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Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica and Other Unexpected Places (Wheaton Literary) [Hardcover]

By Madeleine L'Engle (Author) & Leif Enger (Foreword by)
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Item description for Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica and Other Unexpected Places (Wheaton Literary) by Madeleine L'Engle & Leif Enger...

In Penguins and Golden Calves, Madeleine L'Engle uses the startling beauty of Antarctica as a backdrop for her discussion of how icons-everyday "windows to God"-reveal to us the glory of our Maker. She also shows how those icons can become idols that cripple us spiritually. With captivating stories and insightful metaphors, L'Engle brings us to a deeper understanding of the God's presence in our lives.

Publishers Description
Despite protests and warnings from friends and family, author Madeleine L'Engle, at the age of seventy-four, embarked on a rafting trip to Antarctica. Her journey through the startling beauty of the continent led her to write "Penguins and Golden Calves, "a captivating discussion of how opening oneself up to icons, or everyday "windows to God," leads to the development of a rich and deeply spiritual faith.
Here, L'Engle explains how ordinary things such as family, words, the Bible, heaven, and even penguins can become such windows. She also shows how such a window becomes an idol-a penguin becomes a "golden calf"-when we see it as a reflection of itself instead of God.
With delightful language, insightful metaphor, and personal stories, L'Engle brings readers to a deeper understanding of themselves, their faith, and the presence of God in their daily lives.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica and Other Unexpected Places (Wheaton Literary) by Madeleine L'Engle & Leif Enger has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 03/11/1996 page 54

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Shaw Books
Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.52" Width: 5.39" Height: 0.99"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 18, 2003
Publisher   Shaw Books
Series  Wheaton Literary  
ISBN  0877886318  
ISBN13  9780877886310  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Madeleine L'Engle & Leif Enger

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Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was the Newbery Medal-winning author of more than 60 books, including the much-loved A Wrinkle in Time. Born in 1918, L'Engle grew up in New York City, Switzerland, South Carolina and Massachusetts. Her father was a reporter and her mother had studied to be a pianist, and their house was always full of musicians and theater people. L'Engle graduated cum laude from Smith College, then returned to New York to work in the theater. While touring with a play, she wrote her first book, The Small Rain, originally published in 1945. She met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, when they both appeared in The Cherry Orchard.

Upon becoming Mrs. Franklin, L'Engle gave up the stage in favor of the typewriter. In the years her three children were growing up, she wrote four more novels. Hugh Franklin temporarily retired from the theater, and the family moved to western Connecticut and for ten years ran a general store. Her book Meet the Austins, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book of 1960, was based on this experience.

Her science fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time was awarded the 1963 Newbery Medal. Two companion novels, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet (a Newbery Honor book), complete what has come to be known as The Time Trilogy, a series that continues to grow in popularity with a new generation of readers. Her 1980 book A Ring of Endless Light won the Newbery Honor. L'Engle passed away in 2007 in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Madeleine L'Engle lived in New York City, in the state of New York. Madeleine L'Engle was born in 1918 and died in 2007.

Madeleine L'Engle has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Austin Family
  2. Crosswicks Journal
  3. Crosswicks Journal
  4. Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet
  5. Wheaton Literary
  6. Writers' Palette Book

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( L ) > L'Engle, Madeleine
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Devotionals
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica and Other Unexpected Places?

Excellent  Jul 5, 2007
This book was my first taste of Madeleine L'Engle and without a doubt, I fell in love with her. L'Engle's writing style is one of transparency and authenticity. Our book club went through this one together, and it sparked a lot of good conversation.
Penguins and Golden Calves  May 12, 2006
This book was a wonderful affirmation of faith. So many so called "Christian" writers simply spew the same ideas phrases and make those of us who question or search for new truth feel that we are doomed. Madeleine L'Engle shares her insights and faith and helps us see that many of the tired old things we have been taught are simply not true.
Not as good as I remembered  Sep 11, 2003
I started reading this book a number of years ago when I was in high school, but only recently did I get the book and finish it.

