The Sacred Journey
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The Sacred Journey

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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  946 ratings  ·  61 reviews
This memoir reflects on key moments of the author's early life, from childhood to his entering seminary, that reveal how God speaks to us in a variety of ways every moment of every day.
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published March 1st 1982 by Harpercollins (first published 1982)
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Rebekah Choat
In the introduction to this memoir, Buechner says that he has determined “to try to describe my own life…in the hope that such glimmers of theological truth as I believed I had glimpsed in it would shine through…” because “if God speaks to us at all in this world…it is into our personal lives that he speaks.”

Rather than attempting to reconstruct a perfectly linear narrative of his early life, the author shares word-snapshots, pictures of particular people and places and days, some of which were...more
Carol
This was insightful, uncommonly honest, and beautiful. I couldn't put the book down, but had to, twice, before finishing the mere 112 pages (3 chapters called "Once Below a Time, Once Upon a Time, and Beyond Time").
I will not share any of the story, so as not to ruin any of it for future readers; however, if you long to journey well, you will be encouraged by this autobiographical work which has at its core, an interest in helping others to know faith, hope and love in this lost world.
I can't sa...more
Elizabeth
Beautiful memoir of Buechner's early days. Tragedy and happiness are examined and treated lovingly as the gift they were. His lyrical descriptions evoke vivid imagery and sharp emotions.

"...and it is for all unknown ones (blessings) and the more than half-forgotten ones that we do well to look back over the journeys of our lives because it is their presence that makes the life of each of us a sacred journey."

"What quickens my pulse now is the stretch ahead rather than the one behind, and it is m...more
Matthew Ritter
Buechner assumes that, "the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all." For that reason, he writes a memoir that doesn't fall into the genre's trap of overindulgence or braggadocio. Doing as he implores us to do, he looks back on his life to find the blessings he missed or half forgot. Buechner relays not only milestone highlights but also mundane lowlights and trifling no-lights that prove to be as significant in shaping him.

He dwells longest on episodes that provoke him to...more
Melanie
The Sacred Journey is memoir, poetry and philosophy in one slim novel and I loved it! Buechner’s book is messy- somewhat disjointed feeling, and yet beautiful and touching. The seeming unorganized stories come together much like real life does… where big moments hardly matter and the small, seemingly unimportant, conversations can change everything. Buechner tries, and I think succeeds, in using his own life (filled with very real pain- like his Father’s suicide) to show the humanity and great j...more
Donovan
Just finished this short and wonderful memoir of Buechner's early days. He chronicles the sounds and words of his life - the simple memories that slowly pushed and pulled him towards the mystery of faith in his late twenties. He captures the tragedies of his early life and the small beauties that were found in there as well. He shares with us his heart and his journey and makes us think that we are not alone.

He writes, "Listen. Your life is happening. You are happening. You back on your journey....more
Henry Sturcke
This slim volume is one of the best conversion narratives I've read, reminiscent in some way of Augustine's Confessions, yet also uniquely the voice of Buechner. It is not a complete narrative of the author's childhood and youth, but episodic in form. Even the incidents he includes are told elliptically. Its diffident, evocative style is clearly the result of careful craftsmanship, but also gives a feeling of what it would be like to sit and talk with the man. The triadic structure of childhood...more
Dayspring
This was the first book that brought me into the world of Buechner. Each time I read Buechner, I am struck by more than his characters, reflections, and stories (which are also incredible); mostly I am amazed by his beautiful way with the english language.
Melanie
"All theology, like all fiction, is at its heart autobiography, and that what a theologian is doing essentially is examining as honestly as he can the rough-and-tumble of his own experiences with all its ups and downs, its mysteries and loose ends...I determined to try and describe my own life as evocatively and candidly as I could in the hope that such glimmers of theological truth as I believed I had glimpsed in it would shine through my description more or less on their own. It seemed to me t...more
Scott Harris
Buechner's accounts of his early days make one appreciate the serendipity of life, where tragedy and fortune play together to lay the course which we all tread. The author's candor about his insights, even his lack thereof, make his book a refreshing reminder of the need to approach life with humility. The almost comical tone with which he forgets the once evidently all-important self-assessments of his youth also profess a deep willingness to experience life, even the past, as something that is...more
Kim Buchanan
The first installment of Buechner's autobiography...it takes him from birth up to his call to ministry. Includes lots of good quotes (see below) about the nature of memoir.

There's not a whole lot of God in this first volume...Buechner is finding his way. A very good beginning, though. Buechner writes so well! Can't wait to read the rest.

Quotes:

