George MacDonald’s Scotland

I was looking up a bit of information on George MacDonald today. He is the author/theologian who C.S. Lewis called his spritual master. I have to tell you, though, he does have some strange, and I believe ultimately unorthodox and aberrant theological ideas. In brief, he is more or less a universalist, believing that ultimately everyone will submit to the stern mercy of God. Paradoxically, or perhaps not so paradoxically, the good characters in his books are stringently holy in a seemingly inachievable, though I must say in a very winsome, way.
I want to look into him more, not because I believe universalism is true (though I sure would like it to be), but because I am genuinely interested in what manner of holiness we as Christians are intended to attempt and manifest in our lives. Sometimes I feel that even asking that question in a Reformed, grace-not-works contexts is a non-starter, that peoples’ heresy-o-meters are immediately raised, but still I think it an entirely biblical question, one that I have paid entirely too little attention to in recent years.
At any rate, all of this is not the purpose of this post. That was to share with you this vision of George MacDonald’s Scotland, provided on the website of Michael Phillips, MacDonald’s main champion, editor, and popularizer of our times. Aside from the children’s books (The Princess and the Goblin, etc.), it is actually only a few of his versions of MacDonald that I have read, which are more or less like moral romances set in Scotland, and published by Bethany House (which, not coincidently is a publishing house, I believe, associated with the holiness wing of Protestantism). I even have as yet to read Phantastes, the fantasy book that deepy impacted C. S. Lewis. At the current momemt, though, it is these pictures which are deeply impacting me. Oh my, I want to go.

A New Voice

faithfool.bmp
Well, his voice is not new to some of you who may have gone to church or house church with him or to some of you who may have been able read some of his writing. Nonetheless, his voice is new to the blogosphere, and he has made a stong entry with a steady stream of quality entries. I commend to you the cleverly named blog of George Faithful, Faithfool. You have to love a blog which has a pun in its very title.
Be sure to check out several introductory posts here and here. And there is poetry, subtly perceptive and wistfully imaginative.
And, from today, there is this….
“How am I to live out that love? In blatant defiance of what makes me happy and in earnest pursuit of what makes me whole. Love is not about me doing what I want, but about me sacrificing myself in order to do what I know is right. True love has everything to do with justice, social and otherwise. May it be done, though the heavens fall!”

John 8

Below is the poem I promised to post last week in response to this discussion, in which Kirstin, the editor of Catapult, has recently weighed in about her reasons for publishing the controversial article.
The poem was written for a poetry class in 1994 in which we were to keep the same end words in each stanza we wrote. I am not really pleased with how this poem reads, even though I haven’t done anything to fix it in the intervening decade or so, but I do like some of the images in it.
John 8
It was an odd time to make an ending,
When so much was beginning.
Fresh silence soothing the fever of the night.
Clean sunlight washing the dusty temple yard.
And a young Rabbi softly rending its ancient stony walls.
But they had brought the woman there to make an ending,
When so much was beginning,
With scalpel-stones to excise her cancer in the night,
With harsh light to expose her temple’s filthy yard,
And have the Rabbi raze her crumbling, ruined walls.
And the woman knew it was her ending,
When so much was beginning.
No dawn would soothe her fevered night.
No light could wash her cluttered yard.
And the Rabbi’s word would start the battering of her walls.
And the Rabbi made an ending,
When so much was beginning.
His scalpel cut the stone throwers’ cancer in the night.
His light exposed their hidden dusty yards.
And His word softly slammed their hardened rocky walls.
And so there was an ending,
And so much was beginning.
The Dawn had soothed the fevered Night
And stones patterned the dusty Temple yard,
And the Rabbi had softly razed its ancient stony walls.

John 8

Below is the poem I promised to post last week in response to this discussion, in which Kirstin, the editor of Catapult, has recently weighed in about her reasons for publishing the controversial article.
The poem was written for a poetry class in 1994 in which we were to keep the same end words in each stanza we wrote. I am not really pleased with how this poem reads, even though I haven’t done anything to fix it in the intervening decade or so, but I do like some of the images in it.
John 8
It was an odd time to make an ending,
When so much was beginning.
Fresh silence soothing the fever of the night.
Clean sunlight washing the dusty temple yard.
And a young Rabbi softly rending its ancient stony walls.
But they had brought the woman there to make an ending,
When so much was beginning,
With scalpel-stones to excise her cancer in the night,
With harsh light to expose her temple’s filthy yard,
And have the Rabbi raze her crumbling, ruined walls.
And the woman knew it was her ending,
When so much was beginning.
No dawn would soothe her fevered night.
No light could wash her cluttered yard.
And the Rabbi’s word would start the battering of her walls.
And the Rabbi made an ending,
When so much was beginning.
His scalpel cut the stone throwers’ cancer in the night.
His light exposed their hidden dusty yards.
And His word softly slammed their hardened rocky walls.
And so there was an ending,
And so much was beginning.
The Dawn had soothed the fevered Night
And stones patterned the dusty Temple yard,
And the Rabbi had softly razed its ancient stony walls.

Fat Hobbit

It had been quite some time since he had been
On an adventure, and there was the fat
To show for that, and in his mind, unseen,
An equally fattish lethargy, that
Grew large and seemed to swallow everything.
But he had heard the holy songs of elves.
And longing grew to wander and to sing
Songs of those who’ve learned to forget themselves,
And in forgetting gain the Earth entire.
Farewell to constant comfort and to ease,
Not choosing, but to bear the dark and mire,
To see and be the light to truer peace.
How can such foolishness be all that’s wished
For, to be, not less, but more hobbittish.