Friday, August 10, 2012

A Short Note to My Readers

This time of year is always family time -- it seems we are a tribe of Leos. At any rate, I have been glorying in the joys of spending time with all my cubs and grandcubs, against which the need for blogging has paled into insignificance.

There is a new decision by the Indiana Supreme Court which needs to be brought to your attention, because it will give hope to all the beleaguered Episcopalians in that State (other than those in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, under the orthodoxy of the Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little) that the Dennis Canon has no self-effectuating power there to rob them of their parish property. I shall expound upon its details and consequences, trust me [no pun, naturally, unintended], in due course.

Another factor contributing to my recent reticence is a rediscovery of the apologetic masterpieces of Gilbert Keith Chesterton -- who, I must acknowledge, would not approve of curmudgeonry for its own sake (that is, using your own debating skills in a contest to vanquish one's adversaries in a flourish of logic and rhetoric).

Chesterton achieved far more by being charitable and respectful to his opponents. He accepted their outlandish and anthropocentric premises at face value, and then proceeded to demolish them by invoking little more than man's innate wit and crowning common sense. Since both of those formidable weapons derive ultimately from God's having created man in His own image, his adversaries (being men themselves) could neither refute, nor credibly deny, what Chesterton wrote -- without, at the same time, negating their own humanity.

His acceptance of his opponents as full equals disarmed them so much, for instance, that neither George Bernard Shaw nor H. G. Wells ever quite realized it when he had severed their respective heads from their respective necks (rhetorically speaking). Instead, they each went right on being the best of comrades with him -- "arguing, but never quarreling" -- with Chesterton, to be sure, enjoying all the best arguments.

In my future posts here, I shall endeavor greatly to follow G.K.'s incomparable precept -- which stems  (as I believe) from his unshakable faith in the eternal wisdom that underlies a child's native innocence. Indeed, my recent wonderful time spent with my grandchildren has reinforced my conviction that Chesterton, though without offspring, had grasped the abiding truth in our Lord's example, and likewise delighted in the gifts that little children so freely offer to us.

Although I can never be as prolific as he was, I have hopes that I may yet, even at this late stage, be of witness to the glorious and faithful Christian example which he did his utmost to sustain and continue.


  1. You wrote:

    "I have hopes that I may yet, even at this late stage, be of witness to the glorious and faithful Christian example which he did his utmost to sustain and continue."

    I, myself, proceed from the hypothesis that I maintain the capacity to yet become a late bloomer.

    As for your stated goals I would offer the example of another person. Coincidentally, he was also a great admirer of Chesterton.

    William F. Buckley, Jr. maintained any number of close friendships with people whose positions and arguments he regularly dissected and rendered foolish. I think this infuriated other liberals because I know so many who have revealed a visceral hatred for the man. Gore Vidal, as far as we know, was willing to enter enter the hereafter carrying a remarkable hatred for him. Be forewarned.

    Alvah Whealton

  2. May the Lord Jesus grant you grace in this endeavor!

    I am going to list your blog in the Ethics Forum Blogroll.

  3. How about some Chesterton/Wells/Shaw debate links? I'm curious now...

    One of your cubs

  4. Mr. Haley,

    You are embarking on a worthy undertaking, and your efforts will be in my prayers. (Partly in hope that you will serve as an example for me to emulate.)

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  5. Such is well and good. It reveals that our shepherd is guided by natural law and wise instincts. If we do not invest our guidance and protection upon the next, and then the next generation, the result is all form of abomination.

    The Nazarene showed us in that famous admonition, "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, 'Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.'"

    The investment in civility with those who worship naught or who worship Baal to me seems a task with no dividend. I choose to not raise my hand against them, but their presence is insufferable, their condescentious nature is intolerable. To think of the waste of such intelligence and talent...George Bernard Shaw, how does one reach into that dark place where his soul should have been?
    Watching and listening to Liberace on the piano....where is his daughter or son to carry on and provide joyful noise unto Man and God?
    BUT! Even at this late stage of my very successful and rewarding life, I can be instructed; especially by the Vicar of this Blog, and those who contribute to it on a regular (or intermittent)basis.
    Therefore, I resolve to re-engage to the utmost extent to those with whom I hold no truck. Someone who caused great damage upon my homeland used the phrase, "...with malice towards none and charity for all..." and I shall be guided by that notion.

    Your attention and patience is appreciated. I go now about my renew mission.
    El Gringo Viejo

  6. To the inquiring cub -- it is not easy to find links on the Web to the complete series of articles that was printed between January and March of 1908 in a periodical called The New Age, published in London. However, you may start with this link, which some thoughtful person at Brown University scanned and put online. It is the complete issue of January 4; Chesterton's article that began the debate, "Why I Am Not a Socialist," begins on page 189 of that issue.

    And that same person seems to have scanned the January 11 issue, as well, which has the reply to Chesterton's article by H.G. Wells (beginning on page 209).

    The complete series of articles is collected in the Appendix to this book. It is a worthwhile purchase in any event, as it is a unique series of essays on G.K.'s philosophy written by his own brother, Cecil (who died in France of an illness contracted right after the Armistice which ended the First World War).

    If I can find more links to the subsequent articles by H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Hillaire Belloc and GKC, I will post them for you.

  7. Unknown cub, you are in luck -- after some searching, I stumbled on the library's master page for the entire series of New Age issues.

    So, with that, here are the links to the rest of the articles in that debate:

    Because we have access to all the issues, here is what was really the first article that started it all: "Thoughts on Modern Thought," by Hillaire Belloc, in the December 7, 1907 issue of The New Age, beginning on page 108.

    Then comes Chesterton's piece on "Why I Am Not a Socialist," linked in my previous comment.

    Then follows the reply to both Chesterton and Belloc by H. G. Wells, also linked above.

    Next: Chesterton's reply to Wells: "On Wells and a Glass of Beer" (page 250)

    G. Bernard Shaw jumps into the fray: "Belloc and Chesterton," starting on page 309 (this is the article in which Shaw coined the four-legged creature he called "Chesterbelloc").

    And Chesterton replies to both Shaw and Wells with "The Last of the Rationalists," starting on page 350.

    And that was it -- there are a few later exchanges between Belloc and Wells, but as you will see, Chesterton had the better of the argument, because he based his opposition to Socialism on simple common sense.

  8. Success! I'll settle into these links, thanks Papa Bear!

    Myfanwy (cub)