"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Story of Homecoming

Return of the Prodigal Son

I have finished this fine book by Nouwen called "The Return of the Prodigal Son". I give it my recommendation even though the author is not dead. First my criticisms.

I part company at least somewhat with the author that we are all sons of God and inherently good. As a protestant that should not be a surprising difference for me to have with a Catholic. I think his insights are still good however because as Christians we are given the spirit of adoption and thus given a new family and a new reputation to live up to. So if one were to view the prodigal son story as story of fellowship with our father (as opposed to just a simple gospel / conversion story) then I think his insights only need minor qualifications.
The art observations are very cool. As someone who is not very artsy it does wear old. The observations from scripture hold my attention better, but I find very little fault with his using art as an illustrative tool. All in all that is a welcome portion of the book.

Ok what is just plain good about the book? The comments on the elder son hit me in a way I needed. I felt liberated to live and serve freely in my fathers house with joy and without resentment. Also the call to love like the father loves is certainly a high goal worth setting. This book is short and easy to read, but it is deep rich and packed with spiritual insights that are very refreshing to the soul!! It will help you to identify well with each character of perhaps Jesus' most famous parable.


comreich said...

Aaron, Henri Nouwen died ten years ago after serving as director of the L'Arche Society in Toronto for many years. So he certainly qualifies as a dead theologian.

That niggling detail aside, his writings (of which I have a few) are a good read, and one of the reasons that I've been able to look at the RCC with a whole lot less disdain than I did 20 years ago. There are some elements of theology that I heartily disagree with, but that would be same for branches of the Protestant community as well.

Aaron said...

Thanks for letting me know! I think they are planning some sort of update to his book so I thought that meant he was still alive.

And yes, disagreements abound everywhere. We always need to chew on the meat and spit out the bones as best we can.

Steve said...

I have this painting hanging in my office. Some friends bought it for me a few years ago after I told them about the book. Good entry.