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George MacDonald Book Club

Purchase Sir Gibbie with Discount Code 20GMD24.  This will apply a 20% discount to the full order, limited to 1 claim per customer.

 

February 2

THANK YOU for all the enthusiastic George MacDonald readers who laughed, drank lukewarm tea (sorry - next time I'll figure out how to do tea for MANY people!), and shared from the heart. Such a gift to be on this journey together. Here is the article Trevor suggested comparing What's Mine's Mine with Lewis' The Great Divorce.

Are you ready for Book #2 in our George MacDonald dash? As we at Trinity are celebrating his birthday, we will leave his more tame (English words) novels behind and venture into another famous novel set in Scotland, with more of the local Doric dialect. On April 28, just after our 6pm Evensong service, we will gather to discuss SIR GIBBIE at the Canlis home. Start reading now - life will catch up with you, I promise!

Fun fact: George MacDonald had 11 children, and were it not for the enthusiastic financial support of Queen Victoria, he might have had to take an ordinary "day job."

  • Come to this quarter's GMD discussion group armed with Sir Gibbie.  This edition includes the English translation of the Doric dialect so it's highly recommended.
     

  • Here is the free audiobook in Librivox (I recommend downloading the app onto your phone, rather than listening through this link on your computer).
     

  • Come also having seen this 70 minute documentary: The Fantasy Makers which will help you see the connections between George MacDonald and his heirs - CSLewis and Tolkien and others.

What are we celebrating when we read George MacDonald? We are celebrating the importance (often lost) of the imagination for understanding reality, Scripture, and the ways we are united to Christ. This does not mean that Scripture is "imagined" but that brute facts are not adequate to hold the depth of reality (sorry to disappoint) and whether you are a 2000 BC Psalmist or a Victorian author, both need a vigorous Scripture-shaped imagination to integrate the perils of life with the realities and promises of God. Jesus himself had a God-saturated imagination - able to perceive his Father in the chequered history of Israel. Listen to what George MacDonald says of facts, and their goodness but also inadequacy to convey the depth of truth: "All dreams are not false; some dreams are truer than the plainest facts. Fact at best is but a garment of truth, which has ten thousand changes of raiment woven in the same loom." - What's Mine's Mine

 

If you missed the first book, welcome to the club! Julie

November 30

 

One of the greatest Christian writers (and arguably the person who fathered the entire genre of fantasy) is George MacDonald. C. S. Lewis saw him as his spiritual father, called him "my master," and it was grabbing a MacDonald novel from a used bookstore (as he was jumping on a train) that was C. S. Lewis' undoing. "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." It was not MacDonald's apologetics that converted Lewis' rational mind, it was MacDonald's stories that "baptized my imagination" (Lewis). Lewis tasted goodness in these stories. And his longing for the "true" things in life was ignited ... a longing which led him to his famous walk at Oxford with Tolkien, and his becoming the world's most reluctant convert. (That is only a tiny bit of the story - because in truth, MacDonald was one of the most respected literary critics of his generation. He was friends with Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), Coleridge (Rime of the Ancient Mariner), and others - and he mentored them all through various seasons of spiritual dryness and drought. What you will find in MacDonald is not your ordinary Christian thinker, but one whose imagination is on fire - and who reads Scripture - and life - in ways that will captivate you.)

This coming 2024 is George MacDonald's bicentenary and I invite you to read FOUR BOOKS (one every quarter) together as a community.

All I will do is give you the reading list, pair each book with a podcast / article and then throw a discussion party on the last Sunday of Jan/April/July/Oct after Evensong at my house with shortbread and tea and other nefarious Scottish delights (read: whisky). I'm letting you know now, so you can order the books and get started.

JANUARY: The novel set in the Highlands "What's Mine's Mine" (This was CS Lewis' favorite GMD Scottish novel).

PARTY: January 28, 6:45pm at the Canlis House (after Evensong)

PODCAST: How C. S. Lewis was impacted by George MacDonald [S5E27 – AH – "MacDonald and Phantastes" – After Hours with Dr. Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson]

If you want to order it and have a hard copy, they are about $10 (just make sure you get the whole book, not "volume 1" or something like that). If you want to read it off the internet/kindle, go to Project Gutenberg (What's Mine's Mine — Complete by George MacDonald). And if you want a free audiobook, get it from Librivox.org on your computer [What's Mine is Mine: LibriVox] or download the Librivox App on your phone and have access to 40,000 free audiobooks that are out of print, including this one!

Here are a few wonderful quotes to get your appetite whetted for the book:

  • Christina's world was a very small one, and in its temple stood her own image.

  • The good man would at once recognize and reject the pride of a bad man. A pride that loves cannot be so bad as a pride that hates. Yet if the good man does not cast out his pride, it will sink him lower than the bad man's, for it will degenerate into a worse pride than that of any bad man.

  • Isabel did not understand that she cared more about salvation than about God—that, if she could but keep her boy out of hell, she would be content to live on without any nearer approach to Him in whom she had her being! God was to her an awe, not a ceaseless, growing delight.

That's it! Hope to see you at my house, shortbread crumbs on your fingers, with lots of good quotes to discuss!

 

Julie

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