Form and Content
The Sacred Journey is a narrative of Frederick Buechner’s first twenty-seven years of life, interspersed with the insights he gained from remembering and telling the story.
The book begins with an introduction and then is divided into three parts: “Once Below a Time,” which describes his life until he was ten, up to the day his father killed himself; “Once upon a Time,” the account of his years from ten to seventeen, when he was graduated from preparatory school; and “Beyond Time,” which tells of the next ten years until he started theological seminary. The whole book is 112 pages long, with approximately thirty-five pages given to each main part.
The contents of the book are stories of those events that had the greatest impact on the spiritual development of the author. The story is striking because the end result was so unlikely. Buechner was born into a family that had nothing to do with Christianity, and he enjoyed very little church influence in his formative years. In addition, he had to endure the devastating losses of his father and uncle to suicide, raising the fear that he too would be touched by that plague. Those events could easily have led him to believe that life is meaningless at best, or evil at worst, but instead he came to believe that life is the gift of a good Creator. As an adult, he became a Presbyterian minister and a writer of lucid, accessible theological books.
Focusing as he does on his spiritual life, his sacred journey, Buechner leaves out much that he...
(The entire section is 629 words.)