Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Foyle, Honourably Wounded: A Book Review

I got onto this book from a review by Paul Windsor, its primary target is missionaries, i.e. those involved in cross cultural work as expatriates, and those in home churches involved in sending missionaries.  As a (very) secondary target group many of its insights into stress and other issues can be related without too much effort to ministry in churches and other organisations.  Foyle is a psychiatrist with decades of experience in India, Nepal and Pakistan and since retirment has continued to research and interview missionaries about stress and its symptoms and solutions. 

Foyle's immense experience and pastoral concern come through the book, you can hear a caring grandmotherly voice behind the words.  She writes clear and simply and with a palpable kindness.  As someone who uderstands a little bit about the causes and treatement of stress there were no real powerful revelations from this book.  Foyle takes a matter of fact down to earth approach and for anyone experiencing stress I think this would be very reassuring.  She is very aware of the fact that she is writing to Christians and always takes care to balance the clinical with explanationa and consideration of how Christian teaching might affect different scenarios.  For me, her dealing with theological and biblical issues often seems a little home spun and simplistic, but doesn't signifiantly detract from the book.

I expect for someone like me in a "home church" situation, the beneift of the book is being exposed to the wide variety of ways in which those our church might send on mission can experience and react to stress, thus helping me be more informed and aware of the challenegs they are faces.  The chapter on occupational stress, however, bears application across a wide range of roles both missionary and otherwise.

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