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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recommended Reading/Listening

I just finished listening to a librivox recording of G. K. Chesterton's The New Jerusalem. Immediately upon finishing it, I went back to the beginning again. If you have never experienced Chesterton's writing, you will spend the first pages -- even the first chapters -- wondering if his rambling, poetical style has any theme or point at all. But you will soon discover that every seemingly haphazard word is precisely chosen and every rambling path leads you to a breathtaking vista.

Written in 1920 shortly after the close of the Great War, 19 years before the beginning of the Holocaust and 27 years before the charter of the nation of Israel, this book takes an historico-theologico-practical approach to the politics of the Middle East which is every bit as relevant now as it was then.

The chapter on the Crusades, alone, would be worth your time. Here you have a devastating critique of the past two centuries of Western evaluations of their purpose and value. In modern histories, we are told few of the actual facts and even less about the stated motives of either side. Instead, rather, we are fed only enough information to form a negative opinion of the masses of well-meaning Christians who gave their wealth and health and lives in pursuit of we-know-not-what. If Chesterton can help you fill in this blank, you will not only see the past more clearly, but the present as well.

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