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Chasing after Wind
A Pastor's Life
Douglas J. Brouwer
Foreword by Richard J. Mouw

PAPERBACK; Published: 3/1/2022
ISBN: 978-0-8028-8187-8
Price: $ 22.00
238 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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One pastor’s journey from idealism, through disillusionment, to an acceptance of grace 

After forty years as a Presbyterian pastor, Douglas Brouwer wondered if he had spent his life, as the author of Ecclesiastes laments, “chasing after wind.” What did all the hard work on evenings and weekends and holidays, away from his family, amount to? What was there to make of the long string of petty conflicts and the overwhelming feeling of disillusionment? And in the current age of shrinking mainline churches, what could he point to as the end result of his decades in ministry? 

Chasing after Wind will resonate with pastors everywhere who went into ministry to do lifechanging work for God and ended up spending most of their time managing the parking situation outside the church, fielding parishioner complaints about the color of the sanctuary carpet (or, in Brouwer’s case, the color of his shoes), and endlessly fundraising for mission projects and building maintenance. In telling his story, Brouwer comes to recognize that the most meaningful parts of his career—the “holy bits,” as he calls them—were in unexpected moments where everything was stripped away but the mysterious work of God. Recounting these times of curious joy and shared mourning, he demonstrates how a pastor can find grace and peace in looking back on a life in ministry.

Table of Contents

1. At the End of the Day
2. An Utterly Normal Childhood
3. My Career in Christian Publishing
4. Chaim Potok’s Smile
5. I Was No Elijah Parish Lovejoy
6. That’s What They Call Grace
7. The Boat Is Leaking
8. The Least Likely People
9. I Was Paid Well, After All
10. We Welcome You
11. Dollar for Dollar
12. We Had Hoped
13. Lunch at the Golden Nugget
14. The Holy Bits
15. Leaders and Best, Champions of the West
16. God Loves All Kinds of People
17. Ich Bin ein Züricher
18. Bears and Hyenas and Other Worries
19. Chasing after Wind

“It’s one thing to have a talented, theologically well-formed Reformed pastor. It’s quite another thing for that pastor to be honest, truthful, courageous, eloquent, and interesting. Douglas Brouwer is that pastor. His book is bound to be known as one of the finest ministerial memoirs to come out of the last days of mainline Protestantism. Here’s a life, a ministry well lived, an inspiring testimonial to the grace of God in calling a life to service.”
— Will Willimon
author of Accidental Preacher
“Douglas Brouwer is a fine writer and a compelling storyteller who, with disarming honesty, provides an intimate look at the unique life of a pastor. At the same time, with a light touch and winsome self-deprecation, he invites us into his own one and only life. He falls in love with the church, then falls out of love, and finally falls back in love, this time with no illusions, grateful for ‘holy bits’ and moments of grace. Chasing after Wind is a deeply satisfying read and I recommend it highly.”
— John M. Buchanan
former editor and publisher of The Christian Century
“In these pages, we encounter a thing far too rare—a pastor skilled in stringing together artful sentences, writing as a genuine human rather than a religious delegate clinching the script. If we had more stories like this, those of us who wear the stole would have a little more fear and trembling, and more wonder and laughter too.”
— Winn Collier
author of Love Big, Be Well
“Douglas Brouwer’s memoir is an intelligent, candid, and absorbing account of a deeply felt ministry. He tells the truth about ministry in all its pain and joy. Absolutely compelling!”
— Cornelius Plantinga
author of Morning and Evening Prayers
“An absorbing account of the quibbles, foibles, hassles, and hangups of a life in ministry—which weave in and through all the joys, surprises, marvels, and vistas of a Spirit-led life. The Christian life is full of surprises, and this memoir invites us to see in each one an opportunity to ‘walk in step with the Spirit.’”
— John D. Witvliet
director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
“Douglas Brouwer’s memoir on pastoral work is a gem and a treasure that will be known as such for a long time to come. Eugene Peterson lamented in Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, ‘Pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. . . . The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers.’ He certainly wasn’t thinking of Douglas Brouwer when he wrote that. I have known Doug for a very long time, and he is the real deal. His memoir is pure gift!”
— Timothy L. Brown
professor of preaching and president emeritus at Western Theological Seminary
Publishers Weekly
“A somber, meditative reflection that will give the fellow faithful, be they pastors or congregants, much to ponder.”