Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit” as Want to Read:
Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  193 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepened by accountability, community, and relationships. Though he counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of spiritual formation were never written down. Now, Michael Christensen, one of Nouwen's longtime student ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 29th 2010 by HarperOne (first published 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Spiritual Formation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Spiritual Formation

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 465)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Stacey Daze

Second in the trilogy. This book suggests it is best to be read slowly and with a group. The book covers movements that we take as spiritual beings. Two examples from the index are "from opaqueness to transparency" and "from exclusion to inclusion." We don't necessarily make these movements in the order the book was written, but rather we do all these things at different paces depending on who we are and our maturation level. I definitely received a bit to think about, even reading it quic
This posthumously published volume traces Nouwen's thoughts on movements (rather than steps) of spiritual formation. Although the emphasis is an ongoing, almost cyclical journey, the book is divided into three progressive movements: Early, Midlife, and Mature.

The early movements are: (1) Opaqueness to Transparency; and (2) Illusion to Prayer.
The midlife movements are: (3) Sorrow to Joy; (4) Resentment to Gratitude; and (5) Fear to Love.
The mature movements are: (6) Exclusion to Inclusion; and (7
Karen Masso
"Ultimately, for Nouwen, the spiritual journey is not to be found in the pursuit of perfection but in the practice of contemplative prayer leading to community and mission."

Nouwen would often speak about many poles that we slide back and forth between throughout our spiritual journeys, like opaqueness and transparency, resentment and gratitude, fear and love, exclusion and inclusion. After his death, seven polarities were compiled into this book.

I find comfort in the idea that we can rest solidl
I had an opportunity to read a couple of books during my time of sabbath at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani this past week. One of those books was Henri Nouwen's posthumously-written, "Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit." This is the second in a posthumous trilogy by Nowen, Michael Christensen (a former student of HN's) and Rebecca Laird. Like all of Nowen's writings, it offers in insightful genius for Christian life and practice. While it is suggested to be read with ...more
Jake Owens
I used to really avoid Nouwen due to some misunderstandings about the core of his message; I'm glad I moved past that, because this book is brilliant.

A healthy primer on spiritual formation, this is a vital book to anyone who takes their faith seriously. Without these sort of habits and practices, you're just looking at a social movement. The social movement of Christianity is vital and important and often overlooked, but if we abandon the spirituality element, then we've missed the point entire
I normally love Nouwen and this book contains much of his wisdom that I have grown to appreciate. That said, I felt that his views on spiritual community blurred biblical lines. His desire for compassionate embracement implies an unconditional acceptance that I find difficult to accept whole heartedly when I reason through Scriptures.

That said, I always am inspired by much of his thought so I recommend the book with this caveat of discerning those aspects of how the Word calls us to deeper holi
This book, based on a variety of Nouwen's teachings, pulls together areas of spiritual development. These areas are split into three categories: Early Movements, Midlife Movements, and Mature Movements.

i found the last two movements to be most interesting:

6. From Exclusion to Inclusion
7. From Denying to Befriending Death

The epilogues delves into "Journey Inward, Journey Outward" and touches on the concept that we must first journey inward to discover Christ and ourselves in order to then find
Benjamin Vineyard
When Henri Nouwen writes, I enjoy reading. His way of writing about the Christian life makes excellent sense both to the witness of Scripture and the personal (pastoral) experiences people go through.

Henri Nouwen: Spiritual Formation (Stages)

Early Movements:
1.) From Opaqueness to Transparency
2.) From Illusion to Prayer

Midlife Movements:
3.) From Sorrow to Joy
4.) From Resentment to Gratitude
5.) From Fear to Love

Mature Movements:
6.) From Exclusion to Inclusion
7.) From Denying to Befriending Death

I found the first third of the book to be incredibly rich and I am looking forward to practicing a great deal of what Nouwen discussed. From that point, it seemed to me that the book lost focus and force. This was to the extent that I started becoming concerned with how Nouwen was describing the Church; he came across as a bit of a universalist.

SO, I say read this until your brow furrows, and then toss it aside. The baby is way too good to throw out with the bath water.
Donald Linnemeyer
This was a really helpful work on spiritual development. Some great insights, and surprisingly, a fair amount of concrete, practical help, which seems rare in books like these.

