Thursday, August 07, 2008

Frederick Buechner in a Strange Land

Books & Culture, July/August 2008


The Yellow Leaves

by John Wilson

In January of this year, King College in Bristol, Tennessee hosted the inauguration of the Buechner Institute, a faith-and-culture center directed by Dale Brown. Frederick Buechner himself was present, and when he addressed the audience, there was an expectant hush.
The guest of honor, without much preamble, told his listeners that for about ten years he had been unable to complete any substantial writing project. A very quiet auditorium became quieter still. Buechner went on to say that each day he goes out to his "Magic Kingdom," the separate place—set apart from the house—where for decades he has done his writing. There he is surrounded by his magnificent collection of first editions and assorted objects of significance to him. He writes, yet nothing comes to fruition.

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Any of Federik Buechner's books are worth reading. He is a man of great insight. He is a Presbyterian and a graduate of Union Theological Seminary. For a time he was chairman of the department of religion at the Phillip Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire

In 1967 Buechner moved to Vermont to pursue his writing full time. It was a difficult time of adjustment for Buechner. "A number of people assumed that when I left Exeter, I was also leaving the ministry, and what unsettled me about that was, on the one hand, that it was not true- I had every hope being as much a minister in the books I wrote as in the classes I taught- and, on the other hand, that I would have to work very hard and carefully to make sure that it did not become true." (Now and Then, p. 80) Buechner would continue his public ministry by speaking at universities, including Harvard and Yale, but his writing would be more prolific than ever before (read more)

I like that - a minister in the books. Worth thinking about.

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Blogger Blogpastor said...

I have every hope of being a minister in the blog as much as a minister in the church, as there should be no dichotomy here.

Thanks for highlighting this!

6:39 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi blogpastor,

You are a minister in the blog and a good one too.

8:22 AM  

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