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“[Lischer’s] portraits are masterfully drawn. Not only does he write beautifully, but he also tells the unvarnished truth about both tragedy and redemption in a Christian community.” --Publishers Weekly
“This is a beautiful book--beautifully conceived, beautifully executed, and rare in the beauty of its pastoral and theological sensibilities.” --Richard John Newhaus, First Things
In the tradition of Garrison Keillor, Open Secrets captures the friendships, rivalries, and rumors of small-town life by chronicling the lives of the citizens of a small Midwestern community through the eyes of a young minister.
Fresh out of divinity school and bursting with enthusiasm, Richard Lischer found himself assigned to a small conservative church in an economically depressed town in southern Illinois. It?s an awkward marriage at best--a young man with a Ph.D. in theology, full of ideas and ambitions, determined to improve his parish and bring it into the twenty-first century, and a community that is ?as tightly sealed as a jar of home-canned pickles.? In Open Secrets, Lischer tells not only his own story but also the story of New Cana and its inhabitants. With charm, openness, and humor, Lischer brings to life the clash of cultures and personalities that marks his pastoral tenure, including his own doubts, as well as those of his parishioners, that a twenty-eight-year-old suburban-raised liberal can deal with the troubled marriages, alcoholism, teen sex, inadequate farm subsidies, and other concerns of the conservative, tightly knit community. But the inhabitants of New Cana--lovable, deeply flawed, imperfect people who stick together--open their arms to him in their own way, and the result is a colorful, poignant comedy of small-town life and all it has to offer.
If you are entering pastoral ministry in any context, this is a must read.Published 1 month ago by Justin Sembler
Lischer tells his tale of ministry in his first parish with wit and candor and a love for the people whose stories he shares. I literally laughed and cried through the whole book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an easy to read book about Richard's time as a pastor in a small church in Illinois. It was a good bible study book.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Every bit as entertaining and enjoyable, touching and heartwarming, humorous and engaging, rich and real as Garrison Keillor's beloved Midwestern tales — and all the more... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jason C
I had to read this book for a class and I found myself smiling throughout much of it as it reminded me of the church I grew up attending. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sara K
This story of one minister's experiences in congregational ministry probably parallels other ministers' beginnings as it does mine. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Pilgrim
This should be mandatory reading for all those studying to be in ministry. Set in southern Illinois (where I grew up!!! Read morePublished 22 months ago by Alicia Crumpton