Archives For August 2015

G.K. Chesterton Recording @ The BBCIt’s unique to find a British writer from the early 20th Century, who says things as Gilbert does.

Heretics doesn’t flow as well as Orthodoxy. (Which was published in 1908; three years later).

What’s he taking aim at?

Why, it’s pesky inconsistent aristocrats, self-absorbed intellectuals, scientism, self-important writers, progressiveness-{ness}-{ness}, Nietzschean ideology, ignoring the truth of paradoxes, and among other things, something that H.G Wells said about a modernist Utopia.

Here’s post one outlining ten quotes that are, by and large, the most agreeable and challenging elements of HeReTiCs.

 

1. On Progress:

‘The weakness of all Utopias is this, they take the greatest difficulty of humanity and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller difficulties. Mr [H.G] Wells asserts that Utopia must be a world-state, or else people might make war on it. It does not seem to occur to them that, for a good many of us, if it were a world-state we should still make war on it to the end of the world. For if we admit that there must be varieties in art or opinion what sense is there in thinking there will not be varieties in Government? The fact is very simple. Unless you are going deliberately prevent a thing from being good, you cannot prevent it being worth fighting for. It is impossible to prevent a possible conflict of civilizations, because it is impossible to prevent a possible conflict between ideals. If there were no longer our modern strife between nations, there would only be strife between Utopias.’ (p.19)
‘It does not so very much matter whether a man eats a grilled tomato or a plain tomato; it does very much matter whether he eats a plain tomato with a grilled mind.’(p.28)
‘If there really be anything of the nature of progress, it must mean, above all things, the careful study and assumption of the whole of the past.’ (p.89)
‘The wrong is not that engines are too much admired, but that they are not admired enough. The sin is not that engines are mechanical, but that humans are [become] mechanical.’ (p.126)

2. On Being:

‘Positivism is the worship of humanity.’ (p.48)
‘So long as a tree is a tree, it does not frighten us at all. It begins to be something alien, to be something strange, only when it looks like ourselves. When a tree really looks like a man our knees knock under us. And when the whole universe looks like a man we fall on our faces.’ (p.81)
‘Our existence is still a story. In the fiery alphabet of every sunset is written, “to be continued…” (p.102)
‘Frederick Nietzsche, attributes to the strong man that scorn against weakness which only exists among invalids.’ (p.104)
‘A great man is not a man so strong that he feels less than other men; he is a man so strong that he feels more. And when Nietzsche says, “a new commandment I give to you, ‘be hard,’ he is really saying, “a new commandment I give to you, ‘be dead.’” Sensibility is the definition of life.’ (p.105)
‘When Jesus Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it.’ (p.110)

3. On Intellectualism:

‘Many eminent, and deservedly eminent, modern novelists must accept responsibility for having supported the worst form of snobbishness – an intellectual snobbishness.’ (p.105)
‘The kind of man who had the courage to write so badly in the one case is the kind of man who would have the courage to write so well in the other.’ (p.110)

4. On Moralism:

‘When we are seeking for the real merits of a man it is unwise to go to his enemies, and much more foolish to go to himself.’ (p.19)
‘What is the good of telling a community that it has every liberty except the liberty to make laws? The liberty to make laws is what constitutes a free people. And what is the good of telling a man (or a philosopher) that he has every liberty except the liberty to make generalisations. Making generalisations is what makes him a man.’ (p.28)
‘A man or a woman must be something of a moralist if he, or she, is to preach unmorality’ (p.126)

5. On Hope:

‘The man who said, “blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed,” put the eulogy quite inadequately and even falsely. The truth is: “Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall be gloriously surprised.’ (p.32)
‘Like all the Christian virtues, hope, is as unreasonable as it is indispensable.’ (p.62)
‘Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful.’ (p.84)

The more I think about these, the more I’m made aware of Chesterton’s forward-thinking insight and rapier wit. His work is rarely boring. His references are slightly dated now and skipping over them can mean having them taken dangerously out of context.

Still, Heretics stands.

It is where Chesterton shows he’s not one for being boxed into any ideological  or literary straightjacket.


Source:

Chesterton, G.K. 1905 Heretics, Catholic Way Publishing

Related posts:

G.K. Chesterton’s War & Parker J. Palmer’s Objection To Objectivity

You Don’t Have To Be A Progressive, To Be For Progress

G.K Chesterton’s Resolve (Or, Early Gastronomic Activism)

Image: BBC.co.uk

 

Here’s another bit of musical ingenuity. The audio is better when channelled through headphones or good speakers. The dialogue and visuals are a mashup of things I have blogged about in the past. They all seem to connect, both in big and small ways. The bassline melody is something I toyed around with on the guitar this week. The beat was created after a variety of afternoon experiments using the app, ‘Garage Band.’ With more professional recording software I could improve on this, but for now, it’s as is, warts an all.


