Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

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9780060611828: Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

Paperback. Pub Date: October 1991 Pages: 128 in Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Spiritual and autobiographical reflections on the author's seminary days early ministry and writing withcareer. A synthesis of memoir and theological explanation ... - Washington Post Book World

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Spiritual and autobiographical reflections on the author's seminary days, early ministry, and writing career.

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The title of this memoir (the second in a series, following the well-received Sacred Journey) is taken from the theologian Paul Tillich, whom Buechner quotes in his 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--that "now and then", which speaks of 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, when he studied under Tillich and others. He then tells of his years as minister and teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, and concludes with his move to Vermont and his decision to make a living as a full-time writer.

As he says very simply in his Introduction, "if you tell your own story with sufficient candour 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 that God speaks to us. This realisation lies at the centre 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

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