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About Faithful Creativity
on February 12, 2004
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