IVP Books, 232 pages
Frederick Buechner influenced an entire generation of preachers with his writing. One hopes that influence will continue with the publication of this marvelous book. The author, a member of the Buechner Institute, has written a definitive introduction covering the breadth of Buechner’s work. He is supremely qualified to write it because Buechner changed his life in profound ways. What one finds here is the story of the human condition told in stories of real people experiencing life. This is Buechner’s great gift: to tell deeply personal stories so honest that one immediately recognizes oneself.
Famously, Buechner wrote: “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness … because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” Munroe takes readers through Buechner’s genre displaying how that grace is revealed. What’s remarkable is that Munroe’s own gift is as a storyteller, making him the perfect one to write the book of Buechner. He has arranged the book in four parts: Buechner as memoirist, novelist, popular theologian and preacher. In each section, Munroe candidly explores writings from that genre. Acknowledging Buechner’s insistence on asking hard questions about God’s silence and the nature of faith, he declares: “I believe most Christians are thoughtful, open and curious.” That may be overly optimistic, but for many Christians this will be a feast. The author has done us a great favor with this book. The result for the reader exposed so beautifully to Frederick Buechner will be deeper hope and authenticity.