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The Magnificent Defeat Paperback


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The Magnificent Defeat + The Hungering Dark + Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (May 8, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006061174X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060611743
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As a novelist and memoirist, Frederick Buechner brings to these meditations on biblical passages a keen eye for narrative and detail. He brings as well an artist's love for language. As he says of James Weldon Johnson's poetic rendering of the creation story, this "is the language that man always uses when he tries to talk about the real mysteries of existence." So too is it the language Buechner brings to these reflections, which similarly explore the real mysteries. Written simply and directly (their original audience was a group of students at the private school where the author was a minister), Buechner delves into topics ranging from Jacob's wrestling with the angel (this is the "magnificent defeat" of the title) to the annunciation and birth of Jesus and beyond. Whatever the topic, Buechner writes with clarity and honesty. He does not present himself as among the saints so much as among the seekers. He doubts and questions but always comes back to the central place of beauty and of joy: here, he suggests, is where we must place our faith. Here is the true miracle of life, inviting us to "open our arms, our lives, to the deepest miracle of reality itself and call it by its proper name, which is King of kings and Lord of lords, or call it by any name we want, or call it nothing, but live our lives open to the fierce and transforming joy of it." --Doug Thorpe

From the Publisher

Meditations on key passages of the Old and New Testaments examine what it means to follow Christ, the lessons of Christmas and Easter, and the miracle of grace.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By yarbro@iamerica.net on April 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
This collection of sermons by one of America's most talented writers provides the reader with profound insight into not only the challenges of the human predicament and the foibles of endless human striving, but, more importantly, the giftedness of life and the grace of God. In his peculiarly winsome manner, Buechner reveals to us that the most extraordinary things in life are available to us not as a result of our own efforts, but as pure gift.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By NYJ on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Originally intended (as per Buechner's Introductory Note) for congregations consisting of predominantly young people, this compilation of 18 essay's speaks to every Christian who would sit down and read them. The Magnificent Defeat is broken down into 3 parts. I - The Challenge to Surrender , II - The Triumph of Love, III - The Mystery and Miracle of Grace. Each essay starts with a quote from scripture and then continues on with Buechners typical introspective point of view on the life of Christ, and in turn our own life as a result. While Buechner does touch on some theological points, a lot of his essays deal with the search for the Truth. Given the fact that it was originally intended for young people it does touch on the matters of the legitimacy of God (He does exist!) and why the person of Jesus Christ makes sense. As an apologetics resource, I think Buechner touches the most basic of subjects in an easy to understand AND relateable manner. These essays are powerful, and can also serve as a good topic of discussion during particular Christian seasons (i.e.: 2 essays on the Birth of Christ, 2 essays on the Death of Christ) as well. I highly recommend this book, along with all the other Buechner works. His style is unique, but just as relevant and just as strong as other great Christian writers, such as C.S. Lewis.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mommyshopper on February 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great collection of sermons. It's a great gift especially for young people. I have given this book as a graduation gifts to college students and have led book discussions with college students. Buechner is not only a beautiful writer but he understands human pain, struggles, and triumphs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Owen Lau on March 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book contains a number of insightful sermons concerning the Christmas story. Frederick goes into great detail in explaining what might have went on inside the lives of the people involved in the "Christmas" story.
Somehow, he is always able to help the reader relate to the characters in the story. He does it by bringing in everyday life illustrations, and helps us see the characteristics in the characters to be very much like ourselves. One example is the way he describes the innkeeper who only gave Joseph and Mary a barn to spend the night.
The author is like Max Lucado in that he writes in very easy-to-read language but provides much food for thought.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. P. Reynolds on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
It’s hard for me to express just how moved I am by Buechner’s writings. He has the sensibility of a poet, the cadence of a consummate storyteller and the belief in a compassionate God beyond all comprehension that makes him starkly stand-out among spiritual writers.

In going back to his works, I’m reminded of the profound impact he has had in my life. This collection of sermons is to be savored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Canuck Monk on April 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Frederick Buechner is a tremendously gifted writer - something lacking in the Church these days. This collection of sermons was a delight to read; I found myself challenged and I had to underline several lengthy passages for their beauty and truth. The one thing that distracts me from Buechner's writing at times is that, those these sermons are each inspired by a few verses, Buechner rarely uses extensive Biblical teaching to back up his thoughts, relying primarily on his own experience and his own view of human nature. There is something to this, as it could broaden his audience and sometimes our day-to-day experiences can illustrate the truth of the Gospel in ways Scripture cannot, but for someone from a conservative, evangelical background, it is agitating at times.

One notable aspect of this book (and one which is entirely understandable considering it was first published in 1966) is that much of the tension that seeps through Buechner's writing in "The Magnificent Defeat" concerns itself with the Cold War and the threat of nuclear oblivion.
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By Kimberly L. Smith on November 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have long loved and been drawn deeper in the love of God by Buechner's work, but this, his first nonfiction work, is his best! WWW.kimberlylsmith.com
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