The 26th Annual G. K. Chesterton Conference, sponsored by the American Chesterton Society, got started with a flourish last night with outstanding presentations from Dale Ahlquist and Chuck Chalberg here on the campus of St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dale's talk explored the themes, possible origins, and impact of GKC's monumental novel, The Man Who Was Thursday. And as always, Dale managed to serve up an excellent introduction to those less familiar with the "Apostle of Common Sense" while also giving plenty of insight and interest to veteran readers of Chesterton. The talk was laced with both humor and spiritual depth but dealing with G.K. Chesterton, that's how it should be. Indeed, Gilbert's work is quite often funny and profound at the very same time. It is just one aspect of his power...one tantalizing part of his charm.
Dale's talk was preceded by various pitches for support of the American Chesterton Society, pitches that were comical, endearing and well served. But his talk ended with a more serious call to passionately pursue the challenges God has given the Christian: enjoying the thrill of life and God's creation; defending the sanctity of life and family; and championing the cause of truth in the home, the neighborhood and the culture.
I encourage you to follow the link above to the ACS to find out how to order CD copies of the talks given here this week. And Dale's would be a definite one to put on your list.
But so too would be Chuck Chalberg's.
Chuck, dressed up and in fine form as Chesterton himself, played the role every bit as well as he has in the highly-acclaimed TV series. And last night's address was of particular significance as Chalberg/Chesterton delivered a detailed, stirring lecture on Islam. Taken primarily from The New Jerusalem, the address was full of insight and challenge -- and, of course, more relevant than ever. It won't be the same as seeing Chuck deliver the goods in person but still, listening via CD will be a terrific learning experience.
There's plenty on the schedule today and I'll post a few comments as we go.