THE WISDOM OF PELICANS: A Search for Healing at the Water's Edge

Donald W. McCullough, Author . Viking Compass $22.95 (158p) ISBN 978-0-670-03103-0

Given the many books about spiritual wisdom drawn from the sea, one might wonder at another addition to the genre, but this is an extraordinary gem well worth reading. McCullough wrote this only a few years after he was forced to forfeit his religious leadership as a Presbyterian pastor and as president of the San Francisco Theological Seminary once the story of an adulterous affair, long confessed and repented of in his private family life, became public. Stripped of his professional identity, and feeling judged by the church he loved and served, McCullough began walking the beaches near his home and watching the pelicans who live and fish along the water's edge. In the hands of a lesser talent, drawing moral lessons from pelicans might get mired in the maudlin and the trite. McCullough, however, is a master of language. His observations are compelling, intelligent and full of powerful parallels to spiritual growth. His reflections on grace are particularly memorable. But McCullough's greatest accomplishment is that he can talk openly and intimately about his despair without ever crossing the line into self-pity; he is self-aware without being self-conscious. Even though he aches to be understood and forgiven, the purpose of the book is not to beg for public absolution, but to share some of the ways in which he has begun to weather this very personal "long dark night of the soul." This is a beautiful work of Christian pastoring, told from the trenches, not from the pulpit. (July 22)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-7862-6078-2
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-14-219623-6
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