Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: G. K. Chesterton

WHY?

The war to end all wars didn’t end all wars.

When a revolution succeeds in overthrowing the oppressors, the revolutionaries then become the oppressors.

What is wrong with the world?

“The answer to the question, ‘What is Wrong’ is, or should be, ‘I am wrong.’ Until a man can give that answer, his idealism is only a hobby.” (G. K. Chesterton)

Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.

The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.

Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home.

We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost—how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

The earth is wild as an old wive’s tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;

But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.

To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

G. K. Chesterton

What’s in the bottle?

Once upon a time a family was given a wonderful elixir that would cure every disease of mankind. They bottled it in plain brown bottles and offered it for sale to others. The price was very high and it didn’t taste very good, but it worked.

As time went on the descendants of this family developed different points of view on how best to make this elixir available to others.

Group one was very careful to guard the original formula of the elixir. The size and shape and colour of their bottles varied from time to time and place to place, but it remained just as expensive and just as bitter tasting. And just as effective.

Group two thought the bottle was too old-fashioned, let’s make it more eye catching. And something needs to be done to make it taste better, so they added new ingredients. And the price is too high, it turns people off, so the elixir was made of less costly ingredients. There were many disagreements about the best way to make the elixir appeal to the greatest number of people and there began to be many variations of the product on the market.

Group three thought that they dare not tamper with the elixir, so they went to great efforts to obtain bottles that looked just like the originals. They thought they remembered what the formula was, but there was disagreement among them and soon there were many variations of the elixir on the market, all in bottles that looked pretty much the same, each claiming to be the original.

It didn’t take long for people to discover that the elixirs offered by groups two and three did not really work. Soon people began to doubt if there ever was an elixir that did work. They observed that those in group one seemed much healthier than others, but attributed it to factors other than the elixir.

This is an allegory of the churches of our day. Each one claims to be the most trustworthy steward of the faith once delivered to the saints. The world around us expects that if the faith is what Christians say it is, they should be able to see some results. Far too many have given up on Christianity altogether, deeming it to be a fraud that cannot deliver what it promises.

Nevertheless it does work for some. Why not for everybody? Isn’t it because so many who claim to be Christians seem to be more interested in how the bottle looks, the outward appearance, than what is in the bottle, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-24)

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)

I believe it was G. K. Chesterton who said “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and therefore not tried.”

 

Atheism

Rossetti makes the point somewhere, bitterly but with great truth, that the worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.

G.K. Chesterton

Seek peace, find happiness

And it did for one wild moment cross my mind that, perhaps those might not be the very best judges of the relation of religion to happiness who, by their own account, had neither one nor the other.

-G. K. Chesterton

To build and to plant

Starting this blog was an attempt to get myself motivated to do more writing, and to improve my communication skills.   I want to be able to write like C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton.  Since I’m already 71, that may be beyond my reach.  Still, I don’t want to set my sights any lower.

Last night, in our family devotions, we read this verse and it has  stuck in my mind:  See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10).

The first part of this verse is Jeremiah’s commission as a prophet, I cannot claim to have received anything similar.  However, a little light went on, showing me that effective Christian communication will often involve rooting out, pulling down and destroying ideas, beliefs, doctrines and practices that are contrary to the Word of God and which undermine our Christian life and witness.  But that will do no long term good if there is no building and planting.

This is what Lewis and Chesterton excelled at.   You can be drawn along in their skillfully crafted narrative, finding it just a very interesting read, then all of a sudden a thought is slipped in that makes you stop, go back and read it again.  And you begin to see things in just a little different light.  A seed has been planted.  I wish for at least a little of that talent.

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