Image from Oklahoma Shakespeare In The Park's production of The Scarlet Letter. Share Alike Some rights reserved by bberburb.

Fictional pastors

Some years ago, teaching a seminary course called "The Ordained Minis­ter in the Protestant Tra­dition," I became convinced that there is no better way to know the truth about us clergy than by reading fiction. A novel like The Leatherwood God (William Dean Howells) or The Mackerel Plaza (Peter DeVries) can provide a more complex, accurate picture of clergy than the more abstract ideas of St. Gregory the Great or Richard Baxter. If I were king rather than just a bishop, I would make Gregory Wilson's The Stained Glass Jungle or Harold Frederic's The Damnation of Theron Ware required reading for all pastors under my care.


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