"Friedman understood congregational life as no one else did at the time and possibly as no one else has done since....When this book was originally written, clergy flocked to read it, as well as to attend Friedman's lectures and participate in the training program he established. Just as the book's title suggests, Friedman's ideas continue to be passed down to today's generation of leaders."--from the Foreword to the Paperback Edition by Gary Emanuel, PhD, and Mickie Crimone, MS, APRN
"Well written and lively...required reading for pastoral counselors of every persuasion....Any therapist will find here new techniques for bringing about changes and will enlarge his or her conceptual framework of the human dilemma." --Jay Haley
"A feature throughout the book is the heavy use of story and narrative to make a point. This is very effective as the narrative often contains multi-dimensional meanings that the author then explores in an engaging way....Provides an interesting and very readable account of how to incorporate family processes into congregational life."
(Journal for the Study of Marriage and Spirituality
"I was shocked, surprised and disillusioned when I began to realize that hard work, sincerity and prayer weren't enough to guarantee success in pastoral ministry. I kept getting myself into tangles that I didn't understand until I read this book by a storytelling rabbi with uncommon wisdom. Friedman helped me see that the best way to engage with the factors I can't control—like the opinions and behavior of others—was to focus on the factors that I can control: my own presence, identity and behavior in the social system of the local congregation."
(The Christian Century
"An important contribution to...family systems thinking and pastoral care....One of the most creative aspects of this volume is the way the book is laid out. The chapters are organized around interrelated concepts that feed back on and amplify one another—a design that itself helps the reader begin to think systemically."
(Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling
"A groundbreaking book in the use of family therapy....The key is not expertise, but self-definition and self-understanding."
(Behavioral Studies of Religion
"A must read for persons of the cloth, for it points to significant issues and considerations on the experience of living in families and working with a congregation as a family."
(Review and Expositor
About the Author
Edwin H. Friedman, until his death in 1996, worked for more than 35 years in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, and was in great demand as a consultant and public speaker throughout the country. A family therapist and ordained rabbi, Dr. Friedman was well known in the fields of mental health and pastoral education for his motivational style and his unique blend of systems thinking, humor, and common sense. He offered acclaimed workshops for mental health practitioners, clergy, business leaders, and others.