If you’ve ever begun to read a book that dozens of folks have recommended to you and delightedly discovered that they were right, you will connect with my current experience of reading G.K. Chesteron’s Orthodoxy. I hope to bring you more observations from this gourmet feast for the cerebrum, but let me spoon feed you one thought at this point.

Chesteron elaborately makes a stunning point about how boring scientific explanations for everything is. Call it magic, mystery or the divine, the point is still the same. Because we witness things happening over and over and over again, we assume that there are laws behind that event’s continuous recurrence. Throw an apple off a bridge and it falls down… every time. Ah! The law of gravity. Witness a boiling pot of water long enough and voila, the law of thermodynamics.

Although a determined and dynamic Christ-follower, Chesterton arrived there through intuition and later logic. It was this intuition that suggested to Chesterton that perhaps natural laws were not so natural. He believed that just because something consistently happened in one way does not necessarily legitmize the existence of a law. Rather, he felt that perhaps there was a will behind events of constant recurrence… a will of magnificent innocence,creativity, and power.

Let Chesterton’s words speak for themselves:

The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; adn the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that
God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity {natural law} that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

Chesterton advocates a return to being baffled by life rather than trying to explain it away. He advocates appreciation of fantasy and curiosity. I no longer much play “Pretend Like” as an adult. As a child, I was Superman, Batman, a fireman and a policeman – all in the span of a single day. I climbed mountains between meals and swam oceans before bedtime. It reminds me so much of the bell gift in The Polar Express. (if you haven’t seen it or read it, go now!) It’s silent for those who cease to believe. I want it to keep ringing.

Update: Read Part 2 of the series…

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