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4.3 out of 5 stars19
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2009
I was introduced to Henri Nouwen's writing with "Finding My Way Home" which was compiled after his death from writing and talks he had given. His books are short with great insight and a gentleness of writing. I was awestruck by "Finding My Way Home" which I suppose set a high bar for "The Wounded Healer" to meet.

So if I am honest I was disappointed by the first half of the book possibly because it was written around the year of my birth so references to recent studies (from 1969) on the character of young people as fatherless, convulsive and inward were a little hard to relate to. Although some of these characteristics probably continue - particularly fatherlessness I struggled to connect to Nouwen's thoughts.

However the third and fourth chapters utterly grabbed me and I will need to reread them to absorb more of the treasures that they hold. The overall theme is recognising we can only reach out to wounded people if we too recognise our own woundedness. He is speaking of spiritual and emotional healing rather than of physical healing. His take on loneliness caused a significant shift in my thinking.

"We live in a society in which loneliness has become one of the most painful human wounds.
But the more I think about loneliness, the more I think that the wound of loneliness is like the Grand Canyon - a deep incision in the surface of our existence which has become an inexhaustible source of beauty and self-understanding.
Therefore I would like to voice loudly and clearly what might seem unpopular and maybe even disturbing: The Christian life does not take away our loneliness; it protects and cherishes it as a precious gift...perhaps the painful awareness of loneliness is an invitation to transcend our limitations and look beyond the boundaries of our existence."

As with Nouwen's other writing there is always a gentle direction towards Christ - the ultimate wounded healer "it is by his wounds that we are healed" and a tone of great love for his fellow man.

Each chapter is based around a story illustrating the overall theme of the chapter.

Overall I would say the book is best summed up by Nouwen's own words:

"In short:'Who can take away suffering without entering it?'. The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there."

Beautiful and I highly recommend the second half. Fortunately it's a short enough book that if you are in my age bracket or younger and struggle to relate to the 60's youth, it is still worth getting through the first half.
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on 12 May 2013
A classic account of what it means to engage genuinely with other people - in any sort of ministry or, for that matter, health or social care settings. The message of Chapter III is mind-numbingly important and should not be lost on those struggling to articulate what compassion means in today's world.
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on 24 August 2011
The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society - This is an interesting and thought provoking book. I found it needed to be read in short bursts in order to take in all the valuable concepts that it raises.
Like most of Neuwen's books you grow to love them.
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on 7 May 2012
The Book has excellent content, a useful resource to read and learn from a 'master'. in preparation for embarking on serving in our church Healing Team. I am also reading "Dressed to Kill" by Rick Renner : about the armour of God : Helmet of Salvation, Breastplate of righteousness etc. Here's hoping with God's help I can be useful in the Kingdom.
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on 27 October 2011
A fantastic and challenging book. Although written a few decades ago, it is so perceptive and relevant, applying equally to ministry and people ass much today as it would at the time of wrting. It is certainly a book which I found to be inspirational and will retain as a valuable part of my growing collection of Christian books.
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on 11 June 2015
An excellent book that gives a positive perspective into using our wounds to work with and enable others.
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on 13 February 2014
We are all wounded and often held by the unknown, this book helps to see wounding as hope for God's kingdom. It is a book that needs to be read a few times, a true classic.
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on 4 October 2013
This spells out the importance of accepting and acknowledging one's own woundedness in order to help others grow in love and faith.
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on 25 July 2015
This book was recommended to me by a retired priest as I am exploring a call to ordained ministry. I thought I would enjoy it from it's description and the reviews on here but, although I grasp the intention, I found it a really difficult read because of the complexity of the language used. I am an avid reader and have studied at degree level, so I was surprised to find that I needed a dictionary on numerous occasions in order to read it, especially seeing as the back cover describes it as a 'profoundly simple little book'! This utterly spoiled it for me, but I am now to read it again and discuss with another member of the clergy, who has tried to read it on several occasions and failed to get past chapter three. I have to say that it was comforting to find that it wasn't just me struggling with it!
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on 19 May 2015
A useful read on the subject and still relevant although perhaps getting dated now.
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