I have four books by Frederick Buechner but hadn’t thought much about them for a few years. A small, built-in sensor somewhere in my head tells me Buechner is a very fine writer—among the top two or three I’ve ever read. I recently noted in a relatively objective source that, indeed, Buechner’s audiences have become fiercely loyal to the literary genius of this man. He is, in a word, a writer. He is also a biblically literate theologian who can communicate theology in ways that raise readers’ spiritual and emotional antennae.
Our local, public library possesses only one Buechner book. (That there is only one may be a function of the difficulty one experiences in typing his name. An odd letter sequence! Why order a Buechner book when you can order a Dan Brown or Sidney Sheldon?) That library holding was not a book I owned, so I checked it out pronto. Within the first dozen pages, the gems below jumped off the pages.
As Buechner quickly develops this protagonist, Kenzie, I find myself identifying somewhat with his yearning, seeking, semi-agnosticism—and even more, with the depiction of the crazies Kenzie sees running around in faith activities, “pointing.”
Watching them became for him like looking out the window at a swarm of zanies running around the street below in a frenzy of excitement over something that they were all pointing at in the sky but that, because of the overhang of the roof, he himself was unable to see. . . .
Little by little he began to feel that he was catching at least an occasional glimpse of what all the shouting was about. It was something utterly out of reach up there in the sky where they were all rushing about in the street pointing at it, and yet it was apparently near enough to have set them on fire. It was something even more outlandish than they were who had fallen in love with it, and yet it was at the same time so full of stillness and loveliness and ultimate sanity that to live blind to its existence, the way he always had, struck him as more outlandish still.
– Frederick Buechner, The Storm (a novel)
There’s only a slight distance between “novel” and “bivek.”
– Brian Casey, “Frenzied zanies or …?” (a blog referring to the above novel)
Oh. I thought you were really saying something profound at first.
– Karly Casey (editorial feedback referring to the above anecdote on hand position while typing)