Why You Should Read a Book by This Man

Why You Should Read a Book by This Man

When I was nineteen I read a quote by a writer I had never heard of – Chesterton.

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without conviction.

I liked the sound of that. But I was nineteen and the internet was still dial-up on my Pentium chip computer. So I never bothered to look him up.

Then I heard an interview with one of my favorite musicians – Rich Mullins – that was recorded shortly before he passed away. He talked about a book that had made a profound impact on his life called Orthodoxy. The book was by Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

There was that name again.

So, I went out and bought the book. It was the hardest book I had ever read to that point. But I just couldn’t stop reading it.

I read things like:

Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination…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.

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.

Some things he said were profound. Others were just goofy. But he always made me think. More than that, as I read his stuff I started to feel liberated. I felt like maybe I wasn’t so crazy for believing this Christianity thing. Or as Chesterton explains it:

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

Chesterton gave me a confidence and sense of humor about what I believed.

I picked up several of his other books: The Everlasting Man, What’s Wrong With The World (which he sums up in one profound sentence ‘Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World ?’ I am. Yours truly,’) They weren’t easy to read, but they were mind-blowing.

Since then I’ve seen the extensive influence he has had on Christendom. Even the great C.S. Lewis (who we give credit for basically any profound quote we hear but don’t know who said it) was influenced by Chesterton.

And that’s why I think you should read a book by Chesterton. He’s a poet and prophet whose words are as accurate today as one-hundred plus years ago when he wrote them. He’ll challenge you and probably free you up a bit.

P.S. If you want to pick up a cheap copy of Orthodoxy you can get it by clicking here. Get the paperback. You’ll want to highlight it and keep it around.