In Orthodoxy Chesterton has charted for us his 'own growth in spiritual certainty'. In this final chapter he gives assurance that this path was firmly based on rational considerations, which at first fly in the face of the rationalist's 'reasons', but on a closer look are really quite reasonable. But the best bit of reading Chesterton, … Continue reading Orthodoxy Concluded!
All modern philosophies are chains which connect and fetter; Christianity is a sword which separates and sets free. No other philosophy makes God actually rejoice in the separation of the universe into living souls. p.200 Chesterton was a brilliant philosophiser with a quirky way of saying things. His witty remarks redeem for me the hard … Continue reading The Huge Synthesis of Humbug!
James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was shunned in its day (1916) for bringing the unpleasant and unseemly to print. It is a moody coming-of-age story that mirrors James Joyce's own life growing up in the shadow of the Irish Roman Catholic church and its schools. "a mosaic of jagged fragments that … Continue reading A Portrait of Faith Lost
Graham Green's book first flagged my attention because Terry Glaspey of Great Books of the Christian Tradition--And Other Books Which Have Shaped Our World lists it as one of his Top Ten Favorite Novels of all time. When I noted my own favorites--Anna Karenina and Les Miserables and The Brothers K (by James Duncan) also on … Continue reading The Power and the Glory!
There are an abundance of how-to books out there. Whether for the 'spiritual' or the skeptical, the methodology varies little. In fact, pagan methodologies are being touched up to fit 'Christian' seminars, with the catch-words, Silence and Solitude, or perhaps Stillness. Everyone wants the benefits. Everyone seems to need relief from busyness and stress. But … Continue reading Do you meditate? How?
In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that--and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison--you do not know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and of course, as long as you are looking down, you … Continue reading Do you Know God? Here’s a test.
C.S. Lewis provides a Biblical perspective and critique of modern literary criticism. Though this address was first delivered in 1939, Lewis' unease with the key concepts of literary tradition—namely self-expression, creativity, spontaneity and freedom from rules—is at least as pertinent today as it was in his time. To be 'yourself' is one of the highest … Continue reading Creativity and the Christian
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is a democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. p.64-5 In a generation that is quick to suspect (and scorn) all that is 'old-school', Chesterton's … Continue reading Orthodoxy: The Ethics of Elfland
Chapter three of Chesterton's Orthodoxy was a chapter I weathered more than enjoyed. In it Chesterton reviews the philosophical thought of his times, citing such men as Nietzsche, Tolstoy, and Shaw and others less well known. Always one to blast an opponent with generosity and humor he cites Mr. Bernard Shaw as typifying his times in … Continue reading The Suicide of Thought–Chesterton
"Complete self-confidence is not merely a sin; complete self-confidence is a weakness. Believing utterly in one's self is a hysterical and superstitious belief like believing in Joanna Southcote." --G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.10 [Southcote was a self-proclaimed but deluded prophetess in late eighteenth century England]. When asked by a publisher friend: "Well, if a man is … Continue reading G.K. on “The Sin of Self-Confidence”