The pastor in emotional crisis. Where does he go for help? Dr. Louis McBurney and his wife, Melissa, work full-time at their Marble Retreat Center trying to bring healing to Christian leaders unable to cope (See LEADERSHIP, Spring 1980, Volume 1 Number 2).
To give our readers an insight into what happens at Marble Retreat, we asked writer Harold Fickett, himself a pastor's son, to spend a week at the retreat center and to thoroughly research one story. Certain dimensions of this story are unusual, but the underlying pattern has applications to all of us, for it concerns our most basic thoughts and emotions and the experiences which shape them.
The story is based on the experience of one man, his family, and the people to whom he ministered. The names of the people involved, except for Dr. McBurney and his wife, have been changed to protect their privacy.
We suggest if you have only ten minutes, don't start this one now. Take time to read it as you would a story; let the background lead you into the events; notice the subtle interweavings of "normal" life. For the counselor, the pastor, the person trying to grasp the biblical counseling/ therapy role and to understand the troubles around him- and perhaps aspects of his or her own struggles-this article can provide important insights.
We have appended to the story a discussion of this case history with Dr. McBurney.
In a southwestern city, under an oceanic sky, a man, David Johanson, and his wife, Claire, sat on a park bench beneath two eucalyptus trees. David was the pastor of a local Presbyterian church. His ministry had reached an impasse.
He looked down, unable to speak. Boyishly handsome at thirty-two, with a full head of brown hair, David looked from a distance like ...