The Harmony series by Phillip Gulley features Sam Gardener, a Quaker pastor in small town Indiana. Much like Jan Karon's Mitford series, it is filled with quirky characters and a very human minister. Which I love. Sam struggles at times with his faith, with the perception from many that he only works one day a week (really, only one hour), with being on-call 24/7, and with loving his flock. And there are a few in his congregation that are truly unloveable.
Have you ever confronted someone that has done something really offensive? This passage made me laugh aloud, and then call my mom to read it to her:
The problem with Matthew 18, Sam finally concluded, was that it assumed goodwill on the part of the offender. Jesus, being a nice guy, believed if matters were presented to people in a straightforward manner, they would do the right thing. It ws Sam's opinion that Jesus had died too young and was still in the grip of youthful idealism. Five minutes with Fern and Dale would have doused Jesus's optimism considerably.
I think I know some Ferns...and Dales.
Gulley, himself a Quaker minister, writes with alot of candor about the internal struggles of Pastor Sam. It's all too easy to forget that pastors are people, too. The books in the series all stand alone. They are a quick read, great for bedtime...or a little escape.