I conclude my winter reading list with A Good Man is Hard To Find, a collection of short stories by Flannery O’Connor. O’Connor’s work is unique because she was a Roman Catholic from the Deep South, and wrote stories about the South from that perspective. Her stories both serve to illustrate the common grace of God as well as poke fun of the protestant fundamentalist majority of her homeland.
The following exert is from the short story that lends its name to the entire collection. Those who have read The Reason For God by Tim Keller will likewise recognize it, as he quotes from this short story fairly extensively.
The following paragraph is spoken by a stone-cold killer called The Misfit who has escaped from jail and is holding a family hostage:
“Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead,” The Misfit continued, “and He shouldn’t have done it. He thrown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can- by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him.”
Here is an individual who has carefully thought through his worldview and is prepared to live out its implications. The common grace of God is seen in the killer’s knowledge of Christ. As is explained later, the Misfit is well aware of Christ’s atoning work on the cross, but is unable to place his faith in Him, citing that he needs proof of Christ’s resurrection. Having rejected Jesus, his only option is to embrace darkness, and try to squeeze some sort of twisted pleasure out of it.
Apart from Christ, there is no other option.