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The Return Of the Prodigal Son

Pastor’s Bookshelf - Welcome to my bookshelf! Each month I will discuss a recent book that I’ve finished. *disclaimer; I don’t always have time to sit and read physical books, but I do quite a bit of my reading through audiobooks these days.*

This month I’d like to talk about The Return of the Prodigal Son

By Henri Nowen

Henri Nowen is a very famous priest, author and teacher. I have read many excerpts from his work when I was in college and in seminary. However, this was the first time I ever picked up one of his texts without it being attached to a school assignment.

I really only have one word to describe this book – beautiful. This work is beautiful and I highly recommend it to you all. It reads like an incredibly vulnerable devotional. Henri details his admiration for his favorite painting by his favorite painter (The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Rembrandt). As he describes the painting, he spends time walking through the story found in scripture and finds ways to identify with and learn from each character in the story.

Last summer I read Tim Keller’s fantastic book “Prodigal God” and was surprised by how much I learned about this bible story I’ve heard a thousand times before. Keller opened my eyes to new truths. After reading that book, someone suggested Nowen’s work and said it would do similar things for me – and they were right! Whereas Keller is more academic and calculating, Nowen is incredibly spiritual. When I read Keller I can feel my brain growing, but when I read Nowen I could feel my heart growing. The most significant truth that Nowen discovers in the story and in his life is that the unconditional love of God the Father is incredibly difficult for us as humans to accept and wrap our heads around. And Nowen does a beautiful job demonstrating how amazing that love is.


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