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Adam: God's Beloved

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  720 ratings  ·  80 reviews
The death of his friend Adam, a severely handicapped young man, spurred Henry Nouwen to write this book. He discovered that by reflecting on the story of this young man, he had found a way to describe his own understanding of the Gospel message. In "Adam", a book completed only weeks before his own death, Nouwen has left a fitting reflection of his own essential message an ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 8th 1997 by Orbis Books
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Henri Nouwen met Adam, he met himself.

He, himself!

His OWN faults. His OWN weaknesses. His OWN craziness. Admitting these, he found his submerged and forgotten Eden.

His own complete and wounded humanity.

In many ways, it was his Final threshold. For he crossed that last threshold to his Own Release from this sorry world soon after being with Adam.

In his End was his Beginning. And what is Eternity but ever-changing, multifarious New Beginnings?

All our beginnings are an eternal taking leave of
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Adam: God's Beloved was a beautiful read. I've been longing to read some Henri Nouwen after repeatedly encountering excerpts of his and I found this title at the college library.

This is the final book he wrote before passing away and it describes his experiences at L'Arche Daybreak Community. He served as their chaplain and was paired with Adam, one of the residents there; Henri was expected to wake up Adam and get him ready for the day. Adam was severely handicapped and couldn't speak, and Henr
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some people that review this say that they wanted more. But that is the opposite of what the book is. It is about the life of a young disabled man that, because of his disability, somehow brings others closer to God. It is his very limited ability that serves that purpose - the emptiness of opening yourself to God.

As the father of a disabled son I identify with much of what is in the book. My son is not as disabled as Adam but many people have the same reaction. Maybe that is why I found the sim
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A lovely spiritual book that highlights an often forgotten image of the divine, the God of passion more than a God of action. Nouwen proclaims the gospel of vulnerability, and how the divine life may properly fit into the life of every person--even from people whose physical condition makes us almost impossible to think of holiness, like the severely handicapped Adam who had become for Nouwen a friend, mentor, an image of God during his stay at L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. Nouw ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for anybody that is a parent, caregiver, or serves in some ministry capacity. Nouwen is a beautiful writer with simple prose that is easily understood. If I didn't have a busy family, I would have finished this in one sitting! He gives tremendous meaning and value to what it means to care for another person and how we can learn and be changed through the process.
Anna Lewis
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Nouwen wrote so tenderly about Adam I found myself tearing up a bit throughout the book. Nouwen drew several parallels between Adam's life and the life of Jesus which I appreciated, but wished he went on to elaborate/ clarify a bit more in certain parts. Overall an honest tribute with a sometimes stream of consciousness feel.
Carl Jenkins
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that simply wrecked me in the best possible way.
Adam Gilchrest
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
When it comes to great minds like Tozer and Nouwen, I often get lost in their descriptions of God while they are discussing how His reality works in our lives. To me, they are similar to the Apostle Paul, in this way. They have something amazing to say, but my single minded brain can't track two paths at once. I can either focus on hearing what they have to say about how God works in the world or they're plentiful descriptions of the character of God.

This book had very little of that surprising
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
A very thoughtful and kind book about learning the worth of each of us, just as we are, no matter what we can do or not do. God loves - that's all.
Tanner Hawk
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A simple but impactful read.

"[Adam] was a person, who by his very life announced the marvelous mystery of our God: I am precious, beloved, whole, and born of God. Adam bore silent witness to this mystery, which has nothing to do with whether or not he could speak, walk, or express himself, whether or not he made money, had a job, was fashionable, famous, married or single. It had to do with his being. He was and is a beloved child of God...Unfortunately, there is a very loud, consistent, and pow
Note: This is NOT about the first biblical Adam, as you might initially think. This is the story of Nouwen’s spiritual journey through his relationship with a disabled man named Adam whose gift was his utter helplessness and dependence on others. Again, Nouwen explores the theme of powerlessness and love. It’s a theme that has been a lot on my mind for many years, too. It’s also a mysterious paradox: the power of utter powerlessness.

But the book is not really a theological treatise. It’s just a
HD Tolson
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Could Adam pray? Did he know who God is and what the Name of Jesus means? Did he understand the mystery of God among us? For a long time I thought about these questions. For a long time I was curious about how much of what I knew, Adam could know, and how much of what I understood, Adam could understand. But now I see that these were for me questions from 'below,' questions that reflected more my anxiety and uncertainty than God's love. God's questions, the questions from 'above' were, 'Can you ...more
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Adam’s Public Life is to me the heart and highlight of this book. The chapter entitled Adam’s Resurrection well, wasn’t framed quite the way I would have done it, but I also only know the Adam, the author, and their community from this book.

