Friday, August 25, 2006

why i like chesterton (pt 4)

on marriage

One of the mysteries of Marriage (which must be a sacrament and an extraordinary one too) is that a man evidently useless like me can yet become at certain instants indispensable. And the further oddity (which I invite you to explain on mystical grounds) is that he never feels so small as when he knows that he is necessary.
--from a letter written to Father O'Connor during Frances' depression and illness, 1909

He is not alone in this...

why i like chesterton (pt 3)

Answering 3 questions from Robert Blanchford, as they debated within their newspaper columns 1903:

1. Are you a Christian? Certainly

2. What do you mean by the word Christianity? A belief that a certain human being whom we call Christ stood to a certain superhuman being whom we call God in a certain unique transcendental relationship which we call sonship.

3. What do you believe? A considerable number of things. That Mr. Blatchford is an honest man, for instance. And (but less firmly) that there is a place called Japan. If he means what do I believe in religious matters, I believe the above statement (answer 2) and a large number of other mystical dogmas, ranging from the mystical dogma that man is the image of God to the mystical dogma that all men are equal and that babies should not be strangled.

4. Why do you believe it? Because I perceive life to be logical and workable with these beliefs and illogical and unworkable without them.

Public debate with a little sassiness...doubt we'd see this debate in any newspaper columns today!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

why i like chesterton (pt 2)

In Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton by Joseph Pearce, we learn of the romance growing between Gilbert and Frances along the road to marriage. We also get a glimpse into the sudden death of Frances' sister, Gertrude, and G.K.'s consoling words written to Frances during that time:

"I do not know what Gertrude's death was - I know that it was beautiful, for I saw it. We do not feel that it is so beautiful now - why? Because we do not see it now. What we see now is her absence: but her Death is not her absence, but her Presence somewhere else. That is what we knew was beautiful, as long as we could see it. Do not be frightened, dearest, by the slow inevitable laws of human nature, we shall climb back into the mountain of vision..." (41-42)

Death as beautiful; Such an interesting word to choose, yet eerily honest. The reality of the flesh and bones we call bodies. There is a distinct longing and vacancy in one's soul when someone close is taken away. Even though he didn't cling to any hope in a faith in God, these words reveal a yearning for explanation and something beyond "human nature".

Friday, August 11, 2006

why i like chesterton (pt 1)

You may be familiar with the writings of G.K. Chesterton. He is one of the most quoted writers, speakers, artists in history after all. You may know that he is one of my favorite authors. His brilliance, his simplicity, his ability to speak for common people with common problems and common joys...for these and so much more I am grateful. He is able to bring true joy and real smiles to the face as he speaks of the most difficult and complex things to do describe with words.

I am reading an autobiography on him, entitled Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton by Joseph would be a shame to keep it to myself, so pardon me while I open the curtain on some of his words, thoughts, and brilliance.

on religious liberty and tolerance

"The first thing to note, as typical of the modern tone, is a certain effect of toleration which actually results in timidity. Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it."
---(Autobiography, G.K. Chesterton, 238)

Written in 1937, these words still hold as much weight today, if not more.

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