I’m one of those people who, for a long time, claimed to love G. K. Chesterton without ever having read anything he wrote. I liked the idea of him, and since I was a theology major I pretended to know all about him when he came up in conversation. But it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I decided to stop posing and actually pick up one of his books.
I reluctantly borrowed Orthodoxy from my dad, expecting to be bored out of my mind. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After five minutes, I was thinking “Hey, this isn’t bad.” After ten, I was convinced that Chesterton is both smarter and wittier than I’ll ever be.
Chesterton excels at cutting straight to the heart of things and saying them like they are, whether you want to hear them or not. He has the rare gift of making you really think and reads the signs of the times with clarity and humor. He finds adventure in everything—even getting out of bed in the morning—and covers topics ranging from evolution to elves. A convert to Catholicism, his insightful defenses of the Church are complemented by his profound love of God and conviction that “the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”
Since that first encounter, I’ve never come across anything of Chesterton’s that didn’t both challenge me and make me laugh. His writings have helped me discern my religious vocation and approach life in a more honest and daring way. As he puts it so well, “an adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.”
So, if you’re someone who likes the idea of Chesterton but has never read him, take it from me: get to know this guy. You won’t regret it.
Postulant Allison Gliot will be joining Jeannette de Beauvoir for the next Booktalk with the Daughters of St. Paul to talk about Way of Wonder, a collection of the writings of G.K. Chesterton.
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By Allison Gliot