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Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
Availability: In Stock
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CGender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Through Solitude to Identity as Beloved. Useful over and over again. Would be a lovely gift.June 27, 2016CGender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This transcription of a conversation with Henri Nouwen comes in a high-quality, attractive little book of only 51 pages accompanied by a CD recording of the conversation. The book jacket features an excellent photo of a lovable-looking Henri in bulky sweater and muffler-scarf.
I first read the interview and later listened to the CD conversation. Its probably best to do both several times to better appreciate the richness of whats being said, and then to work with the material as it pertains to your own life. The CD really brings greater meaningfulness and clarity of understanding, but I felt glad to have the written transcript for further reference and re-reading. Henri Nouwens speech is accented, I guess because of his birth and early life in Holland, and there is a slow and then fast pattern to his talk. The words in the fast parts can be difficult to pick up. But, I have to say that listening to him caused his message to really come alive for me and I loved what he was saying. Not that he sounds like a sweety-pie. Actually, he sounds like a totally serious, spiritual man who strongly insists upon a need for discipline in any deeply spiritual life.
The interviewer, Philip, begins by pointing out that people in a busy world have difficulty coming to terms with solitude and silence. He asks if these are important, why are they so important. Henri starts out by stating that solitude has something to do with being alone, which everybody in some deep sense always is, but there is also the negative matter of loneliness. He explains that aloneness and loneliness can be converted into solitude, which is the positive way of dealing with your aloneness and which will save you from destroying your own life and others lives through various negative ways of trying to find satisfaction. This is essentially an identity struggle in which persons fail to find fulfillment because they do not recognize themselves as the beloved of God. Henri says that You are created by a God who wants all your attention and who wants to give you all the love you need. If one listens to the voice of the one who calls us to communion with Him, this is not the voice of the senses: The mystical life is beyond feelings and thoughtsand this aspect is a difficult thing for most people.
God will also give you your vocation in solitude if you really want it. (Which vocation may be just small simple things to do.)
You always do have to fight for your identity as beloved. You have to take tiny steps and make choices every day. The challenge is to choose and to know that you have a choice.
The above touches on some points in the first 4 sections of the book covering about 20 pages. (But throughout the book there are dozens of bits of advice and insights from Henri.) He goes on to enlarge upon the Heart, and Prayer. Contrary to what most evangelical activists judge against, the going inward into prayer life, silence, and solitude is NOT turning ones back on the world and the people who are in need of ministry. It is at the center of thingsat the HEART of life and love, in prayer with the Lord.
In sections 7 through 14, each section being only about 2 or 3 pages long, Henri talks about Silence; Light in the Darkness; Hope; Choosing Life (and actually, in a way, I think the entire message is about this Choice which we can make in everything that we do); Worship; Desiring God and Resisting God; Living Larger; and Prayer in Action.
Then follows a section entitled Questions and Invitations for Reflection, with one or two questions pertaining to each of the 14 Sections of the Conversation.
It is a very helpful book and interview. It can be a workbook.
Since the book, though small, is attractive and useful, it would be a super-nice gift to yourself---useful over and over again for months and maybe years to comeor to another person. It addresses itself well to elderly people who are struggling with loneliness and also to busy, active people who complain that they cannot carve out enough time for solitude or prayer.
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