I recently discovered The Incarcerated Christian website. To be more factual about it, the women who run the site (Robin Mitchell Stroud and Debra Levy Martinelli) reached out to me about an interview concerning Holy Horror. I hustled on over to the website to see what it was about and I was impressed. In my own fumbling way, I would describe their use of “incarcerated” as people damaged by Christianity. Imprisoned by various groups that require later healing. Far more than a religion, Christianity has, of course, become a cultural system removed from the teachings of its founder—the Trump administration made this abundantly clear—and bent on power over the lives of others. In its efforts at control it leaves a lot of damaged people in its wake. I must say that my interview with them convinced me that they really get what I was trying to do with Holy Horror.
Not that I have a great deal of confidence in my ability—life leads you to question such things—but a lot of my writing is on more than one level. Here on this blog, several of my metaphorical pieces have raised objections from readers who took what I was saying literally. Isn’t literalism often a problem? In philosophy class we learned to call it “naive realism.” Things may not be what they appear to be. Getting underneath the surface requires some digging. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed being on an archaeological dig so much. To anticipate the posting of the interview a little bit, what some people automatically associate with horror is lack of depth. In fact, much of horror runs into the profound, for those willing to watch.
Part of it, I must say, is that horror attracts outcasts. The “Christianity” that dominates western culture actively seeks to create outcasts. Creating, even if imaginatively, “the other” is a way of asserting one’s own superiority. Reading the New Testament somehow I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind. The cultural Christianity we see today has very little to do with Jesus. “Believing in” has replaced listening to his words, or doing as he did. Throughout the Gospels, if I recall correctly, joining the movement was voluntary. They wanted to make the world a kinder, more compassionate place. Look around at those who wear the badge loudly these days and tell me if that’s what you see. What does all of this have to do with horror? Listen to the interview when it’s posted on the podcast in October. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, your hours spent on The Incarcerated Christian will be rewarded.