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Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety

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In this brand-new, never before published work of inspiration, the bestselling author of The Return of the Prodigal Son offers a compelling case for why Christianity is still relevant, beautiful, intelligent and necessary in the modern world.

At one of the lowest points in Henri Nouwen's life he gave a series of lectures on the importance of following Jesus in an age of anxiety. Drawn from those talks, this new work from the archives of the Nouwen estate reveals the deep turmoil and sometimes turbulent inner life of a man who has become an icon of compassion and vulnerablity for Christians and non-Christians alike. Here he writes eloquently about calling and purpose, fear and hope and explains why, with so many choices available to the 21st century seeker including atheism and secularism, the greatest reward for those looking for fulfullment is to choose belief in God. Along the way he offers warm, insightful, practical spiritual practices to help keep readers navigate the narrow, sometimes arduous, but ultimately fulfilling road of conviction and faith.

144 pages, Hardcover

First published September 17, 2019

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About the author

Henri J.M. Nouwen

359 books1,710 followers
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 teaching at the Menninger Foundation Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, and at the University of Notre Dame, Yale University and Harvard University, he went to share his life with mentally handicapped people at the L'Arche community of Daybreak in Toronto, Canada. After a long period of declining energy, which he chronicled in his final book, Sabbatical Journey, he died in September 1996 from a sudden heart attack.

His spirituality was influenced by many, notably by his friendship with Jean Vanier. At the invitation of Vanier he visited L'Arche in France, the first of over 130 communities around the world where people with developmental disabilities live and share life together with those who care for them. In 1986 Nouwen accepted the position of pastor for a L'Arche community called "Daybreak" in Canada, near Toronto. Nouwen wrote about his relationship with Adam, a core member at L'Arche Daybreak with profound developmental disabilities, in a book titled Adam: God's Beloved. Father Nouwen was a good friend of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.

The results of a Christian Century magazine survey conducted in 2003 indicate that Nouwen's work was a first choice of authors for Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy.

One of his most famous works is Inner Voice of Love, his diary from December 1987 to June 1988 during one of his most serious bouts with clinical depression.

There is a Father Henri J. M. Nouwen Catholic Elementary School in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 119 reviews
Profile Image for Camille Hanna.
24 reviews2 followers
May 24, 2022
I’ve been thinking about what I want to say about this book, and any and all words seem to come up short.

“Following Jesus” should be slowly enjoyed, snacked on throughout months at a time. My lack of self control couldn’t do that, so instead I read it over a few days because of how badly I didn’t want to stop.

This book is gentle. It is encouraging. It is simple.

It will be one of my favorite books for years to come.

Read it.
Profile Image for HWC.
61 reviews
March 5, 2021
Loved this book so much. This book is a transcription of a 6 part series he did- and his words are so simple and beautiful. Some quotes I saved:

“If change is the condition of service - we are going to be very bitter and very soon. But if service is an expression of gratitude for the love we have already experienced then we can be free and engage in change without trying so hard. Service means to simply bear witness to that new life in you.”
Profile Image for Cathryn Conroy.
1,001 reviews30 followers
March 10, 2020
I am reading this book in March 2020 as coronavirus is rampaging around the world, changing much about our comforting daily routines. So the subtitle's reference to "an age of anxiety" seems eerily appropriate even though this book, which was published in 2019, is based on a series of six Lenten talks given by Catholic priest Henri J.M Nouwen in 1985 when he was suffering with his own personal and professional anxieties.

This will take Christians back to the basics of why we believe. It is an easy-to-read and easy-to-comprehend book that will not only soothe your soul, but also reinvigorate your faith.

It doesn't take a pandemic to ignite our fears. We are often afraid. Many live with what seems like permanent fear and brokenness. As Nouwen says, "Fear creeps up on us in all kinds of ways." If you don't want that fear to rule your life and taint your happiness, Nouwen says the key is to turn to God—the truth, the light, and the life. That is where we find true spiritual joy and divine healing.

