Patheos (& Other) Peeps: On Marilynne Robinson and the Fear Culture

Every Friday, I post a link to a blog post, sometimes written by one of my fellow bloggers at Patheos, a web portal devoted to religion and spirituality, and sometimes by another blogger whose work I admire. I encourage my blog readers to click through to read these posts, comment, and if you like what you read, follow these bloggers as well.

In my own recap of the Festival of Faith and Writing, I included a few of the memorable zingers that came out of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson’s mouth when she spoke about our culture of fear. Robinson’s talk was one of those rare perspective-changing speeches that causes listeners to rethink how we see just about everything of importance—our faith, our relationships, our assumptions. So it is no surprise that over the past two weeks, many writers lucky enough to hear her talk have been ruminating on and dissecting it.

A particularly fine discussion on Robinson’s Festival talk, writing, and overall message about fear and faith comes from my friend and colleague Rachel Stone, writing for Her.meneutics, the women’s blog for Christianity Today. Rachel expands on Robinson’s remarks about fear, and also includes brief discussion of Robinson’s new book of essays (which is near the top of the teetering pile of books on my nightstand).

Read Rachel’s post (along with a remarkably thoughtful and relatively troll-free comments section) here.

And because I’ve read a number of excellent posts from actual Patheos bloggers this week, here are a couple that I particularly recommend:

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s A Sermon on Snacking and the Stupid Things People Say — This post combines criticism of one of my supreme pet peeves (the ridiculous things Christians say in sorry attempts to comfort people facing painful losses) with a meditation on the Christian life being largely about physical presence and food: “…if you get all transcendent and spiritual floating above the disappointingly broken physical world, you may just miss Jesus all together because that’s him over there at the snack table. Which is an embarrassing place to have the Lord hanging out.  But despite all our attempts to spiritualize, cleanse and middle-class up Jesus he just stands there eating broiled fish with his bare hands, holes and all.”

Elizabeth Nordquist’s Practicing Resurrection is a meditation on my favorite poem, Wendell Berry’s Manifesto: The Mad Farmer’s Liberation Front, and how we can “practice resurrection” in this Easter season, despite there being much to mourn and fear.


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