Item description for A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness...
Overview Art critic John Ruskin enthusiastically proclaimed her potential as one of the best artists of the nineteenth century, but Lilias Trotter's devotion to Christ compelled her to surrender her life of art, privilege, and leisure. Leaving the home of her wealthy parents for a humble dwelling in Algeria, Lilias defied sterotypes and taboos that should have deterred any European woman from ministering in a Muslim country. Yet she stayed for nearly forty years, befriending Algerian Muslims with her appreciation for literature and art and winning them to Christ through her life of love.
Art critic John Ruskin enthusiastically proclaimed her potential as one of the best artists of the nineteenth century, but Lilias Trotter's devotion to Christ compelled her to surrender her life of art, privilege, and leisure. Leaving the home of her wealthy parents for a humble dwelling in Algeria, Lilias defied sterotypes and taboos that should have deterred any European woman from ministering in a Muslim country. Yet she stayed for nearly forty years, befriending Algerian Muslims with her appreciation for literature and art and winning them to Christ through her life of love.
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Studio: Discovery House Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.9" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2003
Publisher Discovery House Publishers
ISBN 1572931086 ISBN13 9781572931084
Availability 0 units.
More About Miriam Huffman Rockness
Miriam Huffman Rockness is the author of the acclaimed biography of Lilias Trotter, A Passion for the Impossible. She and her husband live in Florida.
Miriam Huffman Rockness currently resides in the state of Florida. Miriam Huffman Rockness was born in 1944.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter?
Amazing pioneer missionary Apr 13, 2007
I just finished reading this book and was so impressed with the astonishing results this woman achieved because of her total surrender to God's plans. An accomplished young artist from an upper class Victorian family, she left the comforts of England and went into Algeria, a country inhabitated by Arabs who were mostly Muslim. It was a slow but steady start, because of language problems, government interference (because of suspicions about missionaries motives), and just the differences in the different ways of thinking and lifestyles of the Algerian people.
Lilias spent several decades of her life doing the "basics" in securing the beginnings of a life long ministry among a people hungry for deep spiritual lessons, but finding ways to do this required much patience, thought and forgiveness. And on top of all this, she is dealing with a new language, both spoken and written.
The majority of this book is taken from Lilias's copius journals, letters and writings where she kept records of what she was involved in day by day.
I learned a lot about what the foreign missionary effort entails, and especially when you're the first to go into an area with some brand new ideas where life is so different. But she won them over slowly with her love. As time went on, she had much help from other women and men who worked with her in this cause.
The last couple of decades her health was not good, but she just kept on plugging away, even writing from her bed the last two years. She wrote some beautiful booklets that have profound lessons of faith and obedience in them. "Parables of the Cross" and "Parables of the Christ Life" are just two of them.
She gleaned such meaningful lessons from nature, things that the ordinary person would hardly think of. She could see great lessons from a grain of wheat, a peach, a bee, etc. She looked deeply into the whys and wherefores of the lessons that nature has to teach us.
Lilias really had a heart for these people and she felt that God gave her that heart and she was to do what she could as well as she could for as long as she could. She was true to that effort.
One thing I wished this book had was a map of the area that showed all the little towns and outposts that were mentioned in the book, and were developed over many years and many travels. This book is a good read, even though you are dealing with some new words and another way of thinking. You will learn a lot and wish you had known this woman who was totally devoted to God.
This Biography of Lilias Trotter is Unique and Definitive Feb 29, 2004
As the premier art critic in Victorian England, John Ruskin was the arbiter of taste. In 1883 he revealed a hard-to-believe prejudice: "For a long time I used to say . . . that except in a graceful and minor way, women could not draw or paint." Ruskin then discounted this view, based on his reaction to the art of a young woman named Lilias Trotter: "I'm beginning lately to bow myself to the much more delightful conviction that no one else can" draw or paint.
In a 1960s book, RUSKIN TODAY, Sir Kenneth Clark mentioned Trotter as someone lost to history. But Clark hadn't turned over every leaf, as has biographer Miriam Rockness, who discovered Trotter through bequeathed volumes of her out-of-print illustrated books.
A bright, talented daughter of a prominent stockbroker in London, Lilias Trotter (1853-1928) was comfortable in the company of privilege. At age 21 she was among guests, including George MacDonald and Bishop Wilberforce, invited to a religious retreat, the forerunner of the Keswick Conferences.