Most of all, this short book is packed page by page with extraordinary wisdom. It is inspirational. It is smart. And it is comforting. Read it!
Profile Image for angelareadsbooks.
384 reviews68 followers
June 1, 2019
I have been a long time fan of the works of Henri Nouwen. So many of them have meant so much to me in my own personal faith journey. So of course when I had the chance to read an early copy of some of his writings, I was thrilled. I have so many books to read so you know it’s a big deal when I’m reading a book that releases in September in May!

Following Jesus, much like his other works, is deeply thought provoking and quietly contemplative. Nouwen’s writings have the ability to make me stop and ponder life and the way I live it. Each section tackles a different aspect of the spiritual life and what it means to follow Jesus today. I particularly loved the sections he had written on scarcity and abundance. In our current cultural climate so much of our fear based rhetoric is based on a belief in scarcity. But as those who follow Jesus, we know that we have been given all we need and have been invited into abundant life. This section and so many others spoke to me.

Whether you are new to Nouwen or a long time fan, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a finish copy!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book!
Profile Image for Christina.
121 reviews
January 18, 2023
Five quotes for five stars:

"To take up your cross is to have to courage to see your own pain."

"We broken limited persons are windows on the unlimited, unconditional, unbroken, perfect love of God."

"If there is anything worth doing, it is right in front of me."

"Patience means to remain close to the moment and to fully taste where you are so that the seeds that are sown in the moment can grow and lead you to the future. The future is hidden in the present as a seed in fertile ground. By nurturing and tending the soil in which we stand, we come in touch with the promise.
Don’t be impatient. Don’t go back and pull out the seed to see if it is growing. It will not grow if you do that. Trust that a promise is given to you, and that it is hidden in the soil on which you stand. It will grow into a strong tree, but you have to give it time. It will reveal the future to you and it will grow right where you are. Trust that that is what the Spirit does."

That last one counts as two.

Total score: 5/5 stars
January 2, 2021
The thing I love most about Henri Nouwen is the simplicity in his description of the spiritual life. Profound and still so accessible. I read this tiny book over 6 months: so many truths to be reminded of, to let sink in deep. A real gem.
Profile Image for Mbgirl.
240 reviews8 followers
January 9, 2021
He left Peru, confused... took a very prestigious tenured HDS position, only to find utter dissonance and depression amidst such a cutthroat and competitive environment.

Then he went to pastor Daybreak, and his life was less incongruent.

Nouwen and Tournier, for me, since my college days, have been great stalwarts of true faith for me to contemplate and aspire to. Simple Christian fundamentals to live out. Thanks for your published body ; so much to give to God to realign for myself.
Profile Image for Jason Kanz.
Author 5 books31 followers
January 19, 2022
I received this gift from a man who listens to me on the radio weekday mornings. I love Nouwen, but I think the only reason I picked it up today was that I had finished the last book that I read and it was convenient. However, I told my friend that this was the right book at the right time. There was so much to savor in this book about what it looks like to live a life of love, indwelt by Christ. I will count Following Jesus among my favorite Nouwen books together with Life of the Beloved and The Return of the Prodigal.
Profile Image for Sara Lowe.
6 reviews
February 1, 2023
I was a little confused by this because I took MONTHS to read this book and was very bored by it, and then all of a sudden I forced myself to read the last thirty pages and it was awesome. Maybe I wasn’t in the right place for it initially and will re-read one day. I think though I just don’t connect too well with Henri Nouwen’s writing style— I read part of the Prodigal Son and felt similarly.
Profile Image for Lauren Fraser.
20 reviews
September 1, 2022
This book was such a good and easy read. Was hard for me to not read it all at once! For me, this book is the most straight forward and easy to understand of any of Nouwen’s book. I’m a huge fan and think this would be the perfect fit for anyone to start reading his work.
Profile Image for Beth.
755 reviews6 followers
January 24, 2021
Some very good thoughts on joy and how it is not the opposite of pain or sorrow, but companion to, and how we need to learn to seek and find it.
Profile Image for Danebarnett92.
116 reviews4 followers
November 2, 2021
Basically...we over complicate Following Jesus. It's just about being present with each other and with ourselves. What a great, short reminder this book was.
23 reviews
March 16, 2023
Nouwen has a way of reminding us that the most powerful God is also the most gentle, sincere, and loving God. Oh, to rest and commune and become more like Him.
Profile Image for Conrade Yap.
305 reviews6 followers
December 24, 2019
We are restless people easily given to fear and driven by anxiety. In a tired world, we gravitate toward doing too much or doing nothing. How can we make sense of our calling in the midst of such a stressful and anxious culture? The simple words of Jesus beckon us: "Follow Me." This is the main idea in this small book about discipleship and spirituality. More important than simply finding a solution to be less anxious or stressful, we are gently encouraged to look to Jesus at every step of the way. Under the teaching of Henri Nouwen, one of the most famous spiritual guides of our age, we have a little gem of spiritual direction. Nouwen sketches six steps in the process of following Jesus. Each step builds on the other to give us a journey to look forward to. The book starts off with a plain questions: "Are you following Jesus?" For many Christians, it would be far too obvious a question to answer. Some might even think it is sarcasm. For Nouwen, it is an essential question that ties together six aspects of spirituality.

