Common Sense 101: Lessons from G. K. Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2006)

I tried to take a shortcut.  With only three days before leaving the J&S Library behind, I chose this instead of a book by Chesterton himself.  Although somewhat unsatisfactory, it was probably the right thing to do:  The summary has left me thirsting for the Real Thing.

Many times throughout the book I found myself wanting to say to the author—as I wanted to say to the editor of Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils, which I reviewed in January—"Enough of what you think Chesterton is saying; I want to hear more of what he has to say!"  But Chesterton can be tough sledding at first, so reading a historical and contextual introduction is not a bad idea.  Dale Ahlquist is the president of the American Chesterton Society, which might be another good place to begin.

Although there is much I could quote from Common Sense 101, I'll refrain until I have the direct words from one Ahlquist would freely admit is the better writer.  Instead, I'll include a Christmas poem, not by Chesterton, but by his wife, Frances Blogg* Chesterton.

How far is it to Bethlehem?
    Not very far.
Shall we find the stable-room
    Lit by a star?

Can we see the little Child?
    Is He within?
If we lift the wooden latch,
    May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there —
    Ox, ass, or sheep?
May we peep like them and see
    Jesus asleep?

If we touch His tiny hand,
    Will He awake?
Will He know we've come so far
    Just for His sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,
    And we have naught;
Little smiles and little tears
    Are all we brought.

For all weary children
    Mary must weep;
Here, on His bed of straw,
    Sleep, children, sleep.

God, in His mother's arms,
    Babes in the byre,
Sleep, as they sleep who find
    Their heart's desire.


*Her husband may be the more famous, but surely Frances deserves some credit for being one of the first bloggers.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 3:34 am | Edit
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