Since he published Orthodoxy in 1908, G.K. Chesterton has inspired Christians and challenged skeptics with his unique wit and wisdom. He delivered biting analysis still relevant today: "A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed." And he composed poignant prose that still touches the heart: "Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind." CT editor at large Collin Hansen spoke about Chesterton's legacy with Lyle Dorsett, the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism at Beeson Divinity School.

Chesterton was quite witty, and Orthodoxy is packed with pithy quotes. Which is your favorite?

My favorite is Chesterton's understanding of why "I could feel homesick at home." It appears at the end of chapter five, "The Flag of the World." Chesterton wrote, "Christian optimism is based on the fact that we do not fit in to the world. I had tried to be happy by telling myself that man is an animal, like any other which sought its meat from God. But now I really was happy, for I had learnt that man is a monstrosity. I had been right in feeling all things as odd, for I myself was at once worse and better than all things."

It was this chapter that spoke so clearly to me when I read Orthodoxy at the urging of one of my students at the University of Denver. I was an agnostic, and he was keen on pointing me to Jesus Christ. Although I was quite taken by Chesterton's section on the madness of self-reliance, this "homesick at home" argument absolutely shook the foundation of philosophic materialism I stood on. Materialism was my foundation, but it was never comfortable. Indeed, I never rested there. When Chesterton said ...

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Christianity Today
One Hundred Years of Wit and Wisdom
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November 2008

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