It begins with "The Invitation" in which we are invited to listen; to ask; and to dwell in the presence of Jesus. This drawing is different from the worldly types. The difference lies in the idolatry of self vs the worship of God. If we idolize self and self-interests, we will be drawn by things to beef up our ego or personal desires. When Jesus invites us to follow Him, we are assured of drawing from an eternal well of life. All Christians are called to follow Christ. We are called to let go of the ways of the world and to hold on to the ways of Jesus. Third, "The Challenge" is for us to love our enemies. It is a practical way to help us love everybody. If we can truly love our enemies, we will easily love all people as well. After all, it is easy to love people we like. We can love our enemies by prayer and service. In "The Cost," we face the reality of the cross. Just like Jesus who showed compassion to us, we are reminded that compassion comes from the Latin for "to suffer with." Taking up our cross essentially means following after Jesus' heart of compassion to suffer with those who are suffering. "The Reward" in following Jesus is pure and simple joy. The greatest reward is to be able to follow hard after God, and to be in full communion with God. Finally, following Jesus comes with a Promise, that God will be with us.

My Thoughts
Nouwen has a gift of putting difficult concepts into simple terms. There are no theologically heavy words to distract readers. Spirituality is understood best in simplicity and this is why Nouwen remains one of the most read authors in the field of Christian spirituality. In some ways, the ideas presented in the book is nothing new. There are exhortations to pray; calls for obedience; challenge of love; cost of discipleship; and assurance of promises; and so on. Nouwen has a keen sense of observing how the world behaves and how Christians ought to counter such worldliness. He makes an observation about the two types of wanderers: the running-around ones and the just-sitting-there ones. We might be familiar with the former when it comes to anxious living. What is surprising is the latter, which seems to make one wonder: How could the passive one be wanderers? In itself, it does not make much sense. However, using following Jesus as a reference, we immediately see the connection between following and not following. Running busy all the time is to search for meaning in all the wrong places. Just sitting there is searching for meaning without wanting to run around. This is not the way of a Christ-follower. Both forms of wandering do not follow after Jesus.

The book is written like a devotional. Each chapter starts with a Bible passage followed by an explanation, an application, and finally a prayer. Like books on spirituality, it is not meant to be rushed. Let Nouwen be your guide to calm our anxious heart. More importantly, let God's presence be felt as we reflect on the Word of God and the teachings.

Henri Nouwen was an internationally renowned priest and author who wrote 39 books on spirituality. He has ministered powerfully in the ministries of teaching and at L'Arche Daybreak. He was formerly a professor at Notre Dame.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.

This book has been provided courtesy of Convergent Books and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
3 reviews
January 27, 2021
Inspirational and moving. It was a blessing to read it at this time in life.

