Unhappy Endings

Most of us will readily acknowledge the value inherent in the Happy Ending. Christians particularly make much of it, and I’ve discussed in numerous other places how stories with such endings reflect the ultimate realities of our universe. But what about unhappy endings? Is a story that lacks clear redemption—or in which a character’s misfortunes are […]

“Weird Fiction” and Christianity: Strange Bedfellows

Ever wonder where the word “weird” comes from? Ultimately it derives from the old Anglo-Saxon word “wyrd,” which basically meant “fate.” The original meaning is often still felt. As Michael Moorcock points out in the “Foreweird” (ha!) to a gripping new collection of stories, “should you mention a coincidence to someone, they are likely to […]

Show, Don’t Tell: Good Friday and the Power of Story

One of the key components to writing successful creative literature—poetry, drama, fiction, even creative nonfiction—is specificity. There’s a long history of evidence for this. And some of the most compelling evidence, maybe surprisingly, is theological. Stay with me. Concrete, sensory specificity is particularly important—appealing to the senses, to the physicality of our human natures. That’s […]

HP Lovecraft and Christian Thought

It seemed fitting at this time of year to take up a literary subject that’s often understandably—though I think unfortunately—neglected entirely by Christians: Horror fiction. I’m immediately aware of some well-founded hesitations that probably just sprang to many people’s minds. But I hope after a little digging and clarifying, some profound points of contact between two […]

Elves, Orcs and Freaks: The Shared Authorial Vision of JRR Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this discussion, I outlined several ways O’Connor’s description of the Southern Grotesque and Tolkien’s description of Fantasy are astoundingly, unexpectedly similar. I also pointed out—through a close look at each of their seminal essays on fiction—how they both consider their bizarre or otherworldly genres more effective at conveying reality than strict “realist” fiction […]

Elves, Orcs and Freaks: The Shared Authorial Vision of JRR Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor (Part 1)

It’s not very often you hear the works of JRR Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor mentioned in the same breath—at least not on purpose. Some might find this surprising. O’Connor and Tolkien were, after all, both mid-twentieth century Catholic authors who garnered serious acclaim for very unusual works of fiction. But for most, that would be […]

The Christian Story

We need not fear Story. In fact, orthodox Christians are the only ones who can truly reclaim Story for the service of Truth. We do not offer just one more story, but rather the true Story. Our story is grounded in reality. Reason and Imagination are not separate, but are two sides of the same […]