Last night during feeds I finished Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri Nouwen, it’s a most wonderful book. He started writing for his friend Fred Bratman, a secular journalist and writer, who asked him to write something that explained in terms that Fred and his friends could understand. The core message from Nouwen to Bratman is:
All I want to say to you is, “You are the Beloved.”
As a youth leader I’d suggest that the even in 1992 it wasn’t the clearest explanation of spiritual life for a non-Christian, but Nouwen is honest enough to explain that in the epilogue, where he admits that it had no real effect on Bratman. However, it is a stunning book that reminds me why I’d want to hang out with God, and it’s clear that I’m not the only one to have been effected in this way by Life of the Beloved.
Nouwen outlines that for us to become the beloved we need to be taken, blessed, broken and given, and then concludes with an amazing chapter on living as the beloved. You don’t need to be from the same theological viewpoint as Nouwen to gain lots from reading his work, if you haven’t do try reading Henri Nouwen.