Thursday, April 30, 2009

George MacDonald

"Truth is truth, whether from the lips of Jesus or Balaam."

from Unspoken Sermons

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Plato

“The power of the Good has taken refuge in the nature of the Beautiful.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dr. Seuss

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blaise Pascal

“We arrive at the truth, not by the reason only, but also by the heart.”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boy: Tales of Childhood, Roald Dahl



5 stars
A marvelous and delightful book. Dahl's recollections of his childhood in this autobiography take the reader (or listener in my case) to another time. This reading was narrated by Andrew Sachs who enhances Dahl's reflections as he brings to life the colorful characters of Dahl's life and lifts them off the page and into the imagination. The book follows Dahl's lifespan from birth until about 20 years old. He writes with great wit and detail and my boys and I found ourselves laughing out loud many times as we entered into the adventures of his boyhood in the early decades of the 20th century.

Friday, April 24, 2009

C.S. Lewis

"We all agree that the story of Balder is a great myth, a thing of inexhaustible value. But whose version - whose words - are we thinking when we say this? For my own part, the answer is that I am not thinking of anyone's words. No poet, as far as I know or can remember, has told this story supremely well. I am not thinking of any particular version of it. If the story is anywhere embodied in words, that is almost an accident. What really delights and nourishes me is a particular pattern of events, which would equally delight and nourish if it had reached me by some medium which involved no words at all - say by a mime, or a film. And I find this to be true of all such stories."

in the preface of George MacDonald: An Anthology, 365 Readings, xxix

Thursday, April 23, 2009

C.S. Lewis

[Weston speaking on the nature of the 'spirit' within] "Call it a Force. A great, inscrutable Force, pouring up into us from the dark bases of being. A Force that can choose its instruments. It is only lately, Ransom, that I've learned from actual experience something which you have believed all your life as part of your religion." Here he suddenly subsided again into a whisper - a croaking whisper unlike his usual voice. "Guided," he said. "Chosen. Guided. I've become conscious that I'm a man set apart. Why did I do physics? Why did I discover the Weston rays? Why did I go to Malacandra? It - the Force - has pushed me on all this time. I'm being guided. I know now that I am the greatest scientist the world has yet produced. I've been made so for a purpose. It is through me that Spirit itself is at this moment pushing on to its goal."

"Look here," said Ransom, "one wants to be careful about this sort of thing. There are spirits and spirits you know."

"Eh?" said Weston. "What are you talking about?"

"I mean a thing might be a spirit and not good for you."

"But I thought you agreed that Spirit was the good - the end of the whole process? I thought you religious people were all out for spirituality? What is the point of asceticism - fasts and celibacy and all that? Didn't we agree that God is a spirit? Don't you worship Him because He is pure spirit?"

"Good heavens, no! We worship Him because He is wise and good. There's nothing specially fine about something simply being a spirit. The Devil is a spirit."

in Perelandra, chpt. 7

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

memory:

The past living in the present - the spark that fans into the flame of history.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

creativity:

Like origami, it is lifting the extraordinary out of the plain; it is the fold and turn that defines.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pablo Picasso

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

C.S. Lewis

"I am His beast, and all His biddings are joy."

~ the Lady of Perelandra speaking to Ransom of her King

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Ice Dragon, George R. R. Martin



3.5 stars
A quick read - I read this one to my kids in under an hour (107 pages with good illustrations throughout). This was a good story and worth the time but is not amazing literature. If you are looking for a dragon story that can be read in one sitting it is worth picking up. The realities of life and death come through in the tale and there are some good lessons that help form the moral imagination. A great book for an elementary student to pick up and read on a rainy Saturday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elie Wiesel

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

anniversary:

It was nineteen years ago today that my mother died - "36 years young" as my father wrote it in the obituary. It was Easter Sunday that year and the years since have proven that life goes on and it is grand.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Anne Lamott

"If you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining."

Monday, April 13, 2009

giftedness:

A vessel of grace - oh that I should be the carrier of grace to another.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

tomb:

a symbol of sorrow - but not so when the stone is rolled away and what was becomes what is and what is to come...

Friday, April 10, 2009

kill:

What one can do to the body alone - and we are more than flesh and blood.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

service:

The eyes and ears set in the heart whose limbs run and reach into the world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

palm:

Like ourselves, it can be curled into a fist of darkness or opened as unto light.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Frederick Buechner

"The Gospel is bad news before it is good news."

from Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy & Fairy Tale

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Princess and The Goblin, George MacDonald



5 stars
This story was first published in 1872 and is well worth the read over a hundred years later. (This book also has a sequel: The Princess and Curdie) MacDonald has woven together a brilliant fairy tale. I read the book to my children, but like any good fairy tale found myself enjoying it more than them at points. Complete with dreams and visions, goblins and escapes, love and heroism; it is a book filled with truth. If you are looking for a delightful and fun read that draws attention to what is good - pick up this story.

As W.H. Auden wrote, "To me, George MacDonald's most extraordinary, and precious, gift is his ability, in all his stories, to create an atmosphere of goodness about which there is nothing phony or moralistic. Nothing is rarer in literature."

MacDonald was also one who had a huge influence on C.S. Lewis as seen in these quotes:

"I know nothing that gives me such a feeling of spiritual healing, of being washed, as to read G. MacDonald."
from The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves

"I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master; indeed I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him."
from the preface of George MacDonald: An Anthology by Lewis

For those of you who know Lewis' writings you may recall it is MacDonald who Lewis interacts with in The Great Divorce. Also, in a later introduction that Lewis wrote for MacDonald's Phantastes he states: "What it [Phantastes] actually did to me was convert, even to baptise my imagination."