Prairie Literature and Theological Insight

Sheldon A. Tostengard

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 4/1/1993

Issue: Literature (Vol. 13, No 2, Spring, 1993)

The American prairie is gone now, turned into the breadbasket of our continent and half the world by farmers whose eschatalogies have stretched at least as far as harvest time. But if the prairie is gone, much of its way of life and clarity of vision remain: a clarity of vision caught up in a small but precious body of novels. It is both inappropriate and naive to expect novelists to be very good at or even concerned with speaking about our revealed God, but their telling the truth about the way things are with us and our world is always welcomed by theologians. Two perspectives on our mortal scene that can be found in prairie literature are an unsentimental view of nature and a keen sense for death as the natural end of life. The first of these can teach us to cling more closely to God revealed, while the second can give us both pastoral wisdom for soul care and focus and urgency

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