Frederick Buechner: “The Face in the Sky”

The following is an excerpt from a sermon on the Christmas story in Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, by Frederick Buechner (New York, N.Y.: Harper Collins Publishers, 2007, pp.23-24).

Buechner begins by describing the first scene of Enrico Fellini’s 1960 film, La Dolce Vita, in which a helicopter carries a life-size statue of Jesus over the outskirts of Rome toward its destination at the Vatican.

Children running in the street, construction

Continue Reading

“Listening in tongues”

In a recent post on Quaker Pagan Reflections, the blog he shares with his helpmate Cat, Peter Bishop of Mt. Toby (MA) Friends Meeting has given me a phrase which I believe speaks to the heart of Quaker faith and practice.

Peter writes about “how difficult it is to express in words what worshiping in silence means to us,” even across the perceived barriers within Quakerism itself:

I see [some] Friends…using Christian language and Biblical reference

Continue Reading

Beyond agnosticism

I have for several years been practicing a rather threadbare, in some ways malnourished religion—more by necessity than choice, though the choices are obvious to me.

I wrote that first sentence on Wednesday, March 31st of this year, shortly after I received confirmation that I could move my mother from hospital, where she had come through the crisis of a major systemic infection, into a new skilled nursing facility (SNF), where staff were better equipped than in her old one

Continue Reading

Weeds (Part II)

Part I: The parable of the weeds in the field
Part II: Religion or belief
Part III: Wilderness and cultivation

Religion or belief

In Part I, I laid out a problem—really a faith challenge—presented to me by the parable of the weeds in the wheat field, as told and interpreted in the book of Matthew (13:24-30, 36-43). The significance of this parable for me is that it sets up an irresolvable contrast

Continue Reading

Faith as a way of paying attention

The inside blurb to Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons begins, “Frederick Buechner has long been a kindred spirit to those who find elements of doubt as constant companions on their journey of faith.”

The book was a birthday gift from my mother two years ago, and I’ve been slowly making my way through its gentle, surprising sermons ever since Christmas of that year.

This past weekend, just as the newest post for Walhydra’s Porch

Continue Reading

Am I a nontheist…? (Part III)

Part I: Languages of belief
Part II: Survival faith and practice
Part III: “Someone should start laughing”

“Someone should start laughing”

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

What is God?

If you think that Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Continue Reading

Uplift

Yesterday I quoted from and linked to two of my favorite bloggers on my other blog, Walhydra’s Porch. Both spoke so well to my present condition that I wanted to acknowledge and share their offerings with readers of this blog.

Sara Sutterfield Winn shared a powerful poem by the 15th century Indian poet Kabir on her Pagan Godspell site:

The Time Before Death

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you

Continue Reading

“Pray for Others”

Each year on my birthday, I look forward to reading the meditation for August 29th in Daily Word, the devotional magazine of Unity Church.

The message has always tended to be something I could welcome as a motto for the new year, something which affirmed my sense of self and reassured me that I was on the so-called “spiritual path.”

This year, however, I stumbled mentally. The day’s topic was “Pray for Others,” and the opening affirmation was:

Continue Reading

Site Footer