Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Chesterton Quote

G.K. Chesterton is one of my favorite authors. He seems to have lived a life that consisted solely of getting involved in controversies and debates in literary and philosophical magazines. He was a top hat sort of dude who also wore that snooty little one eye glass thing. If memory serves, he was about 6'4'' and almost 300 pounds.

And he really knew how to turn a phrase. I was reading one of his more famous works, Orthodoxy, last night and came across these sentences (p.221 in Vol. I of his "Collected Works"):

It is the happy man who does the useless things; the sick man is not strong enough to be idle. It is exactly such careless and causeless actions that the madman could never understand; for the madman (like the determinist) generally sees too much cause in everything.

I am not sure if I fully agree with Chesterton, perhaps on account of considering myself a bit of a determinist and at least a bit sane. I would prefer to think he was anticipating the great conspiracy theories and laughing at them in advance.

But I have to acknowledge that he is speaking directly at my idea of the brooding omnipresence.

Looking for the mystery behind the mundane could easily be the mark of madness.

When Jesus told stories, most of them seemed to appeal to common sense rather than to some advanced understanding. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a hidden treasure, a pearl, some seed on some soil, and things like these.

Perhaps the mystery is not behind the mundane, it's in the mundane. Isn't that incarnation?


GranMarty said...

Well, it's late for a comment, and maybe I've missed the point. But isn't there a difference between the "common" and "common sense"? Much of what Jesus said seems to be the opposite of what we might call "common sense," although He spoke in those terms. But wasn't He really using the common as the platform for mystery, (i.e. truth revealed by the Spirit)?

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