The Critical Thing

Gratitud:Chesterton

Published in: on 05/28/2017 at 14:44  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The Outrageous Story

requiem-1334755400-article-0

Nothing short of the extreme and strong and startling doctrine of the divinity of Christ will give that particular effect that can truly stir the popular sense like a trumpet; the idea of the king himself serving in the ranks like a common soldier. By making that figure merely human we make that story much less human. We take away the point of the story which actually pierces humanity; the point of the story which was quite literally the point of a spear…

Divider 4B

Any knowledge of human nature will tell us that no sufferings of the sons of men, or even of the servants of God, strike the same note as the notion of the master suffering instead of his servants… No mysterious monarch, hidden in his starry pavilion at the base of the cosmic campaign, is in the least like that celestial chivalry of the Captain who carries his five wounds in the front of battle.

–G. K. Chesterton,
The Everlasting Man

Majoring on Minors

Jesus-children laughing

We must certainly be in a novel;
What I like about this novelist
is that he takes such trouble
about his minor characters.

–G. K. Chesterton

Delightful Repetition

daisy-wallpaper

It may not be automatic necessity
that makes all daisies alike;
it may be that God
makes every daisy separately,
but has never got tired of making them.
It may be that He has
the eternal appetite of infancy;
for we have sinned and grown old,
and our Father is younger than we.
The repetition in Nature may not be
a mere recurrence; it may be
a theatrical encore.

–G. K. Chesterton,
Orthodoxy

 

Published in: on 06/04/2016 at 12:33  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Funeral of God

heisrisen2 copyThe Church had learnt,
not at the end
but at the beginning
of her centuries,
that the funeral
of God is always
a premature burial.
   
 –G. K. Chesterton

The freedom of obedience

Looking up towards the lighObedience. The most thrilling word in the world; a very thunderclap of a word. Why do these fools fancy that the soul is only free when it disagrees with the common command? Even the mobs who rise to burn and destroy owe all their grandeur and terror, and a sort of authority, not to their anger, but to their agreement. Why should mere disagreement make us feel free?

—G. K. Chesterton
“The Surprise”

Published in: on 02/25/2016 at 12:00  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Lacking wonder

blank squarechild - flower
We are perishing
for want of wonder,
not for want
of wonders.

–G. K. Chesterton

Nothing too absurd

25-Most-Beautiful-Animals-Photography-StumbleUpon-2 copy

A thing may be too sad to be believed
or too wicked to be believed
or too good to be believed;
but it cannot be too absurd
to be believed in this planet
of frogs and elephants,
of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.

–G.K. Chesterton
The Man Who Was Orthodox

Three things promised

190201_droga-aki-mgla-poromienie-slonca-gory-lasy copy

Jesus promised
the disciples three things–
that they would be
completely fearless,
absurdly happy and
in constant trouble.

—G. K. Chesterton

Dreams come true

shepherds-seeking
The place that
the shepherds found
was not an academy
or an abstract republic,
it was not a place of myths . . .
explained or explained away.
It was a place of dreams
come true.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

Romance and truth

garden_of_eden_by_encubed-d5w5rd4-1024x576

Christianity met
the mythological search
for romance by being a story,
and the philosophical
search for truth by being
a true story.

–G. K. Chesterton

Artwork: Nolan N. Nasser

They knew it happened

jesus-resurrection-3

The historical case for the Resurrection is that everybody else, except the Apostles, had every possible motive to declare what they had done with the body, if anything had been done with it.

The Apostles might have hidden it in order to announce a sham miracle, but it is very difficult to imagine men being tortured and killed for the truth of a miracle which they knew to be a sham.

—G. K. Chesterton
As I Was Saying

Published in: on 04/22/2014 at 1:29  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

The dawn of a new creation

Resurrection of Christ 4

On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.

—G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

Outrageous

Amazing tongue

The whole order of things
is as outrageous as any miracle
which could presume
to violate it.

–G. K. Chesterton

Published in: on 03/19/2014 at 11:08  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

The serious matter of humor

balloon-incredibleartisticworks

Numbers of clergymen have from time to time reproached me for making jokes about religion; and they have almost always invoked the authority of that very sensible commandment which says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Of course, I pointed out that I was not in any conceivable sense taking the name in vain. To take a thing and make a joke out of it is not to take it in vain. It is, on the contrary, to take it and use it for an uncommonly good object. To use a thing in vain means to use it without use. But a joke may be exceedingly useful; it may contain the whole earthly sense, not to mention the whole heavenly sense, of a situation. And those who find in the Bible the commandment can find in the Bible any number of the jokes. In the same book in which God’s name is fenced from being taken in vain, God himself overwhelms Job with a torrent of terrible levities.

The same book which says that 
God’s name must not be taken vainly,
talks easily and carelessly about 
God laughing and God winking.

Evidently it is not here that we have to look for genuine examples of what is meant by a vain use of the name. And it is not very difficult to see where we have really to look for it. The people (as I tactfully pointed out to them) who really take the name of the Lord in vain are the clergymen themselves. The thing which is fundamentally and really frivolous is not a careless joke. The thing which is fundamentally and really frivolous is a careless solemnity.

