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George MacDonald: An Anthology
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2002
While I am not typically a big fan of the short, daily reading format of quotes taken from some unknown context, I found and continue to find this book valuable and beautiful. Whether George MacDonald's theology was bad or not (and who's isn't at times?), one thing he conveys over and over in his writing is that he KNOWS the love of God. All the good theology in the world cannot measure against instruction about loving God and loving one's neighbor.
Personally, I often grow weary of head knowledge and I want to commune with a saint who understands and experiences love to a degree that I can only hope to reach someday. I want to be encouraged that love is action, not theory; that Jesus is reality, not concept; that life is fullness and joy, not numbers and facts. George MacDonald takes me further and beyond the average cliché and pat descriptions and expectations of the Christian life. He takes me places I always hoped existed and renews my belief that God is much more than I can want or imagine.
And for what it's worth, I believe there is another way to interpret statement 1, different from A Reader's interpretation in the following review: "Oh the folly of any mind that would explain God before obeying Him! That would map out the character of God instead of crying, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" I think G. M. meant that spending our time simply amassing facts ABOUT God is a poor substitute for EXPERIENCING God through the act of obedience. In other words, understanding the faith is different from walking by faith.
Those are my [opinion].
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get mainly MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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on March 1, 2004
If you like to get people's perspective on God, then this is a good book. If you want emotion and reason to pull together to reveal truth, then it flounders.
Even as does C.S. Lewis, George McDonald has a tendency to make movingly worded, but scripturally, or even reasonably, baseless statements. Culture and emotion are on his side, but that doesn't make him right.
For example, he subtly comes from the perspective that to truly know God is to never to plan, want, or put forth effort. Adam created the names of the animals, king David created the pieces for the temple of Solomon, and Moses gave the people the law. God sustained them and gave them their creative abilities, but it wasn't through sitting around waiting for God that they were able to bring these things about.
Further, he has the self righteousness that says "what a sinner I am", followed by "you should do such-and-such" or "we should all try to do such-and-such" meaning "you should do such-and-such". And has an over inflated view of the righteousness of children.
However, I share his view that we are all sinners, held back from becoming monsters by the chains of God, and I identify with his melancholy, but I finish the book holding him in equal regard to C.S. Lewis. Read that however you please.
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on August 5, 2003
MacDonald was a master Christian apologist of the late 1800s, and an enormous influence on CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, WH Auden, and Charles Williams, to name a few. His fantasy novels and sermons have been a source of inspiration for every generation of Christian apologists and fantasy novelists since his death. MacDonald's writings, however, inspiring though they are, are often laborious and difficult to read. Additionally, much of MacDonald's writing phases in and out of print regularly, and is sometimes not easy to find. It is for these reasons that CS Lewis, who called MacDonald "my master," compiled this 'anthology' of MacDonald's theology.
In this little volume are 365 "readings," short quotes from MacDonald's sermons, novels, or stories. Actually, more than 2/3 of this material comes from his sermons. Several of these quotations are uplifting and thought-provoking, and all bear the mark of a man who devoted his life to Christian apology through fantasy. An anthology like this is a good place to be introduced to MacDonald's thinking and writing, and also a large step in understanding such later apologists as CS Lewis. These readings, though sometimes taken slightly out of context, are a great look into the work of George MacDonald.
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on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get primarily MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get mainly MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get mainly MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get mainly MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get mainly MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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on February 8, 2003
C.S. Lewis called MacDonald "my master." Read this book and you'll see why. Though MacDonald's writing style is sometimes clumsy and sometimes confusing, at other times it soars. Lewis admits that MacDonald is not among the great writers if one defines literature as "an art whose medium is words." But creating fantasy, says Lewis, he "does better than any man." In this volume, you get mainly MacDonald's theological writings, taken mainly from his sermons. Again, Lewis says it best: "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." I can't say enough about this book--full of profound insights!
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