Monday, May 22, 2017

Life of the beloved

This third post is just a brief and general overview of Henri Nouwen's great little book 'Life of the Beloved.' It is around 150 pages, and includes a reflection guide at the end. Basically the entire book is Henri's writings to a new friend who wants to understand how to live a spiritual life in a secular world (and he is not a Christian). It doesn't contain any church-y language and is perhaps better explained in the sermons Henri preached on the topic. You can find them in a link on the first post HERE.

There are three sections:
  1. Being the Beloved.
  2. Becoming the Beloved.
  3. Living as the Beloved.
The middle section is the focal point. We already ARE the beloved, so Nouwen asserts that becoming the beloved is the process of letting that truth become enfleshed in everything we think, say, and do. He identifies four movements of the Spirit in our lives that allow this to happen:
  • Taken
  • Blessed
  • Broken
  • Given
You may recognize this pattern if you have participated in Communion in a church service. Nouwen says these words also describe our lives each and every day. THAT is what the book is about.

For those who know me you understand my hesitance to make recommendations. I love Nouwen's writing, and this book did not disappoint. I think I might actually buy another copy and give to an atheist friend of mine. I don't know why, but it just feels like a good book to do that with.