Last night, I picked up Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist at Barnes & Noble. That, and, a Pimsleur set on Portuguese. I like learning how to pronounce new languages even if I may not understand them. But, I digress.
So far, the book is a good read. Any time I read about one of my favorite saints or inspiring persons, I am convinced that I would either be great friends with them, or they would drive me absolutely insane. With G.K., I feel the former. I finally found a man who understands what I'm thinking. Things which should be so blindingly obvious to everybody never occurs to anybody. I think, that as loving and joyful as Chesterton appears to have been, he would have been a lonely person had he not the joy of Christ in him.
The joy of Christ draws many, but the challenge that Christ gives us frightens even His followers. People are drawn to how their particular church makes them feel about themselves, which is not what religion is about. Religion is supposed challenge us to something higher than ourselves. How could anybody hope to succeed at anything when they are constantly told that they are fine just the way they are? Jesus is not some sort of vending machine that gives out salvation because you said some prayer in the back of a chick tract a few years back.
Anyway, back to Chesterton. Dale Ahlquist asks at the beginning of the book how the world could forget such a man. I think, the answer can be found in Chesterton's book on St. Thomas Aquinas.
Therefore it is the paradox of history that each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.
While Chesterton drew crowds, I think he may have been forgotten because he wasn't needed as much as he is now. Back then, people must have marveled at his wit and wisdom, not being able to fully comprehend the gift they had while he was still walking this earth. This is the age in which Chesterton is needed, when his words seem so prophetic. Clarity in a world that is constantly trying to distract us with fads of all sorts. Fad news, fad clothing, fad media which serve only to distract us from our own loneliness. We are afraid of silence because it causes us to look inward and face what might be wrong. We are similarly busy trying to replace our friends with gadgets because good friends seek to make us better people. God forbid that we be told that we're not good enough just the way we are.
These are off the cuff thoughts, and I'm certain that I'll have to clarify later. This is just as well, I need an excuse to write here. As always, the two of you who do read this blog are free to comment.