Today I’m excited to review the lively book Chesterton is Everywhere by David Fagerberg. Fagerberg is an associate professor of theology at The University of Notre Dame, trained at Yale, and he is also a regular contributor to Gilbert magazine.
Chesterton is Everywhere, from Emmaus Road publishing, is at times touching, at times surprising. Chesterton’s body of work touches all parts of our lives, including holiday celebration, games of family Uno around the table, and the ups and downs of marriage. Fagerberg’s style is funny, scholarly, and illuminating. He makes Chesterton accessible, without watering it down, and he makes Chesterton’s writing applicable to not only daily life, but also modern life. He makes the author come alive, and is able to enrich our lives by his study of his writing. This is no easy task!
Here are five reasons why I think you should pick up a copy of Chesterton is Everywhere.
1. You will be amused. Fagerberg’s style of writing was right up my alley. He mentions in the book that he is Norwegian (no way! me too!) and his style of writing is fun, too. I have enjoyed some of Chesterton’s writing in the past, but never as much as I will after reading this book.
2. You will be inspired. It will spur you on to read more Chesterton. He highlights many Chesterton books throughout, and mentions what he likes about each one. Thanks to this book, I’m eager to read “The Ethics of Elfland” as soon as I can! You will also be inspired to see the world the way Chesterton viewed it. This is in itself a beautiful thing.
3. You will have a better understanding of G.K. Chesterton’s writings. He elucidates many difficult passages in a professorial way. He makes difficult passages readable, and confusing ideas understandable. This comes from a trusted source, not simply anybody’s ideas on Chesterton, but that of a theology professor at Notre Dame.
4. More specifically, you will understand Chesterton’s writing in a modern light. It takes a good theologian to make Chesterton current without weakening his presuppositions. For example, in explaining Chesterton’s thoughts of Christmas, we get this gem: “Not only does Christmas upset the puritan for being too pagan, and the theosophist for being too mundane, Christmas also upsets the mighty who mistakenly think they possess their wealth or power for their own self-gratification… As I look around . . . I think the Christmas rumors that the Messiah is afoot must cause the same consternation in many.”
5. You will be exposed to many of Chesterton’s more personal thoughts on all manner of subjects. Fagerberg addresses the home, the political sphere, and relationships, among other issues. In a chapter which is a direct quote from Chesterton “A Short History of Trade and Industry During the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” he expounds the idea, that “the more we produce, the less we possess.” Because a razor or natural gas or pears or apples are made to sell, they are not made to work, or to be useful, or even to eat. This is a profound irony!
Well done, Fagerberg! Thank you for bringing Chesterton into our daily lives in a lively, engaging way. At times, I felt this would be a good one to read slowly, kept on a bedside table to read in brief sessions. At other times, it’s absorbing, and you won’t want to put it down. Either way, read it soon! You will certainly enjoy it and benefit from it.
Copyright 2013 Tacy Beck