Last night, my husband and I went to a talk by Dale Ahlquist on the Orthodoxy of G.K. Chesterton. Many will know Alquist as creator/host of EWTN’s G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense. He is also President of the American Chesterton Society and the foremost Chesterton scholar. To quote Alquist:
Considered by many to be Chesterton’s best book, it is certainly his most indispensable book, a unique and refreshing spiritual autobiography and defense of the Christian faith. Everyone should read this book. Everyone should read it every year.
Orthodoxy was written 100 years ago this year, fourteen years before Chesterton converted to Catholicism. The talk was very entertaining and if I could find our copy of Orthodoxy, I would start reading today! While I am searching, here are some choice quotes from the book:
Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.
The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.
The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.
Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense, every act is an act of self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.
Anyone interested in learning more about Chesterton should visit the American Chesterton Society. Be sure to check out Chesterton 101 and find the text of 61 lectures on the works of Chesterton. This is a great resource for Catholic homeschoolers. Every six weeks a new lecture is added. For my student in Medieval History this year, I plan to follow the reading of The Ballad of the White Horse with Lecture 21.