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Open Secrets: a Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church

by Lischer, Richard

  • ISBN: 9780385502177
  • ISBN10: 0385502176

Open Secrets: a Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church

by Lischer, Richard

  • List Price: $22.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish date: 01/01/2009
  • ISBN: 9780385502177
  • ISBN10: 0385502176
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Description: Richard Lischer is a freshly educated young Lutheran pastor in the early 1970s, fueled by the energy of the times, a true believer in Bob Dylan's prophetic promise that "the times, they are a-changin'". When he arrives at his first parish, a small farming community in rural Illinois, however, he is reminded of a scene in an Ingmar Bergman movie: a bleak, fallow landscape, with "Swedish winterlight exposing rot and depression in rural Lutherans". Most of his parishioners, unable to earn a decent living farming, struggle to make ends meet by moon-lighting at the nearby steel mill and glass factory.

With charm, openness, and humor (often self-directed), Lischer brings to life the clash of cultures and personalities that mark his tenure as pastor. He describes his own doubts, as well as those of his parishioners, that a twenty-eight-year-old suburban-raised liberal is capable of dealing with the troubled marriages, alcoholism, teen sex, inadequate farm subsidies, and other concerns of the conservative, tightly knit community. From his initial discovery that 75 percent of his congregation bear the same last name to his difficult, heartrending counseling session with an abused woman, to an enlightening encounter with an elderly woman who embodies the best of Christian teachings, he gradually comes to recognize and embrace the shared faith and trust in God, the "miracle of community" that is the essence of Christianity.

Like Garrison Keillor, Lischer captures the friendships, stories, rivalries, and rumors of small-town life. His astute and inspiring observations on the healing rhythms and patterns of the land and the Church, particular in their detail, are universal in their import.

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