I loved Nouwen 's approach to the presence of God in our lives at all times. Recommend this book to those struggling with life.
Profile Image for Seth.
92 reviews2 followers
October 18, 2019
This book was... okay. It felt cobbled together from the Nouwen archives and did not overtly speak to anxiety. One would have to read into the material and ask, “Okay, now that I’ve read this portion, how does it answer the anxious needs and thoughts I have?”

It’s a short book and is probably most useful when each chapter is given space and time to breathe into you. I will probably go back and read it again when I have gaps of time to ruminate on it.
Profile Image for Ian.
Author 3 books38 followers
October 20, 2019
This small book is the transcription of a series of talks Nouwen gave in 1985 having finished a 2 year missional assignment in Peru. He was now at Harvard and struggling with the competitive nature of the esteemed university. Accordingly, Nouwen was effectively preaching to himself as he grappled with his anxiety. It wasn't long before he came to realise that the Lord was leading him to another vocation, one that took him to work with one of his heroes, Jean Vanier.

This is a gorgeously written book, Earnshaw has captured the essence of Nouwen's spirit in these words. And I congratulate her for doing such a fine job in transcribing the material.

There are 6 chapters that capture the lifecycle of being a disciple and following the way of Jesus. It starts with an Invitation to "Come and See" just as Jesus first invited the disciples. On observing his life, Jesus next invites us to Follow Him. With such a lifestyle there is the challenge of "Loving our enemies" and a Cost of "Taking up our Cross" each day. But such a life brings both great Reward in discovering the "joy of following Jesus" and tremendous Promise that Jesus is always with us.

Like many of Nouwen's books I am left with much to contemplate. I particularly appreciated the first two chapters of invitation. Jesus invites us to walk with Him and in so doing He draws us into His Kingdom, one that is vastly different to what this world offers. It is a supernatural kingdom where everything is possible, small quantities of food can be multiplied to feed the masses and we are able to walk in victory and peace even in the most difficult of circumstances.

All Nouwen fans will greatly appreciate this short volume.
Profile Image for Susannah.
111 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2022
Beautiful book that's even more poignant when you get to the editorial that Nouwen is speaking about his personal time of struggle while feeling alone at Harvard before moving to the next phase of his life. Incredibly vulnerable and empowering at the same time. Will definitely read again and again. I've tried here and there in my life to pick up a Nouwen book and never was able to get into it. Even his famous "Return of the Prodigal Son" I couldn't relate. Now I'm thinking that he's more relatable depending on the reader's particular situation. And now I'm curious to see what other books will be similarly engaging!
Profile Image for Kathy.
1,661 reviews20 followers
September 2, 2019
I always look forward to reading a book by Henri J.M. Nouwen. The depth of his knowledge and faith, the gentleness of his prose, the simplistic yet profound way he has of reframing and explaining concepts always make for an enjoyable, instructive and thought-provoking read.

Following Jesus: Finding Purpose and Direction in Uncertain Times checks off all of those boxes. Nouwen shows us how to handle the difficult situations and times in our lives by following Jesus, explaining what that entails and means. It will make you reexamine your life and show you how to live the life God wants you to have; celebrating the all-encompassing love that He has for you, seeing God in the people and world that surrounds you, enjoying and focusing on the present, because there is nothing to fear in the future.

This book is so uplifting, so inspiring that I recommend it to anyone looking to walk closer with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Gill.
47 reviews
September 23, 2019
A very supportive book for our Christian journey and and a closer walk with God in living faith day by day
7 reviews
November 3, 2019
Following Jesus by Henri Nouwen is destined to be a Christian classic. It is simple . . . profound . . . and life-changing. Highly recommended.

“Are you following Jesus? I want you to look at yourself and ask that question. Are you a follower? Am I?” With those words, Fr. Henri Nouwen began a series of six talks presented during Lent 1985 on following Jesus. These never-before published talks were deftly transcribed and faithfully edited by Nouwen archivist and scholar Gabrielle Earnshaw into the recently released book Following Jesus – Finding our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety by Henri J. M. Nouwen.

