My favorite book on the theology of preaching—which helps me remember what I’m doing and why—is the first one I ever read, the one that convinced me that going to seminary wasn’t a completely insane idea. Buechner’s gift for wringing beauty out of pain is one I appreciate more and more.
In 1980, Marilynne Robinson published her first novel, Housekeeping, which won a PEN/Hemingway Award and was made into a movie. She published nonfiction works during the next 24 years, including The Death of Adam and Mother Country, but kept her fans waiting until 2004 for a second novel.
It seems as if all the pastors I know either have read Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead or claim that it is on the top of the pile of books they intend to read. Pastors—myself among them—love the book. Some of the reasons are obvious.