Announcing the Book Selection for Advent 2020!

“You have something to say,” a friend told Henri Nouwen, “but you keep saying it to people who least need to hear it.”

The gentle critique came from Fred Bateman, a secular Jew living a busy, harried life in New York city. Henri’s books had become immensely popular with Christians from every denomination. But if his readers already understood and related to Henri’s spirituality, wasn’t he simply preaching to the choir?

“What about us young, ambitious, secular men and women wondering what life is all about after all?” Fred asked.  “Can you speak to us with the same conviction as you speak to those who share your tradition, your language, and your vision?”

Life of the Beloved
“Life of the Beloved” by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Despite his initial hesitancy, Henri became convinced that he could. The result is one of the most popular and accessible spiritual books of our time: Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World.

Please plan to join us this Advent for the Henri Nouwen Online Book Discussion as we delve into this inspirational meditation on living a spiritual life in a stressful and, at times, frightening world.

We begin on Wednesday, November 25th for greetings and introductions. Then beginning Sunday, November 29th we’ll journey through Advent discussing and sharing insights gleaned from this ageless, yet very timely, book.

Written in a manner that Henri hoped Fred and his friends could understand, Nouwen shares his conviction that each of us, regardless of our religious conviction, is beloved by God. The most important spiritual journey of our lives involves claiming the truth of that belovedness.

Facilitated by Ray Glennon, the Advent online book discussion is a wonderful way to enhance and give meaning to Advent and to your Christmas preparations. We do hope you will join us. And please invite the Freds in your life to join us as well!

A reading schedule will be posted prior to the start of the discussion.

Need a copy of the book? It is available at many bookstores, or you can order it online through the Bookstore tab in the menu bar above. 

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65 Responses to Announcing the Book Selection for Advent 2020!

  1. Christopher Ciummei says:

    I can’t wait! This will be a great discussion!

  2. Sharon Christensen says:

    Love this book and so happy to join the discussion

  3. Holly says:

    Sorry that I’m late to the introduction phase. So happy to join all of you in the study of this wonderful gem.

  4. Sandy says:

    I look forward to participating in this online discussion. It sounds interesting!

  5. Lucy S says:

    Grateful to be part of this discussion with all of you in Life of the Beloved. Thank you for the opportunity to grow deeper together!

  6. Silke says:

    I very much look forward to reading this book together with a community of people. Henry Nouwen was first introduced to me in June of last year. The return of the prodigal son was the first of his books I read, he has become a real inspiration and true hope in my life and I very much hope to deepen my spiritual journey through this. Thank you for offering this great opportunity.

  7. Jonathan Logan says:

    Hello. My name is Jonathan and I happy to be apart of this new Advent book discussion. I look forward to reading, sharing, and learning from each other.

  8. Priscilla says:

    Hello! I am looking forward to strengthening my faith through our discussions of the book Life of the Beloved. Thank you for creating this wonderful opportunity to grow in Christ.

  9. Michael Butler says:

    I have read this book (but it has been a while). I really need to reconnect to community, purpose, and joy right now. Thanks for offering this opportunity. I will be joining.

  10. Regina Xerri says:

    I am feeling so very grateful to begin this journey. thanks to all the technology we are able to access during these difficult times. Looking forward to hearing and contributing alike.


  11. Jo Gorringe says:

    Looking forward to this.

  12. Beth says:

    I am so glad I found this group. I would love to be a part of this discussion for Advent.

  13. Linda Teuwen says:

    This is my first time on the website which was just introduced to me by my neighbor.
    I will be signing up for daily meditations and would like to sign up for the advent book discussion group.

    • Excellent. Glad to have you join us, Linda.

      No registration is necessary. Just show up here on November 25 for greetings and introductions. The discussion kicks off on Sunday, November 29.

  14. Ruth says:

    This is one of my favorite books, and I’ve read it many times! I’m looking forward to following the discussion during Advent.

  15. Lisa Lee says:

    The timing of this study could not be more perfect. I look forward to exploring this wonderful work through this platform!

  16. Ruth Walters says:

    I am looking forward to reviewing this selection of Henri Nouwen’s during this Advent season…

  17. Ruth Morrison says:

    I have not taken part before but I have ordered the book. Will you provide instructions for taking part in the discussion?

  18. Sharon Miller says:

    I’m also looking forward to joining this discussion. “Life of the Beloved” spoke to me in a powerful way!

  19. cary upshaw says:

    I have never done this type of discussion group on this type of platform. Is it hard to miss comments from the thread once it starts?

    • One of the luxuries of having a week between Ray’s reflective questions is that participants can read and review comments at their leisure.

      Newest comments entered into the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page will appear at the top of the page once they are approved by Ray. However, if you are responding to another participant’s comment, simply hit the “Reply” link beneath the comment and your response will show up there.

      There is a chance you might miss a comment if you don’t check the threads beneath each comment, but it’s easy to do a quick visual scan of the page for updates.

      I’m confident you’ll find it an easy process to navigate once we get started. Glad you plan to join us!

  20. Arlene says:

    I look forward to this book discussion. Did I miss anything about a sign-up to join?

    • Hi Arlene,

      No registration is necessary. You can view the reading schedule (click on “2020 Advent Reading Schedule” in the black bar beneath the photo at the top of the page.)

      Join us on November 25th for greetings and introductions, then beginning on Sunday, November 29th we will begin discussing Henri Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved”.

      Each Sunday in Advent, moderator Ray Glennon will post reflective questions based on the reading for that week. You can respond to the questions and other participants’ comments at any time during the week.

