The Man on Thursday #1: The Adventure of Existence

“We are to regard existence as a raid or great adventure; it is to be judged, therefore, not by what calamities it encounters, but by what flag it follows and what high town it assaults. The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of one’s life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and experiment of being.”

I’ve been on a Chesterton kick for the past week, and simply put, reading Chesterton makes me happy.  This may come as no surprise to those who have read Chesterton, as Chesterton was, simply put, a happy man.  But this is not a “feel-good” happiness meant to assuage or ignore pressing matters, worries, or concerns.  Rather, Chesterton has that happiness needed in a world gone awry: he is infused with  recognition of the genuine, no holds-barred, hammer and tongs Joy of life.

I appreciate such a companion in life.  Nearing the age of forty, or at least now in the ballpark, I am beginning, hopefully, to realize who I am.  Now, identity is always a matter of perpetual discovery; Christians see this truth even more so in our “walk of faith”- life truly is a journey, a pilgrimage.  And when it comes right down to it, I am not really like GK Chesterton, nor ever, perhaps, will be.  He has (and yes, I do realize I am speaking about him in present tense, though he has been dead for over 70 years) a solid 160 pounds in weight and almost foot in height above me.  He was a prodigious writer; it may take me a day to eek out a paragraph.  He bounds around the corner, I walk tentatively around them.  I’m too nervous and worried about the world around me; GK lunges at life full throttle.

For that reason, and many others, I like having Chesterton around.  He’s certainly one to have in your circle of friends.  He’s the pithy, insightful character who squeezes words into diamonds, and happily scatters them across a blank page sitting in a sunlit room.  He’s the character who jumps into a massive fray not with malice or bloodthirst or rage, but with a wink and a cheery wave, for sheer love of the fight and what’s right.

Anne Jackson, on her blog Flowerdust, has what she calls “Merton Mondays,” where she posts a quote from the famous monk Thomas Merton, and includes perhaps a reflection or two (always remembering the bold type and italics.  The girl is a pro with bold type and italics…).  Not one to shrink from another’s great idea, and noting my near lack of follow up with my George MacDonald reflections last year, I shall now endeavor to infuse a bit of GKC into this blog over the coming months.  Since it is Thursday today, and since Chesterton had a book called The Man Who Was Thursday, let’s begin by calling these, as you see above, The Man On Thursday.

Much thanks to Dale Alhquist and the rest of the gang over at the American Chesterton Society (of which I am now a member) for culling a majority of these quotes from Chesterton’s writings.

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3 thoughts on “The Man on Thursday #1: The Adventure of Existence

  1. Thanks for turning me toward Chesterton. I’ve been contemplating a dive into his work for about a month now, but haven’t done much research yet. As someone who has never read his work, where would you suggest to begin? Also, would you recommend reading him before reading Mere Christianity or the Great Divorce?

  2. Great question, Levi. Orthodoxy is seen by many as one of his best works, and as a good introduction to Chesterton. I first discovered him by reading his insightful biography on St. Francis of Assisi. Second question is a bit tougher to answer. Chesterton had a big influence on CS Lewis’ writing and thinking, but you’ll find Lewis has a more direct style than Chesterton, especially in Mere Christianity. Chesterton loves playing with his arguments, lacing paradox upon paradox. So it might be a matter of taste. The Great Divorce is one of my favorites, and its within this book you come across another one of Lewis’ influences, George MacDonald.

  3. “He’s the pithy, insightful character who squeezes words into diamonds, and happily scatters them across a blank page sitting in a sunlit room. ”

    …you just crapped a diamond. And.it.is.beautiful.

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