Richard Lischer of Duke University is a fine teacher of preaching and author of an excellent memoir of small-church pastoral life: Open Secrets: A Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church (excerpted in the May 9 Century). This Protestant nonfiction parallels Georges Bernanos’s Catholic fiction Diary of a Country Priest.

I checked Lischer’s accuracy and authenticity by comparing our experiences—mine earlier than his—at one of the pretheological schools that used to feed into the Missouri Synod’s Concordia Theological Seminary. We called them “prep schools,” though they were more like Catholic “minor seminaries” (four years of high school and two of college) than “real prep schools like Andover.”


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