torstai 28. tammikuuta 2016

The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way

The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way 

torstai 21. tammikuuta 2016

The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton

The Everlasting Man is a Christian apologetics book written by G. K. Chesterton.

In The Everlasting Man G. K. Chesterton proclaimed anew to the doubters of the age that the key to history had arrived nearly two thousand years before.

It was published in 1925. And it is, to some extent, a deliberate rebuttal of H. G. Wells' The Outline of History.

In his book Chesterton disputes Wells' portrayals of human life and civilization as a seamless development from animal life and of Jesus Christ as merely another charismatic figure. 

Chesterton detailed his own spiritual journey in Orthodoxy, but in this book he tries to illustrate the spiritual journey of humanity, or at least of Western civilization.

Of all of Chesterton’s literary monuments, this is perhaps his greatest, for he eloquently and concisely packs the whole human story between the covers of one book. He begins by pointing out that the main problem with the critics of the Church is that they are too close to it to see it properly. They cannot see the big picture, only the small picture that directly affects them. With their sulks and their perversity and their petty criticism they are merely reacting to the Church. What they need to do is back up. And that’s what Chesterton has the reader do in this book.

Chesterton's thesis is that if man is really and dispassionately viewed simply as another animal, one is forced to the conclusion that he is a bizarrely unusual animal.  

Part I of the book  'On the Creature Called Man' 

Chesterton says that when we study history, the curtain rises on a play already in progress. He argues that it was religion that advanced civilization. It was religion that dealt with the meanings of things, with the development and interpretation of symbols, which advanced communication and knowledge, or what we call the arts and the sciences.

In his telling, the groaning and travail of the ancient world was answered, precisely and definitely, in the still night of Bethlehem and the Birth of our Lord.

Chesterton insists the event be seen with fresh eyes: God as Child - a claim no other religion dares to make.

He also argues that if Jesus is really viewed as simply another human leader and Christianity and the Church are simply another human religion, one is forced to the conclusion that he was a bizarrely unusual leader, whose followers founded a bizarrely and miraculously unusual religion and Church.

"I do not believe that the past is most truly pictured as a thing in which humanity merely fades away into nature, or civilization merely fades away into barbarism, or religion fades away into mythology, or our own religion fades away into the religions of the world. In short I do not believe that the best way to produce an outline of history is to rub out the lines."
If we study any civilization, we see that after progress, comes decay. Chesterton says men do not grow tired of evil, but of good. They become weary of joy. They stop worshipping God and start worshipping idols, their own bad imitations of God, and they become as wooden as the thing they worship.

Part II 'On the Man Called Christ'

The Everlasting Man is the tale of a unique creature, man, made in the image of God. And of the God-Made-Man who fully reveals this fact to him.

Something marvelous happens in history. According to Chesterton the path that leads to man's true home begins with the Nativity and ends with the Resurretion, and in between is contained all life and all holiness.

Bethlehem, says Chesterton, is emphatically a place where extremes meet. It is where heaven meets earth. God comes to make a home in the world and finds himself homeless.

Chesterton says that if we approach the Gospel objectively we will see that it is not a book of platitudes. It paints a picture of a man who was indeed a wonder-worker, but who spoke in riddles and rebukes. His teachings were as difficult to accept in his own time as they are today. None of the critics of Christianity seem to appreciate the fact that Christ’s teachings were not dependent on the social order in which he lived but transcended their time altogether.

The central dogma of the Christian faith is that God died, that, in Chesterton’s phrase, God was for one instant for one instant forsaken of God, that God sacrificed himself to himself, is more mysterious than anything, even the mystery of creation itself. And those who object to this dogma do so not because the dogma is bad, but because it’s too good to be true. The gospel does not end with God’s death; it ends with the most startling episode of all. An empty grave. And God again walking in a garden, as on the first day of creation.

C. S. Lewis and The Everlasting Man

C. S. Lewis credited The Everlasting Man with "baptising" his intellect, so as to make him more than half-converted well before he could bring himself to embrace Christianity. After reading the book he observed that a young man who is serious about his atheism cannot be too careful about what he reads.

In a 1950 letter to Sheldon Vanauken, Lewis calls the book "the best popular apologetic I know," and in 1947 he wrote to Rhonda Bodle :"the [very] best popular defence of the full Christian position I know is G. K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man."

The book was also cited by The Christian Century in a list of 10 books that "most shaped [Lewis'] vocational attitude and philosophy of life".

Lewis fell in love with the literary works of G.K. Chesterton. For me the languege was difficult from time to time. And Chesterton has a way of taking the long road to get to the point that can be frustrating from time to time. But I have no doubt that many others will be affected by him when they experience his way with words.

tiistai 19. tammikuuta 2016

Reading Challenge for 2016

Do you love reading? I do.

There is something magic about books. Something that allows you to transport to another place, or even to another universe, or galaxy. Something that lets you to live someone else’s life, or lives.

What could be more magical?