"About ten years ago I gave a set of lectures at Harvard in which I made the observation that all theology, like all fiction, is at its heart authobiograp...more
Linda
Oct 22, 2011 Linda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful book! A moving, very personal memoir of one man's faith journey. I found myself crying for and with him more than once, both out of sorrow and joy. And his writing is absolutely awe-inspiring. For example: "And my friend's broken voice on the phone was a voice calling me out into that dangerous world not simply for his sake, as I suddenly saw it, but also for my sake. The shattering revelation of that moment was that true peace, the high and bidding peace that passeth all unders...more
Joy
Buechner is a favorite Christian author, so I suppose his writings will always get five stars. He is so warm, wise, unpretentious, open-hearted, and honest. This was a biography of his early life. He even reminds me of a favorite novelist, Parker, when he says, "I knew weather of all kinds, and of all kinds loved rain best and always have." I hope he's gotten to enjoy lots of Florida summer afternoon thunderstorms. "More than anything, I think I loved rain for the power it had to make indoors se...more
Shane Saxon
This was a solid book overall. I don't enjoy books where I feel like I can't enjoy the book unless I'm a card carrying member of the author's clique. But, that being said, I thought Buechner made some profound points, and I resonated with some of his experiences.
Leah
This is the first Buechner book I've read and boy did I ever fall in love with his writing. My pastor quotes this guy all the time, but it wasn't until I read that he's one of Anne Lamott's favorite theologians that I was convinced. This is a good book to start with because it's really his story of how he came to know God in a rather unconventional way. It's a sad story of his dad's suicide, and later his uncle's. How Buechner struggled with his identity and how he came to know God. His writing...more
Taryn Chase
Returning to my preferred genre felt strange but comforting. I'm always a bit tentative when picking up a new autobiography so I decided to ease back with someone I knew would be a sure bet... and almost predictably, I find myself thinking that Buechner is everything I hope to one day be as a writer. He has a way of describing the mysteries of life so brilliantly--whether tackling topics as difficult as his father's suicide, or as simplistic as the strange significance of a mish-mash of concurre...more
Conrad
Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has an autobiography, but Buechner writes in such a captivating way that exalts his story above the level of autobiography to something far more captivating. Knowing that his father took his own life our of despair, my heart was in my mouth as he approached that time in his life. It is beautifully written and worthy of being read and re-read. Life is indeed, a sacred journey.
Bobby Lehew
I have so little time for thoughtful review; instead, I opt for a series of favorite passages from each book; (my apologies to authors everywhere for confounding intent by taking these out of context!) -

"I do not know why it is we remember so much about some of the small decisions of our lives and so little about most of the great ones, but for me at least that has always tended to be the case. Maybe it is because the great decisions are not made at some particular moment in time but deep withi...more
Liz
Frederick Buechner is one of my favorite authors and this is quite possibly my favorite book of his.

The notion that our secrets can have little power if they are shared is scary but freeing. While this is a challenging way to live life (dumping out the contents of your closet - skeletons and all) it is certainly a path to greater understanding of oneself and the world in which we live.

I found this book to be the most rich of Buechner's memoirs, although Now and Then as well as Sacred Journey ar...more
Sherrey
What a lovely work! Frederick Buechner has graciously and beautifully written of his early days, his childhood in a way I've not read before, and I truly loved it. Buechner's prose and memories evoke many of my own feelings growing up even though our lives were quite different. He has a way of "taking you back in time."

I recommend this book to anyone considering or in the process of writing memoir or a life story as it has a style altogether different from what we find in bookstores and librarie...more
Danielle Tate
Buechner does indeed have a way with words.
David
In this beautifully written memoir, Buechner writes of his early life, echoing the story of all of us. First we live in what Buechner calls "below time", the fantasy world of childhood. This ends when we enter the real world of tragedy, Buechner tells of the tragedy he faced with honesty and poignancy. Throughout the story we can see grace manifesting itself in the everyday, a theme throughout Buechner's writings. Like all of Buechner's books, the words flow together magnificently.
Erincolleen
Every few years I get a knotty feeling in my gut about the world (or to be uncomfortably precise, myself, my future, and my faith), and more often than not, I turn to Buechner's little trilogy in those times. To me, Buechner's easily eloquent memoirs offer not quite comfort, but company, like some sleeping bedmate reaching out, touching foot to shin as a gentle reminder that even if I can't sleep easily for awhile, I'm not alone with my questions in those long, long nights.
Wayne Stapleton
A beautiful sacred journey that draws you in and invites you to experience Beuchner's depth of thought and raw honesty...
Andrew David
So...having not read much "nonfiction" for fun, I'm not sure what to say. How about this--Freddy's definitely found his voice. At times his writing style seems deceptively simple, even hypnotic. He has also done a prize job at piecing his memories together into a meaningful (and in rare places, preachy) message. In fact, he provides a first-rate example of how to do what he suggests, and pore over our pasts for surprising glimpses of God's grace-filled touch.
Amanda
Not great, not terrible...there were a few nuggets worth writing down. I appreciated that Buechner was honest about his own mistakes however shameful they were. Full of artsy prose, (which if you like that kind of thing would earn this book 4 stars and if you don't would have caused you to close this book after the introduction) and lacking pretension this book was fairly enjoyable to read but I don't feel too obliged to read volume II.
Kristin Santiago
Buechner's writing is a blessing to me. Every book authored by F. Buechner that I have read has enriched my faith, and has put words to the deep beauty I sense when I pray to be drawn closer to God. The tragedy of what happened to his father and how that affected Buechner is something to read with great respect. I value his vulnerabilty and transparency. I highly recommend any book written by the great Frederick Buechner.
Dee
Learned of Buechner during a study at Chautauqua comparing the conversion stories of and C.S. Lewis and him. Sacred Journey is a short autobiographical telling of Buechner's journey of faith that places his father's suicide when he was 10 years old as a crucial influence in his life.
I appreciate Buechner's insight that is so much everyone's story of discovery of grace and faith. It speaks to the heart.
Elizabeth
Probably should not have been my first foray into Buechner works. Sometimes it's not as fascinating to get to know the author behind the books when you don't know the books. I've heard enough good things about Frederick Buechner to know I should try another one of his books, though! Perhaps once we're better acquainted, I'll be more intrigued by his autobiography.
Mrs.

I first picked up Buechner after asking a fellow English major friend of mine in college whom he'd recommend I read. I wish I could repay the favor he did with that suggestion, as Buechner is just one of my favorite writers. Somewhat in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, he's a literary Christian who does fiction, memoir, and various musings on faith equally well.
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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
More about Frederick Buechner...
Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner Godric Telling Secrets Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

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“To journey for the sake of saving our own lives is little by little to cease to live in any sense that really matters, even to ourselves, because it is only by journeying for the world's sake - even when the world bores and sickens and scares you half to death - that little by little we start to come alive.” 41 likes
“... in the long run, there can be no joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all” 16 likes
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