Email this review


Church ministry is undergoing an identity crisis, and much pastoral theology compounds the problem by stressing professional technique, while scanting the crucial issue of just what ministers are for. Urban Holmes, a maverick expert in the field and Episcopalian Dean of the University of the South's School of Theology, focuses on developing a vision of ministry's essential role: ""to mediate the mystery of God to man, supremely revealed in Jesus Christ,"" so that he may achieve the wholeness for which he is created. But in an. age largely closed to the experience of the sacred, this mediation can be achieved only by cultivating the resources of imagination, self-transcendence, ritual, and myth that makes religious consciousness possible and then joining together personal stories, the stories of our time, and the story of Christ. Holmes finds it painfully ironic that a Yaqui Indian, not the churches, has succeeded best in showing us that ""the world is a mysterious place."" Ministers should be as much God's fools as clerical professionals, as much prophetic adversaries of the status quo as worldly wise promoters of the Christian cause. Though Holmes' language can get needlessly vague and his rambling excessive, his book is a lively, richly provisioned exploration of the meaning of ministry.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury