Tag Archives | literature

Secrets in the Dark | Frederick Buechner

Buechner’s writing is just plan beautiful. At times it has the potential to take your breath away. He combines deep spiritual insight—something only acquired through years of living with God—with a poet’s flair for prose.

Secrets in the Dark is a collection of sermons (with a couple addresses thrown in for good measure) spoken over the course of his life. As you read through them, you can see how God has led his life.

Here’s an example of the sort of beautiful insight I mentioned:

If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. (“The Church” 149)

As a pastor, I don’t get to sit and take in many sermons. When I do have the opportunity, I have a tendency to pick apart the homily to see how it was constructed and what I would change. It’s been very healthy for me to hear these sermons. They’ve cut through my professional defenses and left a mark.

The Complete Stories | Flannery O’Connor

Brutal.

I was racking my brain to come up with the perfect superlative to describe O’Connor’s short stories and nothing fits better. All of the recurring themes—racism, murder, loss, pain, religious fanaticism—are written with an edge that can make you physically wince while reading.

This collection is no chore to read, though. Once you acclimatize yourself to her slowed down style of plot development, the thoughts and dialogue of the characters command your attention.

Speaking of characters, O’Connor’s are larger-than-life yet completely believable. Read one of these stories on a park bench somewhere and you will see the characters stumble past you.

Flawed humanity has never looked so beautiful.

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