The only significant problem I ran into was that it lacked a little cohesion, but it's really not bad considering it's actually a bunch of Nouwen excerpts pieced together by two of his students.
Heather Shaw
This was my first introduction to Henri Nouwen. It definitely made me want to read more Nouwen, but I did not like the format of this book. It's set up as a kind of devotional, and the format makes it almost impossible to tell when you are reading Nouwen and when you are reading supplemental material by the editors. Frustrating.
Classic Nouwen - thought-provoking, raw, extremely personal. The chapter on embracing death still has me thinking. Invitations and ideas for spiritual practices at the end of each chapter were especially helpful in digging deeper into yourself and each topic.
Oct 20, 2013 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: school
It was not what I had hoped for as it was based on the christian faith and did not branch into any other forms of movement of the spirit. To someone looking solely for a christian view point, you may find this of interest. Being Buddhist, not so much.
I truly enjoyed this book and gained a lot from it. Especially since I was part of a book study group and also learned a lot from others in the group. I love the way he writes. And it made me challenge thoughts and some spiritual practices.
The book was posthumously published and is part of a three part series. I read it because I enjoy Nouwen's work. However I recommend it more for the professionals. I do not recommend this for someone new to Nouwen's work.
Still in the early chapters with my spirituall book sharing group and loving it. Just like so many other Nouwen books, it reaches into the soul and touches me as if Nouwen has also felt the same feelings in his journey.
Laurence Martins
I enjoyed the read.

Good book as a devotional practice and initial guide for a spiritual journey.

Nouwen speaks to the heart...
Thought provoking, heart challenging and well compiled; this collection of Nouwen's thoughts helped me go deeper into my own heart and spirit and connect with the Holy Spirit in a new and fresh way.
A very great, inspiring, and challenging read. Would love to review this book each year.
This book blew my mind. Covering core topics (for me) on resentment, judgment, gratitude, humility, inclusion and servanthood- nouwen's words and experience blessed me deeply
Rev Gary
This book is totally amazing. It is one of those books that every time you read it you find something new.
Jun 14, 2013 TJ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ministry
One drawback may be that I didn't read this through- took a while to read it. So not so powerful
Read slowly ... reflect ... or as Eugene Petersen would say "eat this book."
Would read this again, and again. Solid, inspiring, challenging. Important.
Thought I was reading Spiritual Direction! oops... I will now though!
Jul 24, 2010 Margaret marked it as to-read
Recommended to Margaret by: Emily Grandstaff
*Thanks to Emily Grandstaff of HarperOne for providing a copy for review.*
Excellent book two of a trilogy
An incredibly beautiful work.
The past few years, following my heart attack, have been filled with lots of fear, uncertainty, shame, and I’d have to admit a good amount of misunderstanding on my part. This book really opened my eyes to the fact that we can never “arrive” in God’s eyes on our own. Our spirituality is always growing, and we sometimes want to mature faster than we want to become child-like in our faith.

Our culture thrives on progress and impressing others with our confidence and determination. I’ve believed tha
Good, good stuff.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus
  • The Spiritual Life of Children
  • Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
  • Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers (Spiritual Theology #4)
  • The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation
  • Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction
  • The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life
  • Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups
  • The Root of the Righteous
  • Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell
  • The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible
  • Thoughts in Solitude
  • The Magnificent Defeat
  • The Gift of Peace
  • The Practice of Spiritual Direction
  • Journal of a Soul
  • The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan (Parish Resources)
  • The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church
Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (Nouen), (1932–1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Nouwen's books are widely read today by Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved, and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of
More about Henri J.M. Nouwen...
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World The Inner Voice of Love

Share This Book

“We often say, “I am not very happy. I am not content with the way my life is going. I am not really joyful or peaceful. But I don’t know how things can be different, and I guess I have to be realistic and accept my life as it is.” It is this mood of resignation that prevents us from actively naming our reality, articulating our experience, and moving more deeply into the life of the Spirit.” 3 likes
“Whereas discipline without discipleship leads to rigid formalism, discipleship without discipline ends in sentimental romanticism.” 1 likes
More quotes…