Notes:

Ronald Reagan: ‘A Time For Choosing’

YouTube/PDF:

F.D.Roosevelt: ‘D-Day Prayer’

YouTube/PDF

Some notes and handouts from today’s ‘God, life and the world around us’ session. This year I’ve been working our homeschool team through Luke’s historiographical accounts in The Gospel of Luke and Acts.

Today’s lesson was centred around Monday’s encounter with some content in an Usborne Reader, my ongoing journey through Chesterton’s, ‘Heretics’ and Acts 20.

It still leaves me gobsmacked when different, seemingly unrelated subjects like this align.

‘So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock-His church, purchased with His own blood – over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be alert.’
– (Acts 20:28-30, NLT & ESV)

Fox and the crow

Chesterton Quote1


Sources:

Chesterton, G.K 1905 Heretics, p.108

Mackinnon, M. 2007 Fox and The Crow, Usborne Children’s Books Usborne Publishing Ltd.

Illustrated by Rocio Mertinez

G.K. Chesterton noted that ‘an adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing that we choose.'[i]

The homeschool journey is no exception.

Field trips are by far the most interesting and adventurous aspects of all our educational activities. Whether its teaching kids or living life, God-given opportunities exist at almost every turn. All we need to do is tune into them. The world around us is vast. Knowing where to begin is daunting, but actively giving the Holy Spirit a role in our Homeschooling has the potential transform it.

Locomotion

Of course, in the long sustained fog of this epoch – fast, instant and time-poor – noticing God-given opportunities can be difficult. External expectations line up outside and beat on our door. They place stress on our internal expectations. Routine loses flexibility, meeting a schedule winds up meaning the worship of one.

Balancing this external and internal dichotomy becomes a grind, it runs us down and becomes a chore. Sometimes this has a paralysing or stifling effect. It hinders our ability to discover, wonder and let-go just enough so that God has room to surprise us.

This week our homeschool crew was blessed to participate in some living history. Lachlan Valley Railways brought one of their working locomotives and carriages to town. We’ve been doing this every time they visit our area. This year, however, we almost missed out because it wasn’t advertised as loudly as it has been in the past.

Train

On a random nature walk, we heard the whistle and saw the black smoke. So, we booked some tickets, organised some other family to come along for the ride, and found ourselves traveling in a different direction to the one we had planned.

IMG_4237

 

God is worthy of invitation. The presence of the Holy Spirit transforms the adventure. It’s Jesus Christ meeting the effort we put into our work, calling us to walk, rely and live. All we need to do is make room, acknowledge and be prepared to be moved beyond ourselves. Handing over our worry over external pressures, meeting inflexible schedules and pride.

Some of the learning outcomes covered by this hands-on history lesson: transportation, steam power, train safety, technology, fossil fuels, God’s grace and fun.

The adventure chooses us.

Veni, Creator Spiritus.


Notes:

[i] G. K. Chesterton Heretics Catholic Way Publishing (p. 101).

Lachlan Valley Railway

 

‘This Is Not A Test’, is fast becoming what I’d consider to be the best album in the TobyMac anthology.

 

‘We believe in the sun when he is under a cloud, and shall we not believe in God when he hides himself? […] When the blessing appears to be lost, then is the season for seeking; and when favors seem to be denied, then is the hour for importunate asking.’
(Charles Spurgeon) [i]

Notes:

[i] Spurgeon, C 1883 Flowers from a Puritans Garden, pp.18-19

*This is not a paid promotion.

Salva Nos Jean Mouton_Latin and English

I put this tune together over the past week. It’s what I’ve been doing a lot more of lately, once my homeschool dad hat gets hung up for the day.

The aim here was a bright tone, a steady beat set alongside a funk-ish rhythm. Originally, I was going to do the whole lead in an auto-wah, however, when I put it down, then played it back, the effect made the sound muddied. So, I worked through the list and stumbled upon the Pod HD400’s ‘Twang.’ It wasn’t love-at-first-strum, but the sound fit the beat, bass-line and rhythm.

Everything you hear is mine, excluding the very last bit. (Although, I’m pretty sure, “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” is in the public domain)

Hope ya’ll like it.