The Collar: Reading the Ministry in Fiction, Television, and Film

The Collar: Reading the Ministry in Fiction, Television, and Film

by Sue Sorensen

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Overview

Combining thematic analysis and stimulating close readings, The Collar is a wide-ranging study of the many ways--heroic or comic, shrewd or dastardly--Christian ministers have been represented in literature and film. Since all Christians are expected to be involved in ministry of some type, the assumptions of secular culture about ministers affect more than just clergy. Ranging across several nations (particularly the U. S., Britain, and Canada), denominations, and centuries, The Collar aims to encourage creative and faithful responses to the challenges of Christian leadership and to provoke awareness of the times when leadership expectations become too extreme. Using the framework of novels, plays, TV, and movies to make inquiries about pastoral passion, frustration, and fallibility, Sue Sorensen's well-informed, sprightly, and perceptive book will be helpful to pastors, parishioners, those interested in practical theology, and anyone who enjoys evocative literature and film.

"A marvelous mix of scintillating literary criticism and probing theological reflection, Sue Sorensen has provided insight into why funny stories are funnier and tragic stories more tragic when a clergyman is the principal character. But she also explores the deeper question, 'Have these artists, as outsiders looking in, captured that mysterious soul of the one who has that special call from Christ?'"
--Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Society

"Like every professional, the minister inherits images he or she did not create and may or may not want to project. Some of these images persist well beyond the epochs that shaped them. A few are positive, even heroic; many are negative and demeaning. Not only for those directly involved in the vocation, but for all who try to understand what the church has been and is, it is good to sort out these sometimes 'graven' images. And what better way of doing that than by considering the great stories in which clergy have some degree of prominence."
--Douglas John Hall, author of What Christianity Is Not


Sue Sorensen is Associate Professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University and an active member of First Lutheran Church in Winnipeg. She is the author of a novel, A Large Harmonium, and the editor of West of Eden: Essays on Canadian Prairie Literature. She has written about contemporary British literature, detective fiction, film, popular music, children's writing, the fiction of A. S. Byatt, and is also a published poet.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625642486
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 06/11/2014
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sue Sorensen is Associate Professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University and an active member of First Lutheran Church in Winnipeg. She is the author of a novel, A Large Harmonium, and the editor of West of Eden: Essays on Canadian Prairie Literature. She has written about contemporary British literature, detective fiction, film, popular music, children's writing, the fiction of A. S. Byatt, and is also a published poet.

Table of Contents

Foreword William H Willimon ix

Acknowldgment xi

Prelude: Why Literary Ministers? 1

Interlude: "The Collar" by George Herbert 13

1 Heroism and Suffering:Romero, the Mission, Becket, Murder in the Cathedral, the Power and the Glory, Gilead 23

Interlude: Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos 39

2 The Counselor/Confessor George Eliot E. M. Forster A. S. Byatt 43

Interlude: Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot 61

3 Fools for Christ:Tristram Shandy, the Vicar of Wakefield, Bleak House, the Warden, Monsignor Quixote, Heavens Above!, Rowan Atkinson's vicars 69

Interlude: Barbara Pym and Jan Karon 91

4 The Collared Detective: Brother Cadfael mysteries, Father Brown Stories, the Name of the Rose 97

Interlude: Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton 115

5 Passion, for Better and for Worse:The Scarlet Letter, the Crucible, Racing Demon, Priest 121

Interlude: the Book Against God, a Novel by James Wood 135

6 Failure, for Worse and for Better Jane Eyre Middlemarch Margaret Oliphant Jane Austen John Updike Clint Eastwood 139

Interlude: Doubt, a Parable by John Patrick Shanley 157

7 Disaster: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Brand, the Spire, Light in August, Rain 161

Interlude: Pale Rider, directed by Clint Eastwood 177

8 Frustration: the Collar on Screen:The Thorn Birds, Footloose, 7th Heaven, Keeping the Faith, the Vicar of Dibley, Rev. 181

Interlude: the Bing Crosby and Richard Burton Movie Priests 205

9 Clergy Wives and Daughters: the Concealed Collar: A Clergyman's Daughter, Bed Among the Lentils, the Rector's Wife, Candida 217

Interlude: the Bell by Iris Murdoch 237

10 The Canadian Collar: the Stone Angel, Such is My Beloved, As For Me and My House, Good to a Fault, Robertson Davies, Ralph Connor, Stephen Leacock, Warren Cariou 241

Interlude: Lights and Shadows of Clerical Life by William Cheetham 271

Postlude: Corpus Permixtum 277

Bibliography 283

Index 293

Scripture Index 305

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