NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: a preview of this week’s Listening In.
Author Jonathan Rogers writes fantasy novels for children. Surprising, as he did his PhD thesis on the 17th century poet from England, John Milton. Not exactly what kids are into these days.
He’s also studied Flannery O’Connor’s writing that’s more popular today than during her lifetime.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: On this week’s Listening In, host Warren Smith talks to Rogers about tapping into stories that have stood the test of time.
WARREN SMITH: Why do young people, I know my adult kids have discovered Flannery O’Connor and they just love her. Why do you think that is? Why do you think that she’s had staying power now?
JONATHAN ROGERS: I guess the project of evangelicalism for so long has been demystification. Look at the titles in a Christian bookstore. It’s seven steps to this and you know it’s, it’s this sort of…
SMITH: How to do that.
ROGERS: And yeah, it’s not coming face to face with the mysteries. It’s saying we’re going to solve the mysteries. Sort of the project of modernism period is to, yeah. When I say modernism, you know, as distinct from postmodernism. But you know, in Flannery O’connor’s era, she was always speaking out against that kind of instant uplift she called it. And instead offering to the reader an opportunity to just sort of dwell in mysteries that are beyond what they can make sense of. And so I think in a world in which, you know, the sort of evangelical project has brought us where it has that sort of demystification, which you know, can end up being pretty brutal. I think an author who says, hey, why don’t we just have a look at these mysteries and not try to solve them, just inhabit them. There’s a lot of appeal in that.