Me: Approximately a year ago or so Mike & Courtney introduced me to The Rabbit Room Podcast. I listened and liked. If you travel to JH Gunn Elementary School on Sunday morning, as soon as you walk through the main entrance if you look approx. 25 paces in front of you and to the left you will see a sign with a list of Good Resources that the pastors at ECPC encourage you to look into. The Rabbit Room is on that list. So that’s a brief history, and little bit of bonus information, about how I came to know about, and how I choose to feel about, The Rabbit Room.
You: So why is this blog post entitled “George MacDonald”?
Me: Have some patience …I was just about to explain the title of this particular blog post before you interrupted with your question.
You: (stony silence)
Me: As I was saying, The Rabbit Room has a lot of good stuff to offer & munch on, and recently they recorded and released a podcast about What’s So Great About George MacDonald? Now, if you don’t know anything about George MacDonald, then the first thing you need to know is that Clive Staples Lewis was a huge fan of George! October 1916, Clive was a flamming atheist when he first picked up a copy of George MacDonald’s enigmatic book Phantastes, and God used this imaginative piece of literature to woe Lewis to Himself! Clive said this about MacDonald & his writing(s), “It was as if I were carried sleeping across the frontier, or as if I had died in the old country and could never remember how I came alive in the new. . . . I did not yet know (and I was long in learning) the name of the new quality, the bright shadow, that rested on the travels of Anodos. I do now. It was Holiness. . . . It was as though the voice which had called to me from the world’s end were now speaking at my side.” After Lewis had been captured and captivated by the Only True & Living God & His Marvelous Grace, he continued to be mentored by George through his writings – – – > “I found that [MacDonald] had accompanied me all the way, and that I was now at last ready to hear from him much that he could not have told me at that first meeting [so many years before]. But in a sense, what he was not telling me was the very same that he had told me from the beginning. . . . The quality which had enchanted me in his imaginative works turned out to be the quality of the real universe, the divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic reality in which we all live. I should have been shocked in my ’teens if anyone had told that what I had learned to love in Phantastes was goodness.”
You: Well, the fact that CS Lewis enjoyed George’s work is all well & good, but I like to decide for myself what I consider to be worthwhile and worthy of being labeled “Great.”
Me: Great! Let’s get you started then! Allow me to introduce you to some excerpts from George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons…
George: “All that is not God is death.”
George: “We are and remain such creeping Christians, because we look at ourselves and not at Christ; because we gaze at the marks of our own soiled feet, and the trail of our own defiled garments…. Each, putting his foot in the footprint of the Master, and so defacing it, turns to examine how far his neighbor’s footprint corresponds with that which he still calls the Master’s, although it is but his own.”
George: “It may be an infinitely less evil to murder a man than to refuse to forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion: the latter is the heart’s choice.”
George: “It is to the man who is trying to live, to the man who is obedient to the word of the Master, that the word of the Master unfolds itself.”
George: “To will not from self, but with the Eternal, is to live.”
George: …”It is as if the Father says to the Son, ‘Comfort them, my son Jesus, with the memory of thy patience when thou wast missing me. Comfort them that thou wast sure of me when everything about thee seemed so unlike me, so unlike the place thou hadst left.”
George: “Let us comfort ourselves in the thought of the Father and the Son. So long as there dwells harmony, so long as the Son loves the Father with all the love the Father can welcome, all is well with the little ones.”
George: “The God who forms a soul that shall understand him and be blessed; who never needs to be, and never is, in haste; who welcomes the simplest thought of truth or beauty as the return for seed he has sown upon the old fallows of eternity, who rejoices in the response of a faltering moment to the age-long cry of his wisdom in the streets; the God of music, of painting, of building, the Lord of Hosts, the God of mountains and oceans; whose laws go forth from one unseen point of wisdom, and thither return without an atom of loss; the God of history working in time unto christianity; this God is the God of little children, and he alone can be perfectly, abandonedly simple and devoted.”
George: “Our Lord had no design of constructing a system of truth in intellectual forms. The truth of the moment in its relation to him, The Truth, was what he spoke. He spoke out of a region of realities which he knew could only be suggested—not represented—in the forms of intellect and speech. With vivid flashes of life and truth his words invade our darkness, rousing us with sharp stings of light to will our awaking, to arise from the dead and cry for the light which he can give, not in the lightning of words only, but in indwelling presence and power.”
George: “You do not his will, and so you cannot understand him; you do not know him, that is why you cannot trust in him. You think your common sense enough to let you know what he means? Your common sense ought to be enough to know itself unequal to the task. It is the heart of the child that alone can understand the Father. Would you have me think you guilty of the sin against the Holy Ghost—that you understand Jesus Christ and yet will not obey him? That were too dreadful. I believe you do not understand him. No man can do yet what he tells him aright—but are you trying? Obedience is not perfection, but trying.”
George: “Love is one, and love is changeless. For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected–not in itself, but in the object. As it was love that first created humanity, so even human love, in proportion to its divinity, will go on creating the beautiful for its own outpouring. There is nothing eternal but that which loves and can be loved, and love is ever climbing towards the consummation when such shall be the universe, imperishable, divine. Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love’s kind, must be destroyed. And our God is a consuming fire.”
George: “As soon as a man begins to make excuses, the time has come when he might be doing that from which he excuses himself.”
George: “The destructible must be burned out of it, or begin to be burned out of it, before it can partake of eternal life. When that is all burnt away and gone, then it has eternal life. Or rather, when the fire of eternal life has possessed a man, then the destructible is gone utterly, and he is pure. Many a man’s work must be burned, that by that very burning he may be saved—”so as by fire.”
Me: That’s all for now. And if you don’t like George then perhaps you would prefer Flannery?