While I still enjoy L'Engle's writing and craft, her content let me down here. I was disappointed in what I had remembered as a brilliant piece of Christian writing -- though apparently I hadn't read far enough into the book to encounter anything at odds with orthodoxy.

Maybe it is growing as a reader or as a Christian or both, but my perspective on this book has changed, and I have to agree with the reader from Ohio that Ms. L'Engle's work here is riddled with contradictions, experience-over-Scripture reasonings, and a few vaguely disturbing conclusions.

I was also surprised and disappointed with the almost one-sided and flat picture she seems to have of God, even while she claims that He is so big and outside of us that we cannot hope to comprehend Him. Scripturally, this is true to a point, however, Scripture also tells us that He has revealed Himself to us . . . in Scripture and through the incarnation of the Word, Christ.

Almost in contradiction to God's revelation, however, L'Engle warns us not to take His Word literally -- leaving me to wonder if she truly believes the Bible is God's Word, that He had anything to do with writing it, or if she reads it as if only human authors are responsible. This seems rather likely, actually, as she at one point considers dismissing part of the Old Testament as simply "wrong" because she doesn't like it and doesn't think it sounds like the God she has formed in her mind.

The only attribute of God she talks about is love. While this is undoubtably an extremely important attribute of God, He has also told us about many other attributes: holiness, righteousness, justice, mercy . . . even righteous jealousy and anger. The only times she speaks of such ideas, tho, is if they support her lovey-dovey amorphous image of God. Otherwise she ignores them.

Though she claims that literalists (she uses this name as tantamount to an insult) limit the character of God by their literalism, it is in fact L'Engle who creates a limited, flat, and powerless God by her completely subjective image of Him.

By ignoring the other aspects of His character that He Himself has revealed in Scripture, she comes up with a God who is at odds with Scripture, particularly the Old Testament. So what does she do with this conflict? She ignores anything in the OT that disagrees with her, almost saying that it has no meaning.

And that "almost" is what I find most difficult about L'Engle. She "almost" says a lot of things. She almost says she has the right to pick and choose which parts of the Bible are real and which aren't. She almost says that experience is more important than special revelation. She almost says that the Bible is really just a big allegory.

Understand me, she doesn't SAY any of these things, at least not in this book. Not being a theologian, I cannot be certain of this, but I am pretty sure she never actually crosses over into heresy . . . she just flits around very close to it.

On the whole, I find L'Engle can be a refreshing reminder of the mystical, experiential, loving side of God -- something that, it is true, the "literalists" (like myself) often forget or are even afraid of. However, she offers little else, and it is dangerous to read her as if she is a student/teacher of Scripture, for she seems quite willing to place her own "God experience" above what God actually says in Scripture.

Ms. L'Engle has mastered the art of self-contradiction!  Apr 23, 2003
This book is loaded with positive, faith-filled statements and then retractions on the same subjects of faith! I couldn't believe some of the hypocrisy and thinly-veiled attempts to 'get back' at two Christian women who suggested that her books read more like liberal manifestos than Christian presentations. She suggests that the bible can become an idol when taken literally. I expect Christians to take the words of Christ to heart if this is their religion, whatever does she mean? I read this entire book and came away more perplexed than inspired. Her vague, abstract notions of the spiritual life are disturbing at the very least. Not what I would consider a positive Christian book, but more of a philosophical treatise on how God "should" be like (which happens to be a God who ultimately forgives Satan in the next life--say what?!). She claims to have read the bible many times in her life, which is very good, but her faith is in a God of her experience rather than the God who reveals himself in the bible as a God of Love but also a God who demands obedience.
A good read for Madeleine L'Engle fans  Apr 6, 2000
I have read nearly all of Madeleine L'Engle's books and while Penguins and Golden Calves is not her best work, it is interesting and well-written. Like most of L'Engle's non-fiction the book combines Christianity, social commentary, personal stories, poetry, and the spark that illuminates so many of L'Engle's books. To L'Engle, Penguins are icons and Golden Calves are idols. Each chapter focuses on a specific subject and ties it to spirituality. One chapter focuses on the importance of words, another on Abba, and another on Amma. Like always, L'Engle is opinionated, but even when I disagreed with her opinions I still enjoyed the book.

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