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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Reading George MacDonald's "Unspoken Sermons"



I know that having borrowed his surname I ought to have read his works, but the truth of the matter is that the only George MacDonald books that I had read until recently were Phantastes and The Wise Woman. It was simply a question of time—not enough of it. However, I have finally got around to reading Lilith and Unspoken Sermons.

MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons was a text I had wanted to read for a long time. What finally helped me to get around to it was the gift of a wonderful new edition of the work that very helpfully breaks it down into daily readings, spread out over a year. The text is the same—with some edits to reduce redundancy—but now one only has to set aside a few minutes per day to get through it. That is do-able.

So I am now a few months into it, and I must confess that I am very surprised (though perhaps I should not have been) at just how profound MacDonald's theology is. The guys is really underrated as a serious spiritual thinker.

I highly recommend this as a great way into MacDonald's thought. It is spiritually uplifting and deeply insightful.

The new edition has been put together by Onesimus, a pseudonym. Here are the details
George MacDonald
Consuming Fire: 
The Inexorable Power of God's Love: 
A Devotional Version of Unspoken Sermons

ISBN: 978-1512145380

424 pages
On Amazon the price is
UK—£9.48
US—$14.95 

Here are some endorsements
"A daily devotional featuring the words and spiritual insights of George MacDonald was a wonderful idea, and Consuming Fire, named after MacDonald's great sermon of the same name, may be the perfect introduction to his reflections on God and Christian living.  For those who already know and love these sermons, it will provide them with an opportunity to meditate daily on the spiritual insights contained therein."
Thomas Talbott, author of the critically acclaimed book, The Inescapable Love of God               

 "Pastors often read classic sermons when preparing their own messages. In reading some of the great preachers of the past, I've sometimes thought, 'This guy is brilliant!' But when I came to read the Unspoken Sermons of George MacDonald, the thought that came to me was, 'This guy knows Jesus,' and I saw my need to know Him better. This devotional, Consuming Fire, will give any reader fresh ways to ponder the scripture and the One toward whom the scripture points."
John Kermott, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Sterling, IL

At first glance, Onesimus' notion of a year-long series of meditations on the thought of George MacDonald seemed dubious; should not one simply be directed to read MacDonald himself? After reading the first meditations, however, I became convinced that here was a brilliant introduction to and recommendation of MacDonald. Onesimus gently brings the reader under the spell of George MacDonald, and illustrates for the modern reader why we owe MacDonald for Lewis. 
Lynn E. Mitchell, Jr., Ph.D.,Clinical Professor and Director of Religious Studies, Retired, University of Houston

"C. S. Lewis once remarked that George MacDonald was his master. I think of MacDonald as a modern staretz, someone who enjoyed a profound relationship with God and intimately knew the depths of His love and mercy.  The daily reflections of Consuming Fire are a wonderful way to enter into MacDonald's vision of the Father and the life freely given in Jesus Christ." 
Fr. Alvin Kimel, Eclectic Orthodoxy, a theological blog devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church Fathers, and the Orthodox faith

"In his lifetime, George MacDonald would often give poems or prose for publication to help raise funds for various charities. If my great-great-grandfather were here today, I am convinced that ALS is a cause to which he would have given an entire novel. Lou Gehrig's Disease is a heartbreaking affliction, and organizations such as the ALS Therapy Development Institute deserve all our support to help eradicate it. I very much hope this wonderful devotional, Consuming Fire, will raise both awareness and much needed funds to this end."
Christopher Peter MacDonald, London, England

 

1 comment:

Pat McDermott said...

Robin, you've rightly said that George had/has the mind and heart of Christ. I've read much of his works, and am amazed at how adroitly he weaves pure Christianity into every text. Read on! He is just brilliant! And never fails to emphasize that God IS Love, and that, our God is a consuming fire: a fire that burns away the dross until we LOVE and desire that fire! --Sincerely,
Pat
(Funny that in 'Four Views..." Stackhouse begins with G.K. Chesterton: "As I passed the fire I did not know whether it was Hell or the furious love of God." So appropriate for backing universalism!)