Flannery O’Connor’s “Parker’s Back”: Incarnation and the Modern Encounter with God

Theology on Tap continues next week!

Join us on Tuesday, March 25th at 7 PM for the third and final part of our series, “The Existential Art of Flannery O’Connor: A Three-Part Series,” by Adam Rutledge at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill at 384 Boylston Street with the presentation beginning at 7:30 PM.

When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock – to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures.” – O’Connor, Mystery and Manners

Flannery OConnor

What does it mean to be a Christian writer in the modern age? An age in which many believe they have moved beyond faith, beyond the need for metaphysical truth claims, beyond the need for God? Through close readings of several of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, including A Good Man is Hard to FindParker’s Back, and Revelation, this series will explore the answer to that question as given by one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic and engaging writers.

 Tuesday, March 25 – Week Three
Flannery O’Connor’s “Parker’s Back”: Incarnation and the Modern Encounter with God

The third and final part of this series will focus on a close reading of the short story “Parker’s Back,” one of the final works of Flannery O’Connor’s mature authorship. The story is extraordinary in its ability to make concrete substantial theological arguments in a way that is entirely unobtrusive to the reader. This deep Christianity expressed without didacticism is the hallmark of O’Connor’s most powerful works, and we will use this narrative to attempt to draw together the themes of the series in a portrayal of O’Connor’s Christian existentialism. Those interested are encouraged to read the story beforehand (12 pages); a prep school teacher has posted it online and it may be found easily by searching for the title or at this link.

Adam Rutledge, Treasurer at the Church of the Advent, is finishing a PhD on religious themes in literary modernism in the English Department at Brandeis University, and he has a master’s degree in Religion and Literature from Yale Divinity School.  His interests include Aesthetics, the relationship between Philosophy, Theology, and Literature, Medieval Latin Literature, and the History of the Book.  He currently works in the investment group of a trust firm in Boston’s financial district.

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