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Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols…

Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica and Other…

by Madeleine L'Engle

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The marvelous Madeleine L'Engle died in Sept. 2007 at the age of 88. Always one of my favorite authors, the news of her death spurred me to look at some of the books of hers I have not read.

Penguins and Golden Calves is one of her Christian-oriented non-fiction books, none of which I'd read before, in part because I'm not Christian. But I have always found her so wise that I wanted more of her perspective. To her penguins are icons, and icons are something that open a person to the experience of God, while golden calves represent idols, or things which people worship in place of God. Needless to say, she is all for the first and not for the second.

It is a beautiful book, as I expected. To her God is Love, and she deplores any Christianity that doesn't share that message and instead concentrates on who is going to hell.

I would love to share some quotes, but turned the book back into the library without copying any down. Just know that there are some wonderful passages.

Blessed peace, Madeleine L'Engle, and thank you for all the wonder, they mystery, the and the love your words brought into my life. ( )
  reannon | Nov 22, 2007 |
Madeleine strikes again. I cherish any words that she has ever written and this is no exception. She has an amazing ability to touch on tough matters with such tenderness and humility which is very foreign. She does all this with such respect for words quite unmatched. This book makes the distinction between icons and idols as well as some other subjects while always coming back to the ideas of what icons are. ( )
  jd234512 | Nov 26, 2006 |
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To Barbara and Bob Tarr
with thanks for their hospitality
which has given me time and place to write
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It can't be done. It's impossible. Words are not adequate to describe the raw and violent beauty of the bottom of the world, the land and frozen waters of the Antarctic continent.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0877886318, Hardcover)

Despite protests and warnings from friends and family, author Madeleine L’Engle, at the age of seventy-four, embarked on a rafting trip to Antarctica. Her journey through the startling beauty of the continent led her to write Penguins and Golden Calves, a captivating discussion of how opening oneself up to icons, or everyday “windows to God,” leads to the development of a rich and deeply spiritual faith.

Here, L’Engle explains how ordinary things such as family, words, the Bible, heaven, and even penguins can become such windows. She also shows how such a window becomes an idol–a penguin becomes a “golden calf”–when we see it as a reflection of itself instead of God.

With delightful language, insightful metaphor, and personal stories, L’Engle brings readers to a deeper understanding of themselves, their faith, and the presence of God in their daily lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:39 -0400)

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