For at present we all tend to one mistake; we tend to make politics too important.
We tend to forget how huge a part of a man’s life is the same under a Sultan and a Senate,
under Nero or St. Louis.
Daybreak is a never-ending glory,
getting out of bed is a never-ending nuisance;
food and friends will be welcomed;
work and strangers must be accepted and endured;
birds will go bedwards and children won’t,
to the end of the last evening.
from the essay What’s Right with the World,
found in In Defense of Sanity
Two things…well maybe even more but two things first.
First…I saw this shelf fungus, or full blown mushroom, growing directly out of the side
of a tree…and at first glance, I asked my husband…
“is that thing real???”
with his woodsy savvy response, “of course it’s real”
“Huh….who knew?!” is all I could muster in reply.
(a fungus among us / The Great Smokey Mts National Park / Julie Cook / 2018
Secondly…what about G.K.???
Is Mr. Chesterton not hitting the proverbial nail on the head with his very current
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Chesterton…Gilbert Keith to be exact,
Mr. Chesterton came into this world in 1874 in London and died in 1936 at his home
in Buckinghamshire, England.
He was a prolific writer, being considered by many, the greatest writer of the 20th century.
He never attended college however but rather opted to attend art school,
earning a degree in illustration.
Yet it was after being asked to contribute an essay on art criticism to a magazine that
his lifelong passion for writing and his career as a writer, would not stop until
his death at age of 62…
and yet it never really has stopped as his words live on most enthusiastically
to this day.
And it is due to his prolific writing that Mr. Chesterton remains as current and
as relevant as he did at the turn of the century…that being the turn of the 19th
to the 20th century.
It was actually from the writings of Chesterton that lead a young atheist by the name
of C.S. Lewis to conversion to Christianity…
but Chesterton first would have to come to conversion himself.
Born of Unitarian parents, as a young man Chesterton and his brother veered toward a
fascination with the occult and that of Qujia Boards…as this was a time of a cultural
interest in such…a time when seances were all the rage and much in vogue with most of
Intellectualism and science were both coming into their own as Christianity was
being seen as the stuff of fables and fairy tales as well as too stringent for
those seeking to dabble in all things ‘other than’…
for this was an age of enlightenment.
Chesterton credits his wife Frances, who he married in 1901, with actually leading
him back to the fold of believers.
They became members of the Anglican Church…yet Chesterton would refer to
Anglicanism as a “pale imitation” and eventually joined the Catholic Church in 1922.
It was at this point that Chesterton became what many consider to be one of the
staunchest of all times apologists for the Christian Faith.
Chesterton was equally blessed with the gift of gab and debated the likes of
H.G. Wells, Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and Clarence Darrow and not only
lived to tell about it but was considered to be the victor of each debate leading
George Bernard Shaw to proclaim that “the world is not thankful enough for Chesterton.”
And so as I read today’s quote, I found it amazingly instep and even quite timely.
In fact, reading the quote and not knowing it was from Chesterton,
I would have thought any ardent
Christian living today might have said such.
And so it was on our recent trip to the mountains–Cades Cove to be exact, that we
found ourselves wandering into an old creaking white clappered church…
This small mountain Methodist church’s original log hewn structure, built in 1820,
is long gone …leaving in its place the current surviving structure which dates to 1902.
(a pic of the church I took several years back during the fall of the year / Cades Cove /
I find that there is something not only peaceful about this long empty church but
The setting which surrounds this bastion of faith beckons to my soul.
(a view looking back to the right of the Chruch / Julie Cook / 2018)
As we walked inside this glimpse of days gone by, breathing in the stale dusty old air,
feeling the ancient wooden planks gently give and squeak underfoot,
I immediately saw the same simple altar with the same simple wooden cross
hung on the wall…of which was still standing after 25 years when I first took a picture
of our son standing at that very same altar as he once thought seminary was in his future,
I felt an immediate sense of coming home.
Yet on this particular visit, splayed open in reverent fashion on the ancient plain
wooden altar, sat a Bible.
A worn open Bible…
And whenever I find a lonely open Bible,
I am always intrigued as to where might this bible be opened…
what passage did a previous visitor find important to leave for
those who followed after…
The Bible was opened to the Book of Lamentations…
with one section of verse shining like a blinding light…
My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
So given Mr. Chesterton’s words regarding our tendency to take politics
(and our current state of events) way too seriously,
of which is oh so easy to do with one click of a button, it is a deep comfort
to see those long-standing words still there, still consistant, still constant…
a reminder that despite our dire current state of affairs,
the Lord remains my portion as my hope rests only in Him…
Amen and thanks for another great art history lesson. You must’ve been an amazing teacher.
