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Number of Pages: 144
|Publication Date: 2017|
When pain is real, why is God silent?
Frederick Buechner has grappled with the nature of pain, grief, and grace ever since his father committed suicide when Buechner was a young boy. He continued that search as a father when his daughter struggled with anorexia. In this essential collection of essays, including one never before published, Frederick Buechner finds that the God who might seem so silent is ever near. He writes about what it means to be a steward of our pain, and about this grace from God that seems arbitrary and yet draws us to his holiness and care. Finally he writes about the magic of memory and how it can close up the old wounds with the memories of past goodnesses and graces from God.
Here now are the best of Buechners writings on pain and loss, covering such topics as the power of hidden secrets, loss of a dearly beloved, letting go, resurrection from the ruins, peace, and listening for the quiet voice of God. And he reveals that pain and sorrow can be a treasurean amazing grace.
Buechner says that loss will come to all of us, but he writes that we are not alone. Crazy and unreal as it may sometimes seem, Gods holy, healing grace is always present and available if we are still enough to receive it.
Frederick Buechner is the author of more than thirty published books and has been an important source of inspiration and learning for many readers. A prolific writer, Buechners books have been translated into twenty-seven languages. He has been called a "major talent" by the New York Times, and "one of our most original storytellers" by USA Today. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Buechner has been awarded honorary degrees from institutions including Yale University and Virginia Theological Seminary.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female3 Stars Out Of 5Rambling memoir with few spiritual insightsNovember 19, 2017bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3This book, it seems to me, must be a cathartic journey for Buechner, reminiscing about so many events in his past. He tells the story of his father's suicide (again) as well as that of meeting the priest wearing black gaiters (again) and that of his brother crying in Bermuda (again and again) and his mother's comments about the gardener passing by (again). He spends pages describing books in his Magic Kingdom, as he calls his office/library.
Included, from time to time, is an insight about remembering and perhaps another about healing. We all experience pain, he writes, and handle it in ways that are not good. Buechner wants us to be good stewards of our pain. He writes of "the importance of being able to talk and live out of your pain ... of pain becoming a treasure..." (32) These are good insights but his rambling stories, memories of events from his past, greatly over shadow and obscure them.
I am not sure there is much of value in this book for evangelical Christians. When writing about what happens after you die, for example, Buechner suggests "you are given back your life again..." He had three reasons for believing it. First, if he were God that's what he'd do. Second, he had a hunch it was true. Third, because Jesus said we aren't dead forever, referencing what Jesus said to the thief on the cross. (76-77) Buechner made no mention of Paul and his New Testament insights into the life after this one.
I have just read the two latest books by Buechner in the past few days. I don't think I'll read another one by him. There was too much repetition of stories. I was not surprised to find that the footnotes indicated much of this book came from earlier ones by him. Also, many of the stories didn't appear to have much to do with the theme of the book. It seems Buechner is still trying to make sense of his father's suicide, some 80 years ago, and everything else that has happened in his life.
Perhaps there is more to Buechner's faith experience than he is willing to tell. Near the end of this book he says he fears that if he writes too much about how he has experienced holiness, "then I risk being written off as some sort of embarrassment by most of the people I know and like." (116)
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Handlebar. My comments are an independent and honest review.
schoolmomredAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Wise Writer and Wise WordsNovember 17, 2017schoolmomredAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4A Crazy, Holy Grace resonates with me. For the past year, I have been haunted by some memories that I try to squash every moment I can. It is a memory of which I struggle with, "Did I do enough to help this person? Did I witness to her enough? Was it all enough and is she in heaven or somewhere else?"
Buechner has struggled with the past, repressing memories and trying to move ahead anyway.
In this book, he reveals some of those memories and how he dealt with them, allowed them to surface, and found healing within. By his own admission, many of them were painful. But with the power of God's grace, he found healing.
Some have said that Buechner is somewhat of an American C. S. Lewis. When I read that, I became intrigued. I love C. S. Lewis. Let me say that I, too, can compare Buechner to Lewis. It's not so much the writing style but the depth and wisdom of the writer that makes the writing great.
pastor2519West Point, UTAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5grace: holy and crazy.September 29, 2017pastor2519West Point, UTAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The name Frederick Buechner sounded familiar, but I didnt know from where (and I still dont) so when I got an email asking if I would like HandleBar to send me a copy of his Book A Crazy, Holy Grace: The Healing Power of Pain and Memory, (Zondervan, 2017) in exchange for a review, I gladly said yes. Im certainly not disappointed.
This is a short easy to read book, that has to be read more than once. Perhaps easy to read is misleading. It flows, short anecdotal accounts of things that matter in his life. But there are so many different layers that are only uncovered after a 2nd or 3rd rereading. You pick how you want to read it: as a devotional, as a Readers Digest collection of stories, as a collection of theological essays, or as a starting point for you to get honest about your own pain, your own memories, and your own pathway to healing.
And lets be honest: we all struggle with pain. And further honesty means we have to admit that we all have those memories. But pain and memories dont have to define us. In the midst of darkness, we can still find hope and healing thanks to that crazy, holy, grace. Buechner shows us that there is a path up, and remembering the past is often a good way to get started on that path.
I received a copy of this book from Handlebar in exchange for my review