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The Alphabet of Grace

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  511 ratings  ·  32 reviews
With characteristic eloquence and insight, Buechner presents a three-part series of reflections that probe, through the course of one day, the innermost mysteries of life. Blending an artist's eye for natureal beauty, the true meaning of human encounters, and the significance of occurances (momentous or seemly trival), with a wealth of personal, literacy, biblical, and spi ...more
ebook, 128 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1969)
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Jun 15, 2007 Landry rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists
This book celebrates The Divine in the smallest of things: the movement of trees, the space between letters in a word. It transcends theological and dogmatic boundaries and invites us all to rejoice in all that is God.
Kimberly Lambright
this book is sort of about the depression of ordinary living. buechner is funny and kind. and the cover is so 80s-retro-cool. he recalls tolstoy's advice of what to do when you keep waking up day after day wondering who you are and what your place in things is: "live in the needs of the day." he gives the idea that nothing is as terrible as we think, yet probably as serious.
The Alphabet of Grace is a three-part series of reflections on divine Grace that can be traced over the course of a day from dawn to nightfall. I do not usually review spiritual material I read but I have to make an exception for Frederick Buechner, a theologian and Presbyterian minister, who in this short meditative book, wrote so thoughtfully and movingly about Grace. His prose style drips with lyrical lucidity.

Buechner stated that, “At its heart most theology, like most fiction, is essentiall
I enjoy writing that presents the reader with a stream of consciousness style of writing. This book does just that while taking a look into the heart of a man who learns to accept his life as an act of grace from God. This is a beautiful read that I will read and reread throughout my life.
Stephen Roach
Frederick could write about taking the trash out on Monday and I would be hooked. This book is an amazing work and so is pretty much everything else he writes.
Justin McRoberts
My faith life would look nothing like it does now, nor would I have the language by which to express it were it not for Buechner and collections like this.
Andrew M
Simple and profound look at the everyday, left me wide-eyed.
Seth Comfort
I read The Alphabet of Grace by Frederick Buechner. This was a good read that looks at grace and love through the course of one day.
Buechner walks through a typical day in his life and unpacks how God's grace can be seen in even the smallest details. In his morning routine of waking up, getting breakfast ready, waking up his kids for school and heading out to work. He explains that even in waking up to a new morning, we receive God's grace so we can live a new day. This book is a good reminder
Feb 12, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Renah
This is the only book I've read of Buechner, but I will now read more. I thought this would be something entirely different from what it was when I heard the title. I thought it was going to be a straight forward theological work about grace. Instead, it is a beautifully written display of what grace is in very metaphorical language. He talks about grace in a description of his day, starting out in the morning, and ending as he goes to sleep.

The title comes from this thought: "The invisible mani
This book has a poetic, meandering quality that doesn't really appeal to me, though at points it felt good. Buechner has a way with words that is wonderful at some points and distracting at others (acknowledging, of course, that his way with words, even at his worst, will probably always trump my way with words).

Essentially, Buechner walks through one particular day of his life (the date is not specified), and draws lessons from it and points out grace in it. Is the one's life charged with meani
Buechner is one of those writers you must read closely, slowly and with great intent. Otherwise, his meaning is lost. And, you miss the gorgeous language and sentence construction. And his outstanding theology. Read it. Slowly.
The third part of this book lost some of its steam. But the first two parts (Gutturals and Sibilants) are amongst the best things I have ever read. Ever. I will read and re-read these parts over and over again. They are amazingly beautiful in their depictions of yearning and the ways in which grace fills our lives.
Buechner writes in a stream of consciousness style, going through his day from waking up to seeing his kids off to school to meeting a friend for lunch. Throughout these mundane, everyday things life is seen as a gift of grace. What I appreciate most about Buechner is that he does not come right out and say things in black and white, but drifts in his writing from place to place, sometimes with what appears no overarching point. This writing style reflects our lives and in this style itself, as ...more
A memoir of writing, theology, and faith, tied to the details of one day in Buechener's daily life with beautiful prose. The third section lost me.
Profound and eloquent. A stirring and surprising memoir of the tiniest graces hidden in the ordinary sway of life. Must read, and must read again.
Half the time I was moved in sundry places, half the time I had no certainty about what was going on, all of the time I loved reading this book.
I get why some really loved this.

For me, though, I just couldn't connect with the dreamy prose.

Not giving up on Buechner, currently reading another Buechner title and have another in the read queue.
Tom Helmick
Buechner's interlocutor describes my reaction best when he says "Just as you are about to reach what ought to be the real nub of the matter, you lapse off into something that in the words of one of your early reviewers is either poetry or Williams' Aqua Velva." Couple that with this sentence: "The world is in pain, and its pain makes strangers of us all and ties my tongue in a lover's knot."

There is brilliance for sure, but in between, there is so much "Aqua Velva."
The is a deep and poetic three part book that is moving and insightful. I thank my grandson for introducing me to this author. I may have read a couple of his novels about the character, Bebb. I am going to refresh my memory. Looking forward to more.
This book made me want to write more than anything. Nothing about the book itself was exceedingly profound to me except for the writing itself. It made me want to write and to read more Buechner. It also made me consider the intersection of faith and art, which is my favorite place to be.
Dec 09, 2012 Judith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judith by: Kenny Wood
I barely got it when I read it the first time. I could hardly put into words what I was reading then, and I had a feeling that I'd read something really profound when I finished. I need to read it again.
Carolynn MH
This is one of only a handful of books I have read multiple types since I first read it in ninth grade. It has the feel of a long prose poem, especially the beginning of the book.
Bailey Urban
I really didn't follow the overall point of this book. It went in every which direction and I really didn't gain much spiritual guidance from this book, which was disappointing.
The writing is stream-of-consciousness (I'm so linear!) and has a gift for run-on sentences. But I enjoy his perspective.
poetic. the intro I loved. the rest was at times hard to follow but then I'd see where he was going.
If you're looking for a very candid, personally touching understanding fo Christianity, start here.
Buechner is such a favorite -- so creative and thoughtful. A great source to get sermon juices flowing.
Elizabeth Musselman
The second book I would take with me to a desert island (again, apologies to the Bible).
Linda S.
In some ways I wasn't ready for this but it's wonderfully done.
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Frederick Buechner is a highly influential writer and theologian who has won awards for his poetry, short stories, novels and theological writings. His work pioneered the genre of spiritual memoir, laying the groundwork for writers such as Anne Lamott, Rob Bell and Lauren Winner.

His first book, A Long Day's Dying, was published to acclaim just two years after he graduated from Princeton. He entere
More about Frederick Buechner...
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“Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day's chalking.” 181 likes
“A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.” 85 likes
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