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Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
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M_50x66
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Aug 21, 10

Read in August, 2010

This book is an astonishing whirlwind of romanticism. I didn't know what to expect from this book when I began reading it, but when I got to the end I found that I had just plunged headlong into a hidden pool of crystalline water in the middle of a desert. It was a breath of fresh air, a relief for the soul, filling for the spirit, and just a work of happiness.

This is not an apologetics book. In fact, it might make for an utterly horrible apologetic, because Chesterton is not making an effort to defend the Christian faith in a rational way. He is instead illustrating the process that led to his conversion to Christianity, which is a perfectly rational one; however, the way that he thinks, and what he admits as "rational," would be highly contentious to any modern secular mind conditioned by rigid scientism. In order to appreciate Chesterton's reasoning, and even to simply appreciate the book, you have to have a bit of romanticism in you, a willingness to admit that some parts of this world are simply beyond comprehension and that science doesn't have the final say on the way the world works.

And not to be egotistical in any way, but I've felt like that about a great number of things but have never quite had the ability or opportunity to express it. Orthodoxy frees that voice. Orthodoxy is written in the style of a child who has experienced a great sampling of all the good and bad the world has to offer, and simply dismisses the bad as being abnormal and dispensable, while remaining wondrously transfixed at all of the good. This book revels in mystery and wonder, and reminds Christians - especially in the last paragraph - that our standard is not sorrow but joy, not jadedness but wonder, not contradiction but paradox, not omniscience but mystery. Whether this will do anything for the non-Christian reader, it's hard to say. If this does nothing for the Christian reader then someone needs to work on having an imagination.
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Laura "This book revels in mystery and wonder, and reminds Christians that our standard is not sorrow but joy, not jadedness but wonder, not contradiction but paradox, not omniscience but mystery." Mm, well said! :)


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