From MacDonald to Magical Realism: Faith and Fantasy with the Romantics, Marquez, Murakami, and Van Halen

In a genuine fairy-story, everything must be miraculous, mysterious, and interrelated; everything must be alive, each in its way. The whole of Nature must be wondrously blended with the whole world of Spirit.[1] Novalis, cited in George MacDonald, Phantastes While reading Phantastes I knew that I had crossed a great frontier. I had already been […]

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Lilith and The Queen’s Gambit: Two Ingenue Who Learn Love Through Sacrifice

Lilith, MacDonald’s final novel written forty years after Phantastes, continues its themes of nature throbbing with vitality, shrouded in beauty, and birthing joy. One key insight from Phantastes, that love is only complete when it is fully self-sacrificing, is central to the message of Lilith. The sacrifice in Lilith goes beyond mere selflessness to become […]

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Phantastes: Enchanting Beauty and Sacrificial Love

“My spirits rose as I went deeper into the forest … I found cheerfulness to be like life itself – not to be created by any argument”[1] – George MacDonald, Phantastes “I did not yet know the name of the new quality, the bright shadow, that rested on the travels of Anodos. I do now. […]

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Francis of Assisi

“Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun … Sister Moon … Brother Wind … sister Water … Brother Fire … Sister Mother Earth … Sister Bodily Death”  Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Sun, 1224   The Medievals persist in their relevance for the present day. Several Italians, […]

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Dante for Moderns

“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost”[1]  – Dante, Inferno   “Already were all my will and my desires Turned – as a wheel in equal balance – by The Love that moves the sun and the other stars.”[2] – Dante, Paradise […]

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Spacemen without Chests? Virtue and Technology in Star Trek and Dune

“What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.”[1] C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man “Your highly emotional behavior is most illogical.”[2]  Spock “It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice […]

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Tolkien and Miyazaki: Princess Mononoke and The Lord of the Rings in Conversation

Princess Mononoke, an animated film from legendary Japanese writer and director Hayao Miyazaki, is a fantasy tale of the struggle between man and nature that in many ways echoes themes of innocence and evil found in writings and fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Miyazaki sets the […]

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Chesterton at the Movies

“I have a story that will make you believe in God”[1] – Yann Martel, Life of Pi   “Comparative religion is very comparative indeed… it is only comparatively successful when it tries to compare. When we come to look at it closely we find we are really trying to compare things that are really quite […]

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Bohemian Rocketmen in a Yellow Submarine: Dystopia, Eutopia and the Music of Belonging

Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in. Leonhard Cohen, Anthem (Selected Poems, 1956 – 1968) “Without friends no one would choose to live,”[1] Aristotle declares, while C.S. Lewis states: Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like […]

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Lewisvaldi

With the onset of Spring, it dawned on me that not only did Lewis have a fair amount to say about new life and Spring, he also had quite a bit to say about all the seasons at one point or another. Using some of Lewis’s own words, usually poetic enough on their own unmetered […]

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