I have always read a lot. I haven’t read books that people recommend me. I actually don’t like very much being recommended a book. Because I want to be like an archeologist, or adventurer, or a character in the books, who finds something special, a rare treasure, a book. But not just any book, a special book, a magical book, a book that nobody else has read, the best book in the world.

Of course it’s not that probably I’ll find a magical book, or even an amazing book nobody else has read before. But not discussing the books I read with others, at least before I read them, makes me feel like I have found a treasure, all by myself.

But we are called to step out of our comfort zone, and also to be less selfish (I know, I’m a selfish reader). So, this year I have decided to do something different. I’m participating in a reading challenge. It’s a challenge I found on Tim Challies’ website. You can find the challenge HERE.

I hope you take the challenge too and discuss your books with me. And even suggest a book or two to me. And I might even read them (or maybe I’ve already read them, lol). But I promise to be open about your books and any suggestions you have for me.
Here we go!

The Light Reader

_ 1. A book about Christian living
_ 2. A biography
_ 3. A classic novel
_ 4. A book someone tells you "changed my life"
_ 5. A commentary on a book of the Bible
_ 6. A book about theology
_ 7. A book with the word "gospel" in the title or subtitle
_ 8. A book your pastor recommends
_ 9. A book more than 100 years old
_ 10. A book for children
_ 11. A mystery or detective novel
_ 12. A book published in 2016
_ 13. A book about a current issue

The Avid Reader

_ 14. A book written by a Puritan
_ 15. A book recommended by a family member
_ 16. A book by or about a missionary
_ 17. A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize
_ 18. A book written by an Anglican
_ 19. A book with at least 400 pages
_ 20. A book by C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien
_ 21. A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title
_ 22. A book with a great cover
_ 23. A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers
_ 24. A book about church history
_ 25. A graphic novel
_ 26. A book of poetry

The Committed Reader

_ 27. A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with
_ 28. A book written by an author with initials in their name
_ 29. A book that won a ECPA Christian Book Award
_ 30. A book about worldview
_ 31. A play by William Shakespeare
_ 32. A humorous book
_ 33. A book based on a true story
_ 34. A book written by Jane Austen
_ 35. A book by or about Martin Luther
_ 36. A book with 100 pages or less
_ 37. A book with a one-word title
_ 38. A book about money or finance
_ 39. A novel set in a country that is not your own
_ 40. A book about music
_ 41. A memoir
_ 42. A book about joy or happiness
_ 43. A book by a female author
_ 44. A book whose title comes from a Bible verse
_ 45. A book you have started but never finished
_ 46. A self-improvement book
_ 47. A book by David McCullough
_ 48. A book you own but have never read
_ 49. A book about abortion
_ 50. A book targeted at the other gender
_ 51. A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended
_ 52. A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you

The Obsessed Reader

_ 53. A book published by The Banner of Truth
_ 54. A book about the Reformation
_ 55. A book written by a first-time author
_ 56. A biography of a world leader
_ 57. A book used as a seminary textbook
_ 58. A book about food
_ 59. A book about productivity
_ 60. A book about or relationships or friendship
_ 61. A book about parenting
_ 62. A book about philosophy
_ 63. A book about art
_ 64. A book with magic
_ 65. A book about prayer
_ 66. A book about marriage
_ 67. A book about a hobby
_ 68. A book of comics
_ 69. A book about the Second World War
_ 70. A book about sports
_ 71. A book by or about a pastor’s wife
_ 72. A book about suffering
_ 73. A book by your favorite author
_ 74. A book you have read before
_ 75. A book about homosexuality
_ 76. A Christian novel
_ 77. A book about psychology
_ 78. A book about the natural world
_ 79. A book by or about Charles Dickens
_ 80. A novel longer than 400 pages
_ 81. A historical book
_ 82. A book about the Bible
_ 83. A book about a country or city
_ 84. A book about astronomy
_ 85. A book with an ugly cover
_ 86. A book by or about a martyr
_ 87. A book by a woman conference speaker
_ 88. A book by or about the church fathers
_ 89. A book about language
_ 90. A book by or about a Russian
_ 91. A book about leadership
_ 92. A book about public speaking
_ 93. A book by Francis Schaeffer
_ 94. A book by a Presbyterian
_ 95. A book about science
_ 96. A book about revival
_ 97. A book about writing
_ 98. A book about evangelism
_ 99. A book about ancient history
_ 100. A book about preaching
_ 101. A book about the church
_ 102. A book about adoption
_ 103. A photo essay book
_ 104. A book written in the twentieth century

Extra Credit

_ 105. A book from a library
_ 106. A book about business
_ 107. A book by an author less than 30
_ 108. A book published by a UK-based publisher
_ 109. A book you borrow

It’s a long list but the rules are quite flexible. You can choose any category, or all of them. Or you can choose books from different categories.

My challenge is to read all the books from each category. And I mean all of them. Some of them might be a bit more difficult but I’m up for a challenge J Hope you are too!

I’ll be posting about the books I’m choosing and reading throughout the year. The first book will be announced the next week!