WASHINGTON - Admirers of Pulitzer Prize novelist and acclaimed Presbyterian minister Frederick Buechner gathered at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday to honor the man the New York Times calls the finest religious writer in America.
The second largest cathedral in the United States was the host location for the tribute to the American religious novelist known for communicating theological truth through everyday circumstances. A panel of well-known theologians and ministers honored Buechner for his writings that have inspired, encouraged, and help shape the faith of Christians worldwide.
Ive learned that language is revelatory. That it can ignite hearts, move mountains and change lives, said the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, a former student of Buechner during her study at Yale Divinity School.
Taylor recalled her first impression of the professor, describing his voice as restraint but insistent; as if he had something important to say but would not yell.
She concluded, Dr. Buechner, you rearranged Yale.
The Rev. Thomas G. Long, the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, recalled how Buechners writing encouraged him to preach on Sunday.
Buechner is one whose eloquence is imitated by all who dare to climb into the pulpit I found [in his writing] courage to get up on Sunday and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.
The professor also attributed Buechner in leading a major shift in American preaching.
Washington National Cathedrals own pastor, the Rev. Canon Eugene Taylor Sutton, honored the novelist whose book, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale has changed his life.
I have not been the same preacher since I read it, nor the same Christian, declared Sutton after he stated that the name Frederick Buechner has become a household name to aspiring preachers across the nation.
The cannon pastor concluded his tribute by sharing what he learned from Buechners writing.
Doubts why keep them secrets? Mystery, imperfection, warts and all tell the truth; then the truth will set you free.