Algebraic preaching—that’s Frederick Buechner’s term for preaching that may make sense on some abstract level but that depends on terms like “salvation,” “atonement,” “savior” and “died for your sins” that are likely to skim over people’s heads. Until the preacher connects such words to human experiences, to the “wretched and liberating moments” of life,” wrote Buechner,
Few people listen to their lives as closely as Frederick Buechner does, and fewer can articulate so well what they hear. This book, Buechner's fourth memoir, resembles his previous autobiographies—The Sacred Journey (1982), Then and Now (1983) and Telling Secrets (1991)—in that it deals with pivotal moments and persons in Buechner's life.
My favorite book on the theology of preaching—which helps me remember what I’m doing and why—is the first one I ever read, the one that convinced me that going to seminary wasn’t a completely insane idea. Buechner’s gift for wringing beauty out of pain is one I appreciate more and more.
A lifetime’s worth of inspirational sermons, and the man who wrote and delivered them, 79-year-old Presbyterian minister FrederickBuechner, were honored at a special ceremony last month at the Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal). The author of 30 books was the star of the April 5 event. “‘Tell the truth,’ he would say to us budding preachers.
Frederick Buechner, 76, is a Presbyterian, but he attends an Episcopal church. He’s ordained, but he’s never been a parish minister. His first book (A Long Day’s Dying) was not supposed to sell many copies, but it turned out to be the only best seller of the 32 books he’s published.