An audio of Flannery O’Connor reading a story

Thanks to Colin Cutler for alerting me to this recording of Flannery O’Connor reading one of her signature stories.  WARNING:  O’Connor is one of the pre-eminent Christian fiction writers of the past century, but she is not for the faint of heart.  After the jump, some excerpts from an essay of hers that tells what she’s up to, and then the link to the audio of her reading “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” [Read more...]

All literature can be Christian literature

Tom Hering, in saying kind things about my post on the Lutheran Theology of Culture, commended this piece by Joel J. Miller, What is Christian literature? God’s truth, wherever you find it. :

In a 1997 interview with Books and Culture, William F. Buckley Jr. was asked what thinkers influenced him theologically. “I’m a theological novice,” he answered, “but I simply assume that the Christian prism tends to inform Christians, whatever they are reading.”

All literature, in other words, has the potential to be Christian literature. A believer should be able to find something good, true, and beautiful thumbing through most any book — or at least be reminded of those things by their particular absence. Indeed there is a long tradition in the Christian world of reading books by non-Christians and finding in then both use and enjoyment. . . . [Read more...]

Lars Walker’s new Viking novel: free

Lars Walker, who frequents this blog, is a notable novelist who is also a  Christian, yea  Lutheran,  a master of  historical fantasy.  His fiction is generally wildly entertaining, while also being thought-provoking and spiritually edifying.  He has a new book out, a sequel to his wonderful Viking saga West Oversea.  The new book is entitled Hailstone Mountain (The Erling Skjalgsson Saga).  And you can get it as an electronic book for Kindle for FREE if you download it today only, April 16!  Get it here.

I haven’t read it yet, but am anxious to do so.  Here is a reader review by Phil Wade:

This is an absolute ripping yarn, as ripping a yarn as you are likely to find, and unlike some TV series, it’s steeped in solid historical detail. Do want a fun sense of how Vikings lived in 1000 A.D.? Read Lars’ Erling novels.

This one is the fourth, but the first two are combined into one book, The Year of the Warrior. Next comes West Oversea. . . . And here, Hailstone Mountain. brings us the courageous, noble Erling Skjalgsson stepping into the battle of his life. [Read more...]

Lars Walker on Christian Fantasy

Friends, you simply must read the essay that friend-of-this-blog Lars Walker has written on Christian fantasy for The Intercollegiate Review (edited by another friend-of-this-blog Anthony Sacramone).  It’s beyond excellent in its account of what fantasy is, what it does, and what’s involved in writing a good one.  It defies summary, so I’ll just give you the beginning after the jump and encourage you to click over to the Intercollegiate Review site to read the rest of it.  (I would just add to his list of good Christian fantasy authors the name of Lars Walker.) [Read more...]

My book on literature gets re-released

My book  Reading Between the Lines:  A Christian Guide to Literature has been re-issued in an updated format.  The publishers, Crossway Books, asked me to write about the book for their blog, which I did. [Read more...]

Hollywood’s explicitly Christian movie

We saw Les Miserables, which has to be the most explicitly Christian film that I have seen come out of contemporary Hollywood.  There are more meaningful unembarrassed references–in dialogue, songs, and plot elements–to God, Jesus, salvation, grace, prayer, and Heaven than in most of the overtly Christian productions that I have seen lately.

The ex-convict Jean Valjean has received the forgiveness of Jesus, thanks to a priest who shows him an inexplicable grace.  In response to that forgiveness, Valjean lives a life of sacrificial service to others.  His good works are a direct fruit of the Gospel.

Inspector Javert speaks of God also, but, as he says of himself, “I am of the Law.”  He is all about personal righteousness, justice, and salvation by works.  He does not believe that sinners can or should be forgiven.

This all gets caught up in the wretched state of French society and with a revolutionary movement, led by idealistic students.  (This is not to be confused with the French Revolution of 1789.  France had several successful and unsuccessful revolutions in the 19th century.)  But pay special attention to the words of that final song.

The movie is intense and very moving.  It’s a musical, not just in the sense of  big musical numbers (though there are those) but in the sense of an opera, with virtually all of the dialog being sung.  The film is realistically shot–the battle at the barricade is tremendous–but that doesn’t necessarily go with the stylized singing.  I think it works better on the stage.  So see the movie, see the play, and, above all, read Victor Hugo’s novel, one of the greatest in literary history.


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