Quaker Universalist Conversations

Frederick Buechner Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

I have a personal blog called The Empty Path in which I publish my concerns and openings as a “Christocentric-Universalist” Quaker.

A passage by Stephen Jay Gould sets the tone:

Our mind works largely by metaphor and comparison, not always (or even often) by relentless logic. When we are caught in conceptual traps, the best exit is often a change in metaphor—not because the new guideline will be truer to nature…but because we need a shift to more fruitful perspectives, and metaphor is often the best agent for conceptual transition. (264)

One of my exercises on The Empty Path is to share reflections on my reading in comparative religion, science, history and fiction. In fact, there is a Readings page which offers a bibliography of authors who have helped me over the decades.

In this post I want to introduce Frederick Buechner, a Presbyterian minister and writer whose Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons has had a pivotal influence in my spiritual formation. The blurb for the book reads as follows:

Frederick Buechner has long been a kindred spirit to those who find elements of doubt as constant companions on their journey of faith. He is a passionate writer and preacher who can alter lives with a simple phrase.

Secrets in the Dark, by Frederick BuechnerBuechner’s words, both written and spoken, have the power to revolutionize and revitalize belief and faith. He reveals the presence of God in the midst of daily life. He faces and embraces difficult questions and doubt as essential components of our lives, rather than as enemies that destroy us.

“Listen to your life!” is his clarion call. This theme pervades this definitive collection of sermons, delivered throughout Buechner’s lifetime. Presented chronologically, they provide a clear picture of the development of his theology and thinking.

Reflecting Buechner’s exquisite gift for storytelling and his compassionate pastor’s heart, Secrets in the Dark will inspire laughter, hope, and bring great solace. Turn the pages and rediscover what it means to be thoughtful about faith. See why this renowned writer has been quoted in countless pulpits and beloved by Americans for generations.

Rather than write more on Buechner here, I invite readers to visit two recent Empty Path posts in response to Buechner sermons:

I hope some may find these ponderings useful.


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