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Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art Paperback – May 31, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; Reprint edition (May 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865474877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865474871
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For years, beloved author Madeline L'Engle has commingled her writing with her faith in such titles as A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. In Walking on Water, L'Engle takes a fresh look at what it means to be a Christian artist and what separates Christian art from that which is supposedly secular. This first-person account draws the reader into L'Engle's mind frame and sphere of reference--uncloaking her frustrations with bad art (from poetry to painting) that claims to be religious--and explains how the true artist can only serve the world by imitating the ultimate Creator, the Lord Himself. When asked to describe where faith stops and art begins, L'Engle explains that there is no separating the two--"it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory." Words of wisdom seep from these pages in a practical, faith-filled manner by encouraging the reader to slow down amidst the business of life, to listen to the spirit, and to be more fully devoted to God by seeking to be more truthfully artistic. "Unless we are creators, we are not fully alive," L'Engle writes, hoping readers are inspired to turn the "chaos of life" into the "cosmos of art." --Jill Heatherly

Review

“When I discovered Walking on Water years ago, my creative self underwent a sort of liberation. I had always sensed that there was a wonderful connection between spirituality and creativity, but Madeleine’s insights about both of those worlds helped me claim with more confidence my own creative gifts. This is a wise and inspiring book that should be in every artist’s library.”
–Vinita Hampton Wright, author of Grace at Bender Springs and Velma Still Cooks in Leeway

“Once again, L’Engle touches the deepest parts of our psyche and heart with her artist’s wand. She writes with an earthy rhythm that not only reveals the mysteries of our artistic natures, but also qualifies all along the way her inimitable wise-woman philosophies. L’Engle’s writing is God’s gift to a generation who needs to sit on a stump and lend an ear to what the right brain is saying to the left and to what the soul is saying to the heart. Walking on Water guides the wandering artist back to the Savior and says ‘There, you’ve come home again where you belong!’”
–Patricia Hickman, award-winning author of Katrina’s Wings

“There are those who write about art-making as if they’re detailing the techniques of a heart surgeon. Then there are those, like Madeleine L’Engle, who simply show you their heart. Like the words of Jesus to the fisherman brothers, the words of Madeleine are ‘follow me’ words. Through the pages of Walking on Water hungry, thirsty folks have been following for two decades–quickly recognizing that the reason Madeleine is worth following is that she follows Jesus.”
–Charlie Peacock-Ashworth, record producer and author of At the Crossroads: An Insider's Look at Contemporary Christian Music


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Madeleine L'Engle, the popular author of many books for children and adults, has interspersed her writing and teaching career with raising three children, maintaining an apartment in New York and a farmhouse of charming confusion which is called "Crosswicks."

Customer Reviews

Ms. L'Engle is a marvelous writer and makes frequent reference to those who influenced her life and art.
Donald L. Linn
While this book was written from the viewpoint of the author as an artist, I am able to apply it as well to the fine arts.
Sandy Rust
It is one of the most though-provoking, inspirational books I have ever read, and definitely one of my favorites.
Michelle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Donald L. Linn on July 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read A Wrinkle in Time nearly 40 years ago, and remember it as the most remarkable book I read as a child. I must say that Walking on Water is among the most remarkable books I've read as an adult. Certainly it is illuminating as an exposition of how a Christian artist thinks about her work, but it is positively breathtaking as an expression of the transformational nature of Faith and its impact on life. Ms. L'Engle is a marvelous writer and makes frequent reference to those who influenced her life and art. As a result, I have begun reading Merton, Chesterton and others she mentions, much to my benefit. One needn't be a Christian or an artist to appreciate this classic.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By JAD on February 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Madeleine L'Engle is the preeminent interpreter of the Christian journey as it pertains to these words of the Apostle Paul, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8). Ms. L'Engle invites the reader to focus on that which is great, greater and greatest, in a world that all too often settles for what is dishonorable, unjust, impure, ugly, discourteous, shoddy and worthy of condemnation. In both her fiction and non-fiction writings, she helps the thinking Christian look at the world through the eyes of faith.

Ms. L'Engle takes as the theme of the book, Jesus' invitation to Peter to come to Christ walking on the water. For a brief moment, Peter did just that. Ms. L'Engle states that is how we were created to be, and even when we sink, and cry for help, that Jesus will pull us up. She says, "The impossible still happens to us, often during the work, sometimes when we are so tired that inadvertently we let down all the barriers we have built up. (Page 238).

Ms. L'Engle views the creative process as a successive letting down of barriers. Of opening to God. When one responds to the urge to create, one is one more than holy ground-one walks on water-since God is the Creator and God's creative energies are limitless and surprising. God's very unpredictability and joy become the same creative force in musicians and artists of all kinds. Ms. L'Engle speaks of the freedom to laugh at ourselves as one of the prerequisites for bringing about that which is worthwhile.

Lest we mistakenly think that Ms.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the one title I will always cherish as a writer. It is quietly inspriring and thought provoking. I have had this book for almost 5 years and still have not finished it (a first for me--I normally read 2-3 books a week!). It is the kind of book where you read a few pages and let them soak in for a time before moving on. It will change your way of living and then change your art.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Every artist, regardless of Faith or medium, should read this and realize we are all, if we truly let ourselves be artists, vessels of the same refreshing and renewing characteristics...characteristics of God. This book feels like an intimate conversation. L'Engle writes with a deepness that calls to deep.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By rathgrith on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a graphic artist, not a writer. However, I've never read a book that has spoken to me as deeply as this one. Madeleine L'Engle has both blurred the lines between Faith and Art and cleared them up, all in the same book. She approaches both as part of life, and therefore inseperable from one another. We are as much a part of what we create as it is a part of us, and only through our creations can we discover who we really are.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on April 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm not Christian; I'm not an artist. Therefore, you would think this book would hold no appeal for me. Nonetheless, as a huge Madeleine L'Engle fan, when I stumbled upon this book, I had to read it. It is one of the most though-provoking, inspirational books I have ever read, and definitely one of my favorites. It touches on many of the same topics covered in the Crosswicks books, but reflects on similar thoughts and experiences in a different way. This is definitely her best nonfiction that I have read thus far, and also provides a fresh perspective on the creative background of her fiction.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book should be read by all Christians, as well as all Christian artists. It is the most honest and realistic look at Christianity that I have ever read. I wish that everyone could view the world in such a true way. This is truly an inspiration.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Only Flannery O'Conner has written a book on writing with this much spiritual insight and creative freedom. I picked up "Walking on Water" after numerous recommendations from fellow writers. Of course, I was already aware of L'Engle through her novels--I think "A Wrinkle in Time" and "A Wind in the Door" are brilliant--but I was less familiar with her nonfiction.

If you're a creative person on any level, and if you wrestle with life's big questions unflinchingly, then you must meet L'Engle in the world of words. This lady is such a unique individual, full of down-to-earth wisdom and to-the-limits-of-the-galaxy philosphical ponderings. With candor and anecdotes, with quotable lines and great grace, this book has the ability to breathe new life into tired, artistic souls. I know. Because it's done so for me.
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