Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flannery O'Connor

As you can see from my previous post, I have a lot of respect for many Catholics; I am Protestant, and I am a well-aware, well-thought Protestant. But I believe in the importance of emphasizing the common faith that Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox believers embrace. There are doctrinal differences, of course - but these differences are still "within" the family of faith. To paraphrase Tolkein's Gandalf, the enemy laughs when those fighting against him fight among themselves. While I will engage in rigorous theological battle with friends of different denominations, at the end of the day, we all believe in the Creeds of the early church.
This work of art appears on the America magazine: The National Catholic Weekly website. It portrays the central subject of a Flannery O'Connor short story. While my exposure to the depths of Flannery O'Connor has been limited, what I have read of her thought continually drives me to read more.

She was a Southern Catholic - an interesting fact in itself. She died fairly young, in the last century, of lupus. And her short stories smell, and feel, and sound; and then, at the unexpected moment, they lift the reader suddenly into the heavenly perspective of the mundane goings-on of earth - especially, small town life. She writes so that fabric prints and pig pens are stuck in your mind, and then catapults the story into spiritual significance, so that the reader sees the spiritual truth in the midst of an old pick up truck and an appointment at the doctor's office.

Flannery O'Connor was brutally intellectual, quietly pious, humorous and wry, and above all, believed that faith and every day living must always be one and the same.

Here is a link to the article that accompanies the above picture:

In my opinion, she was one of the best preachers of the twentieth century - and she never took the pulpit.

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