Friday, September 23, 2016

A Year With G.K. Chesterton: 365 Days of Wit, Wisdom and Wonder

I've written before that Chesterton is good in small doses. His genius is so far beyond me that I'm happy when I understand a tenth of what he is saying. So, a daily "bite-sized" devotional book is a clever, manageable way to become acquainted with his way of thinking. Each reading includes a verse, two short paragraphs from his writings (strangely, the source of the first one is never given) and a "this-day-in-history" entry showing what G.K. was doing on that particular day (lecturing, releasing a book, traveling, etc.)

A Year with G.K. Chesterton is not a typical devotional in the sense that it gives daily inspiration from Scripture. Because of his strong Catholic beliefs, his essays presuppose the existence of God. But many readings are critiques of writers such as Dickens, Milton and Bunyan.

So why read it? Frankly, because a daily dose of sparkling lucidity braces you to face the ever increasing foolishness of our culture and our world. Somehow the air I was breathing felt clearer after a page of  G.K. His fierce optimism and childlike wonder were a daily uplift. As was his beautiful language.

On the trinity: God himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and as open as an English fireside. This thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart.

On how fairy tales reflect the gospel: In the fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition. A box is opened, and all evils fly out. A word is forgotten, and cities perish. A lamp is lit, and love flies away. A flower is plucked, and human lives are forfeited. An apple is eaten, and the hope of God is gone.

A lovely book. If you adjust your expectations to this as a "devotional" (as something mentally rather than spiritually invigorating), it would make a great addition to your daily quiet time.

One of Chesterton's critic's described him well: His wordy rockets soar desperately into the dark, pause, break into a cascade of stars, and, there, to our astonished gaze, lie momentarily revealed the peaceful landscape of simple truth.

2 comments:

theycallmemommy withapileofbooks said...

This has nothing to do with THIS post, but I really enjoyed Winter Birds...you had mentioned that somewhere. Wow. Thought-provoking read. Thanks. Amy

Diane Ury said...

I would love to read this book!! Thanks for the awesome post, Hope. Your writing lifts my heart!