The Tumbler of God: A Significant New Book on English Writer G.K. Chesterton

Father Robert Wild, my dear friend and mentor, a Catholic priest of Madonna House, has just had his latest book published. The wise fruit of long years of study and reflection, it’s entitled The Tumbler of God: Chesterton as Mystic. The book is a ground-breaking examination of G.K. Chesterton not as a pre-eminent figure in English letters of the first half of the 20th century, which he undoubtedly was, but as a man who by his own ineffable way of conceiving life and human existence had opened a vast, mystic window onto the eternal. Chesterton’s vision was anchored in an exquisitely refined sense of the way in which all that we hold as solid and substantial in our lives hangs in fragile dependence on the mercy of a boundlessly generous God. It was a vision marked by Chesterton’s radical, instinctive, utterly guileless attitude of praise and gratitude in response to the gift of his own existence and the manifold beauty of creation. In the book’s introduction, Stratford Caldecott, the well-known English writer who edits the journal Second Spring out of Oxford, England, includes a beautifully illustrative quote from Chesterton himself:
‘A man must have magnanimity of surrender, of which he commonly only catches a glimpse in first love, like a glimpse of our lost Eden.”
I am reminded here of a deeply resonant observation made by the poet George Mackay Brown, himself a Christian, who is considered the greatest Scottish poet of the 20th century:
“We move from silence into silence, and there is a brief stir between, every person’s attempt to make a meaning of life and time.”
Chesterton’s life-long attempt at “making meaning” resulted in a body of work that in its mystic genius defies the ebb and flow of time and fashion and offers us a still vibrant, still perennially valid glimpse of the eternal. I was privileged to be asked to provide my own literary and editorial input for this marvelous and significant book, which Fr. Bob graciously notes in his acknowledgements. The Tumbler of God is available through Justin Press (

1 Comment »

  • Angelico Press

    Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Society, called Tumbler “One of the best books I have ever read on Chesterton.” We are so proud to be the US publishers of this title. Thanks for spreading the word!

    October 2, 2013 >> 9:45 pm

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