Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith

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Overview

Beyond Words n (1.) Terms or names that point to the realm of mystery and depth that lies beyond our ordinary experience. (2.) The reality that is beyond even the power of beyond words to convey, and that can be known only by experiencing it for yourself.

"A word a day to keep the demons at bay." This is how Frederick Buechner likes to describe this witty and incisive dictionary. A daily devotional from one of today's greatest spiritual writers, Beyond Words offers 366 entries ...

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Overview

Beyond Words n (1.) Terms or names that point to the realm of mystery and depth that lies beyond our ordinary experience. (2.) The reality that is beyond even the power of beyond words to convey, and that can be known only by experiencing it for yourself.

"A word a day to keep the demons at bay." This is how Frederick Buechner likes to describe this witty and incisive dictionary. A daily devotional from one of today's greatest spiritual writers, Beyond Words offers 366 entries from Buechner's three alphabet books, Wishful Thinking, Peculiar Treasures, and Whistling in the Dark, including a new Introduction and nineteen new entries.

Providing definitions of both sacred and ordinary words, as well as biblical characters, Buechner unabashedly brings his fresh perspective to words, concepts, and characters we thought we understood. This is a great introduction to Buechner's work as well as a library staple for those already well versed in his writing. It is Buechner at his best. Whether readers find themselves tearful from a deeply moving insight or laughing out loud at an unexpected turn of phrase, they will always feel uplifted, illuminated, and enchanted by the wisdom of Frederick Buechner.

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Editorial Reviews

Spirituality and Health magazine
“[A collection] that all preachers, teachers, and seekers will find themselves returning to again and again for spiritual inspiration.”
Spirituality and Health magazine
“[A collection] that all preachers, teachers, and seekers will find themselves returning to again and again for spiritual inspiration.”
Spirituality & Health magazine
“[A collection] that all preachers, teachers, and seekers will find themselves returning to again and again for spiritual inspiration.”
Spirituality and Health Magazine
"[A collection] that all preachers, teachers, and seekers will find themselves returning to again and again for spiritual inspiration."
Publishers Weekly
Buechner's three popular alphabet books (Wishful Thinking, which explored theological terms; Peculiar Treasures, which looked at the spiritual dimensions of ordinary words; and Whistling in the Dark, which examined various biblical characters) are gathered here in a single alphabetical devotional, with 366 entries, from Aaron to zero. Buechner has updated the entries from his three beloved classics and added some new ones, making this devotional one-stop shopping for the literary Christian. Like its three predecessors, this book is arranged from A to Z, featuring the expected (sin, salvation, Easter, Joseph) and the whimsical (children's books, story, loneliness). Buechner's folksy, unforgettable writing style puts him in a class by himself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060574468
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/11/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 245,577
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.37 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederick Buechner, author of more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction, is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent work is Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith.

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Read an Excerpt

Beyond Words

Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith
By Buechner, Frederick

HarperSanFrancisco

ISBN: 0060574461

A

AARON

Moses was three years younger than his brother, Aaron, but starting with the day Pharaoh's daughter fished him out of the bulrushes and adopted him, Moses was the one who always got the headlines while Aaron got the short end of the stick. Even when Moses had to clear out of Egypt for doing in an Egyptian Jew-baiter, he landed on his feet by marrying the daughter of a well-heeled sheep rancher across the border.

Aaron, in the meanwhile, went quietly off into the ministry, where in the long run he didn't do so badly either, except that the only people who ever heard about him were the ones who turned to the religion section on the back pages. Moses, on the other hand, was forever making the cover. The payoff came around the time Moses hit eighty, and out of a burning bush God himself voted him Man of the Year. As usual, Aaron had to be content with playing second fiddle, which he did well enough until he got the break he'd been waiting for at last, and then he blew it.

With Moses lingering so long on Mt. Sinai that some thought he'd settled down and gone into real estate, the people turned to Aaron for leadership, and in no time flat -- despite an expensive theological education and all those years in denominational headquarters-- he had them dancing around the Golden Calf like a bunch of aborigines.

Nobody knows whether this was Aaron's way of getting even with his kid brother for all those years of eating humble pie, or whether he actually believed with the rest of humankind that a God in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Exodus 32:1–4

ABISHAG

When King David was nearing the end of his days, not even his electric blanket could fend off the ominous chill he felt rising in his bones. The fires of life were all but out, and in an effort to rekindle them for the old man and at the same time preserve their own jobs, the establishment enlisted the aid of a beautiful young woman named Abishag. In the hope that she, if anybody, could start his blood coursing again, they persuaded her to join him in the sack. By this time, however, the old man was past rising to the occasion, and not long afterward -- perhaps as the result of his unsuccessful attempts to do so -- he died. When one of his sons offered to make an honest woman of Abishag by marrying her, the establishment turned him down on the grounds that by taking over his father's girlfriend, he was just making a play for taking over his father's throne. What finally became of Abishag is not recorded, and perhaps it is just as well.

This sad story makes it clear that in peace as well as in war there's no tragic folly you can't talk a nation's youth into simply by calling it patriotic duty.

1 Kings 1–2

(Continues...)

Excerpted from Beyond Words by Buechner, Frederick Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014

    Literally, "Beyond Words!"

    Buechner is a theological and literary gem, and this collection of nuggets from his prolific works is a treasure. Read one a day, or several, and he will "make your day," causing you to think, reflect and be grateful for the life God has blessed us with. And then move on to his full works!

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