming Center and author of Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leaders)

“Nouwen successfully argues that God is everywhere and in everyone. People must make the effort to read the signs of his presence. Hopefully, this book will nudge some of them to do just that.” (National Catholic Reporter)

“Nouwen lives on for us as a spiritual friend. He takes us by the hand down that road where we’ll meet with the timeless dimension of Jesus Christ, the life that the crucified and risen Jesus shares with us now.” (St. Anthony Messenger)

From the Back Cover

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 Henri counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of discernment were never collected into a single volume. Now, in association with the Nouwen Legacy Trust, Michael Christensen—one of Nouwen's longtime students—and Rebecca Laird have taken his coursework, journals, and unpublished writings and created the definitive resource on spiritual discernment.

This is the third book of a series. Spiritual Direction explores our core questions about the spiritual life as Nouwen acts as spiritual director, opening the door to personal transformation. In Spiritual Formation, Nouwen offers guidance on spiritual development—as dynamic movements from fear to love. In this final book, Discernment, Nouwen teaches us how to read the "signs of the times" in daily life in order to make decisions that are ultimately guided by God. Nouwen emphasizes listening to the Word of God—in our hearts, in the Bible, in the community of faith, and in the voice of the poor. Nouwen's thoughts on discernment begin to answer one of the biggest questions we face: what should I do with my life?

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061686158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061686153
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benjamin Vineyard on August 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up *Discernment* by Nouwen a few weeks ago with a dual interest: I was eager to read the next book in Nouwen's spirituality trilogy and I was beginning to experience new turbulence within my workplace which created desire for wisdom in navigation.

What I received was very helpful, very formative guidance in the practice of listening.

There wasn't much that was profound, per se, in Nouwen's writing this time, but this is his genius writing on discernment. Discernment isn't wisdom from the sky that enables you to connect the dots toward fulfilling your dreams. Instead, discernment is becoming awake to the Voice of God that we read recorded in the Scriptures and which speaks to us in the same way through friends, experiences, and desires - all which are things that re-member the words we've previously read from the Bible.

The goal, Nouwen wrote (and I paraphrase) is to be formed in the likeness of Christ, and to thus participate in God's mission of redemption, right where God has us. So again, the practice of discernment is the practice of listening; it's more an act of submission rather than discovering the route of more control.

Early on, *Discernment* writes out a theology of discernment that illumines a true intent for discernment (what I paraphrased above).

The remainder of the book takes an memoir-like stroll through Henri's life as he teaches the practice of paying attention to God. These journeys are like journal entries that unpack an earlier statement in the book:

"I can see no other path to discernment than to be committed to a life of unceasing prayer and contemplation, a life of deep communion with the Spirit of God.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The content of this posthumous book from Henri Nouwen brings together in one volume the critical process of discernment in the spiritual. Henri still continues to inspire us to lead the life of humility, simplicity, and authenticity for which the Creator intends.
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He just pulls me in to God's word and world by explaining what it is that we Christians need to do to become fully invested in the pursuit of discernment. He makes me want to be so much more as His beloved child than simply shlog through this world in a haze of over-work and over-worry as so many of us do..
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Another book I got my son while in jail. But this one and another one has finally opened up his eyes. It has been a battle with him and his drug use. But after reading this and another one he is finally waking up. He has been drug free for over 90 days and working( first time in a long time). I have my old son back and yes I thank this and other books for his waken.
A most to read..
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I am so grateful to the Henri Nouwen Foundation and those people who had the privilege of perusing Nouwen's journals, lecture notes, and previous publications to provide us with this delightful and useful book. It isn't a quick read; I've not yet finished it because I want to savor the words and ideas.

This book gives evidence that the influence of Henri Nouwen lives beyond his earthly life!
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This book helped me to understand how we are all God's beloved; how He is always speaking to us; how discernment is the spiritual practice that accesses and seeks to understand what God is trying to say to us. Henri has helped me to understand when to act in live, when to wait, and when to be acted upon or led according to God's time, kairos.
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Format: Paperback
Discernment is a key practice for a missional people. As believers we query where and how God is calling us to serve. As churches we also seek to understand who we are and what contribution we can make.
Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) counseled many people throughout his 40 years of ministry. He was a groundbreaking Catholic priest and cherished writer. His wisdom on discernment has not been collated until now. He taught that Jesus’ story is our story, and that we, like Jesus, are God’s beloved. Instead of listening to the voices of our false self and its illusions or compulsions, he urges us to see through appearances to our innermost self.
Nouwen’s own discernment is the illustrative story throughout the book. Much of his early ministry was as an academic at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. But he wondered if his career was getting in the way of his vocation. His teaching and speaking helped him to feel influential, admired, and indispensable. His students were the best and brightest, the aspiring leaders of tomorrow. But he wondered if he could “recover from terminal academia” and ground himself in ministry in a more local community, especially among the poor and marginalized. Inspired by Jean Vanier, he was called to pastor Daybreak’s L’Arche community in Canada, a group of disabled people and their assistants. He served in that “hidden” context for ten years, and learned afresh that God loves and accepts us irrespective of what we do and achieve. L’Arche community was a context that gave Nouwen the opportunity to practice what he teached, and teach by example as well as words.
Discernment explores Nouwen’s teaching that God speaks in different ways, and that discernment is the gift and practice to access and understand how God is active in and around us.
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