The Magnificent Defeat

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9780060611743: The Magnificent Defeat

In The Magnificent Defeat, Frederick Buechner examines what it means to follow Christ, the lessons of Christmas and Easter, the miracles of grace, and "the magnificent defeat" of the human soul of God.

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As a novelist and memoirist, Frederick Buechner brings to these meditations on biblical passages a keen eye for narrative and detail. He brings as well an artist's love for language. As he says of James Weldon Johnson's poetic rendering of the creation story, this "is the language that man always uses when he tries to talk about the real mysteries of existence." So too is it the language Buechner brings to these reflections, which similarly explore the real mysteries. Written simply and directly (their original audience was a group of students at the private school where the author was a minister), Buechner delves into topics ranging from Jacob's wrestling with the angel (this is the "magnificent defeat" of the title) to the annunciation and birth of Jesus and beyond. Whatever the topic, Buechner writes with clarity and honesty. He does not present himself as among the saints so much as among the seekers. He doubts and questions but always comes back to the central place of beauty and of joy: here, he suggests, is where we must place our faith. Here is the true miracle of life, inviting us to "open our arms, our lives, to the deepest miracle of reality itself and call it by its proper name, which is King of kings and Lord of lords, or call it by any name we want, or call it nothing, but live our lives open to the fierce and transforming joy of it." --Doug Thorpe

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Meditations on key passages of the Old and New Testaments examine what it means to follow Christ, the lessons of Christmas and Easter, and the miracle of grace.

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