Monday, April 9, 2012

A Spirituality of Living by Henry J. M. Nouwen

I've actually heard of Henry Nouwen some time ago, from Philip Yancey's Soul Survivors. I was quite intrigued and wanted to find some of his books to read, but it wasn't available (surprisingly, because the NLB normally has everything~). So, when I saw this on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. And because this book is short and sweet (64 pages), I'll try to keep my review short too.

The book is divided into three parts (four if you include the introduction) - Solitude, Community and Ministry (there are a few more chapters but these are the main sections). These all center around the idea of discipline. Here, discipline is defined as "the effort to create some space in which God can act." For that to happen, we need solitude to her God's voice (spending time in prayer), which would lead us to a community and finally, the community engages in ministry.

The flow of the book is smooth and it goes from one idea to another without a sudden jolt. The book was easy to understand and although short, packs quite a lot of meaning into it. Yet it isn't obtuse; it's just deep.

Of course, I love the writing. It is immensely quotable, much like Living Water by Brother Yun (another book I'm reading now). I just want to end by quoting the last two paragraphs (although really, you can just pick a random paragraph and it'll be a beautiful quote):

"Our little lives are small, human lives. But in the eyes of the One who calls us the beloved, we are great - greater than the years we have. We will bear fruit, fruit that you and I will not see on this earth but whose reality we can trust.

Solitude, community, ministry - these disciplines help us to live a fruitful life. Remain in Jesus; he remains in you. You will bear many fruits, you will have great joy, and your joy will be complete. "

Disclaimer: I got this book free from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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