Thinklings-Chesterton the Large (Part 1)

(The Thinklings are a group of men associated with Christ Church, NC who read great books, sit around and talk, pretending to have great thoughts.)

The book currently being ingested by the Thinklings is G.K. Chesterton’s Manalive. Some autobigraphical vignettes about Chesterton: he had a large mind, a large heart, a large frame, and (luckily) a large sense of humor.

Large Mind: poet Alfred Noyes thought Chesterton “had one of the most original minds of his day in Europe” (Michael Ffinch, G.K. Chesterton, 4). Chesterton excelled in an astonishing array of literary and artistic pursuits: “Though he claimed mastery in none of the arts, Chesterton was in fact a respectable writer of songs, poetry, drama, essays, short stories, and novels, as well as an accomplished illustrator and cartoonist” (Thomas C. Peters, The Christian Imagination: G.K. Chesterton on the Arts, 13).

Large Heart: though Chesterton freely attacked all the modern heresies (and punched Calvin and Puritans in the nose repeatedly) apparently he managed to avoid chalking up a list of enemies: “Chesterton was avidly listened to and, it appears, was one of the few men who never made an enemy. The reason was that everything he said was said with such good humour. Even those whose opinions he attacked felt confident that it was only their opinions that were under attack” (Ffinch, 4.) Luther, Calvin, and most Reformed internet heresy hunters could learn a thing or two from Chesterton.

Chesterton also knew what was truly important in life. His words are a helpful rebuke to me as I am prone to blog too much about abstract theological questions, forgetting to play with my little boys: “I for one have never left off playing, and I wish there were more time to play. I wish we did not have to fritter away on frivolous things, like lectures and literature, the time we might have given to serious, solid and constructive work like cutting out cardboard figures and pasting coloured tinsel upon them” (Peters, 10).

[To be continued…]

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