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Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner Paperback – 19 Nov 1992


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Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner + Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (19 Nov 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060698640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060698645
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 18.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

This book of daily meditations is culled from the writings of novelist, preacher and essayist Frederick Buechner. A short selection for every day of each month is keyed to the time of year or to the particular day by compiler, George Connor, and 366 meditations are included in this volume.

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I DISCOVERED THAT IF you really keep your eye peeled to it and your ears open, if you really pay attention to it, even such a limited and limiting life as the one I was living on Rupert Mountain opened up onto extraordinary vistas. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Aug 1998
Format: Paperback
Frederick Buechner is one of our greatest treasures--a wonderful prose writer, a great story-teller, an insightful theologian. His body of work is as diverse as any writer I've ever heard of--fiction, myth, sermons, lectures, memoirs, lexicons, humor, etc. This book provides a great overview of 30 years of his writing--all in brief daily doses. While some of the exerpts suffer from being pulled out of their contexts, they have been well and carefully chosen, and stand alone well. Buechner's recurring theme is that God exists and acts in our lives today--we just have to learn to listen for him and recognize those acts. Read as a devotional, this book provides many flashes of insight and understanding, and many gentle reminders of the Truth that undergirds our lives.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 50 reviews
79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
A literary devotional for the skeptic and believer alike 22 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Frederick Buechner is one of our greatest treasures--a wonderful prose writer, a great story-teller, an insightful theologian. His body of work is as diverse as any writer I've ever heard of--fiction, myth, sermons, lectures, memoirs, lexicons, humor, etc. This book provides a great overview of 30 years of his writing--all in brief daily doses. While some of the exerpts suffer from being pulled out of their contexts, they have been well and carefully chosen, and stand alone well. Buechner's recurring theme is that God exists and acts in our lives today--we just have to learn to listen for him and recognize those acts. Read as a devotional, this book provides many flashes of insight and understanding, and many gentle reminders of the Truth that undergirds our lives.
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
An excellent daily devotional 31 Dec 2003
By J. Remington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Most daily devotionals that I have worked with in the past have often been sentimental drivel.
Buechner's excellent, concise and often poetic writing boldly confronts the daily battles a person of faith encounters. Eschewing simple HALLMARK CARD sentimentality and post-modern sound bite obsession, Buechner lays out a series of daily meditations that comfort, challenge and re-enforce as well as affirm one's faith.
I particularly admire Buechner's constant celebration of the purity of silence- the need for listening and contemplation.
An excellent daily devotional written by one of our finest contemporary theologians.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Lovely 13 Aug 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I return to this book again and again. It doesn't ask that you believe anything in particular. It ranges over all kinds of topics. Buechner gives us his wisdom, wonder, doubt and love in equal and generous measure.
I have found his works to be deeply liberating because there is no dogma... mostly there is hope, poetry, some new visions of faith, room to doubt, room to soar...
Mostly, he shows us his deep deep humanity.
Thank you, Mr. Buechner.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Different Type of Devotional, And Very Thought-Provoking 28 Jun 2006
By Voice Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a devotional/meditational book I keep coming back to. It is deep, and stimulates long-lasting reflection upon my life and my God.

Sometimes his writings are too intellectual for me to grasp, but this is Buechner in an accessible form. Here I get bits of wisdom and perspective that I can grab onto. With this book I have found myself contemplating some really big thoughts about a really big God and His hand of providence.

"Listening To Your Life" rarely gathers dust on my bookshelf. I pull it out frequently and am a better person for doing so.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Fills the Life with Wonder, but Leaves Some of the Most Important Things Out 2 Aug 2010
By Fr. Charles Erlandson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frederick Buechner's writings have provided delight and stimulation to me and others for years: he has a way of making me see life in a new light. Buechner is the rare man who has both a pastoral and poetic sensibilities, and for that reason he's someone alive both to God and the world around him.

In "Listening to Your Life," excerpts from Buechner's writings have been edited by Buechner himself to provide a reading for each day of the year. Throughout, the book manages to sustain the keynote theme: Listen to Your Life. Here's what Buechner has to say about this theme: "Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, see, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."

The book is filled with such excerpts that make us marvel at our lives and experience them more joyfully and profoundly. The sheer literary excellence of "Listening to Your Life," as well as Buechner's joy in living and keen insight into life, make this book and Buechner's other works worth reading.

My first criticism, however, is that the excerpts themselves are sometimes unsatisfactory as starting points for daily meditations. There many times when the selection obviously picks up in the middle of an anecdote or some other writing that is necessary to make good sense of the excerpt. This is especially true when the excerpts are from novels that we may not have read. For this reason, the excerpts are very uneven in their usefulness as fodder for daily meditations.

My other criticism is that while "Listening to Your Life" is good for general inspiration, it is not so good as a devotional book for building Christian faith. The book is not really designed for devotional use but only for more generally musing about life. It's more like an anthology of Buechner that leaves you wanting to read more Buechner but which may or may not lead you any closer to God.

Buechner rarely brings us directly to Christ but more often remains non-controversial. He seems to have tamed Christ and Christianity too much. Here's what Buechner says about being a Christian: "It is possible to be on Christ's way and with His mark upon you without ever having heard of Christ. . . . A Christian is one who is on the way." Contrast this Christ's own definition that a Christian is one who denies himself, takes up his cross daily, and chooses to follow Christ, and you'll see what I mean about Buechner trying to tame Jesus Christ.

In "Listening to Your Life" there is little notion of sin and what separates us from God, only the sense that God is already on your side and that you are already completely acceptable to Him. There is little call to discipleship, sacrifice, or repentance. For someone who listens not only to his own life but to what God Himself is saying, these are very important omissions.

I'm also disappointed about what Buechner has to say about the birth of Christ: "Who knows what the facts of Jesus' birth actually were? . . . . [T]he Gospel writers are not really interested primarily in the facts of the birth but the significance . . . ."

If this were a book merely about listening to your life I might give it 5 stars. But having been written by an ordained Christian minister who took a vow to lead people to Christ, I can only give it 3 stars.

If you're looking for a book that will make you think about your life more, whether you're a Christian or not, then this book is one of the better places for you to start. If you're looking for a book that will lead you closer to Jesus Christ and lead you to feed on Him with daily devotions, then there are other books that will accomplish this better (though, unfortunately, usually without Buechner's imagination and keenness of eye.)
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