G. K. Chesterton lectures in Tulsa this week

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Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, will give three lectures in Tulsa this coming Wednesday and Thursday, April 3 and 4, 2013, on the life and work of G. K. Chesterton, the prolific early 20th century English writer and Christian apologist known as "the Apostle of Common Sense." His writing ought to be part of your education, particularly if you aspire to think and write clearly. His insights are timeless, as aptly applied to the politics, culture, and academia of today as they were a century ago.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 2:50 p.m.
"The Influence of G.K. Chesterton on C.S. Lewis."
Oral Roberts University room GC 5112

Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 7 p.m.
"Chesterton and the Christian Imagination"
Oral Roberts University room GC 4114

Thursday, April 4, 2013, at 7 p.m.
"An introduction to G.K. Chesterton"
St. Bernard Parish, Room G-8
4001 E. 101st Street, Tulsa

GKChesterton.jpg

Chesterton (1874-1936) is hard to sum up, but here's Ahlquist's attempt: Who Is This Guy and Why Haven't I Heard of Him?. Ahlquist answers the latter half of that question:

Modern thinkers and commentators and critics have found it much more convenient to ignore Chesterton rather than to engage him in an argument, because to argue with Chesterton is to lose.

Chesterton argued eloquently against all the trends that eventually took over the 20th century: materialism, scientific determinism, moral relativism, and spineless agnosticism. He also argued against both socialism and capitalism and showed why they have both been the enemies of freedom and justice in modern society.

And what did he argue for? What was it he defended? He defended "the common man" and common sense. He defended the poor. He defended the family. He defended beauty. And he defended Christianity and the Catholic Faith. These don't play well in the classroom, in the media, or in the public arena. And that is probably why he is neglected. The modern world prefers writers who are snobs, who have exotic and bizarre ideas, who glorify decadence, who scoff at Christianity, who deny the dignity of the poor, and who think freedom means no responsibility.

MORE:

Dawn Eden met Dale Ahlquist in 2004 and found him to be "a living epistle" of Chesterton:

The quality of Chesterton that is most noted by his fans, beyond his gift for insightful analysis and his counterarguments against heresies such as relativism, is his sense of wonder at the world. Over and over, in Orthodoxy, The Man Who Was Thursday, and, really, every other work of his that I can think of, he outlined the necessity of having a permanent sense of awe and gratitude for God's creation. I sensed that wonder in Dale, as well as an effervescent desire to carry out another one of Chesterton's dictums: that we should be happy.

(You'll have to visit the Wayback Machine to see the twin priests she mentions.)

QUOTATIONS by G. K. Chesterton, from the American Chesterton Society:

"The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice." - A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." - The Everlasting Man, 1925

"Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative." - Chapter 2, Heretics, 1905

"Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision." - Orthodoxy, 1908

"My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday." - New York Times Magazine, 2/11/23

"I still hold. . .that the suburbs ought to be either glorified by romance and religion or else destroyed by fire from heaven, or even by firebrands from the earth." - The Coloured Lands

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - ILN, 1/14/11

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." - Christendom in Dublin, 1933

"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man." - Chapter 19, What I Saw In America, 1922

"If you attempt an actual argument with a modern paper of opposite politics, you will have no answer except slanging or silence." - Chapter 3, What's Wrong With The World, 1910

"For fear of the newspapers politicians are dull, and at last they are too dull even for the newspapers." - All Things Considered, 1908

"If there were no God, there would be no atheists." - Where All Roads Lead, 1922

"There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions." - ILN, 1/13/06

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." - Chapter 5, What's Wrong With The World, 1910

"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." - ILN 8-11-28

"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - ILN, 5/5/28

"The whole structural system of the suburban civilization is based on the case for having bathrooms and the case against having babies." -G.K.'s Weekly, 7-6-29

"Progress is Providence without God. That is, it is a theory that everything has always perpetually gone right by accident. It is a sort of atheistic optimism, based on an everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle." - Wells and the World State, What I Saw in America

LINKS:

G. K. Chesterton's Works on the Web
G. K. Chesterton quotations
A Chesterton reading plan

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1 Comments

Roy said:

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." The absence of that quote's succinct analysis provides the reason for the diagnosis of failure in nearly all otherwise brilliant political commentary. cf, eg, Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism".

Wish I were in town to attend the 2nd and 3rd lectures.

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