Chesterton: At Last A Healthy Crush

During the last two years I have become particularly fragile. Tap me too hard and I shatter.

Thankfully I’m more like a phoenix than glass. Instead of lying in shards, I’m reborn in the ashes (fitting too since that’s the meaning of my middle name: born again).

Recently I’ve gone through this cycle. While still a bit frail, I’m feeling more whole.

What could be better for my shaky self than Chesterton? When I return to Donald Miller I often find him flat. C.S. Lewis is always dull. But Chesterton is vivacious. To be honest, he is a man after my own mind.

I’m always at a loss to figure out how to categorize the way in which I’m smart. Which sounds arrogant but not if you realize that it’s simply part of my narrative quest. I am constantly converting life into a story. My life in particular, of course, because it is the only one I can know so intimately. And it’s a part of my story.

My professors have quite often bent the academic rules for me. Giving me A s when an A was not earned by the books. (For example, last semester I took a class in which I was supposed to turn in a review each week, in total about nine by the end of the semester. I turned in one and the final paper. I received an A- for the course. The minus being my only penalty for the missing eight reviews). I must do something to warrant an A. I’m sure part is participation but I think I can say part is smarts. Teachers hate to give intelligent kids bad grades. It’s just a fact.

But I’m not exactly logical. I do not think syllogistically nor mathematically. I’m not a hoarder of facts. Quite frankly I often forget the details or whom I’m citing (though I probably more often credit my own thoughts to others than others as mine). Mine is a mind for the Humanities. Philosophy, Theology, History, Relgion, Cultural Theory, Literature Communication, etc all make perfect sense to me and fit together into a beautifully meaningful whole. But what is that?

Chesterton may not put a name to this but he demonstrates it. When I read him I see a mind like mine at work. It’s refreshing. Sometimes it’s nice to relax in the presence of someone who speaks the same language. (Like how I enjoyed Ben’s stories so much, despite the repetition of the theme, because he speaks my narrative language so well: embedding a story within a story, adding unique descriptions, giving me ironic endings, etc).

Also, he articulates so much of what excites me about Christianity. Even these chapter titles in Orthodoxy give it away: Paradoxes, The Eternal Revolution, The Romance of Orthodoxy, The Ethics of Elfland. In short he expresses that when considering Christianity one finds that “while it has established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order is to give room for good things to run wild.” Beyond my deep and abiding passion for the character of the Christian God, this is what I love about Christianity. Though, of course, sometimes I get too stuck on the rules and order to enjoy the good things that are meant to run wild. But that’s my failing. I appreciate that Chesterton reminds me of that.

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