I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.
—CHARLES DICKENS, THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP (1841)
Today we begin our study of Kevin Belmonte’s book Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton. Each daily post will correspond with a chapter, so today on May 1st we discuss Chapter One, and so on… I hope you will join us.
G.K. Chesterton’s life and work is an enduring study of contrasts. It would be difficult to over-state his impact on twentieth-century literature and theology, but he remains relatively unknown to the general public.
As Kevin Belmonte wrote
In his many books, nearly eighty in all,Chesterton wrote about types, characters, and perspectives readily recognizable to the modern reader. The names of the celebrated contemporaries he wrote about may have faded somewhat from our cultural memory, but the essential elements of the human condition haven’t altered, nor have the worldviews Chesterton engaged in the arena of ideas. They are with us still. Chesterton’s responses and reflections are as cogent, compelling, and timely now as they were in his day. Truth is like that. For as he said, “What a man can believe depends upon his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century.”
Chesterton thoroughly examined symptoms of the tired and lifeless modernity he saw all about him. Amid the cacophony of worldviews that clamored for his attention, he saw nothing so vital and alive as the Christianity he had embraced. And if in writing Heretics (published in 1905), he described the maladies that afflicted his age, Orthodoxy (published in 1908) was his account of how he had found a timeless cure for them all: at the feet of a risen Christ.
Do you know the work of G.K. Chesterton?
If so, which book is your favorite?
D I G D E E P E R
Kevin Belmonte holds a BA in English from Gordon College, an MA in Church History from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and a second master’s degree in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine. He has twice been a finalist for the prestigious John Pollock Award for Christian Biography, and in 2003, his biography, “William Wilberforce,” won that award. On several occasions, he has served as a script consultant for the BBC, and also for the PBS documentary, “The Better Hour.” For six years, he was the lead script and historical consultant for the critically-acclaimed film, “Amazing Grace.” He has spoken in a wide array of noteworthy settings, from the Houses of Parliament in London, and gatherings of legislators in Washington, D.C., to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. For several years, his biography of Wilberforce has been required reading for a course taught by David Gergen on leadership and character formation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.