Dear Reader and Friend,
Had you been one of those many who have written to us through the years by what is now known as “snail mail,” you may have received something like the following letter of reply from us, occasionally with a personal note and additional information about George MacDonald’s or our books. Now that many of you will be visiting us indirectly through this website, we share it with you here as well. We welcome your letters and responses and emails, in whatever form you choose to contact us. This ministry of writing and books is very personal to us, and we feel deeply connected to you, our readers and friends in the Spirit.
Since I, Michael, first began with the George MacDonald series approximately thirty-five years ago, and then continuing with my own writing, the volume of mail we have received has truly been overwhelming. More times than you faithful people can possibly realize, it has been a word or two of support or encouragement from a letter written by someone I do not even know that the Lord has used to stem the tide of my own discouragement, or to speak a word of direction, or to give me a boost of motivation right when I needed it, or to confirm something the Lord is doing in our lives. There have even been major decisions and turning points, either having to do with one of the books or our business or in our family, that have been impacted by letters received from readers. Your letter or email or visit to this website, might have, or might at some future time, have just such an impact in our lives. Relationships have been formed from the correspondence, and many unpredictable doors have opened as a result.
Writing for me is a highly personal and deeply spiritual ministry, requiring a draining and creatively taxing expenditure of energy. It is far from mechanical, but an emotional and prayerful endeavor. Like most people, I experience ups and downs, dry spells. Many days I am convinced I will never write another decent word as long as I live. My heavenly Father is intrinsically a part of everything I write too. Knitted into the warp and woof of all I do is the constant attempt to keep my inner ears attuned upward, trying to discern the quiet and subtle winds of the Spirit’s guidance, and to be obedient to the words of Jesus. Every book I write is a total life experience, involving how I perceive the Father working in the lives of men and women as well.
My wife Judy (not to be confused with Judith Pella) and I feel a close sense of unity and kinship with the people who read the books we have made available. There truly is a sense of shared life that flows. If I can say it, we feel part of your life because you are sharing our life through the books of ours you may have read, as well as sharing your heart in whatever form you have communicated with us . We really mean that! It is very, very personal for us. Judy just commented that sometimes I say “I” and sometimes I say “we.” Yet in a way that characterizes how it truly is for us. Though it happens to be my name on most of the books, they truly are a joint effort. Everything we are together finds its way onto the pages. Judy reads every letter and actually answers more of them than I do. A plot idea or a character you read about in one of the books may have been her idea.
Therefore, we both welcome whatever you have to say, and look forward to it. We read the thoughts and feelings you share with us. We hope you will pray for us. We will pray for you. And we thank those of you who are praying for us. We rejoice in being able to participate in such a mutual exchange of life in this way. In the characters and situations and themes that are dealt with in the books we have offered through the years, there are certain universal and commonly-shared threads of truth we all can respond to on deep levels of our personal experience and growth. It is beneficial to express such reactions and communicate with others engaged in a similar quest to know the Father more intimately. We hope you will share yours with us.
Some time ago, however, we realized that this correspondence with our readers had to be of necessity a one way correspondence. There was just too much of it, and it was too personal. It would literally have been a full time endeavor to try to keep up with it. If I devoted myself assiduously to correspondence, I would never be able to write any more books! C.S. Lewis is said to have answered every letter personally and by hand. I marvel! He was a better man than I! In more ways than one.
I hope you won’t feel slighted, therefore, to receive a “website letter” like this. It is certainly no reflection on the importance of your visit to this website to us. We sincerely and personally thank you for your visit, impersonal as it may seem. Though we do not know you, you are not a mere number or statistic to us. We deeply value the fact that you have made a connection with us in some way–whether by mail, email, or even just by your visit to this website.
If you happen to be one who has contacted us personally, be assured that every letter and email is read with deep gratefulness. But it is in sending out replies where we get behind! Letters and emails come in by the dozens, then the hundreds, and they just keep coming. In a very short time stacks of unanswered mail accumulates stretching back months. There have been a few times when we’ve been so swamped that we’ve actually been answering mail from two years before! If your correspondence happens to come during such a time, we are so sorry. From time to time we hire someone part time or bring in volunteers just to get us caught up.
As some of you know, for thirty-five years we operated a Christian bookstore in the town of Eureka on the northern California coast. We were at a crossroads for several years which resulted in our closing the store in 2004. This was a difficult and very emotional decision, but since then we have been looking ahead to see what new directions the Lord may have for us. My writing will not be effected as much as other aspects of our lives. Judy continues with her harp teaching studio in our home.
As we look ahead to the future of our writing and publishing ministry, it has been impressed upon us that this new website is a key part of that future. We will present articles and essays, even previously unpublished books that have never before been made public. We hope and pray that you will find sustenence for your spiritual growth.
We prefer for you to buy and order books from your local Christian bookstore. But should you have difficulty obtaining certain titles of ours that you are looking for, we are happy to provide them through The Bookstore section of this site.
Please feel free to write if you have something to share about how something in one of the books has impacted you. Know that we will read and appreciate your sharing and your comments. We hope you will think of us as friends. We consider you ours!
We will look forward to the time in the next life, when we will be able to sit down together, without constraints of time and distance, and share the journey toward God’s Fatherhood in which we all participated.
Therefore, in the words of Baron von Dortmann from The Eleventh Hour, we say, not exactly auf wiedersehen—until we see one another again—but rather until we meet face to face!
May God truly and richly bless you as you move forward on your journey, along the pathway of discovery with your Father.
Appreciatively, sincerely, and warmly,
Michael and Judy Phillips