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St. Wendell again

I'm currently reading Wendell Berry's collection of short stories, Fidelity, and I have to say is there anything this man can't write? Drama, perhaps? Anyway, I'm into the second story, but not enough to comment on it; so I'll talk briefly about the first one, "Pray Without Ceasing." As always the story is set in Berry's fictional Port William, Kentucky and we are introduced to many characters and families that Berry has developed further in his novels. The story revolves around a young man trying to understand his great-grandfather who was murdered before he was born. Ben Feltner was shot dead by his friend, Thad Coulter. His grandmother relates the story to the great-grandson and she says,
"People sometimes talk of God's love as if it's a pleasant thing. But it is terrible, in a way. Think of all it includes. It included Thad Coulter, drunk and mean and foolish, before he killed Mr. Feltner, and it included him afterwards."

At this time of year we sentimentalize the birth of a baby, born to yet another poor couple. What we need knocked into our heads is that this event was not a Hallmark card, but something so outlandish, stupid, and incredible that we have to tame it or else we might have to change the way we are.


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