Speaking of Flannery O'Connor
Robert pointed me to an excellent post at Church of the Masses discussing O'Connor. It's mostly from a talk by Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, and he quotes O'Connor a lot. My favorite:
I don't think you should write something as long as a novel around anything that is not of the gravest concern to you and everybody else, and for me this is always the conflict between an attraction for the Holy and the disbelief in it that we breathe in with the air of our times. It's hard to believe always but more so in the world we live in now. There are some of us who have to pay for our faith every step of the way and who have to work out dramatically what it would be like without it and if being without it would be ultimately possible or not.
And I like this from the Archbishop:
Genuine Christian faith transforms the meaning and value of everything; cosmetic Christianity merely brightens Sunday morning and highlights the tiny compartment of life labeled "religion.
So many in the post-Christian West have rejected the cosmetic Sunday morning thing without ever encountering the reality. (Personally I would not say that superficial Christianity "brightens" Sunday morning, but rather the opposite.)
You can read the whole thing here.