Chasing After Wind: A Pastor’s Life

Douglas J. Brouwer. Eerdmans, $22 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-0-8028-8187-8
In this searching memoir, Brouwer (The Truth About Who We Are), a retired Presbyterian minister, recalls his decades spent serving mainline churches and debates with himself what qualifies as successful ministry. Recalling his upbringing in a “Christian sect” (the Christian Reformed Church in North America), his early tutelage from Sunday school teachers who “made Bible stories come alive,” his time at Calvin College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and his various church jobs, Brouwer ponders his sense of vocation (“I didn’t choose this way of life. It chose me”). Reviewing the years of committee meetings, fundraising campaigns, mission efforts, weddings and funerals, and involvement with the national church hierarchy, Brouwer questions whether his ministry had lasting value or if it was all, like the writer of Ecclesiastes claimed, “chasing after wind.” Brouwer also speaks with candor about how ambition complicated his ministry and kept him from speaking out on social issues such as the church’s stance on ordaining gay and lesbian ministers (“I wish I had put less of my time into management and more into living out the gospel,” he laments). It’s a somber, meditative reflection that will give the fellow faithful, be they pastors or congregants, much to ponder. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/18/2021
Release date: 03/01/2022
Genre: Religion
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