Everlasting man and family on a Kindle.

“Round the family do indeed gather the sanctities that separate men from ants and bees. Decency is the curtain of that tent; liberty is the wall of that city; property is but the family farm; honour is but the family flag.”    — G.K. Chesterton

This quote is from the first part of The Everlasting Man, in a section where the author is comparing mere theories of evolution with what we know from direct evidence and experience of the history of mankind.

The topic of the family comes up in a discussion of clothing, because to Chesterton, “It would almost always appear that [clothes] are felt to have some connection with decorum.” That concept takes us back further to ancient beliefs in what he calls original sin, and the foundational relationships of the family.Mr w kids way back

And about clothes, this also: “…clothes are very literally vestments and man wears them because he is a priest.”

So…as we always find in Chesterton, so many things are connected. Sometimes it’s hard to follow the logical progression of his thoughts, expressed as they often are in sometimes wild metaphors, but there are always gems that are more quickly accessible, and for the rest, it relaxes me to put my mind to the stretching exercise.

This is my second reading  of The Everlasting Man, this time on my new Kindle. I have the print book on my shelf near my bed, but the Kindle really makes reading in bed easy, because I don’t have to hold a heavy book — even medium-sized books feel heavier with the years — while lying on my side.

I’m used to doing a lot of underlining and making notes in almost every book I read, including fiction, and I’m continuing that practice. The equivalent of underlining is easier with this e-reader than holding a pen while lying down. If I don’t lay my pen near my pillow and risk losing it under the covers and/or getting ink stains on the sheets, I hold it along with the book in a vaguely vertical fashion, and the ink invariably drains away from the tip leaving it dry just when I need it. With the Kindle I just run my finger along the lines I want to highlight and it all comes out very neat compared to the wavy and messy lines that can be found in all my print books.J&H read Nov 84

This e-reader has its own adjustable light source, which is very comfortable on the eyes and handy at night. It tucks into my purse so that I can have whatever book I’m in the mood for, whether I’m sitting in a waiting room or on an airplane. I’m surprised that I’ve taken so easily to it. There are still a hundred books I plan to read that aren’t available on Kindle, so I don’t have to do without Real Books altogether, but I think my total reading time has already increased, which makes me feel rich.

Chesterton reminds me of my wealth in this life and world, but he always keeps me in mind of the much more satisfying heavenly realities. This first part of The Everlasting Man is on “The Creature Called Man.” The second part is “The Man Called Christ.” I know I like the second part best, because it tells about how Christ as The Son of Man and The Son of God was the “yea and amen to all the promises of God” and the crux of history. But I’ll get to that later….

Christ is risen!

(Linking up to Weekends With Chesterton)

6 thoughts on “Everlasting man and family on a Kindle.

  1. My kids bought me a Kindle last summer when I was sitting with my husband in the hospital. I had always sworn I would never buy one! Real books for me! But I have enjoyed it, though I read more real books than those on the Kindle. I have it stuffed with good books, including The Everlasting Man and a couple of other Chesterton titles. It does make one feel rich to have wonderful books waiting in line to be read! I like the fact that you don’t need to worry about having a lamp handy to read. I haven’t tried underlining. I’ll have to explore the possibilities! 🙂
    Mind stretching exercise is probably a good thing as we get older. But I think my mind needs more sleep first! 😉


  2. It is my daughter’s favorite book. I was just looking at it the other day, trying to get her books to her. My kindle was alas used by someone little driving a car on it with out Grandma knowing it and now it is a large paper weight.
    In the picture with your son and daughter, is that Holling C. Hollings Indian book? I loved all of the books he wrote and spent years tracking them down. I like the Cowboys too. I think though, Seabird was my favorite.


    1. Kim, yes it is the Hollings book! Aren’t his books wonderful? My favorite was *Paddle to the Sea,* but I’ve given some others as gifts to adults who hadn’t known about him. So now is your collection complete?


  3. I’ve had friends ask me if we will wear clothes in the New Earth. I think they’ve sadly fallen victim to the assumption that clothing on humans is only for covering nakedness, and for curtailing lust — a view that associates clothing always with sin and death. But I think it very possible that clothing can be noble as well, as Chesterton indicates, and that on the beautiful New Earth we will clothe ourselves when we like, if we like, not because of sin but because of beauty and beauty alone. I shall wear a lot of flowy scarves!


    1. Doesn’t the Bible say we will be clothed in white? I had never thought of the possibility that we will be the ones to choose! The church fathers teach that Adam and Eve were not naked originally but clothed in light, and when they sinned they lost that garment. But even if our current mode of clothing is a result of sin and death, God will redeem and transform that aspect of our fallen humanity to make it a glorious thing.


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