A kind of "mongrel litter" by way of Pascal, Voltaire and Ambrose Bierce, this theological run through the alphabet goes from Abraham and Agnostic straight through to YWHW and Zaccheus--the tax collector who shimmied up the tree on Palm Sunday to get a good look at Jesus. In between we get a heady brew of humour and wisdom. On Anger, for example, Buechner writes: "Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun ... In many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you". Or this, on wine: "Unfermented grape juice is a bland and pleasant drink ... [but] it is a ghastly symbol of the life blood of Jesus Christ, especially when served in individual antiseptic, thimble-sized glasses. Wine is booze, which means it is dangerous and drunk-making. It makes the timid brave and the reserved amorous. It loosens the tongue and breaks the ice especially when served in a loving cup. It kills germs. As symbols go, it is a rather splendid one".
And the book's title? Find it under "W": "Christianity is mainly wishful thinking ... Sometimes wishing is the wings the truth comes on. Sometimes the truth is what sets us wishing for it". --Doug Thorpe
About the Author
Frederick Buechner, author of more than 30 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. Buechner currently lives with his wife, Judith Merck, in Vermont. His most recent work is The Alphabet of Grace.