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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word ‘Clarification’ as in… clarifying yesterday’s Buechner Post.

I was first introduced to Frederick Buechner’s writings nearly 40 years ago. A professor of homiletics (the art and science of preaching) during my years at Luther Seminary couldn’t get enough of Buechner’s work and wanted to pass that passion on to students. So that started my journey with Buechner’s writings.

Buechner wrote about ancient biblical people in ways that made them three-dimensional. He described places like the Garden of Eden, the Temple in Jerusalem, and Golgatha in ways that made you believe they were right down the street from your house. His son-in-law, David Altshuler, whom I quoted in my post yesterday, reminded us of the treasure that Buechner will continue to be in many lives.

Preachers, poets, writers, and literary fans everywhere will remember Frederick Buechner as an American writer, novelist, poet, autobiographer, essayist, preacher, theologian, and Presbyterian minister. He was the author of nearly 40 books translated into many languages for publication worldwide during his career spanning more than six decades.

Buechner was probably best known for his novels, including A Long Day’s DyingThe Book of BebbGodric (a finalist for the 1981 Pulitzer Prize), and Brendan, his memoirs, including Telling Secrets and The Sacred Journey, and his more theological works, including Secrets in the DarkThe Magnificent Defeat, and Telling the Truth.

Buechner was called a “major talent” by The New York Times, and “one of our most original storytellers” by USA Today. Annie Dillard (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) called him “one of our finest writers.” Buechner has been awarded eight honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale University and the Virginia Theological Seminary. Buechner was also the recipient of the O. Henry Award, the Rosenthal Award, the Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres Prize, and was recognized by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

I did not know Buechner personally. I did meet him once and asked him to sign several books. But holding his words in my hands made it seem like he was writing just for me.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


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