Sunday, November 29, 2009
Where Are All the Christian Poets?
This is not just a rhetorical question because I wouldn’t be surprised if someone e-mails me to point to several great Christian poets. A good Christian poet would not be that easily recognized as such. The reason is, they would write as a Christian but from a human perspective . . . not writing “Christianly.” I’m sure you can find many “Christian” poems that smile and resolve.
I actually think that there would only be only subtle differences between the great writings of a Christian poet and those of a great non-Christian poet because both should write skillfully from their observations of the human condition. Maybe the Christian would give more hope, but it wouldn't be a cheap, plastic hope.
I’ve been seeking out great writers as I’ve mentioned before. I see this trend in the artists . . . even though they may start from a Christian perspective . . . there comes a time when they must choose between the “Christian” narrative and reality. Artists observe reality perspicaciously and feel the raw emotions of it deeply. When they see a contradiction between their preconceived Christian narrative and reality . . . they usually chose the latter. But we need those to continue in both their Christian beliefs and their astute observations of life . . . the way it really is.
I've followed the lives of many of those poets and the end seems to be familiar. They give up their hope when they give up their Christian narrative. They usually end up with serious depressions, alcoholism or suicide in their own, personal lives.
But there needs to be prose written that describe the pain that a young lover feels when the love of their lives . . . leaves them for another. Lines need to be written to explore that awful place that one lives in when their precious child slowly slips from their protective arms into that of a terminal disease. Someone with a true gift of words must write about the great joys that comes with the birth of a child, and the sadness that comes with the loss of an aged parent.
For a Christian to write humanly and to write well, they need to write about the glory of that sunset over the Olympics . . . without an artificial closure, where that sunset has some obscure special meaning from God to do such and such.
Posted by MJ at 5:42 PM