What you can learn from someone’s mail

Prolific author, spiritual guide, many descriptors can be applied to Henri Nouwen and none of them would fully capture the life and impact he had on others. In Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life readers are given a glimpse into the life and thought of Nouwen as seen in letters he wrote to friends, students,  and many others.

Highlighted in these letters is Nouwen’s focus on ministering to others bringing them encouragement and spiritual direction. It would seem in today’s world of pastoral priorities we evangelical pastors could learn a thing or two from Nouwen. One can’t help but bemoan the absence of letter writing in our current society. Rare it is do we ever slow down to write someone a letter. We see in Nouwen’s letters the importance and impact letters can have when used to minister to others. In Nouwen’s letters he provides a helpful corrective to our impersonal society focusing on people as individuals rather than as tasks.

Nouwen while a Catholic does have something that we can learn. It seems like the cool thing for people to do today is blog, tweet, or write a book. Nouwen’s letters show the high value letters have in pastoral ministry. Our letters can be read and drawn on for support, comfort, and counsel when we cannot be there. Several of Nouwen’s letters address the issue of providing comfort in the aftermath of the death of a loved one, an aspect of ministry often lacking in our day of ministerial business.

I hope this book finds its way into the hands of pastors and that it will serve as a motivation for them to consider the importance of people and the value writing letters can have in pastoral ministry.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.


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