In which Chesterton destroys the cynic and the sentimentalist:
I’ve already talked a little about the wonder that pervades Chesterton’s writing — it should be easy as pie to see how such wonder is a death knell to cynicism. (It’s hard to grouse about the glass being half empty when the very existence of the glass and its contents amazes you.) But if the right kind of wonder is a death knell to cynicism, it’s also a death knell to mawkish optimism. Reading Chesterton, you’re reminded to keep your eyes open as wide as you possibly can. You see the beauty and the ugliness. The trick is remembering which one wins.
I’m over at Torrey Gazette today with a tribute (of sorts) to G.K. Chesterton and his vision of the ordinary. Go have a look-see.
In her detective novel The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Dorothy Sayers compares books to lobster shells: “We surround ourselves with ’em, then we grow out of ’em and leave ’em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.” The same may be said of authors.
And yet, inarguable as the comparison may be on some level, I think we can all point to exceptions that have achieved a certain “supra-lobster shell” status in our lives. These are the books and authors we can’t seem to grow out of, because no matter where we are in life, they still fit.
Chesterton is one of those for me. I discovered his writing six or seven years ago, and much as I’ve come to dislike the phrase “love affair” as a descriptor for things other than actual love affairs, it hits fairly near the mark. I’d like to think I’m proof that one can be staunchly Reformed Presbyterian and still count G.K.C. a defining influence in one’s life. (There is, of course, the distinct possibility the old papist would throw an ink blotter at my head if he knew, but you can’t win ’em all.)
The rash of sting videos released by the Center for Medical Progress not only exposed Planned Parenthood, but also reignited debate in Christian circles over the nature and moral legitimacy of deception.
The Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1:15-20) and Rahab (Joshua 2:1-5) have long been enough to convince me that there are cases where deception is not only excusable, but praiseworthy (dare I say, righteous?). Others have not been so persuaded.
In an effort to defend the legitimate use of deception, my friend Joshua Torrey – the mover and shaker behind Torrey Gazette – wrote a series of posts on the subject. These posts have recently been revised, expanded, and compiled into a single volume. It’s available for free right now in MOBI, EPUB, and PDF formats. For anyone with questions about the biblical case for ‘holy deception’, Torrey’s book is a sane and studied place to start.
Also, for the love of all that is sensible, subscribe to TG. It’s just one of those things you won’t regret.
Expanded thoughts on the movie Chef and what it says about food and the prodigality of God:
Jon Favreau plays Carl Caspar, a chef who quits his job at a well-to-do LA restaurant after a heated exchange with its owner. Desperate to make ends meet without sacrificing his creative integrity, Caspar starts a food truck. The rest is movie history.
With smart and frequently hilarious writing, a snazzy soundtrack, and a talented cast (special hat tip to John Leguizamo as Caspar’s buddy Martin), the fun factor is already high with this one. But since I can never leave well enough alone, allow me, if only for a few paragraphs, to wax ineloquent about one of the things that put Chef a step above mere entertainment for me.
Continue reading here.
I’m over at Torrey Gazette today, writing about the music I grew up with, even the embarrassing stuff. There’s even a Spotify playlist to go with it.