“A Spirituality of Living” by Henri Nouwen

This theological treatise on simple spiritual living is both simple and brief.

Not being familiar with the teacher of these doctrines, I came to reading this with a fair amount of skepticism ready. There are parts of the book that to me, are questionable in theological content. For the e-book edition, there are only 401 parts to the “location” set that the Kindle provides. In part 136, there is reference of G-d that I find concerning and worth further investigation:

[T]o believe in Jesus means to believe in the intimate, full, total communion between the Father and the Son, that seeing Jesus is seeing the Father, touching Jesus is touching [G-d], [G-d] who is father, mother brother sister.

Reading this section makes be wonder if the writer has a concept of the doctrine of the Trinity. Best defined, the Trinity is found as echad in the Hebraic text of Scripture, which is recognized as of the same substance. The Trinity is Father, Son, and Spirit as one substance yet different statures and duties. The Spirit is submissive to the Son, and the Son to the Father. While we can learn to know the Father through the Son, we can only truly know the Father by knowing the Father. The Son gives us access to the Father, and the Father is well defined in the Torah.

While I appreciate the simplicity that the author provides in this theological explanation, my gut tells me that something is off-kilter here. Being guided by the Holy Spirit, I need to trust this feeling and respond appropriately. This doesn’t match to the Creator G-d I worship, YHWH. It’s close, but by comparing G-d to mother and sister, it grossly misinterprets the true nature of G-d. With that in consideration, I cannot recommend this book to the average reader. SG does not recommend this book for acquisition and spiritual reading.

If you feel that I’ve gotten this wrong, please comment on this blog post. I’d love to enter discussion on this, and if I’m incorrect in my reading, I would also appreciate to know the author’s intent and actual theological beliefs on this one.Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.