The uneasy genre of biblical fiction often includes what Flannery O’Connor called the “shoddy religious novel,” filled with shallow characters and plot structures as clichéd and melodramatic as 1950s biblical films.
She was the best confessedly Christian writer of the 20th century, maybe one of the very best of any time or place. With dark wit, always tinged with a threat of horror, she packed into her stories the guilt, blood, violence, blinding light and costly redemption that is our encounter with the living Christ, though she seldom made explicit reference to Christ. Her stories are parables of a world with everything out of balance, not just because most of them occur in the unbalanced American South, but because she deeply believed that we have been whopped upside the head by a God who is determined to have us—even if God has to venture into inhospitable rural Georgia to do it.
The homogeneity of modernity—with its Wal-Marts, Lowe’s stores and Advance Auto Parts—is marking the South. It is being transformed from a unique region into Everywhere and Nowhere—and this transformation is a great threat to our nation’s redemption, argues Baylor University professor Ralph Wood.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.