“A Deeper Kind Of Truth”

In a profile of Christian Wiman, Tom Bartlett unpacks the poet’s complex faith:

Wiman believes that our souls survive our deaths but finds the usual descriptions of heaven absurd. He gets bored in church. He is uncomfortable on his knees. He is uninterested in the noisy, noxious dispute between full-throated fundamentalism and the “clock-minded logic” of the New Atheists. “It’s just not the God I’m wrestling with,” he tells me. “[The atheists] want to prove—what?—that Noah’s ark didn’t happen? That there wasn’t really a garden and a talking snake? Fine.”

For Christians, the resurrection is the climax of the Bible, the hinge that holds it all together. When asked if he believes that the son of God, the Word made flesh, was actually crucified and placed in a tomb only to rise again after three earthbound days, Wiman glances up at the ceiling of the perfectly quiet conference room in the stylish offices he will soon vacate. His eyes close behind his rectangular glasses. It’s probably unfair to ask a poet and a conflicted Christian, a man who writes carefully and slowly and wonderfully, to opine off the cuff about a topic so weighty. He does believe it, he says, though not in the same way he believes in evolution or in the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. It is a different sort of belief, a deeper kind of truth. Finally, he finds the words: “I try to live toward it.”

Read John Williams’ Q&A with Wiman here. Recent Dish coverage of Wiman here.