I thought with the enduring popularity of the book we could get some discussion going here on the blog.  Try out a philosophical observation springing from GKC about the current state of affairs or dispute the validity of one of his observations.  Go ahead and give it a try!!!


3 thoughts on “ORTHODOXY

  1. Today we had a mystagogy session at St. Margaret of Scotland and I was scheduled to lead a presentation/discussion of Vatican II in conjunction with another team member who had the topic “Models of the Church”. Prior to the meeting actually starting, one of the newly baptized members shared a book on mystics she had started reading; so I turned to Chapter II and read the lines “The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand.[ ] The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery; but because of this his relations with the housemaid become of a sparkling and crystal clearness.” This was greeted with approval by those present. One of the team members recalled how she had studied at John Carroll University and that the library there has a G. K. Chesterton room. I also told the group that GKC was sometimes referred to as a mystic himself, although it went against the grain of thinking of mystics as otherworldly crazed skin & bones types.
    In prepping for my part of the session, I had pulled out “Orthodoxy” to help set the historical/poetical stage for considering Vatican II. I selected the concluding paragraphs of Chapter VI and presented ideas such as orthodoxy being a thrilling romance and the orthodox church never taking the tame or respectable course. I gave special emphasis to the line about it being simple to fall but only possible to stand at one angle and then concluded with “…the heavenly chariot flies thundering…” I think it had a positive impact and one that elevated the considerations about Vatican II into a proper context.

  2. I learned in the past year or so that Orthodoxy is a companion-piece to Heretics, which I have never read. So I bought a copy and started in on it. As expected, every couple of pages there’s something great.

    He begins with something I have noticed — people want to be called “heretic” because they no longer believe there is any truth. If there is no truth, “orthodox” means simply “conventional” and who wants to be conventional? So people start out saying something silly Like “blue is white” with “Call me a heretic, but…”.

    So now I suppose I’ll have to go and find something in Orthodoxy to go with this idea.

    Unfortunately, the first tech rehersal for The Journey of St. Paul is most inconveniently scheduled for the night of the Chesterton Society meeting. I won’t be there, but maybe you can get one of the sisters to sell you a ticket to the show…

  3. Some quotes simply shouldn’t be taken too much out of context, and Scott has inadvertantly (I am sure) provided a most excellent example of this. This should eliminate any risk of scandal:

    “The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid. The determinist makes the theory of causation quite clear, and then finds that he cannot say “if you please” to the housemaid. The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery; but because of this his relations with the housemaid become of a sparkling and crystal clearness.”

    i.e. the housemaid may or may not choose to do a thing, and the Christian can choose to treat her with dignity or not.

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