Upcoming on my reading list is Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, a book published posthumously as a part of a three-part series on spiritual direction by Henri Nouwen. As the book’s title so aptly states, this is a book aimed at helping the reader to discern the voice of God along our day to day journeys — in those small whispers and stirrings that may pass by us if we’re not alert and tuned in. Amidst the crazy busyness of my life, I all too often fall short in this arena. I begin and end my day with prayer, but far too often miss those moments through the course of the day where God may be inviting me to choose another path, to make a different decision, or to follow his will instead of my own. If — like me — you need help “reading the signs”, this might be a great book for you too!
Henri Nouwen, world-renowned spiritual guide, beloved pastor, and author of over 40 books on spirituality, has counseled many on the topic of discernment, but never before have his teachings been collected into a single volume.
Now, in association with the Nouwen Legacy Trust, Michael Christensen – one of Nouwen’s longtime students – and Rebecca Laird have taken Nouwen’s coursework, journals, and never before published writings to create an accessible, definitive resource on spiritual discernment.
In Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, (July 2013; Hardcover; HarperOne), the third book in Nouwen’s popular, practical spirituality series that includes Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Formation, readers are able to discover and rediscover the guidance of Nouwen and find ways to exercise spiritual discernment in their everyday life.
Nouwen understood that the spiritual life could be a bumpy journey of faith and transformation riddled with questions of “What should I do with my life?” And he believed that the answer can be found through the practice of discernment, through which “we can test our calling and find vocation. We can open our hearts to the divine presence. We can discover who we really are. And we can ascertain when to act, when to wait, and when to be led.”
Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, provides exercises and reflections to help readers grow in and practice deeper discernment. Through these exercises, spiritual seekers and Christians will gain the ability to interpret the “signs of the times” in daily life in order to make decisions that are ultimately guided by God. With Nouwen acting as spiritual director, readers will be coaxed to open the door to personal and powerful spiritual transformation.
About the Author:
Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996) was the author of With Open Hands, Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer, Making All Things New, and many other bestsellers. He taught at Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame Universities before becoming the senior pastor of L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto, Canada, a community where men and women with intellectual disabilities and their assistants create a home for one another.
MICHAEL J. CHRISTENSEN, PH.D., is national director of Communities of Shalom at Drew University, where he teaches spirituality and practical theology. He studied with Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School.
REBECCA LAIRD, M.A., D. MIN., is the associate professor of Christian ministry at Point Loma Nazarene University where she teaches spiritual formation and Christian ministry.
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Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey