Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heather King Is a Wonderful Writer

I found this essay in The Best American Spiritual Writing 2008, and on re-reading it for the third time I checked out her web site. But look! She's been in other volumes of the series, too! (I love the web. I love it. I listened to The Leaving Trains yesterday for the first time in 25 years, courtesy of some dude's blog. Anyway--)

True or not, there's an image out there of spiritual writers as, uhh, disembodied, preferring to live in our heads, or on the front porch of Heaven (if there's a difference). One of the best things about Heather King is that she lives right here on Earth. She'll tell you all about her little corner of Earth, L.A., and tell you in loving microdetail. She's not just one of them there embodied spiritual writers, she's emplaced, in a Thoreauian sense, and her love for God seems to sprout heavenward like a palm tree on Wilshire Boulevard, one with the soil where her Lord has planted her.

Amy Welborn, no slouch herself, has a good post on King. I know Kali has sent me King, and Welborn, because they're so admirably struggling with abandonment to divine providence and because they're so nauseatingly Catholic and pro-life. I know Kali wants me to forget theo-political differences and focus on what matters, and She wants me to see that people with whom I disagree can be my Teachers and that I might not have the monopoly on truth I sometimes think I have. She's brought this lesson home in some pretty in-my-face ways over the years, so I'm going to play what Peter Elbow calls "the believing game" with King's and Welborn's writing and leave the sarc to someone else for once.

If you're reading this as what we might call an "aggressive nonchristian," I should warn you that the Gospel makes more sense and finds a more compelling voice in King's writing than in almost any place I can think of. She's what the schlock legions think C. S. Lewis is. If you don't want to be slapping your forehead and saying "I GET IT NOW!" then leave Heather King alone. You might find your beliefs compromised, you might wake up with a rosary in your hands and the taste of wine on your lips.

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