"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Henri Nouwen Wounded Healer

I enjoy reading Sojourners, it's stated mission: "to inspire hope and action by articulating the biblical call to racial and social justice, life and peace, and environmental stewardship."
Even though I live in the UK I find much of the magazine just as relevant here as it is across the Atlantic.
Each month editor-in-chief Jim Wallis writes a feature under the heading "Hearts and Minds." Real change in the world requires changes in our hearts and minds, something I have written about quite a bit over the years here and in my books. I therefore particularly appreciated Jim's article in the January 2016 edition which I have just received: Lessons from a Wounded Healer. And the Wounded Healer is of course the late Henri Nouwen, that great Catholic spiritual writer who became such a best seller with his wonderful book of the same name: The Wounded Healer.
As Jim points out, Henri certainly didn't have his life sorted. He had a history of spiritual struggle, which has been used to inspire us all in the rich legacy of his books. A very thoughtful article from Jim concludes that:

Henri Nouwen's life was an example for us all in how to encounter and incorporate both spirituality and social justice into our lives and work. 

In fact it was reading a biography of Henri Nouwen while I was on holiday a few years back which inspired me to research the concept of the Wounded Healer in greater depth and to try to consider how we might apply the archetype to all aspects of our daily lives, whether in our economy or our healthcare, our environmental issues or our creativity, our worship or our communities.
It took a very long time to research and write. I may not have got it all right, but it has certainly hit the right spot with many. And at the same time it was a cathartic experience, knowing that like me Henri had struggled with his own mental and spiritual condition - and his books were extremely helpful to me.
In a world of doom and gloom where there seem to be so many intractable problems I believe there is great hope to be found in applying the principles of the empathy and spirituality and humility of the wounded healer into our lives, whoever we are, whatever we do in our work and leisure lives. Thank you Jim Wallis and Sojourners for bringing this to the forefront of our minds again.
Healing This Wounded Earth - inspired by Henri Nouwen and the Wounded Healer

The iconic monolithic rock hewn church of Bet Giyorgis (St George) visited on my recent memorable trip to the wonderful Ethiopia - written about in detail in my other blog Ethiopia - in search of the Ark of the Covenant

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