Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

130 Inspiring Quotes by Frederick Buechner

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Frederick Buechner.

Wikipedia Summary for Frederick Buechner

Carl Frederick Buechner ( BEEK-nər; born July 11, 1926) is an American writer, novelist, poet, autobiographer, essayist, preacher, and theologian. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister and the author of more than thirty published books. His work encompasses different genres, including fiction, autobiography, essays and sermons, and his career has spanned more than six decades. Buechner's books have been translated into many languages for publication around the world. He is best known for his novels, including A Long Day's Dying, The Book of Bebb, Godric (a finalist for the 1981 Pulitzer Prize), and Brendan, his memoirs, including Telling Secrets and The Sacred Journey, and his more theological works, including Secrets in the Dark, The Magnificent Defeat, and Telling the Truth.

He has been called "Major talent" and "...a very good writer indeed" by the New York Times, and "one of our most original storytellers" by USA Today. Annie Dillard (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) says: "Frederick Buechner is one of our finest writers." Buechner was also a finalist for the National Book Award

presented by the National Book Foundation and the Pulitzer Prize, and has been awarded eight honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale University and the Virginia Theological Seminary. In addition, Buechner has been the recipient of the O. Henry Award, the Rosenthal Award, the Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres Prize, and has been recognized by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

We find by losing. We hold fast by letting go. We become something new by ceasing to be something old.

--Frederick Buechner

Longer Version:

We find by losing. We hold fast by letting go. We become something new by ceasing to be something old. This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery. I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all, but now I know that I do not need to know, and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing. God knows. That is all that matters.


Arizona landscape

You do not need to understand healing to be healed or know anything about blessing to be blessed.

--Frederick Buechner


star sequins on white platform

My prayer is spasmodic, occasional, desperate. It has a great deal to do with my children's physical well-being -- that when they're traveling in the air the plane not crash, things like that.

--Frederick Buechner

silhouette of a person during sunset

Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me.

--Frederick Buechner

Longer Version:

Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality-not as we expect it to be but as it is-is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.


swimming pool with stainless steel ladder

If you don't have doubts you're either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants-in-the-pants of faith. They keep it alive and moving.

--Frederick Buechner

rock formation in body of water

There is no event so common place but that God is present within it, always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him.

--Frederick Buechner


white and blue sky during daytime

It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.

--Frederick Buechner

focused photo of a red rose

The world needs people who save lives.

--Frederick Buechner



red roses on book

Vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need .

--Frederick Buechner


blue and white abstract painting

I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human.

--Frederick Buechner

purple lavender flower

There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth.

--Frederick Buechner


rocky mountain under starry night

The magic of words is that they have power to do more than convey meaning; not only do they have the power to make things clear, they make things happen.

--Frederick Buechner

pink rose bud closeup photo

If you want to be holy, be kind.

--Frederick Buechner

silhouette of a woman with pink and purple sky

Once we have seen Him in a stable, we can never be sure where He will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation He will descend in His wild pursuit of men.

--Frederick Buechner


mountains under white clouds at daytime

Go where your best prayers take you.

--Frederick Buechner





calm body of water and mountain

To be bored to death is a form of suicide.

--Frederick Buechner

car passing by in between trees

A God in the hand is worth two in the bush.

--Frederick Buechner

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

You use your real voice with those you love, and you cannot be phony with those who know you well.

--Frederick Buechner

foggy mountain summit

True faith, a simple life, a helping hand- the three things prized most in Heaven.

--Frederick Buechner


sunset

Envy is the consuming desire to have everybody else as unsuccessful as you are.

--Frederick Buechner

blue sky with white clouds

Words spoken in deep love or deep hate set things in motion in the human heart that can never be reversed.

--Frederick Buechner

stainless steel key on brown rod

It is not the objective proof of God's existence that we want but the experience of God's presence. That is the miracle we are really after, and that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.

--Frederick Buechner







white stars in the sky during night time

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief' is the best any of us can do really, but thank God it is enough.

--Frederick Buechner

man standing outdoors

The real turning point in human history is less apt to be the day the wheel is invented or Rome falls than the day a boy is born to a couple of hick Jews.

--Frederick Buechner




wormeye view photo of milky way

I'm trying to listen to my past, listen to what's most deeply going on inside myself, my creative set of fictional characters, a fictional world -- to listen to that world, to search.

--Frederick Buechner


person holding gray leaf

Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's needs.

--Frederick Buechner

pink and white abstract painting

The faces we lose track of most easily are the faces of the people who are closest to us, the people we love the most whose faces we see so often that we can't really see them anymore.

