Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Review: An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle

An Acceptable Time continues the story of Polly O'Keefe and Zachary Grey from A House Like a Lotus (which I read on vacation, but didn't review). I have to say that I  haven't enjoyed these two books as much as I did the Austin Family series.  While L'Engle's writing is good, her universalism really comes out here and I think her error is in believing that God is all love to the exclusion of His other characteristics. 

A few quotes:

It was as if lightning flashed into my spirit ... and with the light such a profound peace and joy came into my heart.  In one moment I felt as if wholly revitalized by some infinite power, so that my body would be shattered like an earthen vessel.   -John Thomas 18th Century Welshman
Truth is eternal.  Knowledge is changeable.  It is disastrous to confuse them.
 And all the wickedness in the world that man might work or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal in the sea. -William Langland ca 1400
I did appreciate L'Engle's emphasis on Christ's eternity, that he was just as there in the 3000 years past as he is today and will be tomorrow.  As this book centered around travel in time and space and God's unifying presence, that reminder was particularly poignant.

Polly quotes part of St. Patrick's Breastplate when in a particularly difficult situation.  And, yet, she doesn't truly completely believe.  She is willing to coalesce the beliefs to the druidic Native Americans she meets (in time) with those of Christianity, yet another expression.

The theme of selfishness was twined through this book, as always whenever Zachary Grey shows up.  Who are we willing to sacrifice for our good? What is a willing sacrifice? Does blood sacrifice really have any effect?  Are we replete with our very selves?

A House Like a Lotus explores similar themes with a much darker set of circumstances and I was so bothered by it that I don't think I'll review it.

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