G. K. Chesterton – How I found out about him


Living in Orlando, FL, I’m not exactly in the so-called "Bible Belt", but there is some overspill from other areas with more evangelicals or fundamentalists.  This meant that, as a Catholic, I was sometimes challenged (or had Catholic friends who were challenged) about the Catholic Faith by those that don’t believe Catholics to be Christians.  As a result (especially since I was often asked questions by my friends as well), I felt the call to learn more about my faith.  I don’t just mean "more", in the sense that I didn’t know the faith and wanted to go deeper.  I mean that I already had a solid foundation, but I needed to become more of an expert than the average person.  That meant reading, so read I did!
 
I read some excellent books, such as "Handbook of Christian Apologetics" by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.  I also read some easier reads like "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis and "Why Do Catholics Do That?" by Kevin Orlin Johnson.  While reading these, as well as many other tracts, articles, booklets, etc., I noticed a common theme emerging.  (BTW, might I recommend the articles in "This Rock" magazine, as well as the booklets "Confession of a Roman Catholic" and "The Catholic Church Has the Answer" by Paul Whitcomb – excellent, quick reads that help demolish most objections.)  That common theme (aside from, of course, the fact that Catholics are not only Christian, but the first Christians) is that each of these authors all kept quoting this one apologist: Gilbert Keith Chesterton.
 
After seeing his name mentioned for the umpteenth time, I decided, "Since everybody seems to be quoting him, I may as well go straight to the horse’s mouth."  I looked on Amazon.com to see what books they might have by him (if any still existed).  It turned out that his books are still relatively popular, and are in fact experiencing a resurgence in popularity (his books are being republished and new editions are being compiled).
 
Once I saw how many books were available, I figured I should check the web to see if others have read him and what books they recommend reading first.  This is how I came to stumble upon the American Chesterton Society.  (They even produced a wonderful series for EWTN called "The Apostle of Common Sense".)  After perusing the site, and reading the Amazon recommendations and guides, I decided on the first book to read: "Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith".  Since reading that the first time (I’ve since read it two more times, and looked up references in it countless other times), I have not just become a fan of Chesterton, but a booster as well.  (BTW, if anyone in the Orlando area would like to get together to discuss Chesterton, I’d love to hear from you.)
 
Although all of his works are worth reading, his book "The Everlasting Man" is an especially powerful read.  According to one legend I have read, this was the book that C.S. Lewis read while riding the subway, which he referred to later when he said, "I got on the train an atheist; I got off the train a Christian."
 
So, that’s just my two cents about how I came to discover possibly the wittiest and most profound English writer of the 20th century.  His writings have been quoted by those writing about Christianity, moral teachings, politics, or even just looking for a good quotation to use.
 
I hope this was helpful to you.
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4 Responses to G. K. Chesterton – How I found out about him

  1. Anna says:

    well, thanks for your recommendations. Actually i don\’t know any of those books and authors (i prefer \’first half of 20th century\’ literature, something like remarque, lately) and to be honest i avoid themes about religion. But thank you anyway!

  2. Unknown says:

    Chesterton is indeed one of the most fascinating intellectuals I had the opportunity to read. Thanks for all the interesting links!

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