- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (April 8, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006280862
- ISBN-13: 978-0006280866
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 94 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,632,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reaching Out Paperback – International Edition, August 21, 1998
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Praise for Reaching OutThe Church Times`...wide maturity, full of insight.'The Tablet`particularly good on the whole business of knowing ourselves.'The Church of England Newspaper`explores areas of spirituality rarely touched on in our evangelical tradition.'
From the Back Cover
Henri Nouwen, who died in 1996, was one of the most significant writers on spirituality of the late twentieth century. Reaching Out combines two of his most popular books in one volume. With a foreword of personal appreciation by the ever popular Father Gerard Hughes, this special edition will be treasured by the many admirers of Henri Nouwen. The main part of the book is Reaching Out which answers the question "What does it mean to live a life in the Spirit of Jesus Christ?" The second part is Glimpse Beyond the Mirror which is a very personal account of the author's spiritual life in the aftermath of a terrible accident.
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If you have experienced trauma, broken relationships, betrayal, loneliness, doubt, shattered faith, or disillusionment with church people, then this book is for you. Nouwen has taught me to see relationships in a different light. And he has given me answers and solutions for resolving trauma in my own life and in the lives of others. It is not a heavy read but is immensely profound. It shows that one does not need to write complex to be intellectually moving. Every Christian needs to read this book in order to understand the nature of relationships and God's plan for fellowship with one another. I highly recommend it.
According to Nouwen (1975), the path of spirituality is a journey between polarities in three separate areas. The first area includes the distance between solitude and loneliness; this encompasses reaching toward self. The second area involved reaching toward others and is described as the polarity between hospitality and hostility. Finally, Nouwen discusses the third area, prayer verses illusion, the reaching toward God. The author explains that each individual finds himself somewhere between the extreme poles at different times of his life but that our goal, as Christians, is to remain on the side of solitude, hospitality, and prayer.
Nouwen (1975) posited that loneliness is the sad condition of the fallen human heart which causes us to react to others in selfish ways. He explains that we feel lonely no matter how many people we have around us because it is a condition of the heart and attitude rather than a lack of fellowship. Solitude, on the other hand, is described by Nouwen as a place where we are comfortable with our selves and are therefore able to be comfortable with others. In a place of solitude we are no longer desperately reaching out for others to meet our needs, rather our focus is turned inward and looks to God as our source.
The goal of living a victorious Christian life requires that we have a hospitable attitude toward mankind and nature, rather than approaching it with hostility (Nouwen, 1975). When we begin seeing our friends, employers, children and acquaintances as travelers who are passing through this life with us, we are more able to treat them with hospitality. This attitude self-corrects the hostile attitudes of ownership and debt toward one another. For example, rather than seeing children as your possessions, which will in turn cause pride when they do well, and shame when they do poorly, we should see them as fellow travelers whom we have been given the task of caring for and raising. Nouwen explains that this helps us correctly discipline them when they are young as well as let them go when they are adults.
Lastly, Nouwen (1975) speaks about the importance of the last polarity: illusion verses prayer. Not only was this the most important area to discuss, according to Nouwen, it was the area he was the most familiar with since he worked with the Trappist Monks in the Abby of Genesse in New York ([...] Nouwen had a great deal of experience seeking expertise in the art of prayer and stated that it was the most basic task of our lives and yet the most illusive one. He wrote: "...it is very hard to come in touch with it, to get a grasp on it, to get hold of it, or even - to put a finger on it." (p. 84)