The late Dutch priest and author taught at Notre Dame, Harvard, and Yale before being called to lead a community for mentally handicapped people called L'Arche Daybreak. Moving from academia to raw emotional communion with the intellectually impaired taught him lessons he couldn't otherwise learn. He tells us that followers of Jesus are often lured by power into a style of leadership that is decidedly not God-like. "It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life." All Christians should hear this heartfelt, gently narrated memoir, a wonderful collection of reflections.Publishers Description
These reflections flow from Nouwen's involvement with L'Arche, a community dedicated to assisting people with disabilities. Many of the insights he shares in this audiobook come from living and relating with these vulnerable people. His insights are also based on two stories from the Gospels: Jesus' temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11) and Peter's call to be a shepherd (John 21:15-19).
Nouwen comments that one of Christ's temptations in the desert was to be relevant--to turn stones into bread. In living with profoundly disabled persons, Nouwen found that none of the skills he had used as a minister in past situations had any relevance to this community. Ministry, says our spiritual guide, has nothing to do with relevance, power or popularity.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" Nouwen realized that his personal worth was not in what he "did" but in the gift he could be to another. Ministry, according to Nouwen, involves reaching out to others with outstretched arms, always discerning where God is leading.
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 5.5" Width: 6.48" Height: 1.11"
Weight: 0.22 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2006
Publisher Saint Anthony Messenger Press
Availability 0 units.
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|Essential Reading Feb 11, 2008|
|Henri Nouwen's humility is felt from the introduction as he describes himself as "part of a larger movement of which I am only a very small part" (9). He admits his personal struggle as he faced the reality that as he grew older, he was not growing closer to Jesus. The success of his life was putting his very soul in danger. In response to God's call to "go and live among the poor in spirit," he found healing.|
In this book, the first I have read of Nouwen, he offers images from his experiences with people who have a mental handicap. His purpose is to impact Christian leaders and urge them to remember that "God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life" (17).
He frames his thoughts on Christian leadership with two stories from the Gospels: the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert (Matt 4: 1-11) and the story of Peter's call to be a shepherd (John 21:15-19). He argues that Christian leaders are called to be completely irrelevant and vulnerable.
The book is laid out in three sections which each reflect a temptation, insight from Jesus, and a discipline to practice.
Nouwen is appealing to read because he presents life in its nakedness. He authentically describes his own struggles which forced him to rediscover his identity. "These broken, wounded, and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of y relevant self--the self that can do all things, show things, prove things, build things--and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments" (16).
While I had never considered that Jesus' first temptation was to be relevant, Nouwen's thoughts resonated with me personally and my own desires to make a difference in someone's life. However, Jesus resisted this temptation and "he clung to his mission to proclaim the word" (18). What meaning that gives to the reality that "human beings live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Nouwen warns readers to avoid becoming busy with fruitless efforts. He aptly urges leaders to dare to claim their irrelevance in this contemporary world. This is required for any leader to truly know the heart of God.
Certainly every Christian needs the "discipline of dwelling in the presence of the One who keeps asking us, `Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?'" Contemplative prayer will keep leaders from being "pulled from one urgent issue to another and from becoming strangers to our own and God's heart" (28-29).
To deal with issues and fail to be rooted in a deep personal relationship with God leads to being caught up in one's own opinions about a subject. Yet when "securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life" (37)--spiritual leaders are flexible, gentle and forgiving, and true witnesses of Jesus.
Nouwen so connected with my own struggles in ministry that it is difficult for me to identify limitations in this book. If only I could daily abandon my own feelings that I should be able to do it all and do it successfully (39). If only I truly knew how to live the truth of the Incarnation (48).
|Quick Read Sep 8, 2007|
|This is a well written personal narrative about a Harvard Professor that experiences a renewal of faith when he leaves the academic world. As he gives up that which has given him security he remembers where real security comes from.|
His experiences aren't profound; however, they do offer some simple reminders about the important parts of life.
|Leading in Love Jul 31, 2007|
|True Christian leadership should be done from the raw core of Jesus's pure, pristine love.|
Leadership efforts can become tainted and corrupted with relevance and arrogance, glossed over with the appearance of power and importance.
Some Christian leaders are controllers and dictators who expect obedience. But even Jesus didn't do that; He was a servant-leader.
This book doesn't preach about what you should or shouldn't do. It just indicates that leading, guiding, and teaching should come from the humbleness of Jesus's love (which has nothing to prove and there are no competitions) instead of from power, intimidations, or judgments.
I am sad for those leaders who think their popularity and importance are getting them brownie points in the Kingdom, and also for those participants in church groups who are miserable because they are expected to be a certain way.
Even though this book is small, it has a much greater impact than most drawn-out books. Just like Jesus's Love: Simple, but yet great.
Everybody should read this book, and know Jesus's Love.
|extraordinary, challenging, very useful Jun 5, 2007|
|Henri J. M. Nouwen has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard, he is the author of several books, and a priest. I have found In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, a very fruitful reading and a practical, challenging book. In its pages beat several values like human sensibility, sincerity, humbleness, and biblical influence. I could declare the book's theme to be the temptations and virtues that the Christian leader will deal with in the 21st Century. |
In several ways, the writing deals with the new experiences and ministerial perception that Nouwen has felt in his own flesh, and that he thinks that must characterize the true Christian leader. When the author changes his residence from the academic world of Harvard to L'Arche, his social experiences, his ministry as priest, and his spiritual insight was changed too. The L'Arche community in Toronto was far different from that of the academy. Working with the mentally handicapped was the Master's teaching for the professor Nouwen. In L'Arche, Henri Nouwen didn't have anyone to impress with his book, because they couldn't read. They weren't impressed with his performance, knowledge, or social influence either. In this situation, the author confesses that he must be only who he was, a vulnerable man. The author says, "I am telling you all this because I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self." This is a message that I am sure that many of my colleagues do not want to hear. Our culture celebrates success before authenticity, greatness before insignificance. If we have nothing to offer to the World, why preach the Gospel? Well, we don't have anything from ourselves to offer, but we have Christ, His message, and hope. Isn't that enough? In my perception, the author is not pretending to cancel human participation in the kingdom of God, but to moderated it. The women and men that serve God are not the center of the message. God is.
Reading this book, I have receive new insight about the ministerial attitudes that moved a servant of God to serve and love. In these days, when we are hearing that if your church is not growing fast or using some specific strategies, maybe you aren't a minister of Christ. Other people is saying that if you are not "swimming in money", God is not blessing you, etcetera. The words of Nouwen are very important. He says, "The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show some results? But: Are you in love with Jesus?" Another rewarding insight was about the dangerous temptations that every minister must resist and how to resist them. Based on Jesus's temptation, Nouwen refer to three of these current temptations: the temptation to be relevant, the temptation to be spectacular, and the temptation to be powerful. On the other hand, the author suggests three spiritual disciplines to win over these temptations: the discipline of contemplative prayer, the discipline of confession and forgiveness, and the discipline of theological reflection.
From my perspective all the book makes sense to me, and is a valuable source of inspiration for the minister in the 21st Century. A time when the churchman is having old temptations in new packages, the same strategies that have worked for the man Jesus Christ, will work for us today, and ever.
|A Breath of Fresh Air Apr 17, 2007|
|I greatly appreciated Henri's book and it was a breath of fresh air which make me think very deeply about my life and ministry. I am a former Roman Catholic and appreciate the thoughfulness of Nouwen. |
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