Beyond Words (2004)
Daily Reading in the ABC's of Faith
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.
"[A collection] that all preachers, teachers, and seekers will find themselves returning to again and again for spiritual inspiration."
— Spirituality and Health Magazine
"Those familiar with Buechner will feel like they've run into an old friend in the grocery store. Readers new to the author will probably develop a love affair with his ability to draw you into a story (sometimes with only a line or two) and then, in a few words, give you something you'll never forget. For instance, under the heading "Buechner": "I can't imagine myself with any other name...if my name were different, I would be different. When I tell you my name, I have given you a hold over me that you didn't have before. If you call it out, I stop, look and listen whether I want to or not. 'In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses that his name is Yahweh, and God hasn't had a peaceful moment since.”
— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Buechner's folksy, unforgettable writing style puts him in a class by himself."
— Publishers Weekly
"Whether reading 'Beyond Words' makes for a happier, easier or more fulfilled life, I couldn't say. This much I know—it does, at least, for the duration of time you're reading it."
— Jeff Simon