They took the body down from the cross and one of the few rich men among the first Christians obtained permission to bury it in a rock tomb in his garden; the Romans setting a military guard lest there should be some riot and attempt to recover the body. There was once more a natural symbolism in these natural proceedings; it was well that the tomb should be sealed with all the secrecy of ancient near eastern sepulchre and guarded by the authority of the…Continue Reading “The cool of the dawn”

As I look at the world, I worry. Earthquakes. Floods. Unrest sweeping the Middle East. “Wars and rumors of wars.” Decadence. The church, deeply influenced by surrounding culture. America so deeply in debt it seems only a matter of time before we implode entirely. Democratic ideals subordinated to increasingly centralized power. The Proverbs 31 woman “smiles at the future.” I am one in a long line of mothers who find this is not our natural reflex, who wonder and worry about the world our children…Continue Reading “Encouragement from Chesterton”

The Everlasting Man (1925) is G.K. Chesterton’s response to H.G. Wells’ Outline of History. Chesterton took issue with Wells’ evolutionary interpretation and his ensuing book is one of the ten C.S. Lewis credited as most influential in his intellectual life, spiritual history and vocation. What comes to mind first is a question: what would Chesterton think of one such as I “reviewing” his book? I feel completely inadequate. His learning is immense in both breadth and depth, his wit superlative, his good nature and brilliance…Continue Reading “The Everlasting Man”

Do we think of democracy as the pinnacle — the culmination of long striving toward a fuller expression of human ideals — the summit of human progress? G.K. Chesterton, writing in 1925, points out that such a view may have it backwards: If there is one fact we really can prove, from the history that we really do know, it is that despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic. A…Continue Reading “G.K. Chesterton on “tired democracy””

I finished Chesterton’s autobiographical book Orthodoxy a few days ago. I loved it and will probably read it again. We’ve all seen Chesterton quotes floating around here and there, and they’re always pithy and witty. I admit that at times I found his writing wearying for that very reason: it’s relentlessly epigrammatic. I learned to set the book aside when my mind clenched into a single spasm of simultaneous hard thinking and laughter, and my eyes glazed over. Chesterton wrote this book in response to…Continue Reading “Orthodoxy”

Some passages just need to be shared. This one is from the chapter “The Romance of Orthodoxy” (in Orthodoxy). Chesterton is on his way to a larger point, but I have to stop and smile here for a bit: Most of the machinery of modern language is labour-saving machinery; and it saves mental labour very much more than it ought. Scientific phrases are used like scientific wheels and piston-rods to make swifter and smoother yet the path of the comfortable. Long words go rattling by…Continue Reading “Chesterton’s advice to writers”

I get cranky with books that are heavily allegorical. Something in me says irritably, “If you have a message this specific, just say it. Why try to hide it in a story?” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence.” I’m not quite that committed. I like the Narnia books, after all, and even Pilgrim’s Progress. Maybe it’s not when it’s allegory, but when it goes over…Continue Reading “The Man who was Thursday”