This book is about the fundamental worth and value of every human being, regardless of each and every person’s ability to do anything other than be present to other people. It is also about the things that keep us from being present to God, ourselves, and eac
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has become a lifeline for me since I started working as a caregiver myself. Loving, caring for, and being friends with people who have disabilities is not easy. Yet, it is such an incredible, life-giving thing. As I read and lived in response, I learned that I can be enriched by the people I am caring for. And, just as Nouwen described, it is true that in the relationship with each other, we are able and to see and know the life of Jesus.
Honestly, this is one of the best books I have
Jessica Lyons
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful reflection on friendship and the power of presence. From the halls of Yale, an esteemed professor & Roman Catholic priest moves into L'Arche- a community for people with and without disabilities who share life together. Adam's impact on Henri is profound and perhaps surprising- Adam is non verbal and yet Henri whose life had been working out his theology via conversation and intellectual discussion, is transformed by a man who does not say a word.

A wonderful reminder to be see, be p
Melisa Blankenship
The beauty of this story is hard to put into words. Much like the ministry of Adam himself, sitting with this story and reading about the impact on the people around Adam, had an impact on me. It's simplicity and honesty brought me reflection and tears.
Nick Blair
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. Many great insights on the vulnerability and weakness of being human. However, it could not have been more over-spiritualized. I think that he was trying to stretch a few insights into an entire book.
Michael Beard
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short but powerful message

Through this book many “normal” people for generations to come will be healed of their spiritual, emotional and relational disabilities by a severely mentally and physically disabled man named Adam.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having a son with Down syndrome, I had preconceptions before I read that I wouldn’t learn much. Not true at all. Expanded my vision and given me a much greater spiritual understanding of Lou’s purpose and blessing in our lives.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very moving. Makes you think about what is important in life. Adam could not speak, often needed help eating and bathing. He never learned to read or write. But he touched the lives of those he met very deeply.
Curtis Reid
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, re-read
Do yourself a favor, read this book.

This book was given to me by a dear friend and it truly has impacted my spiritual journey in a deep way.

I'm extraordinarily grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book! I look forward to re-visiting this book in a time when God leads me back.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story and articulated who I know God to be so well. Really enjoyed this!
Craig Barankiewicz
Was an excellent book! I understand more about how to approach working with disabled.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Powerful book. I read it for a theology class and found it easy and moving.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An exploration of deep humility...
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
" his weakness [Adam] became a unique instrument of God’s grace. [Adam] became a revelation of Christ among us.”
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! Nouwen captures the joys of the life of L'Arche in this touching remembrance.
Jamie Pent
I still have tears staining my cheeks

It's a beautiful heartbreaking story. Not the best piece of writing I've ever read but certainly written from the heart.
Jedidiah Preble
A wonderful book that helped me to better appreciate our own nature and the reality of God through the very brokenness that seems to contradict God's omnipotence and benevolence.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. In this, his last book, he shows how we often reach and teach others through our disabilities rather than our abilities. We all embody a little of the divine; so, be sure to look for it in others as well as yourself. You might be surprised to find it in the most unlikely of places.

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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

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“Adam was sent to bring Good News to the world. It was his mission, as it was the mission of Jesus. Adam was—very simply, quietly, and uniquely—there! He was a person, who by his very life announced the marvelous mystery of our God: I am precious, beloved, whole, and born of God. Adam bore silent witness to this mystery, which has nothing to do with whether or not he could speak, walk, or express himself, whether or not he made money, had a job, was fashionable, famous, married or single. It had to do with his being. He was and is a beloved child of God. It is the same news that Jesus came to announce, and it is the news that all those who are poor keep proclaiming in and through their very weakness. Life is a gift. Each one of us is unique, known by name, and loved by the One who fashioned us. Unfortunately, there is a very loud, consistent, and powerful message coming to us from our world that leads us to believe that we must prove our belovedness by how we look, by what we have, and by what we can accomplish. We become preoccupied with “making it” in this life, and we are very slow to grasp the liberating truth of our origins and our finality. We need to hear the message announced and see the message embodied, over and over again. Only then do we find the courage to claim it and to live from it.” 4 likes
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