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The Perfect Prodigal

A pator faced with debilitating personal problems takes the first step on the road to renewed life and ministry.

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 ...

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