August 7, 2013

The Failure of Christless Tenderness

The grotesque is part of what this fallen age is. Seeing it and seeing God with clear, uncompromising eyes of faith keeps us from making gulags or gas chambers.

When sentimentalism separates the grotesque from the sovereign goodness of God, we are on our way to Auschwitz. It is a great irony that in rejecting God, in defense of a less grotesque humanity, we become hideous as we cleanse the world of imperfections.

The tender-hearted souls who cannot bear to look on the deformed, and thus impute their distaste to God, so as to discredit him, sever the only sure root that can keep them from the “final solution” of mercifully ridding the world of the grotesque.

Flannery O’Connor wrote about the grotesque. And she believed in God — a God who was good and had not lost control of his world. Part of what governed her obsession with the grotesque was this conviction: There is a false tenderness in the world — a tenderness cut off from Christ — that poses as compassion and leads to concentration camps.

Read the rest here.