Saturday, September 08, 2007

More About Madeleine L'Engle

In looking for more reflections on Madeleine L'Engle's life and work, I found a web interview that Newsweek magazine did. It's from the three years ago. I include not the whole, but parts. For the whole interview, go to

What are you working on at the moment? A book about aging: enjoy it, you might as well. And it’s not all bad. I can say what I want, and I don’t get punished for it.

Such as? Such as I sometimes think God is a s--t—and he wouldn’t be worth it otherwise. He’s much more interesting when he’s a s--t.

So to you, faith is not a comfort? Good heavens, no. It’s a challenge: I dare you to believe in God. I dare you to think [our existence] wasn’t an accident. Many people see faith as anti-intellectual.Then they’re not very bright. It takes a lot of intellect to have faith, which is why so many people only have religiosity.

What are you against? Narrow-mindedness. I’m against people taking the Bible absolutely literally, rather than letting some of it be real fantasy, like Jonah. You know, the whole story of David is a novel … Faith is best expressed in story.

If the Bible is not literally true, does that mean we don’t need to take it seriously? Oh no, you do, because it’s truth, not fact, and you have to take truth seriously even when it expands beyond the facts.

So when you call the Bible a book of stories, you’re not diminishing it? Anything but. Right from the beginning, from the story of Eve. Eve has gone on to be considered far worse than she is in the direct Bible story—and David far better. I love the story of Jonah; I think it’s very funny. And I like the story of Esther, as long as you stop about a quarter of the way through, before she turns into a real bloody girl.

I always felt sorry for Vashti, though—the first Mrs. Ahasuerus. All she did was refuse to dance. Yes, she gets forgotten. But that was a very big thing she did, refuse to dance. Enormous.

1 comment:

Songbird said...

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that piece.