I’m 3/4 through Madeleine L’engle’s Crosswicks Journals and they are whispering sweet nothings to my mother/writer/sojourner heart. My facebook page is painfully aware of that because I’ve been slinging mad L’engle wisdom like it’s going out of style these last few weeks.
I’m well aware that my constant quoting might be annoying. I’ve tried to damper it a bit, I swear. I’m picking only the best of the best to share with you people so that hopefully you won’t unlike my page. Cause that hurts my feelings. Don’t do it.
Until this past week. Finally, one brave penguin in the crowd dared to be different. Someone had finally had enough, I suppose, and they schooled me a bit about my dear Madeleine. And I quote:
“Madeleine L’Engle was a Universalist. She believed that everyone was going to heaven, and therefore believed that there was no hell…… while a VERY good writer– she was sadly lost, and made a bad name for Bible believing Christians.”
Where do I begin? How about those last three words. Let’s just go ahead and get our hands dirty.
This phrase “Bible believing Christians” – it means nothing. Nothing. I haven’t met a professing Christian that didn’t believe in their core that they were a Bible believing Christian. If someone doesn’t think the same as us on theological matters we throw them under the bus as not Bible believing. That’s crap. Pick a different phrase.
Second, L’engle being a Universalist was news to me. I’ve never read anything about her, I’ve only read her work, first hand. And I can confidently say after reading 3 out of 4 of her Journals that Madeleine took her faith seriously and had a mature understanding of God that is obviously a product of a life-long pursuit of Him.
Her books are slap-bang full of God’s truth. The end. Wikipedia indeed claims she was a Universalist but there’s not a hint of it in her journals and, frankly, I don’t care if she was. There are worse things to be in life.
At the end of the day, we are saved by our faith, not our theology.
It is presumptuous, at best, to assume only our own theology is correct. It’s not. Let me repeat, your theology is not the full truth. No one’s is. Jesus himself is the only human who ever had perfect theology. And even he admitted that there are some things that only the Father knows.
What gives (“Bible believing”) Christians a bad name is being known for our snobbery, our in-fighting, instead of our love.
Even if you produce for me right here, right now, a L’engle quote that’s theologically loopy as Hell, all you’ve proven is that she was human, and that’s a far cry from “sadly lost”.
Madeleine L’engle may have been a Universalist, she may have wrestled with Agnosticism and even the occasional bout of Atheism, but one thing I am sure of – if there is an after-life to be had, she is sitting on the side with Jesus.
So let’s not be so harsh on old Madeleine (and each other), eh?
“The Trinity is unity in diversity; the Trinity is our model for community.
When I think of the phrase The Coming of the Kingdom it means to me a restoration of community, the healing of brokenness which will enable us to rejoice once more in being one – not solitary, isolated one, but whole, body, intellect, spirit at peace; mind, heart, intuition in collaboration.
There are those who do not want this wholeness, who want to continue the process of fragmentation, and this has to be fought, with Michael and his angels by our side. If we care about wholeness, about unity in diversity, we are in battle.”
- Madeleine L’engle, The Irrational Season, 1977.
Thank God for speaking through asses and Universalists.
*this post proudly contains affiliate links to all four books in Madeleine’s Crosswicks Journals