--Frederick Buechner

None

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you because it is through what happens to you that God speaks...It's in language that's not always easy to decipher, but it's there powerfully, memorably, unforgettably.

--Frederick Buechner


closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

Where your deep gladness meets with the deep hunger of the world, there you will find a further calling.

--Frederick Buechner


white and black floral textile

You can't be too careful what you tell a child because you never know what he'll take hold of and spend the rest of his life remembering you by.

--Frederick Buechner

rocky mountain

In other words to live Eternal Life in the full and final sense is to be with God as Christ is with him, and with each other as Christ is with us.

--Frederick Buechner

iceberg near mountain during day

God himself does not give answers. He gives himself.

--Frederick Buechner


blue and white light digital wallpaper

Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day's chalking.

--Frederick Buechner


snow covered mountain under blue sky during daytime

To be bored is to turn a cold shoulder to engage all that God is and has for you in the moment.

--Frederick Buechner


silhouette of woman during sunset

People are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them. They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

--Frederick Buechner

green bird perching on stem

Words have the power to make things happen.

--Frederick Buechner


woman wearing gray long-sleeved shirt facing the sea

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom, the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well.

--Frederick Buechner


person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

The birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it.

--Frederick Buechner

man in cowboy hat

For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost.

--Frederick Buechner


man in black shirt wearing cowboy hat

If the truth is worth telling, it is worth making a fool of yourself to tell it.

--Frederick Buechner




white wooden table near brown chair

Toleration is often just indifference in disguise.

--Frederick Buechner


silhouette of a person during sunset

Thus, when you wake up in the morning, called by God to be a self again, if you want to know who you are, watch your feet. Because where your feet take you, that is who you are.

--Frederick Buechner



None

The sadness was I'd lost a father I had never fully found. It's like a tune ends before you've heard it out. Your whole life through you search to catch the strain, and seek the face you've lost in strangers' faces.

--Frederick Buechner



white brick wall planning

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.

--Frederick Buechner

sunset

For some people, going to church is going home. In a very profound sense, I would say the same thing. Home is where Christ is.

--Frederick Buechner

assorted-color beach houses

Don't look down on them for looking down on us. Look at them, instead, as friends we don't know yet and who don't yet know what they are missing in not knowing us.

--Frederick Buechner



man in blue tank top holding green and black skateboard

Grace is something you can never get but only be given.

--Frederick Buechner

Longer Version:

Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about anymore than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks.



brown desert under sunny sky

The preacher speaks both the word of tragedy and the word of comedy because they are both of them the truth and because Jesus speaks them both.

--Frederick Buechner

black mountain under blue sky during night time

Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.

--Frederick Buechner

red textile in close up photography

If you have never known the power of God's love, then maybe it is because you have never asked to know it -- I mean really asked, expecting an answer.

--Frederick Buechner



aerial photography of pine trees with mist

I hold my plush monkey over the bannister and let it drop. Its eyes light up when you squeeze its kidneys as whose eyes, I suppose, would not.

--Frederick Buechner

white textile in close up photography

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.

--Frederick Buechner

Longer Version:

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.







blue sky and white clouds

The fatted calf, the best Scotch, the hoedown could all have been his too, any time he asked for them except that he never thought to ask for them because he was too busy trying cheerlessly and religiously to earn them.

--Frederick Buechner

green leaf

If you are going to proclaim the Christian faith, speak about those dimensions of it which you've had some experience with.

--Frederick Buechner

black and white abstract illustration

A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.

--Frederick Buechner


green trees on brown soil

We learn to praise God not by paying compliments but by paying attention.

--Frederick Buechner

grayscale photography of pug

Maybe at the heart of all our traveling is the dream of someday, somehow, getting Home.

--Frederick Buechner




woman singing on stage

The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.

--Frederick Buechner







brown and white abstract painting

Becoming a Christian was terribly helpful to me. I can't imagine finding my way without it. I think it can be very crucially important to ally yourself with some religion.

--Frederick Buechner

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God.

--Frederick Buechner


blooming yellow sunflower field

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don't be afraid.

--Frederick Buechner

bokeh photography

Sin and grace, absence and presence, tragedy and comedy, they divide the world between them and where they meet head on, the Gospel happens.

--Frederick Buechner






blue ocean

Justice is the grammar of things. Mercy is the poetry of things.

--Frederick Buechner

None

Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward, less a sure thing than a hunch. Faith is waiting.

--Frederick Buechner



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