Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New Book on the Spirituality of Henri Nouwen

There is a new book out on the Spirituality of Imperfection of Henri Nouwen by Wil Hernandez. Nouwen remains an important source and for the on-going quest in the recovery of authentic Christian Leadership. The following is a link to this new book at

Nouwen's great contribution to our understanding of Christian Leadership is best summarized in his book: "In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership." Nouwen wrote this book shortly after he left a position of great status and privilege at Harvard University to go and live amongst mentally handicapped people in the L'Arche Community. The following excerpt from this book show Nouwen's theology of voluntary self-limitation as the first step in the recovery of authentic Christian Leadership:

"The first thing that struck me when I came to live in a house with mentally handicapped people was that their liking or disliking of me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I had done until then. Since nobody could read my books, my books could not impress anyone, and since most of them never went to school, my twenty years at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard did not provide a significant introduction.… Not being able to use any of the skills that had proved so practical in the past was a real source of anxiety. I was suddenly faced with my naked self, open for affirmations and rejections, hugs and punches, smiles and tears, all dependent on how I was perceived at the moment. In a way, it seemed as though I was starting my life all over again. Relationships, connections, reputations could no longer be counted upon. This experience was and, in many ways, is the most important experience of my new life because it forced me to rediscover my true identity. These broken, wounded and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self—the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build things—and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments.”