The Power And The Glory by Graham Greene (1940)

“Oh,’ the priest said, ‘that’s another thing altogether – God is love. I don’t say the heart doesn’t feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn’t recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us – God’s love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn’t it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.”

Saints and martyrs are generally misunderstood. They are not sinless or perfect like Jesus.  They are ordinary people who rise to extraordinary levels by choosing to follow God through painful choices, in spite of their fears or shortcomings.  The gospel teaches us to love God with all that we are, and that includes facing the darkness of the world as well as the darkness within us.

As Terry Glaspey explains in 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know:

Grace is a theological concept that everyone talks about but few understand in any depth. Perhaps no author did a better job of illustrating what grace involves than a man who knew himself to be in desperate need of such grace, Graham Greene. In The Power and the Glory, he tells the story of a priest who is hunted by the authorities during a time of intense religious persecution in Mexico. The priest is morally weak and struggles with alcoholism (Greene calls him the “whiskey priest”), but he is still committed to trying to fulfill his priestly duties for the believers who have had to go into hiding. His life is in grave danger as he is hunted by the authorities, who wish to kill him.

The policeman who tracks the priest through the course of his desperate wanderings is a committed and puritanical atheist, convinced of the rightness of his cause. While the priest is a moral failure, the policeman is an earnest, honest, and morally upright man. But that doesn’t mean the priest cannot be used by God in spite of his failings—he is, again and again, an imperfect instrument in the hands of a perfect God, an unexpected saint whose stumbling attempts to follow God produce greater results than he could ever have imagined.

Has your love for God ever cost you anything?

John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

D I G  D E E P E R

Graham Greene

Graham Greene

(1904–91). British author Graham Greene wrote so extensively that he forgot about a novel he wrote in 1944. Rediscovered in 1984, The Tenth Man was published a year later. Greene created a remarkable world of fiction from the tribulations, conflicts, and ideological battles of the 20th century.

Greene was born on Oct. 2, 1904, in Berkhamsted, England. After graduating from Oxford University he worked as a reporter for the Nottingham Journal and the London Times. After the publication of his first novel in 1929, he left the Times to be a writer and book and film critic. During World War II Greene worked for the foreign office. With the success of his books he settled on the French Riviera and divided his time between there and England.

Greene’s first three novels were not significant, but he gained a literary reputation with Stamboul Train (1932; published in the United States as Orient Express). This was the first of many of his novels made into motion pictures. Among his other popular novels were: This Gun for Hire (1936), The Confidential Agent (1939), The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), The Third Man (1949), The End of the Affair (1951), Our Man in Havana (1958), A Burnt-Out Case (1961), The Comedians (1966), The Honorary Consul (1973), and The Human Factor (1978). Greene also wrote short stories, plays, and some nonfiction books, including A Sort of Life (1971) and Ways of Escape (1980), his autobiographies. He died on April 3, 1991, in Vevey, Switzerland.


Sources & Resources

“Graham Greene ,” Compton’s Encyclopedia (Chicago, IL: Compton’s Encyclopedia, 2015).

Evens, Jonathan. “Emil Nolde: Inner Religious Feeling.” Between (blog). March 7, 2012.

Juneau-Lafond, Jean-David. “Emile Nolde,” The Art Tribune. November 11, 2008.

Selz, Peter. Emil Nolde. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1963.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).


Terry Glaspey

Terry Glaspey

I’m really looking forward to discussing my book, “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know,” with the members of Literary Life Book Club. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and perspectives on some of the art, music, and literature you’ll discover in the book. I’m interested in how it speaks to you in your life and the ways it inspires, challenges, or maybe even annoys you! I’ll try to share some “deleted scenes” stuff I had to leave out and will tell a few stories about what I experienced while doing the writing and research. Hope that many of you can join us as we look at he stories behind some truly wonderful art.

Let’s explore together!


Join the discussion with Terry on Facebook HERE

Terry Glaspey is a writer, an editor, a creative mentor, and someone who finds various forms of art—painting, films, novels, poetry, and music—to be some of the places where he most deeply connects with God.

He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), as well as undergraduate degrees emphasizing counseling and pastoral studies.

He has written over a dozen books, including 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know:  Fascinating Stories Behind Great Art, Music, Literature, and Film, Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis, The Prayers of Jane Austen, 25 Keys to Life-Changing Prayer, Bible Basics for Everyone, and others.

Terry enjoys writing and speaking about a variety of topics including creativity and spirituality, the artistic heritage of the Christian faith, the writing of C.S. Lewis, and creative approaches to apologetics.

He serves on the board of directors of the Society to Explore and Record Church History and is listed in Who’s Who in America Terry has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a distinguished alumni award and the Advanced Speakers and Writers Editor of the Year award.

Terry has two daughters and lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Dig Deeper at


Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; from Gregorian Chant to Bach to U2; from John Bunyan and John Donne to Flannery O’Connor and Frederick Buechner; this book unveils the rich and varied artistic heritage left by believers who were masters at their craft.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).

Order it HERE today.

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Rick Wilcox

Editor in Chief | Literary Life