Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC

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9780060611392: Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC

In Wishful Thinking, the first book in his much-loved lexical trilogy, Frederick Buechner puts the language of God, the universe, and the human spirit under his wry linguistic microscope. In his often ironic and always keen-sighted reflections on such terms as agnostic, envy, love, and sin, he invited us to look at theses everyday words in new and enlightening ways. Freshly revised and expanded for this edition, Wishful Thinking is a "beguiling" [Time] adventure in language for the restless believer, the doubter, and all who love words.

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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 humor 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

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Reflections on key words from daily language that probe our relationship to God, the universe, and our fellow man.

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