The Christ-Haunted South
OK. So Flannery O'Connor is having a huge impact on my life right now as I am teaching her work to Katy. I have been reading and enjoying her for years, but I realize now that I have never really scratched the surface of her stories. Anyway, one thing that has been really useful has been Dr. Ralph Wood's recent book, Flannery O'Connor and the Christ Haunted South, which he recently sent me a copy of (long, but very cool, story, and one of the landmarks of my academic life). In one footnote, we have Flannery saying of not-liberal theologian Karl Barth, "I distrust people who have ugly things to say about Karl Barth. I like old Barth. He throws the furniture around the room." I could say much the same for Miss O'Connor right now. She is throwing the furniture all about what I have tried to keep as neat an intellectual space as possible. She is redefining Grace, or at least casting it in its intended light. She has overturned my understanding of what redemption looks like, the use of mercy, and the beauty of the fundamentalist South (she herself was a Christian Catholic). I just realized the other day that it is killing me not to have anyone to share this with (I think I tire Katy out sometimes, so I try to hold back), so y'all might be the (willing or not) recipients of occasional thoughts on Flannery.