Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Fairchild’s poetry describes a world that is mainly southern and rural, a world that is peopled by characters who believe in basic Christian principles and who could be characterized as God-fearing and Bible quoting. For them, Jesus is real and always close by, and the hierarchy of their thinking runs from the earth they till to the animals they tend, through their own humanity to Heaven, which overlooks their world and guides them in it, finally judging them. The lives of Fairchild’s characters are filled with labor, be it driving a semitruck or working on the farm, in a cafeteria, or in a tavern. Churchgoing is a regular activity, as are visits to the tavern. Death is viewed as the end of an earthly life and the beginning of a life hereafter.

These people expect to be judged by their actions on earth and punished for their sins, which are defined by the fundamental precepts of Christianity and which are taught in their churches. For them, sin and salvation are not questioned or analyzed. These people know what sin is and what salvation requires of them. As humans, they are tempted to sin, and they often do, but they also believe in the spirit and God’s mercy, so as they live, they hope, and as they sin, they pray for forgiveness. Their faith is more implicit than overt, despite their churchgoing ways. Their values express their beliefs, the value of daily labor and of constancy, the value of earth’s creatures in the scheme of nature, and the importance of the whole natural realm in which they live and breathe. Many of the characters are boisterous and profane, but one senses that beneath the rough exterior, they harbor and are sustained by a simple, strong faith that, in times of crises or strong emotion, rises to the surface.