Back of the North Wind

Discussions of theology, philosophy, religion and life inspired by the writings of George MacDonald (and perhaps others such as CS Lewis) posted by "recovering fundamentalists".

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I am a "recovering fundamentalist". The trick is to figure out how not to throw out the Baby with the bathwater. I learn through dialogue, and so invite commentary on my posts to Back of the North Wind.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A GMD Theology of X-Sports

Perhaps George MacDonald would have been a surfer, rock-climber, or skydiver had he lived in our time. In my reading this week, his main character, a parson, tells his daughter that he is going out for a walk in a severe storm. In response to her objection, here is George MacDonald's "theology of X-sports":

Do you think I should be better pleased with my boys if they shrunk from everything involving the least possibility of danger because there was no occasion for it? That is just the way to make cowards. And I am certain God would not like his children to indulge in such moods of self-preservation as that. He might well be ashamed of them. The fearful are far more likely to meet with accidents than the courageous.

George MacDonald, The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 29.

There's a significant context for this in the story. The parson's daughter suffered a horseback-riding accident, and was paralyzed from the waist down. So when MacDonald, through the voice of the parson, recommends against "indulgence in a mood of self-preservation", he does so in the context of an earlier serious consequence for a different, and presumably less dangerous, activity.