Sunday, February 9, 2014

Not a mystery--THE WOUNDED HEALER by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Reading the Rev. Claire Fergusson mysteries made me think of another book, The Wounded Healer by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

The Wounded Healer is short, fewer than 150 pages. But I always find it hard to read. 

The 1972 book is dated. Its stilted, sexist language has made it so that I've had to read it in parts over the years. 

Still, The Wounded Healer has good ideas, not the least of which is the idea that ministers minister out of their own wounds and sinfulness. That's what made me think of Claire.

Here is one quote from Henri J.M. Nouwen's The Wounded Healer--

"...the minister is called to recognize the sufferings of his time in his own heart and make that recognition the starting point of his service. Whether he tries to enter into a dislocated world, relate to a convulsive generation, or speak to a dying man, his service will not be perceived as authentic unless it comes from a heart wounded by the suffering about which he speaks."
Sometimes I wonder if the Claire Fergusson series is Julia Spencer-Fleming's answer to all those minister mysteries written by people who were never ministers. Claire is so much more human than the other ministers I've read about in mysteries.

If you are interested in minister mysteries and you've not read the Claire Fergusson books, you might want to try them. Those books are listed in my "Joe's Reading Lists" posts at the right hand side of this blog.


Kelly Robinson said...

I never thought about the mysteries with ministers not being written by ministers. I don't think it's necessary for writers to always know the jobs of their characters in depth, but it's certainly true that when they do, the characters are all the more rich for it.

Joe Barone said...

I don't know that Spencer-Fleming is a minister, but she certainly writes about ministers more realistically than most. I only knew of one mystery series which was written about ministers by a minister. I believe the character lived in a condo in some place like Chicago. The author died in the middle of writing one of the books, and his son finished it. Unfortunately I can't remember the author's name nor the name of the character, though I can mentally picture some of the scenes in the books.

If anyone can help me with this, please do. Also, if I am totally wrong and there are ten zillion ministers who write mysteries about ministers, tell me who they are. Thanks.