Not all of the inspiration provided by the American Chesterton Society's annual conference comes by way of the speakers. Indeed, a great deal of the fun and the stimulation and the faith-building you experience when attending this event comes from the booksellers' tables in the foyer, the Clerihew contest, the closing banquet, the quality meals, and the many invigorating conversations you enjoy with like-minded folks.
Last night at dinner Claire and I sat with Chestertonians we had just met from St. Louis and Rome, Georgia, respectively, and our conversation ranged from our various local GKC groups to theater to technology to pro-life ministries to Malcolm Muggeridge to the issues brought up by the speakers and points beyond. And, on top of all that, the meal was quite good too.
But after dinner, the last two general sessions got underway and, as I've repeatedly mentioned in these updates, citing a few sentences from the presentations hardly compares with the real thing. And especially with these two Friday night sessions, ordering the tapes would be most certainly in order.
The first session, preceded by a lengthy and very moving recitation from Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse, featured Dawn Eden, former copy editor and rock and roll journalist, who shared the story of her conversion to Christianity. [Dawn is shown here at right.] Her talk was extremely interesting, marked by pathos, humor and a sincerity which really endeared her to the packed house. Her experience, profoundly colored by the works of Chesterton, made for a most relevant and riveting presentation. Again, you should hear it for yourself and the ACS is ready and willing to help you out in that respect.
Dawn's new book on chastity, by the way, The Thrill of the Chaste, would be a splendid introduction to her as would a visit to her top-flight web site, The Dawn Patrol.
The evening concluded with one of the ACS favorites, author and professor Joseph Pearce [photo at left]. Pearce, a later convert to Christianity whose own dramatic testimony has been shared at a previous ACS conference, is a biographer of Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn, and others. But the theme of last night's talk, namely, Chestertonian economics, is covered in his newest book, Small is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered. It was a provocative presentation but one that gave a review of Distributism that was not only understandable and applicable to one's daily life, but was even entertaining. It is another presentation that you should seriously consider ordering from the ACS.
Fantastic Friday night sessions for the Chesterton conference.