Mutiny in the parish ranks--what it means and how to deal with it. Dittes brings both intelligence and compassion to this handbook for the harried minister: if only he'd brought more balance and humor. He begins with an emotional outburst on ""Ministry as Grief Work,"" i.e., the frustrations and even agonies felt by the committed pastor when his people let him down. This complaint, expressed with a naive honesty, will surely strike a resonating chord among clerical readers, but Dittes goes on till his jeremiad verges on a whine. Later chapters make clear, however, that he's aiming neither to thump away at backsliders nor to bathe in self-pity. Basically, he wants to show how the layman's refusal to cooperate often masks deep personal crises, as well as opportunities for spiritual growth. Ideally the pastor should hear in his parishioner's ""no"" not just a cry of distress, but an incipient birth pang: his role is ultimately that of a humble midwife. The only problem with this otherwise admirable formula is that Dittes illustrates it at excessive length with dull examples. What made young Mrs. X react so negatively to bible study? Why were the grandmotherly volunteers at the Grace Church day care center so taken aback by the behavior of their young charges? Dittes is perceptive and persuasive in analyzing such petty difficulties, but the reader may find himself wishing Mrs. X. would commit a juicy felony, or at least threaten suicide. Still, even amidst the most plodding case history, Dittes digs out something valuable. Recommended for clergymen, Christian activists, etc.