The influence of Puritanism

by Jeff Zare

Your recent article on courtship gives me something to think about. I had thought highly of the opinion of a Protestant minister’s wife I knew who said she wished her first kiss had been at her wedding. I am rethinking that idea.

Because of the strong influence of Puritanical ways of thought on the Christian culture in the United States (both in the Protestant world and in the Catholic world through Jansenism), I think Christians need to watch out for ways of thinking that seem very orthodox/conservative, but in reality lack a fullness of truth. I myself write children’s stories as a hobby. Under the influence of fundamentalist Protestant fears of New Age/pagan encroachments, I always feared to go too far in writing fantasy or even science fiction. I felt a load lift off my back when I read an article entitled “Unicorn Hunters,” in a prominent Catholic magazine which exposed this way of thinking as Puritanical, and mentioned several Catholic children’s story writers who use fantasy as a way to promote the Truth, including C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Jeff Zare: FUS class of ‘97