Why Reality Ought to Shape Language

By |2018-07-07T00:59:17-05:00June 30th, 2018|

Let reality shape language. Reality in this sense means what is actually the case, which includes what people actually think, not what they are supposed to think. It means an order in which God provides the very grounding of the real… On Sunday afternoon, 34 high school students arrived at Wyoming Catholic College for [...]

Criminal Character and Mercy

By |2019-03-19T10:21:42-05:00March 4th, 2018|Tags: |

Is it not refined cruelty to keep alive, in self-loathing, a man who is a grave danger to the innocent and a grisly horror to himself? And to do such a thing in countries long admired for the justice of their laws?… To perceive truth, we require images. As G.K. Chesterton put it, all [...]

A Fictional Path to Understanding the Mystery of Suffering

By |2019-03-21T12:26:34-05:00March 2nd, 2018|

At its deepest, Glenn Arbery's Bearings and Distances asks and endeavours brilliantly to answer the most difficult of questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are the innocent corrupted?... Bearings & Distances by Glenn Arbery (346 pages, Wiseblood Books, 2015) It’s happening. It’s finally happening. At long last, after several decades in the [...]

Intelligent Piety: The Christian Humanism of Flannery O’Connor

By |2018-10-08T13:14:19-05:00February 21st, 2018|

Not only was Flannery O’Connor one of the most important Christian Humanists of the twentieth century, but she also well understood what made Christian Humanism what it was. While it might very well be conservative, it was always imaginative, allowing one to imagine what must be conserved… The Presence of Grace by Flannery O’Connor (192 [...]

“After So Many Fires”: Sacrament of a Broken World

By |2018-12-10T17:34:25-05:00January 23rd, 2018|

In the poetry of Jeremiah Webster’s After So Many Fires, we have found Flannery O’Connor’s Protestant counterpart. Though an Anglican, Dr. Webster weaves his words on the same theological loom as O’Connor, seeing in the world’s maddening duality a divine coherence… After So Many Fires by Jeremiah Webster (65 pages, Anchor and Plume, 2017) I first encountered [...]

Changing the World Through Guilt

By |2018-12-13T13:27:01-05:00January 22nd, 2018|

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novels present a world teeming with people groping through guilt for a purpose they do not fully understand, often trading defiance for either despair or determination as the inescapable truth becomes clear: There is, on earth, no alleviation of the human condition… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers [...]

Restoring Poetic Vision in a Myopic Age

By |2018-11-05T19:28:25-05:00September 8th, 2017|

In a distorted world, the Christian poet is ultimately like the blind man whose vision Christ restored to see truth through grace, and those who read the poet’s words will find their vision restored as well… Editor’s Note: This essay was originally given as a part of a lecture series for the Cambridge School [...]

How Flannery O’Connor Can Heal Our Fractured Politics

By |2018-01-15T18:24:07-05:00August 25th, 2017|

Flannery O’Connor’s fiction teaches us the need for charity toward other points of view, our personal tendency toward blindness, and the benefit of stories to enhance our vision… In 2014, I spoke at the American Embassy in Prague at a symposium on the civil rights movement in America. I made the mistake of offering Flannery O’Connor’s [...]

Making and Revealing

By |2018-12-26T15:20:35-05:00July 28th, 2017|

Making art is a mode of revealing the world in new ways… For the past two weeks, I’ve been writing about the opportunity to make a new Catholic culture, not from scratch and not from attempts to appropriate whatever happens to be popular at the moment, but from the immense resources available in the [...]

The Iconographic Fiction of Flannery O’Connor

By |2017-02-25T22:26:09-05:00February 25th, 2017|

Flannery O’Connor made it her task to show her readers that the world is surrounded by mystery and that the physical creation is itself an icon and a window into that mystery… “What the word says, the image shows silently; what we have heard, we have seen.” That is how the Seventh Great Ecumenical [...]

The Violent Assault Upon Imagination

By |2016-08-22T22:08:38-05:00August 22nd, 2016|

How fallen we are, from Dante and Beatrice to John Hinckley and Jodie Foster. “We did the best job with what we had to work with,” the twenty-two-year-old jury foreman said after the unanimous decision that Hinckley was innocent by reason of insanity. And surely that is a conclusion we must come to, examining [...]

How Should We Treat the Evil of Flannery O’Connor’s Misfits?

By |2016-08-15T22:02:06-05:00August 15th, 2016|

It is well to be reminded again and again that, though we like to think ourselves advance agents of such progress, the strategy of gnostic manipulation of being is very ancient. John Milton suggests the point: Satan’s metamorphosis from being the brightest of angels to alienated gnostic—his fall from love through pride and envy [...]

Flannery O’Connor’s Hollow Men

By |2016-08-02T22:10:47-05:00August 2nd, 2016|

Many of Flannery O’Connor’s stories portray the ineptness of men to uphold traditional ideals of manhood. The men show no leadership, they do not protect or care for their family members, they lack all manner of chivalry, and they lose a sense of priority as they commit to careers and professions or social and [...]

The Violent Wisdom of Flannery O’Connor

By |2016-12-14T14:49:09-05:00February 26th, 2016|

Francis Marion Tarwater’s uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting [...]