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In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership Paperback – Oct 1 1992
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The late Dutch priest and author taught at Notre Dame, Harvard, and Yale before being called to lead a community for mentally handicapped people called L'Arche Daybreak. Moving from academia to raw emotional communion with the intellectually impaired taught him lessons he couldn't otherwise learn. He tells us that followers of Jesus are often lured by power into a style of leadership that is decidedly not God-like. "It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life." All Christians should hear this heartfelt, gently narrated memoir, a wonderful collection of reflections. T.W. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nouwen was asked to speak at a conference about "Leadership in the 21st Century" and this book is the text of that speech.
The book tells the story of Nouwen's journey from lofty chaplain and teaching positions at Harvard, Notre Dame, and Yale to a "lowly" position as the Pastor at a community for the mentally handicapped. He uses this experience to outline a radical paradigm for 'leadership' characterized not by ambition and 'upward mobility', but by humility, vulnerability, and servanthood.
The book is a simple one, but the concepts are truly revolutionary and counter-cultural. This book deserves some real attention.
Nouwen is addressing this book to 'priests and ministers' but I think many of the principles he discusses are very applicable to almost anyone who wants to serve God in ministry, even in non leadership capacities. I was particularly struck by what I thought was a critical point he made when he discussed how those of us who serve in ministry can often get sidetracked and distracted in our work for God when we begin to equate our service with our own glory and not God's. He talks about how people are susceptible to impure motives when serving God, and this is a very critical point. While he doesn't explore this in as much detail as I might have liked, the message is clear. As leaders in ministry, we will regularly encounter and serve people who are in tough situations. And while it's a wonderful thing to minister to those who are hurting in one form or another, we need to realize that this is a position of tremendous responsibility. Having this responsibility can tempt people into coveting power or influence, which can lead to any number of abuses once our motives for service are not pure. All the more reason to enter into Christian leadership with the right motives and a heart that is right with God. Nouwen did not explore this in great detail, but he does explore it within the context of being an effective leader for God who has joy in their service and whom God uses to the fullest for the benefit of those we serve.
Because of its shortness, it is far from a comprehensive look at honorable Christian leadership.Read more ›
Essentially, in his simple and loving manner, Nouwen tells us that we've got it all wrong and that we need to get back to the basics. "Much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead." This quote by Nouwen not only hits the nail on the head, it pinpoints the problem of serving God in an official capacity. Many have insulated themselves from relationships, often under the impression that they must show only their good side as a minister of the gospel; thus they wrestle alone with the sins of the flesh.
This short book attempts to refocus leaders' eyes on the basics...and the basics, as viewed here in poignant and startling clarity, take a lifetime to learn. Nouwen manages to make this all seem not only possible, but desirable. Not only helpful, but necessary. Each time my mind began to get in the way, his words brought me back to the responses of the heart.
To start and finish this book, Nouwen tells us about his mentally-handicapped friend Bill. By tucking his message between the very real love and efforts of his own life, Nouwen punctuates his words and shows us that they can, indeed, impact our own lives.
Even if it takes me 81 years to get it all figured out.
The author of this book comes from an intersting background: he is a highly educated priest in the Catholic church, served on influential boards, and became a professor at Harvard University. Then, he gave it up and took a job working among mentally handicapped people in Canada. This book, a speech in its original form, is part Nouwen's process of adjusting to his new life and part a chronicle of lessons he's learned working among the developmentally disabled.
This book is primarily speaking to Christian pastors, emphasizing the need to "get back to the basics" of faith, especially not letting yourself get caught in the trap of thinking too highly of your own importance. However, it is an excellent read for pleasure as well. I would highly recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent!! Quick read packed with wisdom! . Makes you pause and seriously consider your life and relationshipbwith God.Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
Do not be fooled by this book's size, it packs a powerful punch. As a young minister still trying to figure out which details to focus on, and which to ignore, this book could not... Read morePublished on July 10 2009 by Young Pastor
In this small book (81 pages) Nouwen tackles three temptations faced, but too often not acknowledged, by Christian leadership:
1. the temptation to be relevant.
2. Read more
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