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Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons Hardcover – February 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition, First Printing edition (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060842482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060842482
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Novelist and Christian writer Buechner (Brendan; The Alphabet of Grace) delivered a number of memorable sermons in more than four decades of service as a Presbyterian minister. This collection contains 37 of them, all featuring the intricate stories, fascinating connections and personal touches that are Buechner's signature. By presenting them chronologically, the evolution of his favorite themes of listening to your dreams, finding your calling and the importance of home are evident. Most touching are the sermons directed at youthful audiences (Buechner was a chaplain at two private boys' schools), such as "The Calling of Voices," in which he pleads with young people to pay attention to the deep gladness in their lives, following it to their life's vocation. For instruction on how to read the Bible, readers should turn to "Love," which recommends that the rule of love, found in the "great commandment" (Matthew 22:36–38), be used as a guide for biblical interpretation and perspective. In "Faith and Fiction," Buechner considers what it means to be a saint—not one who necessarily lives an exemplary life, but who is a "life-giver." Many of these sermons have been published elsewhere, but bound together, they become an elegant and life-giving memoir. (Mar.)
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Review

“Buechner uses words with such transformative power that any comment on them is like the moon palely reflecting the sun.” (Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination)

“An elegant and life-giving memoir.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Buechner is one of our best worker of words. Now, in this fine collection, we’ve got the best of Buechner.” (William H. Willimon, Bishop, North Alabama Conference, The United Methodist Church, author of Sinning Like a Christian)

“The topography of Buechner’s world is beautifully mapped by this set of self-revealing sermons and essays.” (J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God)

“Brilliant…overflowing with images and questions and honesty and insights that will haunt you for days.” (Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill, author of Velvet Elvis)

“A poignant, practical, deeply philosophical, and powerful work. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)

“...his work is a revelation...Here Buechner’s storytelling abilities and eye for detail are at their best.” (The Lutheran)

“[Buechner] eloquently explores the beauty of language, the joy and pain of being human...and the hope of the Gospel.” (Dallas Morning News)

“One of the most insightful spiritual writers of our age... - a must for Buechner’s many fans.” (Kansas City Star)

“[A book] that will inspire or challenge you.” (Chicago Sun Times)

“Buechner eloquently explores the beauty of language, the joy and pain of being human, and the hope of the Gospel.” (Houston Chronicle)

“He has the rare gift of taking biblical text and helping us to see it [...] in a completely new way.” (Lexington Herald Leader)

“This collection of sermons will refresh your soul. I highly recommend this book for your enjoyment and inspiration.” (Canadian Mennonite)

More About the Author

Frederick Buechner is the popular author of such nonfiction titles as Telling the Truth, Wishful Thinking, and Peculiar Treasures. The New York Times Book Review described his recently published memoir, The Sacred Journey, as a "beautifully successful experiment." In addition to The Final Beast, which was originally published in 1965, Mr. Buechner is the author of ten other novels, including the bestselling A Long Day's Dying and, most recently, Godric. He makes his home in Rupert, Vermont.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Enjoy the writings of this author very much.
Donald L. Pelfrey
I find that each time a reread this book, the deeper I am moved and challenged, and the more there is to ponder and meditate on.
Beowulf
I am an unabashed fan of Frederick Buechner.
M. Conrad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 129 people found the following review helpful By JAD on February 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Here is a new and noteworthy collection of sermons by one of our most celebrated Christian apologists, Frederick Buechner. Ranging from sermons delivered in the 1950s to the late 1990s, this anthology lives up to its subtitle, presenting a half-century's worth of thinking aloud about the Christian way. Buechner, who has described himself as a part-time Christian and a part-time novelist, offers the reader many windows into the oftentimes hidden world of Christian truth.

The collection begins with a sermon called "The Magnificent Defeat" concentrating upon the all-night wrestling match between Jacob and God at the ford of the Jabbok. The encounter leaves Jacob crippled and helpless but as Buechner describes it, in the end Jacob sees "something more terrible than the face of death-the face of love." (Page 7). Thanks to Buechner's vantage-point, one can sense authentic surprise, like that the original Phillips Exeter Academy student-congregation must have felt at hearing the news that out of defeat can come blessing.

Herein the reader will find one of Buechner's best-loved sermons, "A Room Called Remember" and many apt observations that will inspire further contemplation and study. In all of these sermons, the reader is invited to notice that "The Kingdom of Heaven is only twenty minutes down the road, for Christ's sake." (Page 153). One of the most poignant passages in the book is in the intensely personal "The Longing for Home". As Buechner reminisces about sense of security he found as a child, in his grandparents' house on Woodland Road in Pittsburgh, we identify with the feelings of homesickness and yearning that lead the seeking soul into God's presence.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Wm A. Kachadorian on February 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I believe that this collection of sermons by Fredrerick Buechner is profoundly rich in sensitivity and wisdom, proclaiming without a hint of judgment and with authentic humility and integrity, the good and reassuring news of God's mysterious and redeeming presence in this world, including to believers, non-believers, non-believers-who-wish-they-could believe, and the indifferent.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Elrod on July 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Frederick Buechner is a warm, loving, witty, intellectual whom I greatly admire. After reading this book I have grown even fonder of him and I like to think grown in my faith a great deal too. It was my church service every morning. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I loved it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Conrad on August 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am an unabashed fan of Frederick Buechner. His use of stories enforces my personal conviction that doctine preached is less effective than Christ lived...inside or outside the church. I love his style and he is one of "those" three or four that I wish I could share a meal with and literally watch him tell his stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By broke book lover on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a great find. It appeared one day on my Amazon recommendation list and I impulsively bought it. I am glad I did because Buechner has quickly become my new favorite Christian writer.

The sermons are beautifully written and as relevant today as they were when he preached them decades ago. His reflections are thoughtful and his thoughts original. I have given this book to several friends who would characterize themselves as unbelieving intellectuals and they have appreciated his wisdom and insight. This book is both food for the intellect and the soul.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonniej on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buechner gives us other ways to explore our faith. He encourages us to think and go deeper which results in better understanding of our own Christian walk. Some of these sermons or talks were delivered to students, some to congregations. I chose this book to see how he gets the attention of both of these groups after first being introduced to Buechner's Telling the Truth, the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale. Each entry is worthy of hearing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By teecha on February 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This author helps us to see the Devine all around us, but his approach is for those of us who live with many unanswered questions. I think it is not for those who embrace the absolute answers of fundamentalism. He writes beautifully, honestly and compellingly. I find myself underlining passages and rereading them often.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. on February 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Buechner is one of my favorite theological (and human!) minds of the 20th century. This book of sermons provides quick, honest, and authentic insights into the man.
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