Happy Birthday To My Favorite Writer, Frederick Buechner

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Today is the 87th birthday of my very favorite writer, Frederick Buechner (frederickbuechner.com)

I have loved Buechner since I was in high school.

He's written a little bit of everything - memoir, high-level fiction about saints and sinners (including a book that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), collections of sermons, prose. You can't pigeonhole him in terms of theology, so don't even try.

His most famous quote may well be this one:

"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet".

This strikes me as the wisest thing I have ever read on vocation and calling.

Why I love Buechner so much, though, is because I can scarcely read three pages of any of his books without tears welling up in my eyes. It's extraordinary.

And, also, because in the darkest period of my life there were more than a few brutal nights when God used Buechner's writing to save me. I wrote him a note once where I told him I owed him my life.

I've thought tons about why this is the case.

I think I know now, after decades reading Buechner.

It's is because at the heart of all of his writing is the idea that grace is always poised to pounce just around the corner.  That in our lowest of moments and in the midst of our most dastardly deeds, grace is there pursuing us, tracking us down, coming for us as the most relentless of lovers.

Grace is there when we are good and bad; content or discontent; prosperous or poor; virtuous or underhanded.

He writes about his father's suicide, the troubles in his family, about a scoundrel of a two-bit fictional preacher, about Vermont, about home, about memory....and through it all, it's all about grace.

Grace is God loving us and extending His love to us in spite of the fact that we don't deserve it, want it, or even think we need it sometimes.

Grace is God initiating, God loving, God sacrificing, God forgiving, God giving second and third and five-hundredth chances.

Grace is most clearly revealed on the Cross, but it gets a shimmering reflection in the writing of Frederick Buechner.

Happy birthday, good sir. And thank you.

©Copyright 2011 Next Level Church | Blog | TNB