This is a qualitative study born out of personal experiences throughout my life, including my 25 years of ministry. The theme of the study is relevant for pastors’ identity and ministry in a postmodern world. Many people, including pastors, suffer from emotional wounds. These wounds play a significant role in shaping pastors’ lives. Carl Jung’s conviction that analysts can help their patients in an effective way when they themselves are wounded healers and Henri Nouwen’s understanding of the wounded healer metaphor for pastoral care, are employed to discuss the theme of the study. Nouwen’s own spirituality plays a vital role in his unpacking of the metaphor. A fairly recent development in psychological circles, namely emotional intelligence, is employed as instrument to aid pastors in becoming aware of their emotional wounds. This study argues that pastors who are emotionally intelligent wounded healers will be better able to guide and sustain others towards healing. Chapter 1 presents the reason for undertaking the study. It is argued that pastors experience cognitive dissonance as a consequence of the shift from a modern to a postmodern paradigm. Theological traditions and concepts concerning Biblical authority, play a vital role in the experience of cognitive dissonance. The interpretation of Jesus as “the human face of God” is presented as a model for pastors’ relationships to others. A survey of relevant literature in pastoral theology and pastoral care is followed by a description of the value of autobiographical biblical criticism for pastoral care. Because Carl Jung used the wounded healer metaphor to describe analysts’ disposition in therapeutic situations, chapter 2 explores the value of Jung’s psychology for the theme of the study. The wounded healer metaphor Jung used goes back to an ancient Greek myth. Therefore mythology, theories of myth and the value of myths for pastoral care are discussed. Chapter 3 investigates Henri Nouwen’s interpretation of the wounded healer metaphor as related in a Talmudic tractate. The relevance of several of his works to the theme of the study, especially The wounded healer, is discussed. Chapter 4 is concerned with the way in which concepts about God influence the way pastors think about the Bible, people and authority. The study argues that a “soft” authority is congruent with the way in which Jesus interpreted God as his Father. Various other metaphors for God are related to the theme of the study as well. The concept of emotional intelligence and its relevance to the theme of the study is expounded in chapter 5. Different theories of the concept are discussed and the choice for the theory of John Mayer, Peter Salovey and David Caruso is motivated. The chapter shows the value of intelligent processing of emotions for pastors’ personal lives and their ministry. Chapter 6 presents the findings of the study and concludes with a short autobiographical description of my own position.
Thesis (PhD (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.