A Fierce Holiness by Ralph C. Wood

Book Review

A Fierce Holiness

The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O'Connor by Jonathan Rogers

Thomas Nelson, 2012
(207 pages, $15.99, paperback)

reviewed by Ralph C. Wood

In 1922 G. K. Chesterton famously described the United States as "a nation with the soul of a church." Unlike virtually all European countries of his time, America had no established state church. Yet it was still founded on a creed—namely, on a set of stated Enlightenment principles that overtly acknowledged God while refusing to enforce religious tests. Though Chesterton was far from convinced that Americans had created a sure remedy against tyranny, he might have noticed what was strange about his attraction to the obstreperous and boundary-bending Walt Whitman.

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Ralph C. Wood was, until his retirement, University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. His books include The Comedy of Redemption (University of Notre Dame Press), Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Eerdmans), and Chesterton: The Nightmare Goodness of God (Baylor University Press).

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