The Magnificent Defeat (1966)
In The Magnificent Defeat, Frederick Buechner examines, through a collection of sermons, what it means to follow Christ, the lessons of Christmas and Easter, the miracles of grace, and "the magnificent defeat" of the human soul of God. "The storyteller's claim, I believe, is that life has meaning—that the things that happen to people happen not just by accident like leaves being blown off a tree by the wind but that there is order and purpose deep down behind them or inside them and that they are leading us not just anywhere but somewhere."
— Frederick Buechner, in The Magnificent Defeat
"One of today’s most powerful writers on religious themes here offers meditations on key passages of the Old and New Testaments that fuse “rhythmic style, rich imagery, forthright biblical exegesis [and] bring to mind the meditative work of J. B. Phillips and C. S. Lewis."
— Presbyterian Life
"Here is prose so beautifully written that it verges on poetry. Yet The Magnificent Defeat wrestles with sweaty contemporary problems, including the problem of those who want to believe and can’t." — United Press International
"These are powerful sermons, designed for the skeptical and inquiring, no less than for the devout." — Choice
"Combines high writing skill with a profound understanding of Christian essentials."
— New York Times Book Review