September 05, 2007

flannery o'connor on belief and fiction

Over at, Abraham Piper posted a great article dealing with the Evangelical approach to art, which he deems typically pragmatic. This sentiment states, "If I can't figure out it's meaning or if the meaning is something I don't agree with, then it is bad art." This approach fills nearly every shelf of your local Christian bookstore (there are some exceptions, Logos Bookstore in Nashville and Harvest Logos in Seattle (no connection between them, I checked)).

The guiding premise for Piper's article is the work of Flannery O'Connor, the Roman Catholic author who composed her novels and short stories because of her faith. Her writing gives readers a new perspective on faith; not a wrong/different one from Orthodox Christianity, but one that could not be achieved by the propositional approaches that fill our bookstores.

As a musician, I struggle with this balance of writing what I see in the world. Does it have to be only about Christian subjects? Or can I write about the world with my understanding of it being illuminated by the Light of the World? Here's O'Connor:
Now none of this is to say that when you write a story, you are supposed to forget or give up on any moral position that you hold. Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.
That's a good statement to close on.

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