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Archive for August, 2010

Lilith (Part 1)

31 Aug 2010 Leave a comment

Okay, that’s more like what I expected from George MacDonald: grotesque creatures, dancing skeletons, shapeshifters, a race of children, an evil princess, and more fill this story of a man wandering through an alternate reality that turns out not to be as “alternate” as he thought.

The business of the universe is to make such a fool of you that you will know yourself for one, and so begin to be wise.

I find the above true of myself more and more when I think I’m smart enough to figure out life on my own. Hopefully I’ll learn the foolishness quickly enough to avoid the following being said of me someday.

Most people take more than a lifetime to learn that they have learned nothing, and done less.

That reminds me of the old adage that one should ensure his ladder is leaned up against the right wall before starting his climb. So very true.

Doubt may be a poor encouragement to do anything, but it is a bad reason for doing nothing.

Now that was a hard-hitting statement. I just read a similar sort of thing in Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team. Lots of interesting stuff to share from that book, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as I’ve got several more of MacDonald’s gems to share in the coming days.

Categories: Books, Quotations

The Curate’s Awakening (Part 3)

30 Aug 2010 Leave a comment

One last quotation from George MacDonald before we move on.

We do not half appreciate the benefits to the race that spring from honest dullness. The clever people are often the ruin of everything.

I found this gem via WordPress’s “similar posts” feature, and it was a doozy, particularly because it sounded so similar to an admonishment a friend had just given me. I’m thankful for the reminder!

Categories: Books, Quotations

The Curate’s Awakening (Part 2)

26 Aug 2010 1 comment

An easy mind may take a shroud on its shoulders for wings, but when trouble comes and it wants to fly, then it knows the difference.

Absolutely love this first quotation. Had it shown to be true in an area of my own life just this morning; how easily we confuse what liberates with what enslaves!

When does one need love but at the time of death? And yet you come talking of love with the same voice that has recently been telling me that the grave is the end of it all. I will not be loved with the love that can calmly accept such a fate. And I will never love any man who believes that in the end even love will be swallowed up in a bottomless abyss.

At the end of the day this book was something of a love story. The same could be said of the universe, and therein lies the greatest argument that there exists more than what the naked eye can see.

Categories: Books, Quotations

The Curate’s Awakening (Part 1)

25 Aug 2010 2 comments

I’m firmly convinced that anyone who lives an honest mental life struggles with doubt. The Curate’s Awakening is a story that explores this idea through the life of Thomas Wingfold, a young clergyman who finally has to come to terms with the beliefs his occupation requires him to hold.

You must ask yourself a question: do you love your faith so little that you have never battled a single fear lest your faith should not be true?

This book was recommended to me as a starting point for exploring the writing of George MacDonald. I’ve been told it isn’t particularly “typical” of his writing, and if Lilith is any indication (a book I just finished), that may indeed be true. Nevertheless it still comes highly recommended. But be warned, this isn’t a story that saves its hard questions for the end; they come fast and furious from the very first chapter.

Why else are our imaginations given to us but to help us to discover good reasons to believe as we do?

The imagination can be a powerful weapon to battle doubt, don’t you think? When naked theology doesn’t convince, the clothed truths in Narnia do. Even Jesus told parables. Human beings are wired to believe stories much more readily than textbooks. Perhaps that’s why God chose to make the Bible much more like a fairy tale (albeit a true one) than a systematic theology.

Much more MacDonald to come in the next couple of days. Thanks for reading!

Categories: Books, Quotations

Trying To See Farther

24 Aug 2010 2 comments

I love to read books. I also love to talk about them. And what better way to do that than via the blogosphere, right? (irony moment: WordPress’s spell check doesn’t like that word). Where was I? Ah yes, books. I’ve consumed a whole bunch of them this summer, but what I’ve recently discovered is that I’m having a hard time retaining much of what I’m reading. The creation of this site is an attempt to change that.

Most of what I post here will simply be quotations from what I’m reading. It’s my hope that by doing so I’ll be able to keep a record of what I’m (hopefully) taking to heart, and maybe, just maybe, there will be readers out there who will find it interesting as well. Because just about everything gets better when shared with others, eh?

If you find yourself in the above category, do leave a comment and say hello. I look forward to sharing with you some quotations from George MacDonald here in the next day or so. What a fascinating guy. I can’t believe it’s taken me 31 years to discover him.

Categories: General

My Summer Reading

24 Aug 2010 2 comments
I’ve had something of a reawakening of the “reader within” this summer. Here’s what I’ve read so far, more or less in chronological order.
  • Marva Dawn – Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down
  • James Lastra – Sound Technology And The American Cinema
  • Walt Wangerin, Jr. – The Book Of The Dun Cow
  • James K. A. Smith – Desiring The Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, And Cultural Formation
  • Walt Wangerin, Jr. – The Book Of Sorrows
  • Walt Wangerin, Jr. – As For Me And My House
  • Steven Pressfield – The War Of Art
  • Kem Meyer – Less Clutter, Less Noise
  • Flannery O’Connor – A Good Man Is Hard To Find (And Other Stories)
  • David Peterson – Engaging With God
  • Ted Chiang – Stories Of Your Life And Others
  • George MacDonald – The Curate’s Awakening
  • William Bridges – Managing Transitions
  • George MacDonald – Lilith

And here’s what I’ve got on the docket moving forward:

  • Patrick Lencioni – The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team
  • George MacDonald – Phantastes
  • Annie Dillard – Pilgrim At Tinker Creek
  • John Piper – When I Don’t Desire God
Categories: Books