Friday, January 27, 2006

The Wounded Healer

While down in Ft. Lauderdale at the SE Calvary Chapel Pastor’s conference, I stayed at my buddy’s condo on the beach. Eleven floors up with a view of the ocean. Thanks, Kelly.

I had some time of solitude to reflect and read while I was there. I finally finished The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen (can somebody tell me how to pronounce that?). It’s a great little book. It’s only about 100 pages. A quick read for most people, but it took me about three weeks. I first heard about it over on Bob Fanquiz’s blog and I ordered it immediately.

“For a Christian, Jesus is the man in whom it has indeed become manifest that revolution and conversion cannot be separated in man’s search for experiential transcendence. His appearance in our midst has made it undeniably clear that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.” (p.20)

To tell you the truth, I had to read and re-read many areas of the book. I got out my pen for the first time in a long time and underlined passages and copied them into my journal. This book was written in 1979. I didn’t think people had much of a handle on the deep concepts of God back then (unlike now). Maybe that’s because back then I was in middle school and only cared about Kiss, Ted Nugent, and Farrah Fawcett-Majors.

Get this book. Nouwen has a whole stack of books out. I will definitely be working my way through them in 2006.


dogfreid said...

I came across this link by accident not too long ago:

Anonymous said...

Hey I am really concerned that as a Calvary Pastor behind the scenes or not that you are recommending an author who is a Catholic mystic. I would take Berny's advice and go to the lighthouse research trails site and read about this guy before you read or recommend any more of his stuff to your brothers and sisters in Christ. May God open your eyes.

Bryonm said...


Thanks for the thought...
Generally, I rarely go to people that have a legalistic, anti-everything position of telling people what not to do for reading recommendations. Again, generally speaking, they've made up their minds about something beforehand and then find every way to argue against it with a fury.

Lighthouse is one of those places. If you don't do it their way, then they do something very un-Christ-like: they choose sides against their brothers; they say their brothers are not their brothers. You do't get to pick who your brothers are, the Spirit of God does. Jesus taught that your brothers won't always do things the same way. It is in this context He said, "He who is not against us is with us."

Maybe in some cases, Lighthouse is correct. But in their self-appointed efforts to separate the "wheat from the tares", a task not appointed them by Christ, they tear up the good grain at the same time.

Noewen may be a "Catholic Mystic", that's the word on the street, but for anyone aspiring to ministry, I recommend they read this particular book and learn somthing about ministry excellence and compassion for a those dying apart from Christ.

If I only choose to read the people that think exactly like me, I'll never learn anything; I'll be a clone. God doesn't make clones.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bryon, I've been meaning to get back to you. First thing I want to say is that one of the things I really love about Calvary Chapels is that they are not legalistic or full fo clones. I had the privelege of being saved at Calvary Merritt island 16 years ago and sat under Malcolm Wild's teaching for over 9 years until we moved. The other thing I love about Calvary's is that they stick to teaching the whole counsel of God. I don't believe Lighthouse Trails is legalistic - they are Bereans who search the scripture and warn fellow believers about false doctrines and movements in the church - some of which I have had the disntict displeasure of personal experience with.
As to the subject of Henri Nouwen in his book Sabbatical Journey, p.51 he states: " Today I personally believe that Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her way to God." He also endorsed a book by Hindu spritual teacher Elnath Easwaran which teaches mantra meditiation, and eventually ended up becoming a buddhist. Why not just read the Bible or books on ministry by people who believe it?

Anonymous said...

Did you ever see "The Shawshank Redemption"? There is a scene where Brooks, an old convict who was paroled after 50 years, is narrating a letter he wrote to his friends. He couldn't adjust to life on the outside and lived in fear. He ended up taking his own life.

In the midst of this narration, there is a short scene where Brooks is sitting on a park bench, depressed, hoping to see Jake again (Jake is a bird that Brooks raised in prison, but let free prior to his parole). I have used this scene with youth groups, asking: since you have foreknowledge that Brooks is about to hang himself, what would you say to him on the park bench? Nouwen's book answers that question.

And I think the pronunciation is "on-ree".