The Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J.M. Nouwen

Michael Ford, Author
Michael Ford, Author Doubleday Books $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-49372-7
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In this ""portrait""--not a formal biography--BBC journalist Michael Ford explores ""the person of Henri Nouwen as a wounded prophet for our time."" In his title, Ford plays on one of Nouwen's favorite themes, the ""wounded healer."" Divided into three sections, ""Heart,"" ""Mind"" and ""Body,"" the book examines the ways Nouwen offered healing and prophetic utterances to his readers and friends as well as the nature of the personal woundedness out of which Nouwen ministered. His strengths included emotional openness, spiritual insight and courage in seeking new avenues to express his faith, from living among the poor in Bolivia and Peru to turning his back on academe to serve the severely handicapped residents of L'Arche. Nouwen's admirers may be less familiar with his weaknesses, such as an emotional insecurity that led him to constantly seek attention and reassurance, bouts of depression and, according to Ford, anguish over his sexual orientation. Ford's theological training (he's working on a doctoral thesis at Heythrop College at the University of London on Henri Nouwen's spiritual writings) allows him to engage Nouwen's ideas and evaluate intelligently his place in the theological landscape, and he discusses Nouwen's character and struggles with compassion and understanding. (May)
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