In my years on the faith beat, I’ve covered a lot of sermons and speeches.
One in 1996, by Frederick Buechner (pronounced Beek-ner), has stayed with me.
An award-winning religious writer of novels, memoirs and essay collections, Buechner spoke at Davidson College Presbyterian Church about the quiet, even whispery side of Jesus' resurrection.
"The way the Gospel writers tell it, Jesus came back from the dead not in a blaze of glory," he preached to the packed house, "but more like a candle flame in the dark, flickering first in this place, then in that place, then in no place at all."
That’s closer to how people experience the risen Christ in their lives, added Buechner, who’s also an ordained Presbyterian minister.
I tell you all of this because, next week, Charlotte will play host to the third annual BuechnerFest.
Buechner, now 87, living in Vermont and still many ministers’ favorite writer, will not be attending. But for three days (Thursday, May 29; Friday, May 30; and next Saturday, May 31),
Buechner fans and scholars from here and across the country will gather to talk about his work. The sessions will be at Myers Park Baptist Church, with Queens University of Charlotte providing some of the housing.
Among the presenters: Poet Tony Abbott and novelist Doug Worgul, both of whom will speak about how Buechner has affected their thinking and writing.
Co-sponsoring the event are the Buechner Institute at King University, a Presbyterian school in Bristol, Tenn., and the Frederick Buechner Center in Cambridge, Mass. For registration info and details on the schedule, click here or call 423-652-4156. Cost for the three days: $50 for students; $75 for seniors; and $125 for everybody else. Those who want to attend just part of the fest can register on-site and pay a reduced price. Some events, including a Friday play and a Saturday concert, are free.
And consider this an invitation to check out Buechner's books, including his memoirs ("The Sacred Journey," "Now and Then," "Telling Secrets"), his novels ("Godric," "The Book of Bebb") and his meditations ("Listening to Your Life").
-- Tim Funk
Friday, May 23, 2014
Posted by Tim Funk at 7:00 AM