Flannery O’Connor never wrote just for herself, God, and an elite group of peers. She was eager for an audience with ears to hear about grace.
O'Connor's artistic signature involved a severity of image, dark-as-night humor, and a relentless preoccupation with sacramental violence.
Here's some good news: despite our short collective attention span, despite the fiscal-cliff debacle dominating the headlines shortly after the Newtown shooting, the U.S. scourge of gun violence is still part of the national conversation. Now, every time I hear a public official mention Newtown and Aurora but not Chicago—which experienced a startling spike in gun homicides in 2012, mostly in poor, black neighborhoods—I'm ashamed at the implication that some killings deserve more shock and outrage than others. Still, whatever it takes to motivate people to take on the pro-gun lobby, I'm grateful to see it happening.
Since childhood, I've been uncomfortable with the idea that accepting Jesus is an automatic ticket to heaven—and with the reverse idea.
Preachers and teachers are really missing those summer days when we got to preach on wonderful parables about mustard seeds and loaves of yeast bread. Now it's judgment-parable season, and many of us wish we were on vacation.
The resources for faith formation have grown in recent decades, yet the task remains elusive. After all, everything the church does is formative—and one can never predict how formation will happen.