To some , perhaps — to others more monster 🤣😂
Hugs to you for a hauntingly beautiful post! Perhaps the mushroom was a prelude as His ‘shelf’ you were being lead toward, (to the altar – which the Word stood upon.)
Love your title. It says so much.
life in a nutshell…or so it seems
Lovely photographs, and that you for sharing about Mr. C. J.
Thank you—I love knowing the background or backstory to those who have left such a profound mark as a warrior for the Faith!
Your initial quote is interesting. I just posted “Who to Trust?” on the topic of not trusting the government, politicians, etc. I guess great minds think alike? Nah, I think God had something to do with it.
I’ve read Father Brown, but I did not know Chesterton’s background. Thanks.
true…on both parts 🙂
I did not realize that he’d gotten a degree in illustration…a jack of all trades…but thank Heavens he was lead in the right direction!
Have not read as many of G. K. Chesterton’s works as I wish, but Lord willing, I still have time. In the next life if not this one.
You didn’t ask, but do I think that Chesterton quote is correct? I wonder. Since I have never read the essay that quote came from, I am not entirely certain of the context.
I do think we make politics too important. However, governments now strive more than ever to control what we think. Nazis and Communists can be quite bloody about it. Yet even when Chesterton lived, he should have observed something about the regimes of sultans. They are run by Muslims, Muslims who persecute non-Muslims with unrelenting fervor.
Many of the nations were now associate with Islam were once Christian. Now, because Muslim warriors made it so, few call themselves Christian where Muslims are in the majority.
Since our forbears started publishing the Bible in our native tongues, Christians have learned to frown upon warfare and pointless strife. Because we are human we Christians still find war difficult to avoid. Yet people with beliefs different from Christians too often have little respect for the rights of other human beings. Some even glorify strife. Therefore, if we value freedom of religion, politics is important.
In fact, the Bible stresses the importance of government and law. Perhaps that is because we too readily idolize our leaders and the governments they lead.
Consider. To make himself the leader of thousands of bloodthirsty warriors, Muhammad made himself a prophet. In practice, Muslims treat The Prophet as some sort of demigod. Their leaders assume a similar aura, leading in the name of Allah.
totally agree Tom—and we must note that Chesterton was hitting his zenith during the reign of Queen Victoria—the height of the sun never setting on the Realm.
And no, I’ve not read much of Chesterton as his works…even Fr Brown series remind me a great deal of when I read Churchill—heavy wording, masters of the language yes, but no nice flow so it can be consumming and requires a laser pointed mind ready to consumme…not exactly the type of light reading some may prefer….
And I agree about the law….and in turn governments, leaders…I think I either wrote about that or had read something as to why we will always have such during our stay on this planet.
There is a necessity…of course we created the necessity in our fall from grace…but it is ours to be…as there will always be conflict—there is no nirvana here, no completion to “true enlightenment” as man is a sinful creature…who is in turn in need of saving…
our socialist loving new dems don’t get that…they are pushing the saving by the “party” and yes…that sounds eerily familar—those saving grace parties of the people don’t you know….
Hello Julie I recently commented on your wonderful page. My name is Deborah from Australia and On Sunday August 5th; My Husband of nearly 36 years died unexpectedly in a motor bike accident. The shock needless to say has been unbearable- except for God- I would not be able to keep going. Thank you for the Lamentations verses – just exactly and perfectly what I needed to read today. God bless you abundantly- Deborah Garrott.
Oh Deborah…I am so so sorry.
My husband and I have been married 35 years.
I can’t begin to feel the depth of your sorrow…but I do know how painful it must be for you.
There are no words Deborah in such moments of loss…but yes, there reamins God.
For good and bad, there is God.
I am thankful that the Holy Spirit moved in such a way that I wrote what I did, when I did, so you could find a sliver of comfort.
I am always amazed at how we each are woven into the lives of others, without our knowledge. It is humbling to think how we can touch others when we don’t even know it.
I will remember you Deborah in my prayers…as I will also pray for you husband who is now with the Father.
May God put his arms around you.
Please come back to visit…
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to reach out.
I have now read two blog posts in a row that focused on Lamentations 3. I think my heavenly Father is trying to tell me something this morning! Thank you, dear Julie, for writing this beautiful and encouraging post! Love and hugs to you! ❤ ❤
It is amazing how things work in tandem without our cognizant knowledge
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