How Frederick Buechner built up my faith

The late writer’s books upended the way I think about almost everything

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August 22, 2022 - 2:39 PM

Frederick Buechner, a prolific author and theologian, died at age 96 on Monday, Aug. 15. Wikipedia Commons

After I heard the news of the death of Frederick Buechner, I walked over to a bookcase in my study that I visit more than any other.

These shelves are filled with what seems too small to say are my “favorite” authors. These are the ones who kept me Christian, who upended the way I think or feel about everything. The Buechner section of that bookcase seems like a disorganized chaos. There’s no coherent genre. Here’s a novel, there’s a Bible study, here’s a dictionary, there’s not just one but several autobiographies.

And there’s no coherent chronology, either. They are stacked not in the order they were written but in the order that I found them. That’s because, when I look at each one, I am retelling myself a story — of when I discovered each one of them, and what it was like to read each for the first time.

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