Spiritually stirred by this and the preaching of Dwight Moody, Lilias grew discontent with the in-vogue "charity from a distance." For more than 10 years in London, she devotedly worked to help establish a hostel for working women, the forerunner of the YWCA.
During this time, while on vacation in Venice, her meddling mother asked Ruskin to look at Lilias's watercolor paintings --- a request that led to art lessons, weekend invitations, and extended conversations and correspondence between the Miss and the Master, who claimed she could be the greatest painter of her generation if she would "give herself up to art." To the dismay of many, Lilias turned her back on Ruskin's challenge: "I cannot give myself to painting in the way he means and continue still to 'seek first the Kingdom of God.' "
When Lilias was 35, this whole-spirited commitment dramatically "called" her to mission work in northern Africa. With two female colleagues --- none knowing Arabic, none robust enough to pass physicals required by established mission boards --- she sailed for Algeria, where she lived a life of saintly proportions until her death, at age 75.
Two-thirds of Rockness's biography delves into the Algerian years. Learning Arabic was the first of many challenges: Muslim resistance to a Christian message, French resistance to British interlopers, male resistance to a female witness. And yet under Trotter's leadership, the original missionary band and later recruits translated portions of scripture, distributed literature, befriended women and children, opened cafés for men, and hosted summer camps for nomadic families.
There are no imagined conversations in this book; there's no mistaking it for a novel. This is history, relying largely on journals, with some analysis and helpful foreshadowing. Ever aware of Lilias the artist, Rockness faithfully describes the palette of the desert so well that it's hard to distinguish Lilias the missionary from Lilias the artist.
In time Lilias envisioned a "new approach to Arab literature": writings that would speak to Algerians, instead of what Trotter called the "hitherto translated stories of Jacks & Bobs whose surroundings are as foreign to children of the east as their names" and finding an affordable means of color printing, so as to attract people who delighted in color. To meet these goals, Lilias wrote and illustrated nature parables that may soon be back in print, thanks to Rockness's persistence.
Some of the biography's most interesting material comes toward the end. In her last decade, Trotter won the respect of a group of Sufi (male) mystics. "The artist in her responded to the artist in the Sufis," notes Rockness. "Yet she never lost her spiritual focus." Confined to bed in the last two years, she wrote THE WAY OF THE SEVENFOLD SECRET, explaining to them seven "I Am" claims of Jesus --- as she managed what had become an extensive mission outreach.
Trotter's printed word and art can indeed inspire a new generation. But only those who knew her can appreciate "perhaps her most palpable legacy": her love. As an obituary noted, "No wonder that Catholics and Jews and Moslems, as well as Protestants, are mourning her loss, for love, in the end, wins love."
--- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
A real life of faithfulness Jan 14, 2002
There are few things that inspire me more than a true story of a child of God who is faithful in the face of success and apparent failure. I see the reality of this woman's walk with God to be the challenge and encouragement. The accounts of her passion, travels, and encounters challenge my perspective on missions. I don't believe I had a real grasp on missions until I read this book. The quotations of her own journals and other writings bring a special feeling of knowing Lilias by the end of the book. This is a book I highly encourage all believers to read.
Christian artists and creative types will love this book Nov 9, 2000
I am a voracious reader of non-fiction (particularly Christian non-fiction), but out of thousands of books I have read, this biography captivated me like no other. Perhaps because I am a writer and artist, I could identify with Lilias and her passions. Ultimately, however, this is a story of adventure, sacrifice, surrender and uncompromising dedication to Jesus Christ, all set against the exotic backdrop of Algeria. I can't wait to meet Lilias in heaven and tell her how she inspired me. Of course, I also look forward to meeting the authors someday because they brought Lilias to life. The narrative is as lovely as Lilias' art!
An intriguing and thought provoking story, a good read. Apr 29, 1999
This book does indeed weave a challenging and interesting tale of a pioneeer missionary, who for the sake of the gospel left a comfortable and gracious victorian life for a life of sacrifice in the northern deserts of Africa, among Muslim tribemen.It is carefully crafted and includes some prints of Lilias' own artwork, which from what can be seen, is lovely.I wish a book could be devoted to more prints and more about Lilias' travels!