      To read comments or to make a comment yourself, click on the “Comments” link at the bottom of the page. You can enter a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page that opens. To respond to another participant’s comment, simply click the “Reply” link beneath the comment.

      It’s always an engaging and insightful discussion. I am sure you will be encouraged and blessed.

      • Clara says:

        Is there a live chat on Nov. 25th? How and where do we join? I want to be a part of the book study but I’m not sure where to sign up or how to be part of the group. Thank you.

        • Hi Clara,

          It’s a moderated discussion meaning all comments will be posted just as soon as Ray (our moderator) has an opportunity to review them. Ray monitors the board frequently, so there is seldom much of a delay in seeing your comment, or responses to yours and others’ comments. There a full week to make a comment or respond to other comments before Ray moves on to the next section of the book. I think you’ll appreciate the leisurely pace of the conversation.

          No registration is necessary. Just come back to this page on Wednesday, November 25 to participate in the greetings and introductions. Glad you plan on joining us!

  21. Kaye Hurn says:

    I look forward to joining the discussion on this book.

  22. gayle mumfrey says:

    Never done an online book discussion. Will this be a virtual live discussion question mark such as a zoom platform?

    • Hi Gayle,

      No, it’s not a Zoom or Zoom-like platform. It’s a simple post & reply discussion. Because we have participants from all over the world (and many different time zones), the moderated discussion facilitates thoughtfulness and clarity. Ray will post reflective questions each Sunday and participants can respond to them, and to other participants’ comments, over the course of the week before new questions are posted. Have a look at some of our previous discussion (archived on the right of this page) to get a good idea of how things work. Hope you can join us.

      • ac says:

        Bookmarked this page already! I’m looking forward to what will transpire. I’m from the Philippines and I love Henri’s works. We have very limited publications that offer his works but I happen to have Life of the Beloved, so I’ll take this opportunity to join the Advent Book Discussion Group! Thank you for this 🙂

  23. Martha Shad says:

    I have intended to participate in one of these but something (usually tax season related) gets in the way. I have the book and would like to get started on the reading. Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or what in particular I should pay attention to?

    • Hi Martha,

      Ray has posted a reading schedule. Just click on the tab “Advent 2020 Reading Schedule” beneath the photo at the top of the page. It will give you a good idea of how the discussion will proceed.

  24. Jayne Boccuzzi says:

    I would like to participate, but that is the day before Thanksgiving and I have family coming in from out of town. If I knew the times for the 25 and 29th that would help me with my availability.
    Thank you.
    Jayne Boccuzzi

  25. Janet Baschzok says:

    I look forward to this discussion

  26. Paul says:

    So there’s not a particular time each Sunday?

    • Hi Paul,

      Moderator Ray Glennon will post reflective discussion questions early each Sunday. Participants can respond to the questions and other comments throughout the course of the week. Ray will post all comments as soon as he has an opportunity to review them. He checks in frequently during the discussion, so things remain lively and engaging throughout the week. Glad you are planning to join us.

  27. Lucy S says:

    Thank you for this time together in the Advent season in “Life of the Beloved”!

  28. Lydia says:

    Looking forward to this new experience as a reparation for Advent

  29. Heidi Summers says:

    I look forward to joining the discussion during Advent. See you there! Shalom.

  30. Paul Derham says:

    I read this wonderful book, then watched Henri’s video about it from Crystal Palace…wow, what spiritual energy he possessed! I have just ordered “Return of the Prodigal Son” from the library. Can’t wait to continue traveling my journey with Henri Nouwen!

  31. Sandra Dimitri says:

    So excited ! This book spoke to my heart this year in many ways. Can’t wait to share and hear from Everyone. Stay Blessed

  32. Andy Palmer says:

    I look forward to joining the discussion.

  33. Shannon Warwar says:

    Looking forward to this!!

  34. Rita Baldino says:

    Good morning!
    I have never done an online book discussion but have always loved Henri’s spiritual insights. Looking forward to this group’s commentary!

  35. Anthony says:

    It is a honor and privilege to be invited to this advent book discussion. This is why, I feel it is appropriate to offer my heartfelt thanks to the person who extended me the invitation. You are truly a messenger sent from above. I pray God will continue to use you in this ministry. I am excited and very happy to participate in the advent book discussion to learn as well as to share my thoughts or reflection. I cannot wait to start. Thank you and God bless you!

  36. Florence Nilsson says:

    I think it is a wonderful idea journeying with each other during Advent Online . I am looking forward to it very much. Thank you for facilitating such a discussion group. We can learn so much from sharing with one another.

  37. Mary Sue Kivlighan says:

    Looking forward to this

  38. Peg Schmitz says:

    So excited to take part in this book discussion!

  39. Rick Strong says:

    It has been a while since I have read Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. It sounds like a great read for Advent. I am hoping to join in this discussion for November 2020

  40. Roger Snyder says:

    This sounds like a perfect time for this Spiritual journey. I’ve recommended my friends and church to share in this study. Thank you for hosting!

  41. Rasik K Bhula says:

    Thank you looking forward to the this journey. Its starts on the 45th anniversary of my spiritual birthday..

  42. John Parent says:

    I have the book: “You Are The Beloved”.
    Is this the same book?

  43. Kathleen Sheehan says:

    How do I sign up for the Advent book discussion for 2020? I just came across this website after years of reading Henri’s books. I have signed up for the daily meditations and subscribed.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Kathleen,

      No registration is necessary. Just visit this page beginning on November 25th if you would like to introduce yourself and to meet other participants by using the “comments” section on the page. The book discussion gets underway on Sunday, November 29th, with moderator Ray Glennon.

      I do hope you can join us!

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