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4.5 out of 5 stars19
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on 3 June 2010
It's a most wonderful book. Nouwen 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.
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on 1 January 2004
Also only writing this to counter Mr.Tripe. No, it isn't a theological tome, nor is it effective evangelism by Nouwen's own admission in the epilogue. However, it is pastoral, and powerfully so. Wonderfully simple, yet deeply spiritual in the way that Nouwen uses the Eucharistic symbolism of being taken (chosen), blessed, broken and given as an analogy for the spiritual life. This is not some 'quick fix' book of techniques, principles and methods aimed at achieving happiness, and thank God for that.
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on 30 June 1999
There is one review that gives this book one star and that reflects in the overall rating. This is a five star book. I listened to it on tape. When he shared about how his life can be described as either being taken (chosen), blessed, broken or given by Christ I pulled the car over to the side of the road and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the revelation that came from that simple word. You don't have to agree 100% with Henri's doctrine to read him, and those who pass him over or this book over because he cannot fit in your theological box will miss a great treasure.
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on 2 July 2010
This is a book which can radically change the way you relate to God and to yourself. Nouwen takes us on a journey close to the very heart of God.
but be warned! Such a journey comes at a cost of our own dogmas and preconceived ideas which can be very unsettling (see one star review above) and for some, too high a price. Nouwen is at his best here and manages to convey deep Christian truths in an easily understandable and readable style, successfully avoiding theological and fundamentalist jargon. Whether this book will speak to agnostics, I dont know, possibly, but it is wonderful book to help any Christian who is seeking to become more intimate with God. Worth considering for group study.
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on 26 September 2003
As others have said the first review below is misleading. But don't ignore it! it shows the problems many christians face who think God hates the world and wants everyone to burn in hell unless they accept some formula and theory they have about Jesus.
Instead read Nouen and see the contrast, of a God who in Jesus is so available, and real. An amazing book to help us connect to God.
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on 21 December 1998
I felt compelled to write this review to counter the "tripe" review above. This book is one of those rare gems that can significantly help a struggling person conceptualize that THEY are indeed beloved by God. Clearly Jesus/God loves EACH AND EVERY ONE of us regardless of where we are in our spiritual journey.
This book is well worth the read. I recommend it highly.
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on 26 May 2014
This was originally written by Henri Nouwen for a secular Jewish friend of his. He wanted not to 'convert' him, but to help him understand how much God loved him, to sense that he was a beloved child in a broken world.

The writing is powerful and moving, using as themes for individual chapters the four words: Taken, Blessed, Broken and Given. Nouwen examines what these concepts have meant to him over the years, and how he has - very slowly - come to accept the love of God no matter what his circumstances.

It's honest and often moving, and reads very much like a letter to a friend, although at times I forgot that there was a specific audience. There's a prologue and epilogue which talk more about it, but the bulk of the book - barring a few specific comments about the friendship - are relevant to anyone.

It's a short book, but very thought-provoking, so I didn't want to read too much at one time. I read just a chapter (or less) per day for nearly two weeks. Highly recommended.
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on 25 September 2012
I was dissappointed. The title "Spiritual Living in a Secular world" is misleading. Nouwen admits towards the end of his book that he did not achieve his objective of writing about spirituality for the non-religious.
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on 29 December 2014
This book is overpriced. There is very little new information in this book that could be helpful. There are even a story that is repeated from another book in this edition. Definately not enough 'meat around the bone'.
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on 20 December 2012
This has to be Henri's finest. It is so moving, I nearly have it learnt chapter and verse solely to continue to reflect on what he has written. It may be a 'fast' read but it is a slow, daily reflection.
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