A few months back, I was sitting in my friend Steve’s office, and as I do with anyone who has a bookcase/shelf in sight, I began to peruse the various titles and examine what authors he had in his library. I stumbled upon a little book with the quaint title Telling Secrets, a memoir written by Frederick Buechner. I picked it up and began to skim through the pages and pick up little statements and sentences that really provoked me. I asked Steve about the author and about the book, and he proceeded to tell me that he really enjoyed this particular writer, the Presbyterian minister who only attended church when he was preaching, yet was one of the best storytellers in existence and was a spiritual mentor to thousands. I always think novelists are intriguing, but to be a minister and still reach a vast audience is a completely different sort of animal altogether.
I trust Steve and what he reads, so I decided to read some of Buechner’s works, starting with Secrets in the Dark, a collection of his sermons over the years, then I went on to read The Son of Laughter, which is a novel about the biblical tale of Jacob. Buechner’s prose invaded my thoughts, his sheer honesty about the human condition forced me to rethink the way I viewed others and myself, and his presentation of Christ allowed me again to appreciate the power of the gospel in a new way. Right now I am reading through Listening to Your Life, and I am once again enamored and blown away. I hope that those of you who read this may decide to pick up any of his works and see for yourself, I doubt that you will be bored or unchanged.