The words said by Henri Nouwen to an ecumenical group listening in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge near Harvard where he was teaching are not dissimilar to what might have been said by St. Francis (Nouwen’s favorite saint) to his brothers at the Portiuncula in Assisi. And those same words would be a most appropriate in a homily at Mass or anyplace that Christians gather to share their faith. This wonderful little book prompts us to listen for Jesus saying, “Follow me. Don’t keep running around. Follow me. Don’t just sit there. Follow me.” Each day we have the opportunity to accept or ignore the invitation. The choice is ours.

Through Scripture and his keen understanding of human nature and our woundedness, Nouwen gently guides us to follow Jesus in six steps starting with The Invitation (“Come and See”); responding to The Call (“Come Follow Me”); accepting The Challenge (“Love Your Enemies”); bearing The Cost (“Take Up Your Cross”); sharing The Reward (“My Joy Will Be Yours”); and living The Promise (“I Will Be With You Always”). At every step, Nouwen reveals God’s love for us as individuals and as a community of believers and helps us to see how Jesus calls us into relationship with him and his Father.

In a letter to his nephew Marc, Henri Nouwen wrote, “If you were to ask me point-blank, ‘What does it mean to you to live spiritually?’ I would have to reply, ‘Living with Jesus at the center.’” Following Jesus is Nouwen’s personal testimony about how to live with Jesus at the center. Nouwen writes, “Following Jesus is focusing on the One who calls and gradually trusting that we can let go of our familiar world and that something new will come.” And, “(Following Jesus) is a letting go of our worldly self to find our true self in Jesus.” Continuing on, “Following Jesus means following the Lord who is the Lord of history, the Lord who is with us here now and here, at this moment.” Finally, “(Following Jesus is) to live fully in the present, because God is always the God of now, of here. The day in which we live is the day of the Lord. . . . Prayer and service are at the heart of following Jesus.”

You might consider reading this book yourself during Advent and then giving it as a Christmas gift to those you love. There is no better holiday gift than choosing to follow Jesus and Henri Nouwen is a trustworthy and spirit-filled guide.

Online Book Discussion of Following Jesus during Advent: Following Jesus is the book that will be discussed in the Henri Nouwen Society online book discussion this Advent. We will gather in a virtual community for Introductions beginning on Wednesday, November 27, 2019. Our discussions start on Sunday, December 1, 2019. For more information: http://wp.henrinouwen.org/
140 reviews2 followers
August 2, 2019
If you have been fortunate enough to have read any books by Henri J.M. Nouwen, then you know that any book you read enters your heart and changes you in some intrinsic way. Following Jesus (Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety) is no different. If I had to sum up the entire book in one word, that word would be love. The love that the Father and Son have for one another (The Holy Spirit), the love that is given to us by Christ and the love that we as followers of Christ are called to share with one another.

In each chapter Henri J.M Nouwen invites us to follow Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with Him. The first chapter is where he invites us to become curious about Jesus. We are asked to encounter Him, to watch and observe. As we watch and observe we become curious and a hunger arises as we yearn to know more. The second chapter we are called to action, to follow Jesus as he ministers to others. We see miracles, hope and generosity beyond our wildest imaginations. We soon discover that to follow we will be called to do the same. The third chapter is a challenge. To be kind to those we know and love is easy, but to care and help those we do not is the challenge. Here is where the real work begins. The fourth chapter invites us to accept sorrow and suffering and unite it to the cross of Christ. Not only our own crosses, but those of others. To show compassion is to show love. An easy thing to do for those we care for, but most difficult for those we don’t or worse for those we don’t particularly like. The fifth chapter describes the joy you find in following Jesus. Yes, we will have pain and sorrow, such is life, but the spiritual joy from following and being the hands of Christ will satisfy the soul. It’s the living in the here and now, not contemplating the past or future that will heal and satisfy us like nothing else. And the last and final chapter teaches us that communion with God brings joy and peace. That joy and peace are accomplished through encountering Christ everyday through prayer and continued service to others. The smallest of deeds can bring happiness to those we love or serve and then leave us with a sense of joy and well-being.

