Nouwen and Wesley

At the end of his book The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen writes this:

When the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian.

The line grabbed my attention because it is in deep tension with John Wesley’s basic understanding of holiness. For Nouwen, holiness is deep authenticity of life. For Wesley, holiness is exactly what Nouwen seeks to move away from. Holiness is the imitation of Christ’s very life.

I wonder how other Wesleyans encounter Nouwen.

Is anyone aware of Nouwen writing at length about the Sermon on the Mount?

4 thoughts on “Nouwen and Wesley

  1. I once read one of his books and came away feeling like we were worshiping different Lords. It has been awhile and I can’t remember the details but I would agree that his views are different from Wesley. Wesley, in my opinion, was the one on track.

    Again, from awhile back.

    Grace and peace

  2. I’m not Jesus. I’m not a Palestinian Jew. I was born, raised, and lived, on the other side of the planet. 2000 years later. I don’t want to imitate Christ’s life, just like I think its silly when I hear about a church that vows to be just like the first century church. You’re church can’t be a first century church? Wanna know why? It ain’t the first century anymore.

    What I want to imitate is Jesus’ love. His obedience. His faithfulness. And I want to do so in the gift of uniqueness of who I am, shaped by when and where I am.

    So I think the two perspectives jive. I want to be united with Christ, not uniform with Christ. Just like in the Trinity, its OK to have unity and distinct Personhood.

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