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Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation by…

Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation (original 1983; edition 1991)

by Frederick Buechner (Author)

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Title:Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation
Authors:Frederick Buechner (Author)
Info:HarperOne (1991), Edition: Reprint, 128 pages
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Now and Then by Frederick Buechner (1983)



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One of Frederick Buechner's memoirs, Now and Then is an honest look at his various intermingled vocations of minister and writer. If you've read other Buechner, whether fiction or nonfiction, you'll enjoy this story from behind the scenes. If not, you'll also enjoy a good memoir from a kind and creative soul.

Of particular interest are Buechner's comparisons of love in Christianity and Buddhism; and Buechner's interaction with Agnes Sanford, one of the wonderful lay leaders of healing prayer in the past century. ( )
  patl | Feb 18, 2019 |
I read the third of Buechner's autobiographical trilogy as an assignment for a course when I was an undergraduate. 14 years later, I have now read the other two books in the set. I remember being quite moved by [b:Telling Secrets|123291|Telling Secrets|Frederick Buechner|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1349010507s/123291.jpg|118704], but this book was my favorite of the three. He has a beautiful way of finding the narrative and the grace in the people, settings, and events of his life, which I found very instructive. In this book, he also tells how the other books that he has written grew out of the different elements of his life, which was much appreciated as I like his fiction even more than I like his non-fiction. I think this book also particularly resonated with me because Buechner is an introvert and a student of theology, which he writes about a fair bit in two of the chapters.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: If you have to choose between words that mean more than what you have experienced and words that mean less, choose the ones that mean less because that way you leave room for your hearers to move around in and for yourself to move around in too. ( )
  LauraBee00 | Mar 7, 2018 |
Lots of insight. His description of a parent's love for a child and the pain that it can cause has come the closest to what I have felt in the past. He quotes Paul Tillich and Karl Barth. He writes of life being grace. "Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit" - God will be with you whether you call on him or not. ( )
  Desdelyn | Jan 13, 2016 |
This is an important book. I expected an autobiography of Buechner’s life from when he decided to enter Union Theological Seminary until 1983. I received far more.

This book is holy. It will not satisfy the intellectual curiosity of a Buechner reader—it speaks to the core of the human experience. With a heart sensitive to the Spirit, and a master’s command of language, Buechner transforms thoughts about his own life into universal truth. There was one point in the book when he shifted gears and spoke more directly to the reader. It almost knocked me off my chair:

"Listen to your life.

All moments are key moments."

Buechner’s honesty also struck home. Hear his reflections on prayer:

"I was less a man praying than a man being a man praying, and no clear answer came, none that I could hear anyway, . . ."

Who hasn’t felt like that?

This is the first thing I’ve read by Buechner. I providentially stumbled across this slim volume in a secondhand bookstore in Nashville, with the inside of the front cover marked down: $19.95 - $9.99 - $6.00.

All moments are key moments. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Feb 10, 2010 |
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"We want only to show you something we have seen and to tell you something we have heard . . . that here and there in the world and now and then in ourselves is a New Creation." —Paul Tillich, The New Being
For Judy, then and now
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In a book called The Sacred Journey, I told the story of my life from its beginnings in the summer of 1926 to the point at which, some twenty-seven years later, I found myself about to enter Union Theological Seminary in New York for the by no means unwavering purpose of becoming a minister.
When you find something in a human face that calls out to you, not just for help but in some sense for yourself, how far do you go in answering that call, how far can you go, seeing that you have your own life to get on with as much as he has his?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060611820, Paperback)

The title of this memoir (the second in a series, following the well-received Sacred Journey) originates in the theologian Paul Tillich's epigraph: "We want only to show you something we have seen and to tell you something we have heard ... that here and there in the world and now and then in ourselves is a New Creation." The humility of this title--the "now and then" that refers to the occasional glimpse of glory but does not claim any more for itself than that--beautifully reveals something of the tone and attitude of Buechner himself. It also suggests what it is about him that readers hold so dear. In this volume, picking up where the first book left off, Buechner begins with his education at Union Theological Seminary, where he studied under Tillich and others. He then tells of his years as minister and teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, concluding with his move to Vermont and his decision to make a living as a full-time writer.

As he says very simply in the introduction, "if you tell your own story with sufficient candor and concreteness, it will be an interesting story and in some sense a universal story." It will also, as this book affirms, be a story that says something of the myriad ways in which God speaks to us. This realization lies at the center of this small but lovely book. "Autobiography becomes a way of praying," he concludes, "and a book like this, if it matters at all, matters mostly as a call to prayer." --Doug Thorpe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:45 -0400)

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