I had an unexpected reaction to Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art — on the one hand I found it sort of mundane and obvious. The themes she hits didn’t strike me as all that fresh or uncommon. On the other hand, the way she goes about describing them, and the way she threads in personal history with devotional discourse and aesthetics is quite nice, and I can see some writers of faith really bonding with this book. And, on one level, it was sort of comforting to see how the mundane (but difficult) attitudes, habits and faith of L’Engle operate in such a way that she was able to produce the great work that she did. That offers some hope to us Mormon toilers.
Here’s one excerpt worth sharing — I may post more:
Stories, no matter how simple, can be vehicles of truth; can be, in fact, icons. It’s not coincidence that Jesus taught almost entirely by telling stories, simple stories dealing with the stuff of life familiar to the Jews of his day. Stories are able to help us to become more whole, to become Named. And Naming is one of the impulses behind all art; to give a name to the cosmos we see despite all the chaos. Continue reading “L’Engle on icons of Naming”