- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books (January 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801071976
- ISBN-13: 978-0801071973
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pastors in the Classics: Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry from World Literature Paperback – January 1, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Discover wisdom for today in the literary classics of the past
Throughout the history of English literature, clergy have figured prominently in novels, plays, morality tales, and even poetry. Pastors in the Classics is a unique exploration of literary masterpieces in which the pastor's experience is a major part of the story. This collection uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly ways in which pastors have been presented to the reading public for the past half millennium, and how pastors today can glean wisdom from those who have gone before. Whether you are a pastor or a lover of great literature, you will find insight, humor, and grace within these pages.
"Whether you are new to ministry or a veteran, the books discussed in this guide can help you better understand yourself and your calling beyond what you may have learned from textbooks and lectures. I highly recommend it."--Warren W. Wiersbe, author; former pastor, Moody Church
"Here is an ideal guide to find in the classics the deepest, most relevant, emotionally gripping wisdom to preach to oneself. May God use it to revive many of us, remind us of the height from which we have fallen, and restore us to our first love."--Gordon P. Hugenberger, senior minister, Park Street Church, Boston
"A splendid and unique guide to the portraits of pastoral ministry found in the great works of Western literature. The useful information provided here will be enlightening, and the insightful commentary appreciated by anyone who has ever pastored a flock."--Devin Brown, department of English, Asbury University; author of Inside Narnia
"The authors invite us into literary worlds replete with stories of pastors who preach and suffer, who sin and repent, who fail in small and spectacular ways, who stand always in need of grace. If we accept the invitation to enter these tales, we will emerge challenged and encouraged, our hearts returned to love of God and neighbor."--Susan Felch, professor of English, Calvin College
Leland Ryken is a professor of English at Wheaton College and author or editor of some three dozen books, including Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible.
Philip Ryken is the president of Wheaton College. He is the author or editor of more than thirty books and was formerly senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
Todd Wilson is the senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois.
About the Author
Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) is the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College and author or editor of more than thirty books, as well as many articles. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and lives in Illinois.
Philip Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford, England) is president of Wheaton College. He was formerly senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books and lives with his family in Illinois.
Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and lives with his family in Illinois.
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Top customer reviews
Part One is the major section of the book, drawing a sharp portrait of the pastoral life through 12 classic works. It lists some essential information like author's background, date published, era concerned, book length, setting, and plot overviews. What is helpful is the description of the characters played out. The unique value of this book is the way the authors sieve out the implications for pastors, leaders, and the pastoral ministry, through themes and insights for leadership. For example, in "The Scarlet Letter," the Rykens summarizes the book with the words, "Hidden Sin and Its Consequences" while at the same time describes the themes of sin, shame, revenge, punishment, salvation, and forgiveness. It is a 'negative example' that can be used to facilitate a life more aware of the potency of sin. There is also the 'positive example' of perseverance in spite of great suffering. In 'Cry, the Beloved Country,' suffering is seen not as something to be despised and hated, but to be endured for sanctified service. Each chapter ends with a pertinent 'reflection or discussion' section that drives home the theme for application. The questions turns a fictional work into a very personal application, for a non-fictional world.
Part Two is like the section of minors, that bring together 58 short reflections and summaries of literary works. The subheadings of each chapter basically condenses the learning points in one short quip. It does not go into similar depth like the 12 works in Part One. Instead, it points readers with handles to appreciate the texts from a ministry and minister perspective. It looks very much like an extended annotated bibliography of books, much like Eugene Peterson's "Take and Read - Spiritual Reading: An Annotated List." Some of the notable works include "The Poisonwood Bible," "Les Miserables," "Father Brown," "The Brothers Karamazov," and even two of Jane Austen's novels!
Even though many of the works are fictional, the experiences and the emotional ups and downs are real and authentic. It shows us the deep struggles and inner angsts of people in the pastoral vocation. There are many things in ministry that cannot be explained through words, or even stories. Some experiences need the help of good literary devices in order to do justice to the nuances of the emotions.
In a world of modern bookstores packed with story books like Chicken Soup series or all kinds of short stories that aim to inspire or create feel-good emotions, books like Pastors in the Classics, go much deeper, wider, and I dare say, richer. Just the table of contents and introduction pages are worth the price of the book. The literary beauty and brilliance that Pastors in the Classics contains reminds us all over again, that good books are hard to come by. Once they do pass by, read it, for we may not know when we will get another chance to read another good book.
This book is a collectable item for leaders, pastors, ministry workers, teachers, students, and all readers wanting to have a great literary experience.
Ratings: 5 stars of 5.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
This volume covers seventy books in which Christian ministers feature prominently. Twelve books are covered in depth, while the rest have enough information to help you evaluate whether you want to read the book.
In fact, I found this book made me want to read some of the novels it describes. I have read eleven of the books (The Canterbury Tales, The Diary of a Country Priest,Gilead,And the Shofar Blew,The Book of Bebb,Death in Holy Orders, the Father Brown stories, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and The Sunday Wife), while another six I hope to read this year (The Vicar of Wakefield, Witch Wood, The Mackerel Plaza, The Dean's Watch, The Warden, and Silence). My only quibble is that the book didn't include Madeleine L'Engle's A Live Coal In The Sea.
I would love to see this book used in seminaries and theological colleges, as a launching pad to reading some of the books covered. It would be so helpful to prospective pastors to meditate on and discuss these fictional portrayal of ministers. Even a reading course of four such books would be a big help in thinking through various pastoral and theological issues. Pastors in the Classics makes an important contribution to the Christian Church.