–G. K. Chesterton

Image: Jeannette Woitzik

Nobody else has news

http-inlinethumb55.webshots.com-44790-2559162240104237032S600x600Q85

Nobody else except [Christians]
has any Gospel; nobody else
has any good news;
for the simple reason that
nobody else has any news.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

Published in: on 04/24/2013 at 5:40  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Looking for God

art-street-night-Vlado-Rangelov-Vasilev-631667

Every man who knocks 
on the door of a brothel 
is looking for God.

–G. K. Chesterton

Image by Vlado R. Vasilev

Published in: on 04/12/2013 at 2:42  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

The way out of the grave

Empty tomb

Christianity has had
a series of revolutions
and in each one of them
Christianity has died.
Christianity has died
many times and risen again;
for it had a God who knew
the way out of the grave.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

Squirrels, dungeons and freedom

Hot-Air-Balloon-Ride1

We say, not lightly but very literally, that the truth has made us free. They [the denouncers of dogma] say that it makes us so free that it cannot be the truth.

To them it is like believing in fairyland
to believe in such freedom as we enjoy . . .

It is like accepting a fable about a squirrel in conversation with a mountain to believe in a man who is free to ask or a God who is free to answer. This is a manly and a rational negation, for which I for one shall always show respect. But I decline to show any respect for those who first of all clip the wings and cage the squirrel, rivet the chains and refuse the freedom, close all the doors of the cosmic prison on us with a clang of eternal iron, tell us that our emancipation is a dream and our dungeon a necessity; and then calmly turn round and tell us they have a freer thought and a more liberal theology.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

The eternal appetite of infancy

A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, Do it again; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.

For grown-up people are not strong enough
to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough… It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again, to the sun; and every evening, Do it again, to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

–G. K. Chesterton
(1874 – 1936)

 

The curse that kills wonder

The curse that came before history has laid on us all a tendency to be weary of wonders. If we saw the sun for the first time it would be the most fearful and beautiful of meteors. Now that we see it for the hundreth time we call it, in the hideous and blasphemous phrase of Wordsworth, “the light of common day.”

–G. K. Chesterton
(1874 – 1936)

Captivated by wonder

One of the most attractive things about G. K. Chesterton was the unending sense of surprised delight he had for all creation, the world and everything in it. He found newspaper ink to be as wonderful as beach glass, which—it went without saying—was as marvelous to him as any good cigar.

He was as awe-struck and grateful
for the world as a teenager in love,
and he wondered about the unconditional
gift of days that God had given him.

He asked with astonishment, “Why am I allowed two?”—a great question in an age where we expect unending, medically-engineered days.

Chesterton was joyful, because he was grateful; he was grateful because even within his busy life, he was allowed the leisure of silence, with which gift, he was able to wonder. And, as St. Gregory of Nyssa is credited with saying, “only wonder leads to knowing.”

If we cannot wonder, how can we presume to know the Timeless and Eternal God?

–Elizabeth Scalia

Living on a star

If we once realize all this earth as it is, we should find ourselves in a land of miracles:

We shall discover a new planet at the moment
that we discover our own.

Among all the strange things that men have forgotten, the most universal and catastrophic lapse of memory is that by which they have forgotten that they are living on a star.

–G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)

Becoming more “ordinary”

The churches I attended had stressed the dangers of pleasure so loudly that I missed any positive message. Guided by [Gilbert] Chesterton, I came to see sex, money, power, and sensory pleasures as God’s good gifts. Every Sunday I can turn on the radio or television and hear preachers decry the drugs, sexual looseness, greed, and crime that are “running rampant” in the streets of America.

Rather than merely wag our fingers at such obvious abuses of God’s good gifts, perhaps we should demonstrate to the world where good gifts actually come from, and why they are good.

Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source: every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a Creator who lavished gifts on the world.

Of course, in a world estranged from God, even good things must be handled with care, like explosives. We have lost the untainted innocence of Eden, and every good harbors risk as well, holding within it the potential for abuse. Eating becomes gluttony, love becomes lust, and along the way we lose sight of the One who gave us pleasure. The ancients turned good things into idols; we moderns call them addictions. In either case, what ceases to be a servant becomes a tyrant…

“I am ordinary in the correct sense of the term,” says Chesterton, “which means the acceptance of an order; a Creator and the Creation, the common sense of gratitude for Creation, life and love as gift permanently good, marriage and chivalry as laws rightly controlling them . . .” Under his influence I too realized the need to become more “ordinary.”

I had conceived of faith as tight-lipped,
grim exercise of spiritual discipline,
a blending of asceticism and rationalism
in which joy leaked away.

Chesterton restored to me a thirst for the exuberance that flows from a link to the God who dreamed up all the things that give me pleasure.

–Philip Yancey

The problem of pleasure

Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never even seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight, joy,
and personal fulfillment.

Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? After searching alternatives, (Gilbert) Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation for its existence in the world.

Moments of pleasure are the remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

–Philip Yancey

Saying grace for everything

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

–G. K. Chesterton
(1874 – 1936)

Not good for God to be alone

To us Trinitarians (if I may say it with reverence) — to us God Himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology, and even if I were theologian enough to deal with it directly, it would not be relevant to do so here. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and open as an English fireside; that this thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart: but out of the desert, from the dry places and, the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.

–G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)

No lack of wonders

The world will never starve
for want of wonders,
but for want of wonder.

–G. K. Chesterton

Published in: on 11/22/2011 at 14:51  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Why two?

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

–G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)


The critical thing

When it comes to life
the critical thing is whether
you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude.

  –G. K. Chesterton

%d bloggers like this: