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The Active Life Leader's Guide: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity, and Caring

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The Active Life is Parker J. Palmer's deep and graceful exploration of a spirituality for the busy, sometimes frenetic lives many of us lead. Telling evocative stories from a variety of religious traditions, including Taoist, Jewish, and Christian, Palmer shows that the spiritual life does not mean abandoning the world but engaging it more deeply through life-giving action ...more
ebook, 64 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1990)
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Chris
Summary
Palmer posits that contemplation is connecting with reality and proper action must flow from and be true to that reality – the reality of who are, how the world is organized and the deeper reality of the Kingdom of God. In this way action and contemplation are inseparable. Each story or poem in turn shows the danger of action in conflict with reality or the beauty of action deeply embedded in reality.

Belief
Palmer believes that this reality is deep stuff. It is more complicated and varied
...more
DJ Seifert
Palmer deals with the tension between action and what is missing in many lives, the practice of contemplation. Contemplation is cast as having potential to penetrate through the prominent and delimiting illusions and to disengage from the dominant script(s) that are rooted in anxiety in our world. Hence, Palmer argues, the challenge is to live within the living paradox of action and contemplation. While action refers to any way we co-create reality with others, contemplation refers to the necess ...more
Aunnalea
This book helped me do a lot of thinking about the balance in my life between action and contemplation and not thinking of them as opposites but complements.

A few of my favorite quotes:

"An expressive act is one that I take not to achieve a goal outside of myself but to express a conviction, a leading, a truth that is within me. An expressive act is one taken because if I did not take it I would be denying my own insight, gift, nature. By taking an expressive act, an act not obsessed with outcom
...more
Vally Sharpe
If you're not into poetry or metaphor or if you are inclined to reject spiritual thought as spoken by someone outside of your own tradition or comfort zone, this will not be the book for you. But if you've noticed that sometimes your attempts to help others fall flat, this little book will poke you and prod you into considering the "rightness" of your actions from a new and definitely sociological perspective.

I have other Palmer books that I re-read on occasion, like The Promise of Paradox and L
...more
Lexie
Read as much as I could, and had to return it to the library. Will buy my own copy. ~ There's truly original thinking here ... and because of a recent (fortunately mild!) brain injury, I can't remember a thing about the book ... only that I will read it in full, and act on its wisdom. My best friend was with me when I returned the book to the library ... She took it out on her own card right away! I hope she 'clicks' with it like I did ... I really want someone to walk through this book with.
Alex Wilson
I believe the words were 'narrow-minded religious zealot,' though I might prefer 'nearly as arrogant as he is ignorant' to describe the previous reviewer. He had nothing interesting or useful to say, and thus decided simply to be mean. I feel no need to defend Parker Palmer; I do, however, feel compelled to rebuke said reviewer, and to hope that his angry demons will be exorcised. If only our poor reviewer spent less time judging, and more time reading (and learning)...
Ronda
This book is definitely written from a Fowler Stage 5 perspectives it is ultimately about learning from the tensions of duality and reconciling paradox. He uses a different story or poem to frame each of the last five chapter. These pieces of literature come different religious traditions that had uneven impact on me. But a couple were so powerful that I still believe it warrants the five star rating. John Dehlin this is a book I would recommend to you.
Cherice
Really focuses attention on the idea of natural gifts, how we can recognize them, and how in seeking a vocation, we should look for when our "deepest joy meets the world's deepest need."
His writing is beautiful, his thinking is substantive, and so although the book is short and very conversational in style, I found I could only read the book a few pages at a time if I really wanted to digest everything that it contained. A truly beautiful book.
Pamela
Active contemplation and contemplative action--it's not just action or contemplation. The way he expands on that concept is challenging and insightful. But I was surprised at his theological conclusions that the feeding of the 5,000 was actually a big sack lunch feast and that God isn't all-knowing or all-powerful. I have some major disagreements with that, but the book is well written and worth a read.
Joan
Palmer uses literature (mostly poetry) to highlight the key lessons he wants you as a reader to take away. The poems and stories were thought-provoking and I imagine I'll be flipping back to them regularly. A good read especially if you're on any sort of spiritual quest.
C. Wess
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in thinking about the two poles between contemplation and action and how these two are worked out in our individual and communal lives. Palmer's style is accessible and enjoyable to read.
Herbie
There's a very nice realists interpretation of the parable of the five loaves and two fishes here, one that will stay with me for some time. I also like Palmer's ideas about professionalism: it's equal parts illusion and reality.
Drick
This book is one of Palmer's best and uses ancient stories to talk about the intergration of the inner and outer life, the search for authentic self, and the finding of one's true vocation.
Eileen
There were some good parts but on the whole I was disappointed. Generally I like Parker Palmer but this one was kind of a dud.
Jen
Another awesome book by Palmer. It is easy to understand him and you go away filled with insights.
Betsy
Brilliant. I think I will need to read this book again, as it gave me a lot to think about.
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Parker J. Palmer (Madison, WI) is a writer, teacher and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. Author of eight books--including the bestsellers Courage to Teach, Let Your Life Speak, and A Hidden Wholeness--his writing has been recognized with ten honorary doctorates and many national awards, including the 2010 William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mea ...more
More about Parker J. Palmer...
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life To Know as We are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit

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