Chesterton has some great one-liners in this collection of essays:
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.As a lover of the art of comedy, I greatly enjoyed Chesterton's capacity to twist a proverb to suit his rhetorical needs. Those phrase turns make the pages turn quickly.
Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.
What's Wrong with the World raises great questions about idealism, politics, economics and family life. You can actually read the entire collection of essays on-line for free here.
One of his great concerns, and perhaps the great concern of conservative intellectual life, is that, in the name of progress, we'll trap ourselves inside faulty dilemmas, thinking we've got to make the best of bad choices when good but hard choices are still available.
He proposes a third way between Capitalism and Socialism, something he calls Revolution or Distributism. The idea is an almost "take from the rich before they get robbed, share enough to restore dignity and, whatever you do, don't let property fall into the hands of the State" kind of idea.
Even covered with a hundred years of dust, the essays still echo current conversations in the church.
I'll be honest, this was my first time hearing anyone make a significant argument against giving women the right to vote. He does it without belittling women (much), but page after page after page pushes for rejecting women's sufferage.
His approach hinges on his understanding of family life, on the differing roles of husband and wife in marriage. He believes that the world needs both specialists and generalists, intellectuals and emotionals, artists and dabblers, providers and parents, pub-goers and homebodies.
My flinch comes, not because of what he says, but because I hear him echoed throughout evangelical Christian culture. Sure, no one takes his arguments all the way to their logical conclusions anymore. But I don't know why they don't.
Although you will probably flinch too, even these hard passages are worth reading. They form and stretch the lanes and rhythms of my capacity to think logically.
Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. Right?
Not every piece of writing can be Synthesis.
What are you reading?