Orthodoxy: G.K. Chesterson

Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt is gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the tow truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thin as fat, but such a thing as free will also. Thus e believe that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the wold buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand.

G.K Chesterson

Orthodoxy Page 23
Wildside press 2005 edition

I really think this quote speaks for itself, but Orthodoxy has me smiling so much right now that I can’t help but talk about it. "He has permitted twilight" what a great phrase. I love this idea that it is what we can’t understand that makes us sane. It is only when we assert that everything can be understood and therefore we are not complete unless we understand it that we start to go insane.

When we try to argue people into heaven–when we try to present only logical arguments with six steps and prayer we are forgetting the mystery. God doesn’t always make sense, in fact the very nature of the gospel is so out there that if you were to look at it logically it wouldn’t hold up.

We can’t just dissect the Bible like it is a text book and pull truth out and examine it like it is a cadaver. Truth is alive! To come in contact with the Truth we must embrace what we cannot explain. We must embrace mystery. That is why I believe the arts are making such a comeback in today’s church. We have tried to preach people to God, and tried to logically lay out the essence of God in 3 points and poem for so long that it almost seems like blasphemy to say that anything else is not only equally valid, but in some cases better, but when it comes to presenting the unknowable God the arts sometimes are better. In a piece of art you don’t need the answers. In art it is ok to come up with more questions. And if I have learned anything about God it is that the wonder of him is that He is continual discovery, a continual question a constant search for deeper truth.

I think I love this aspect of God because I am such an information junkie–I want to know how everything works–and I see in God a limitless pool of new insight. It is like God is new episodes of Mythbusters for eternity.

You see what I did there? I was making a great argument and then I had to go and bring in the TV reference.

Anyway, my call to the church is embrace the mystery. Already the church of the modern thinkers is crumbling. God is logical, but God can’t be contained by arguments and bullet points. If the church doesn’t embrace the mystery that is God we will never reach the world around us.  

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