Tuesday, January 09, 2007

G.K. Chesterton--The Apostle of Common Sense

Have you ever heard a name from history and wondered, "Who's that person?"

Whenever I listen to evangelist and apologist Ravi Zacaharias, he often cites pithy and insightful quotes from a fellow named G.K. Chesterton. Curiosity getting the best of me, I decided learn more.

G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, written by Dale Ahlquist, is a great introductory biography into the life and wisdom of Chesterton.

Chesterton, a British citizen and Catholic convert, lived from 1874-1936. He never went to college, but he was a master of words and thought--a writer, poet, philosopher, literary critic, journalist, and champion of social justice. He's best known for his Father Brown detective stories, about a priest who applies his knowledge of human nature to solve crimes.

Chesterton wrote hundreds of books--many still in print--and over 4,000 essays. He was a popular lecturer and debater in his day, matching wit with contemporaries such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Clarence Darrow. His writings were influential in the conversion of Oxford English professor C.S. Lewis.

Chesterton was a giant of a man intellectually (figuratively too--he weighed over 300 lbs.) and a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Ahlquist describes him as a complete thinker, an apostle of common sense--and thus the title of his book.

Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, is an excellent tour guide as he highlights the best of Chesterton's many books--such as Orthodoxy, St. Thomas Aquinas, and The Everlasting Man.

Here are three favorite Chesterton quotes that I gleaned:
"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."
"The best way to thank God for beer is to not drink too much of it."
"The Christian life has not been tried and found defective; it has been found difficult and left untried."
Having never heard before the name G.K. Chesterton, and now having read Alquist's introductory book, it's obvious that history and the Church is richer and wiser because of the wit and wisdom of Chesterton.

If you've never heard of the guy, or know little about him, check him out!

1 comment:

John Roberts said...

Ted,

Thanks for turning me on to this book. I need to get it. I too want to learn more about the depth of knowledge and wisdom of GKC.