Friday, January 11, 2008

Madeleine L'Engle and Luci Shaw

Luci Shaw has written a wonderful appreciation of her friend Madeleine L'Engle. She describes the growth of a genuine and fruitful friendship, which seems to fit Lewis's description of "friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest."

At one point she describes a doctrinal disagreement.
There was not always agreement. Madeleine was uncomfortable with the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. For her, the idea that Jesus had to be punished by his Father for human beings to be forgiven signified what she called a "forensic" understanding of theology. "How could a loving God ever kill his Beloved Son?" she would ask. In the continuum of God's Love and Righteousness she came down squarely on the Love end of things. She also prayed that eventually "every knee will bow" to God, not just in submission but in adoration, that "no-one will finally be excluded from the party." She hoped that "no human being's rebellion could outlive the love of God," brought to this hope by her reading of George MacDonald's theology. We discussed this endlessly, for my part referencing C. S. Lewis' depiction of MacDonald in The Great Divorce. I guess I came to think: "Well, if universalism is a heresy, it's one I wish were true!"
Their interests, in creative writing and art, in travel, and most of all, their common faith, led to the kind of friendship that easily endures disagreement, and, perhaps, even thrives on it.

Madeleine L'Engle - Books & Culture

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