To sum it up, this beautiful book helps us to get out of ourselves, or out of our own way and with Christ’s example move towards others. Most often we are our own worst enemies. To turn our hearts away from ourselves, to get our focus off of our own worries and anxieties and toward serving others is the greatest way to follow Jesus. It’s how he lived his life and it is how we are called to live ours. The path to joy and holiness is ours for the taking, if we choose to follow and if we choose to love.

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of Following Jesus.
“I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.”
Profile Image for Bridget.
440 reviews3 followers
December 29, 2021
This is a slender book of only about 140 pages. Yet I have about 25 Post-It flags throughout it, places I've marked where I want to go back and think about the writing. I've never read Nouwen before, and the only reason I picked it up was because of the subtitle: "Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety." It seemed applicable, almost two years into a pandemic. I'm so glad I discovered him!

To Ponder:

"Be attentive. Be attentive. Be attentive.
When we pray frequently and know that God is in us here and now, we are very attentive to others because we are less preoccupied with ourselves. We are less worried about ourselves and if we are not very worried about ourselves we see other people more clearly. We see their struggle. We see their beauty. We see their kindness. We see that they are not trying to hurt us but that they have their own problems. We are much gentler, because we are in the presence of the Spirit. We realize these people are also struggling." (Pgs. 128-129)

"We do not do service to earn anything. It is not an anxious need to save the world. We don't act on the condition that change will take place. No. You can see how intense that might become. If our only concern is 'I better help him or her,' or to do things to change a person or the world, or the country, or the politics, or the social condition--if change is the condition of service--we are going to be very bitter and very soon. But if service is an expression of gratitude for the love we have already experienced then we can be free and engage in change without trying so hard. Service is an expression of the gift you have within you that you want to share with others." (Pgs. 129-130)
Profile Image for Romi Sigma .
56 reviews3 followers
November 18, 2019
My father introduced me to Henri Nouwen a few years ago when he gave me a copy of The Return Of The Prodigal Son. I liked Nouwen's simple yet profound reasoning in that book, and Following Jesus is no different. I appreciate that.

Nouwen’s desire with this book (which is a compilation of talks he gave) is to plant a seed in our hearts that will lead to a change in the way we live. What a beautiful purpose!
I'm not sure about all of his interpretation, but with books like this one, I prefer to simply let the ideas sink in, see if there is truth in them. Rejecting the whole book on account of a few interpretations that are foreign to me would be a mistake.

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me:

- “ We are invited to leave the familiar place and find God. We are invited to find God and trust that in God we’ll discover who we truly are. The emphasis is not “me” but the Lord.”
- “The Kingdom is where everything is turned upside down.(...) The part of us that is weak, broken, or poor suddenly becomes the place where something new can begin.”
- “Follow me” means “let go of your fears”. “Jesus says, “think about the Kingdom first and all the other things you are so worried about will fall into place.”
- “Our response to the call to follow Jesus can be very concrete. Our response is to take small steps away from “me” and “my fears”, toward the Lord.”
- “Following Jesus cannot be a form of discipleship if it is out of fear.”

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to give more thought to what it means to be a Christian.

Thanks to Crown Publishing and Netgalley for the reviewer’s copy.
Profile Image for Becca.
36 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2021
These meditations on life and purpose brought me peace. He talks about how dear can lead us to either rootlessness or routine behavior - either we don’t have an anchor and run around anxiously from thing to thing, or we cling too tight to security. But there is another way, he writes: to have joy, which is “a sense of at-homeness” no matter external circumstances (99). Jesus himself broke through rootlessness and routine, inviting his followers to abide in him, and challenging the Pharisees. The Beatitudes teach us about joy; Jesus points out that in the conditions that the world considers to be miserable, people can find joy. Nouwen writes, “Underneath all our fluctuations is a solid deep divine stream that is called joy” (105). Celebration is living this joy, and it is an expression of gratitude.

