JK at home with a cat and his Memère
Most readers would know the name of writer Jack Kerouac - probably for the 1957 novel On The Road; which had the effect (in popular culture; although arguably this is not what the book actually says) of glamourising the Beat Generation and a counter-cultural lifestyle of hard-drinking, drugs, promiscuity and rootless irresponsibility.
All of which Kerouac personally engaged-in. And then he went on to have a dissipated life of impulsivity; and soon died prematurely of chronic binge alcoholism.
Most people, most Christians, would say that Kerouac was 'a bad man'; and if they wanted to argue in his favour would do so on the basis of his innovative and poetic prose.
Yet one does not have to read much into the biography of Kerouac (or indeed to read his books with care and attention) to know that his motivations were good, and his sins were repented. That he had a sweet nature, and aspired to the kind of life that would have made his Catholic mother, and his pious French Canadian ancestors proud.
But, he was repeatedly overwhelmed by his many moral weaknesses.
Kerouac had saintly hopes and goals; but his actual life was undermined by a fickle, short-termist, hedonic, emotionally labile, often depressive disposition; which he did not remotely have the strength to overcome.
Therefore (much like Philip K Dick) Jack Kerouac makes a test case for our Christian discernment.
In terms of what ought to matter decisively to Christians, Kerouac was a Christian. In terms of what side he took in the spiritual war of this world; Kerouac was on the side of Good. And, except for a period on the middle 1950s when he was a very serious and idealistic student of Buddhism; Kerouac was explicitly a follower of Jesus Christ and wanted more than anything to live eternally in Heaven.
So I am saying that despite-everything (and including that I would not want him as a friend or house-guest): when taken in the proper context Jack Kerouac is Good and plenty of nice-old-ladies are evil.
And this is the sort of spiritual fact that Christians should be able to recognise, and take-on-board.