What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.

--Flannery O’Connor

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7 thoughts on “Cost”

  1. FO'C, self-described as a "hillbilly Thomist" -- I find a lot in her consonant with Bonhoeffer -- has an inerrant BS detector. Here, on topic, are a few more of her bon mots:

    "There is a question whether faith can or is supposed to be emotionally satisfying. I must say that the thought of everyone lolling about in an emotionally satisfying faith is repugnant to me."

    "At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily."

    "This notion that grace is healing omits the fact that before it heals, it cuts with the sword Christ said he came to bring."

    "Sentimentality is to religion what pornography is to love."

  2. I find it ironic that conservatives will often label progressive or liberal religion as "fluff & stuff". But for me, religion was the warm electric blanket when I was a "pure" legalist. Knowing the right doctrine felt satisfying, all curled up and warm through every discussion and condemnation. This was where grace was found.

    But it was when I began to be pulled and stretched, made to see beyond my own tribe, race, class and gender, that the cross began slicing me up. In fact, at first I thought the problem was me; "Why was I hurting, even torturing myself with all this?"

    There is a lot of struggle and pain when you begin looking people in the eye, seeing a soul already in God's hands rather than a potential convert. But the healing, a mutual healing, comes, like that of Jesus, with the touch, a touch that usually begins by simply paying attention.

  3. And don't forget her most scathing criticism of the church:

    "She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

  4. Yea, you gotta love the Misfit. My personal favourite: "Jesus thrown everything off balance."

    Also on the church:

    "Most of us come to the church by a means the church does not allow."

    "The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner, which creates much misunderstanding among the smug." "Smugness," she observed, "is the Great Catholic Sin."

    But Protestants don't get a pass: "The religion of the South is a do-it-yourself religion, something which I as a Catholic find painful and touching and grimly comic." I can imagine her on church plants -- something sardonic about pigweed.

  5. The Habit of Being, yes? One of my favorite lines : I distrust pious phrases, particularly when they issue from my mouth.

    She was a treasure. Given your handiness with her quotes I assume you have but on the off chance you haven't , you can hear a recording of her reading A Good Man here:

  6. 'struth! ...'begin looking ppl in the eye, seeing a soul already in god's hands rather than a potential convert (to ones favored tribes rancid, festering prejudices & assumptions.)

  7. 'when tenderness is detatched fr the source of tenderness it's logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced labor-camps & the fumes ofthe gas chamber.'FLANNERY O'CONNOR

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