He writes about how we can find it in prayer: “Prayer is the discipline of attentiveness, of being here” (126). We can also find it in service, which is to be an outpouring of gratitude rather than believing we alone can change the human condition, as that will only lead to bitterness. This point hit home for me, as I tend to get so angry about unjust systems that harm people I serve, and if I’m not careful it can make me bitter. Who wants a bitter person to be helping them? “But if service is an expression of gratitude for the love we have already experienced, then we can be free and engage in change without trying so hard. Service is an expression of the gift you have within you that you want to share with others” (130).
Profile Image for Robert Vincent.
187 reviews2 followers
January 29, 2022
This is a wonderful book that expands on familiar scripture. It gives so much encouragement even for our day. The subtitle is so appropriate for today: “Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety”. I believe that the theme of the book is stated at the end of Chapter Four, “The Cost”: “Following the One with whom we are in love is the full meaning of following Jesus. We follow not out of fear but out of love.”

And the reward for following Jesus is pure joy: “Let’s look at Jesus for a moment. I don’t know if Jesus was ever funny. I don’t think so. I am not even sure he was happy. But he was filled with joy. The joy of Jesus is joy that is born out of his ongoing intimacy with God. Joy flows from that communion with the Father. Joy springs from intimate belonging to the Father.”

Therefore, think on this: “Jesus says, ‘Take up your cross and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).’ He says, ‘Take up my burden. It is the burden of the whole world and it will be a light burden. Take up my yoke and it will prove to be an easy yoke’ (Matthew 11:30)
This is the great mystery of the Christian life. It is not that God came to take our burden away or to take our cross away or to take our agony away. No. God came to invite us to connect our burden with God’s burden, to connect our suffering with God’s suffering, to connect our pain to God’s pain.”

And I would boldly add that in turn He connects His joy to our joy. (Hebrews 12:2)

This was a very easy read and brought me to that place of comfort. Indeed, following Jesus leads to the love that casts out fear!
Profile Image for Create With Joy.
685 reviews167 followers
May 4, 2019
Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? According to Henri Nouwen, the popular priest, author and theologian who passed away in 1996, "often we are more wanderers than followers" - but when we hear and respond to the voice of Jesus - the voice of love - the voice that beckons us to follow Him, just as clearly as He beckoned His disciples to follow Him 2000 years ago when He walked on our planet, we can finally cease our restless wanderings and settle into a life of joyful following.

This is the premise and promise of Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home In An Age of Anxiety. In this brand-new, never-before published work drawn from talks given during one of the lowest points in his life, Henri explores what it really means to follow Christ.

Henri is a beautifully poetic writer with a true heart for God. While I'm not sure everything in it completely lines up with Scripture (I suggest that you read this book with discerning eyes). Henri provides a lot of provocative thoughts on what it means to follow Christ that are well worth considering.

Long-time readers and fans of Henri will want to add this inspirational work to their collections.

I rate this book 3.5 stars.

I reviewed an ARC of this book from Netgalley. This book is scheduled for a September 2019 release date.

To read more of my reviews, please visit Create With Joy.
Profile Image for Leslie (PaperAndKindness).
51 reviews3 followers
September 15, 2019
I've read prayers and articles by Henri Nouwen, but this is the first full length book I've read by him. I went into this expecting wisdom and practical guidance for living and I was not disappointed..The book was full of advice about how to have a joyful life and thrive in the midst of pain. I read this book over a month ago and I'm still reflecting on the following observation, "Joy is not some kind of happy medium between rootlessness and routine. It is not that. Joy is not a momentary vacation from the heaviness of life. Joy is not something to escape the problems of the world. The joy that Jesus offers is of a spiritual order. It is not just an emotional thing. It is not just a physical thing. It is a spiritual gift. The gift of joy."

Nouwen's advice for fellow Christians is consistently backed up with solid Biblical references. He provides enough context for each quotation while maintaining a relatively broad interpretation of scripture. My favorite parts of the book were the prayers at the end of each chapter. Nouwen is eloquent, but never abstruse. His writing strikes the difficult balance between having broad appeal without being vague or superficial. I would encourage everyone I know to read this one.
Thank you to NetGalley for my advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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