G.K. Chesterton journeys all the way from England to offer his own unique views on everything from the virtues of things small, whether they be families or pubs, to the evils of things large, whether they be imperialist schemes or socialist states. A man of paradox and humor, he will surprise you, confound you, and provoke you. This is the Englishman who helped deliver his fellow countryman C.S. Lewis to Christianity. What might he have in store for you? "The Christian ideal hasn't been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." "Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame."
If your parish is looking for an evening of entertainment and education that is a little out of the ordinary, maybe it’s time to invite G.K. Chesterton to speak. Yes, this is THE G.K. Chesterton, even though he has been dead for eighty years!
A convert to Catholicism and a writer who did much to bring C.S. Lewis to Christianity, Chesterton was a man of wide girth, wide reading, and increasing wide-openness…to the truth of the Catholic faith. He also composed his thoughts in a wide-ranging variety of genres. The man who liked to think of himself as a journalist was also a novelist and a poet, an essayist and a playwright, an historian and a biographer, not to mention an autobiographer and an author of Catholic apologetics as well.
Dr. John C. “Chuck” Chalberg has been a reader of Chesterton of many years standing, not to mention sitting and lying down. The progression from being a reader of Chesterton to becoming Chesterton has been a gradual and ever-ongoing process. An academic by training and an actor by accident, Chalberg has been performing as Chesterton for over twenty years.
His performances come in a variety of packages. The staple, if you will, is a one-man show as Chesterton. Done in one act or two, depending upon your requirements and requests, the show initially focuses on his childhood, which was the source of much happiness, some heartache, and a good deal of his understanding of the larger world beyond the family.
That understanding will lead him into his thoughts about many of the “isms” of his day—and ours. They would include feminism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, imperialism, vegetarianism, communism, and maybe a few others as well.
Throughout the show he will also defend the Faith, and he will do so with an almost “ism.” That would be enthusiasm. He will also introduce and explain an “ism” that is related to the Catholic principle of subsidiarity. That would be distributism. If this “ism” might be a mystery to your parishioners, that may be one more reason to invite Mr. Chesterton to your parish.
One other reason is this: Chesterton was—and is—a very funny fellow. In fact, he was—and is—irresistibly amusing. To be sure, he could be serious as well. He just didn’t think that being funny and serious were mutually exclusive. As Chesterton himself put it, “the opposite of funny is not serious.” Not at all. “The opposite of funny is not funny.”
So, if you’re looking for an evening of education and entertainment, Chesterton is your ticket. And if you’re looking for an additional dose of Chesterton, you might invite him to stick around to give a lecture or two the next day. Among the topics are Saints Francis and Thomas, Darwin and Darwinism, Islam, America, the family, eugenics, the Church as well as a few others. And of course every lecture is dotted with classic Chestertonian asides. One never knows what might pop into the mind of such a wide-ranging thinker.
And if your college is looking for a speaker who defies the reigning political correctness of our day, G.K. Chesterton would be a likely candidate. Everything written above would apply to colleges as well. That would include Catholic colleges, evangelical colleges, and public colleges, even the most secular among them.
Mr. Chesterton has been invited to colleges to give a convocation-style lecture. On many occasions he has been invited to stick around to present his one-man show in a coffee house-style setting. The bonus here is that Dr. Chalberg comes along as part of any package deal. He has been known to visit college classes as himself to discuss the life and thought of the fellow he has been reading—and becoming—for all these years.