This month I'll be putting together my official thesis proposal. Right now I'm working with the title "This Side of Sunday: The Natural Theology of GK Chesterton in The Man Who Was Thursday". Part of this title might sound vaguely familiar, as well as familiarly vague! Maybe I'll explain briefly why it is the title of my thesis as well as of this blog.
In The Man Who Was Thursday there is a character who goes by the code name Sunday. Sunday typically refers (in my tradition) to that especially holy day of the week, loosely associated with Sabbath and therefore the Peace of God. When I wrote about life and spirituality for our college newspaper (some of you will remember it as the notoriously badly titled "Phat Papyrii") I used this title to signify that this was church-talk outside of church.
When I use it as a thesis title I am alluding more to the cosmic scope of things as addressed in Chesterton's book. If Sunday is the Peace of God, well, we are currently on the wrong side of it. I mean, we can have the Peace of God, but only a shadow of that reality which we await in the coming of God's Kingdom, the Year of Jubilee, the Sabbath to come. We wait, this side of Sunday.
But Sunday is also a day where we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A past event. And we are past that, looking back. We remember, we try to live in light of, this side of Sunday.
Who knew I meant all that eh? And if you read the book you'll see I mean more. Just say it, I'm crazy aren't I?
Anyway, I kind of like it and I hope I get to keep it. However, who knows how much this thesis will change between now and next March (when it is due).
Incidentally, since my thesis is basically a critical literary-theological reading of Chesterton's best novel, check out this quote I found from GKC himself about the act of literary criticism:
The function of criticism, if it has a legitimate function at all, can only
be one function - that of dealing with the subconscious part of the author's
mind which only the critic can express, and not with the conscious part of the
author's mind, which the author himself can express. Either criticism is no good
at all (a very defensible position) or else criticism means saying about an
author the very things that would have made him jump out of his boots.
If I could make him jump out of his boots I'd be mighty pleased.