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Walking on Water : Reflections on faith and…

Walking on Water : Reflections on faith and art

by Madeleine L'Engle

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To write, paint, compose music or poetry is a creative act - it is in fact an act of prayer whether the artist acknowledges the prayer or not, whether he is a person of faith or not. L'Engle writes from her own experiences as a writer and as a person of faith, specifically a Christian, and explores the relationship between the creative expressions of art and the nature of faith. It is as well written as her novels and gives artists especially plenty of food for thought about the relationship between art and faith. ( )
  Al-G | Jul 20, 2015 |
This book is one of the best I've read for artists who also happen to have a strong religious faith. L'Engle approaches creativity as a natural response to being created in the image of The Creator. In fact, she explains that most children start out creative, but wander (or are trained) away from these activities. Unlike many Christian "artists" she defines the individual as an artist who happens to be Christian, rather than a Christian who is obligated to produce art as an evangelism tool. What I respected most was her assertion that art designed to evangelize tends to be come across as forced, and is often lower quality because of this.

The book is also filled with some great concepts for helping the artist to reconnect or remain connected to creativity. I strongly recommend this to Christian artists of all genres: music, visual, literary, dance, etc. Well worth the read for those interested in becoming the person you were created to be, rather than the one that the Church tells you to be. ( )
  Neftzger | Jul 17, 2015 |
Madeleine L'Engle's faith and beliefs differ from mine. I was brought up, however, to not automatically reject ideas because they came from different viewpoints from mine. Besides, L'Engle's thoughtful consideration of concepts reveal her to be a seeker, not someone with all the answers. This book is useful for anyone who struggles for self-expression, no matter what the medium, no matter what they believe or don't believe. I have returned to this book again and again. ( )
  lilyfathersjoy | Feb 23, 2010 |
Revelatory insights about the nature of art and how it relates to Faith. Madeleine L'Engle is so honest, she can't help but inspire. ( )
  SirRoger | Aug 5, 2008 |
Thought-provoking book. From the author of "A Wrinkle in Time", reflections on what it means to be a Christian artist. Not in the sense that "Christian art" is being made, but instead, how is faith involved when an artist who happens to be a Christian creates a work of art? When Bach composes a fugue, or when Michelangelo sculpts a masterpiece? Or, for a more contemporary example, think of U2, a band where at least some of the members considered not persuing a secular career lest it be contrary to their Christian faith. How would their lives and music have been different? Would Bono have had the impact, or been able to accomplish all that he has?
In addition to some great thoughts to contemplate, this book is a little gold mine of wonderful quotes on the arts.
"The author and the reader know each other; they meet on the bridge of words."
"Every work of art is the discovery of a new planet; and it may well be a hostile one." ( )
3 vote PCGator | Mar 20, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 087788918X, Hardcover)

Walking on Water collects 12 brief meditations by Madeleine L'Engle on the nature of art and its relation to faith. L'Engle, the beloved author of A Wrinkle In Time among others, has written and spoken widely and wisely about the connection between religion and art. The gist of her understanding is as follows:
To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory. It is what makes me respond to the death of an apple tree, the birth of a puppy, northern lights shaking the sky, by writing stories.
She believes that "[b]asically there can be no categories such as 'religious' art and 'secular' art because all true art is incarnational, and therefore 'religious.'" And "incarnation," in L'Engle's view, means "God's revelation of himself through particularity." In this book there is some slippage between L'Engle's autobiographical and critical voices. As a result, she often claims Christian significance for works whose meaning is not intentionally Christian. She admits this freely:
[B]ecause I am a struggling Christian, it's inevitable that I superimpose my awareness of all that happened in the life of Jesus upon what I'm reading, upon Buber, upon Plato, upon the Book of Daniel. But I'm not sure that's a bad thing. To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know him as all in all.
-- Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In this classic book, Madeleine L'Engle addresses the questions, What makes art Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L'Engle's beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one's own art.… (more)

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