WHAT TO READ: Marilynne Robinson Says Great Things


Marilynne Robinson is one of the few voices of true wisdom around today. She recently shared some thoughts on Christian fear, modern life and more with Religion News Service. You can read the full interview at Huffington Post, but here are some highlights…

On same-sex relationships:

There has never been a period in world history where same-sex relationships were more routine and normal than in Hellenistic culture at the time of Christ. Does Jesus ever mention the issue?  …if you choose to value one or two verses in Leviticus over the enormous, passionate calls for social justice that you find right through the Old Testament, that’s primitive.”

On “religious controversies”:

I wish I could go to the Supreme Court every time I saw somebody trying to cut food stamps, or pre-K, or any of these other things. These people that are so attentive to babies that don’t exist yet, and so negligent of babies that need help. It’s part of the narrowing of the culture, so that only certain things are considered to be religious controversies. It’s a religious controversy, to me, that we would think of cutting back on help for the poor.”

On Calvinism:

Calvin has a strange reputation that is based very solidly on the fact that nobody reads him. I found that he’s a beautiful theologian. I was, and continue to be, struck by the power of the metaphysics and the visionary quality of his theology, which no one seems to have any awareness of.”

And on John Calvin himself:

He was ready to grant the dark side of reality, and completely lyrical about what is splendid about it, including the stars and including human consciousness, human presence, most profoundly.”

On sermons:

When you go to any church and somebody asks, ‘Was it a good sermon?’ And if it was a sermon about how we almost got into the Rose Bowl, then no, it was not a good sermon.”

On social media:

I’ve never even seen Facebook.”

Robinson’s novel Lila — which continues her chronicles of the people of Gilead, Iowa — is due out later this year. More of our thoughts on her are here, here and here.

– Michael Moats

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