Book Review: The Wounded Healer

This is another book that I’m not sure where I got it or how long it has been on my shelf. For me, however, anything by Henri Nouwen is a must read (I also reviewed Discernment and A Spirituality of Fundraising). I admit though, The Wounded Healer started out slow and tedious. It took me a couple of weeks just to get through the first section of the book. I found myself wondering if “the nuclear man” was even a contemporary issue. I have an original copy published in 1972 and a LOT of things have changed in society since then. But it is Nouwen and his ministry thinking and work is good stuff, so I stuck with it.

Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have and frees us to move away from the safe place and enter unknown and fearful territory.

The Wounded Healer, pg. 77

I’m glad I did. By the time I got to the last chapter I didn’t want to put it down to leave the sports practice I was at and go home! I wanted to just sit and finish it. I was even taking photos of certain paragraphs and posting online or sending to church members.

Although it starts slow, the build up is worth it. And it all really does tie together. By explaining his take on “the nuclear man,” Nouwen then talks about how to enter into a fully present place of ministry, using our own hurting as a way of offering hospitality to others.

A Christian community is therefore a healing community not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because woulds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision. Mutual confession then becomes a mutual deepening of hope, and sharing weakness becomes a reminder to one and all of the coming strength.

The Wounded Healer, pg. 96

The Wounded Healer reminds me that my painful experiences in life do not have to be hidden. They allow me the gift of being able to enter into the pain of others and provide a space for them to feel seen, to know that someone else is with them, waiting with hope on the other side of healing. It is not a book that is easy to read, yet one that is important for clergy and other ministry professionals to read.

It encourages compassion, personal healing, and community, all with the hope of Jesus Christ at the center. The Wounded Healer is another keeper for me. If you have read it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Published by Kris

Jesus follower, racing wife, mom of seven, United Methodist pastor... Trying to live a life worthy of my callings.

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