Reading with Joy — The Ethics of Elfland

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Welcome to my summer book club, friends!

If you’re just joining us now, let me catch you up. This summer we’re reading Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, and this week we’re on chapter four: “The Ethics of Elfland.” It is one of my favourite essays ever. This book is a collection of essays in which Chesterton, a socialist journalist, essayist, and mystery novelist at the turn of the twentieth century, explains how he came to believe in the Christian faith. It is a raucous intellectual adventure, an intellectual and spiritual autobiography which combines the style of Augustine’s Confessions with postmodern pastiche. One friend described reading the book as “doing intellectual push ups while chortling.” It will make you laugh, learn, and think.

This is how the book club works: each week you read the assigned chapter by Tuesday, I put out a podcast on said chapter, and then, the folllowing day, you engage in discussion on either my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

You can find the book for free on Project Gutenberg or at the link below.

This week, I’m on the road, so there will be no show notes.

Listen to the podcast to hear my thoughts!

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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”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is 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 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.
— Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

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Joy Clarkson