I just received the latest issue of Touchstone magazine in the mail yesterday. You won’t want to miss Donald T. Williams’ article, “Writers Cramped,” in which he outlines three things that evangelical authors can learn from Flannery O’Connor.
The opening of the article sets up and asks a penetrating question:
My fellow Evangelicals publish reams upon reams of prose. What we have not tended to write is anything recognized as having literary value by the literary world. What makes this failure remarkable is that our Protestant forebears include a number of people who did: Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, George Herbert, John Milton, and John Bunyan, to mention a few.
Equally remarkable is the host of near contemporary conservative Christiansâ€”sometimes quite evangelical and even evangelistic, though not “Evangelicals”â€”who were also important writers. G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, T. S. Eliot, Graham Greene, Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, Walker Percy, and Flannery O’Connor are all recognized as important literary figures even by people who do not share their Christian commitment.
Where is the contemporary American Evangelical who can make such a claim?
I think this is an important question, one that reveals that evangelicals just might have something to learn from a Catholic novelist. Be sure to read the rest of this one: