Christianity 201

May 19, 2014

Frederick Buechner Quotations

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Frederick BuechnerIt’s been awhile since we’ve done another entry in our quotations series. I was reading Frederick Buechner over the weekend and he seems to share a high regard for scripture with a mixture of humor that sometimes appears to be irreverence. Still, I would not hesitate to recommend him to you.  There is an excellent account of his faith journey at The Words website:

Buechner had a taste of yet another world in 1985 when he was asked to teach for a semester at Wheaton College in Illinois…

“I’d been sort of a closet religious person for years and years, moving among people to whom faith was either a dead letter or something not to be talked about. All of a sudden I was surrounded by people who found it very easy and natural to talk about faith. It was wonderful.”

One day he was having lunch with two students, and the conversation suddenly shifted from small talk-about weather, the movies-and one of them asked the other what God was doing in his life, “as naturally,” Buechner recalls, “as he would have asked the time of day. I thought, if anybody said anything like that in my part of the world, the ceiling would fall in, the house would catch fire, and people’s eyes would roll up in their heads.”

After the quotations which follow there is a larger devotional piece.


“It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.” Listening to Your Life


“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ―  Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC


“Believing in him is not the same as believing things about him such as that he was born of a virgin and raised Lazarus from the dead. Instead, it is a matter of giving our hearts to him, of come hell or high water putting our money on him, the way a child believes in a mother or a father, the way a mother or a father believes in a child.”


“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you. I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” Wishful Thinking


“To journey for the sake of saving our own lives is little by little to cease to live in any sense that really matters, even to ourselves, because it is only by journeying for the world’s sake – even when the world bores and sickens and scares you half to death – that little by little we start to come alive.” ―  The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days


“It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.”


“What’s prayer? It’s shooting shafts into the dark. What mark they strike, if any, who’s to say? It’s reaching for a hand you cannot touch. The silence is so fathomless that prayers like plummets vanish into the sea. You beg. You whimper. You load God down with empty praise. You tell him sins that he already knows full well. You seek to change his changeless will. — Godric


“Jesus said ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6). He didn’t say that any particular ethic, doctrine, or religion was the way, the truth, and the life. He said that he was. He didn’t say that it was by believing or doing anything in particular that you could “come to the Father.” He said that it was only by him – by living, participating in, being caught up by, the way of life that he embodied, that was his way.”


“In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints.”


Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ’s love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ’s love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.”


sources: GoodReads, author’s website, ThinkExist, Wikipedia, oChristian


This was posted at the blog Finding Truth Along the Way with this verse:

Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrated his own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Excerpt from Frederick Buechner’s The Magnificent Defeat

  “The love for equals is a human thing–of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love.

IT CONQUERS THE WORLD.”