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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
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. L'Engle's approach is sweetly sentimental, listen to what she says about the rigors of faithful creativity, "Complicated creatures we are, aware of only the smallest fragment of ourselves; seeking good and yet far too often unable to tell the difference between right and wrong; misunderstanding each other and so blundering into the tragedies of warring nations, horrendous discrepancies between rich and poor, and the idiocy of a divided Christendom." (Page 153).

This would be an outstanding book to give or receive for a special occasion such as graduation or confirmation. For Christians of any stage in life, "Walking on Water" is a call to live expectantly and trustingly.

If you find this review helpful you might want to read some of my other reviews, including those on subjects ranging from biography to architecture, as well as religion and fiction
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 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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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
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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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2000
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I love Ms. L'Engle's fiction, but it is this book, and the equally beautiful 'And It Was Good' that I come back to again and again. Her thoughts and insights on the process of creating art are clearly and quietly stated, without banging you over the head with religiousity. If she is not always completely scholarly in her logic (as a previous reviewer complained), she at least has thought long and hard as a lay person about her beliefs and her morality and how it should interact with her craft.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In this rerelease of such a rare and insightful book, Madeleine L'Engle continues to exemplify exactly what it is that makes her such a wonderful author, and the foreword by singer Nicole Nordeman reveals a glimpse into the relevance of L'Engle's writing to the artist, the woman, and the Christian of today.
She writes about art and the flavor one's faith may give it. "Bad art is bad religion," she says, and I must agree with her. Whatever ones creates will be a reflection of the intrinsic beliefs of the individual: good or bad, Christian, Buddist, or atheist, we recreate what we are. She also ponders subjects such as art, human dignity, the individual Christian witness, creativity, and the Creator.
All wrapped up in an informal tone, "Walking on Water" feels like a peek into her journal. She addresses her thoughts on her craft as well as her life with her actor husband and children. This book is hands down my all-time favorite. I have read, reread, underlined, dog-eared and starred mine so many times that the binding is falling apart, and I fear that I may soon need to purchase a new copy. Even after her death, L'Engle has become my mentor, role model, and sister of my soul.
If you liked this book I highly suggest "A Circle of Quiet," also by Madeleine L'Engle. She uses the same informal writing style and addresses some similar topics.
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