One of the great joys of life is reading. I love to read and there is a genre of book that is probably overlooked by many people and that is what I call “denominational novels”. It is a novel written from the perspective of a specific branch of Christianity or faith. Evangelicals have seemed to suck the oxygen out of the bookstore with their brand of pop religiosity. I like the kind of read that gives an insight into a particular faith’s understanding of how the Word of God is conveyed. From my perspective Catholics have never been particularly concerned about the sermon until I read Bernanos. Here is an excerpt.
“Teaching is no joke, sonny! … Comforting truths, they call it! Truth is meant to save you first, and the comfort comes afterwards. Besides, you’ve no right to call that sort of thing comfort. Might as well talk about condolences! The Word of God is a red-hot iron. And you who preach it ‘ud go picking it up with a pair of tongs, for fear of burning yourself, you daren’t get hold of it with both hands. It’s too funny! Why, the priest who descends from the pulpit of Truth, with a mouth like a hen’s vent, a little hot but pleased with himself, he’s not been preaching: at best he’s been purring like a tabby-cat. Mind you that can happen to us all, we’re all half asleep, it’s the devil to wake us up, sometimes — the apostles slept all right at Gethsemane. Still, there’s a difference… And mind you many a fellow who waves his arms and sweats like a furniture-remover isn’t necessarily any more awakened than the rest. On the contrary. I simply mean that when the Lord has drawn from me some word for the good of souls, I know, because of the pain of it.”
― Georges Bernanos,