"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it."
-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.
Waving this world's flag The title of this blog could well be the title for a remarkably liberal new world order type. I, if you have read much of anything I have written here, am not that at all. The title comes from G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. In the chapter whose name I have obsconded with, Chesterton lays out that he is neither an pessimist--which was obvious to anyone who has read anything he has written--nor an optimist--though he may seem so. But, he wrote, his "acceptance of the universe is not optimism, it is more like patriotism. It is a matter of primary loyalty." And he then goes on to write what I have quoted over to the left, and more.
"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it. The point is not that this world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more. All optimistic thoughts about England and all pessimistic thoughts about her are alike reasons for the English patriot. Similarly, optimism and pessimism are alike arguments for the cosmic patriot."
And this is very much how I see the world. This is my world, just as America is my country, my brother is my brother, my father is my father and my mother is my mother. I did not choose any of these, yet I love each of them deeply because of their connection to me, and yet my love for them is not a passive acceptance of all that they are and do, but a deep desire to see them be better and greater than they are.
And so, in the case of Iraq, I love Iraq because it's the only Iraq I've got--and I love Trinidad and Tobago because it's the only Trinidad and Tobago I've got. I want to see them each grow to be better and greater than they are today. "Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her," he also says.
But to truly love these places, these people, these nations, I really ought to know about them. Which brings me to my purpose here--this blog's main purpose has been stated as discussing the things going on in the world that people should be paying more attention to. The fact that everyone is paying attention to the war in Iraq does not discount the fact that everyone should really be paying more attention to it. However, it does mean that many of us have not been paying very much attention to the rest of the world. And so, today, I plan to start an ongoing Flag of the World series on the nations of the world, in alphabetical order. I hope to start tonight with the first in the list, Afghanistan.
UPDATE: I should mention here that the flags I will use are, mostly, courtesy of ITA's
Flags of All Countries and used with permission.