A sermon arises out of silence, preacher and writer Frederick Buechner reminds us, and that silence is both an opportunity and a warning. An audience sits in the pews waiting, and each of those who sit there bring with them a long and complicated history. How will you reach them? How will you awaken them? "Tell them the truth," Buechner says in this brief and powerful book. The Gospel begins here, out of this silence: "It is life with the sound turned off so that for a moment or two you can experience it not in terms of the words you make it bearable by but for the unutterable mystery that it is." Out of this silence, he writes, the "real news comes, which is sad news before it is glad news and that is fairy tale last of all."
This series of lectures explores these three ways of seeing the Gospel: first as tragedy, as honest sorrow and suffering--this must be faced before anything else becomes possible. From this comes the comedy of new life: a child born to Abraham and Sarah in old age, Lazarus raised from the dead. This is the folly of the Gospel--what Buechner will ultimately call the fairy tale. Drawing deeply from the well of The Wizard of Oz and other stories, he reminds us in this final chapter that "there is a child in all of us," a child in touch with a truth deeper than the logic of tragedy. --Doug Thorpe
"A beguiling book .... Buechner handles difficult subjects (eternity immortality prayer) with a casual aplomb and easy analogy" -- -- Time
"Journey on, Frederick Buechner. We need your stories to help us make sense of our own." -- New Oxford Review
"One of our most original storytellers." -- USA Today
"Original, pungent and joyful." -- -- The Christian Century
"Thoughtful, spirited, entertaininga dictionary for doubtersand restless believers." -- -- Chicago Tribune
"With profound intelligence, Buechner's [work] does what the finest, most appealing literature does: It displays and illumines the seemingly unrelated mysteries of human character and ultimate ideas." -- Annie Dillard, Boston Globe