Monday, November 07, 2005Follow this link for mp3s of Joseph Pearce's lectures on Tolkien and myth at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is absolutely fantastic stuff if you love J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Download it and burn it. This is a wonderful listen.
Towards the end of the second lecture, Pearce takes a question on the need for Christian literature. Pearce says that it is absolutely essential that Christians make good literature, but notes that in the present day he finds a lot of "good bad literature." This is literature that is morally good but artistically bad. Thank goodness that he is willing to speak truth in this matter; literature must not be forced. It must be natural; any theological merit must be the natural outgrowth of the artist's gift. It must not be a planned, programmed set of ideas to which the story must conform. Would that we had more voices like Pearce's noting that while there is a lot of morally good Christian art, literature, music and film, the majority of it is aesthetically repugnant. Our art must be something is appealling on its artistic merits, and we must let the theological chips fall where they may. Tolkien and Lewis understood this. So did Flannery O'Connor and Walkery Percy. Musicians like Sufjan Stevens, Over the Rhine, the Innocence Mission and Pedro the Lion get it. Let us pray that many others will come to do so, as well.
"When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God's business."