Chapter 4, “Ministry by a Lonely Minister” pp. 81-96
In this chapter Nouwen explores the idea of “both the wounded minister and the healing minister” (p. 82). It is this minister, who operates out of a place of his own weakness, who brings the strength of God to our world.
Nouwen first (p. 83) discusses the weakness in loneliness, something which ministers know very well and which troubled people often fight. Nouwen redefines the issue. “The Christian way of life does not take away our loneliness; it protects and cherishes it as a precious gift” (p. 84). This is a gift because it makes us look beyond ourselves.
Nouwen goes on to discuss the professional loneliness, in which the minister is minimally tolerated even though he has God’s words of life and hope. Yet it is exactly this pain and alienation which empowers a minister to associate with the pain of others.
nouwen now turns (p. 87) to the minister as a healer. The minister can see “the depth of the human condition which all men share” (p. 88). The wounded minister is able to hve the compassion and grace to be a witness to hurting people. This healing is shown in making purposeful space for the other to open up. it then shows itself to be a very friendly space. In this space, the guest can find healing and care.