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The Irrational Season (The Crosswicks Journal, Book 3) Paperback – January 1, 1984
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This third diary follows L'Engle throughout the liturgical year as she examines her life, past and present, and her faith, matching chapters up with different events on the church calendar, beginning and ending with Advent. L'Engle was always a gifted writer, and fans of hers will appreciate the candor and openness with which she laid herself bare in this work. She openly explores her struggles with faith and occasional bouts of atheism (likened to catching the flu at one point, an apt description), but also how she was always able to come back to the truth of her faith. It is an honest and unflinching look at the struggles of maintaining not only a Christian faith but also a Christian attitude in an ever-changing (mostly for the worse) world. L'Engle combines her thoughts on faith with her thoughts about writing, language, family, music, art, friendship, and much more. It is, perhaps, her most intimate work, and one for which fans of hers or anyone who struggles with similar questions will be thankful for.Read more ›
Other reviewers have mentioned other things they liked about the book; let me say something about the poems. The first almost scared me off: poems are sometimes a good writer's self-indulgence. (I skip most the poems in Tolkien.) But here they are jewels in the crown. Her poem of the wind and the star (p. 165-6) is magnificent. Unsentimental but hopeful, too, the gritty realism (reminiscent of the biblical Christmas narratives) of the communion poem that begins:
"Come, let us gather round the table.
Light the candles. Steward, pour the wine.
It's dark outside. The streets are noisy
with the scurrying of rats, with shoddy
tarts, shills, thugs, harsh shouting."
This is a diary of a different sort. I read it in the evening, a few pages at a time, a few moments conversation with a kind Christian lady of intellectual integrity to end the day.
Although she passed away in 2007 and the four volumes of The Crosswicks Journal series (The Irrational Season is number three) were published in the 1970’s, Madeleine’s musings are timeless. I find myself needing to reread them every so often just to be reminded that there are juicy words like anamnesis and eschaton and pusillanimous and that one could refer to a houseful of neighborhood kids as a “charm of children.” I turn and return to Madeleine L’Engle because her thoughts remind me that there is a Truth that can be expressed in poetry as well as in memoir and that manages to be both orthodox and startling.
On the subject of God — the Creator of a world that now includes “battlefields and slums and insane asylums” — Madeleine expresses both puzzlement and awe. “Why does God treat in such a peculiar way the creatures He loves so much that He sent His own Son to them?” Even so, she affirms that a “no” from God is often a prelude to a better “yes,” and that the “only God who seems to be worth believing in is impossible for mortal man to understand.”
Perhaps, as a story teller herself, she realized that her own life was His to plot.
On marriage and parenting, Madeleine was a delightful mixture of progressive and traditional thought: “A marriage is something which has to be created.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I gave this book to my niece as she used several of the quotes in her wedding vows last month. I am a retired teacher and read The Secret Garden every year to my students so I... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Kathy
A beautiful, honest look into the challenges, failures, and joys of being a Christian.Published 18 days ago by Emily Havener
I love just about anything L' Engle writes. Her honest, poetic soul could scribble out a grocery list and make it art!Published 6 months ago by Mandolin
This is an excellent and deeply reflective piece on the categories of mystery, wonder, awe, love expressed in everyday language by a committed, secular-religious theologian.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
She was a wonderful person but this book lives in the 1970s.
It address issues of the 1970s but not of the current era and things have changed. Read more