Review: Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and ArtWalking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twenty years ago when I first read this book, I loved it. Admittedly I loved the feel, the atmosphere of it, but struggled more with the ideas and ideals. I didn’t have the relational background for many of the ideas in it, so the style and general consciousness was enough.

I’ve been intending to re-read it for a number of years and finally took the time.

Perfect timing.

The style and the ideas came into more overlap for me on this second reading. I could love both. Her insistence that Christians are artists and that Art – good art – is an expression of faith (even if not understood by the artist himself) is incredibly satisfying and strengthening. She insists that disciplined effort, that listening to the work, that revision, that vulnerability (even unto death) are all necessary for good art.

I really loved the idea of finding “cosmos from the chaos” the artist sees, seeks, attends to what is not immediately obvious in the overwhelm. As the Spirit hovered over the chaos and brought forth creation, so artists look for the solid ground in a world that is ever washing over and around them to bring order. Yes.

There are so many concepts here – naming, wholeness, trust, probabilities, paradox, love. It would be nearly impossible to collect them and share them. I can only share the book and say, “Read this. Take up your work.” The best review would be to practice the discipline in some art.

I don’t plan on waiting another 20 years before a re-read.

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