Because God works almost always in hidden ways, we are free to decide for him or against him.

Frederick Buechner (pronounced Beekner) has been writing for 30 years. To date, he has published 17 books. In each of them, fiction and nonfiction, he explores, defines, and celebrates the Christian faith.

“I don’t write novels particularly for evangelicals,” he told us in a recent interview at his home in the mountains of Vermont. He was saying that many religious readers have found his fiction disturbing. Yet the time is long overdue for Christians to be aware of the work of this skilled and deep-sighted writer. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has given his life to presenting the gospel to the secular reader.

Buechner has received significant critical praise for his latest book, Godric (Atheneum, 1980), his tenth novel, which is a fictional biography of a twelfth-century saint. Godric is a startling departure from the four novels preceding it, all of which are centered in a character named Leo Bebb, an irrepressible evangelist, founder of the Church of Holy Love and a mail-order religious diploma mill.

When Flannery O’Connor was asked why she, a dedicated Roman Catholic, wrote stories about Protestant fanatics, she replied that if you are a Catholic and have this intensity of belief, you retire to a cloister and are never heard from again—whereas if you are a Protestant, you go about the world getting into all sorts of trouble. After following one of these Protestant fanatics around for four novels, Buechner has pursued one of the Catholic saints into the inner sanctum of his private consciousness—and he is heard from again, telling his own story at age 100. We asked Buechner:

What led you to write about Godric?

I found ...

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