View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Prophet Chesterton? Why not!

Sometimes I go awandering through the blogosphere. I'm looking for new blogs, interesting ideas and insights, and even fodder for this blog.

I also search for subjects and topics about which I frequently write or in which I have an interest.

Secular Franciscans. Haiku. Huckabee. Abortion. Rochester.

And, of course, G. K. Chesterton.

I frequently encounter mention of Chesterton. Quotations. Entire posts. Or frequent quotations and posts. I especially enjoy it when he as used as a touchstone to help judge some contemporary belief or action of lunacy.

Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It! is a frequent stop for many reasons. He regularly refers to GKC as the “Prophet Chesterton.”

I don't know if he originated the title. I have seen it elsewhere - most recently in a blog called Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge (yes, that is the name!). They used him to counter some anti-Catholic ill-informed comments (as opposed to their regular ill-informed comments) by the ladies of The View.

The other day I was reading Father Dwight Longenecker's excellent Standing On My Head when I spotted a post by him that gave me chuckle. He referred to Chesterton not just as a prophet, but as “The Portly Prophet” .

Prophets are usually defined as individuals who have encountered God and who serve as intermediaries with the rest of humanity. They often give warnings or promote change. They often annoyed people and were outcasts.

Chesterton certainly fits some of those criteria - though the genial giant seemed to have a propensity for befriending his foes. Of course, in terms of another sorts of “fit,” prophets are often pictured as ascetical sorts on the thin side who frequently fast and wander off to mountains, caves, deserts and other isolated regions. Hmm. Sound more like Shaw!

Chesterton, appropriately, provides us with a prophet paradox – a man of large proportions with large appetites who often seems to have received his “messages” over many a glass in a tavern.

God does have a sense of humor.

As for whether Chesterton is a prophet, history will eventually provide an answer. Are his warnings, predictions and guidance authentic? So far, they seem to be – and think of how many people he has helped to lead to the Church.

The Prophet Chesterton? Yes, it does have a certain ring.

At least until we can call him St. Gilbert Chesterton - as I hope we will some day.


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