By MARINELLA LENTIS
For The Catholic Week
MONTGOMERY — Fans of Catholic literary giant and apologist G.K. Chesterton in the Montgomery area now have a place where they can discuss the works of the British writer and learn from his timeless and witty insights: the River Region Chesterton Society. Its inaugural meeting took place March 4 at St. Peter Parish.
Started by Jake Blocker, St. Peter parishioner and father of four (soon to be five), the society stemmed from Blocker’s personal desire to make the writer known.
“He’s highly neglected and people just don’t know him and don’t know what a great inspiration he was to many great men of his time and this bothers me,” he said.
Secondly, some of Chesterton’s writings are more timely today than when he wrote and can provide an answer to some of today’s problems. The main reason that moved Blocker to start the society, however, is the great attack on the family that Chesterton witnessed in the early 1900s and which he described in his book “What’s Wrong with the World.”
“Chesterton pointed out four things that served to undermine the family: big government, big business, feminism and public education. When the family breaks, the society breaks down. This is the same attack we are seeing today,” Blocker stated.
Because of this, the RRCS is not your typical book club; it aims to be a community of like-minded individuals who want to take up Chesterton’s challenge and realize a Christian ideal that will impact the world around them starting from the very foundation of society: the family.
Thus, while the RRCS will be affiliated with the American Chesterton Society and commits itself to study Chesterton’s works and to playing an active role in the Church relative to evangelization, Blocker wants to add this extra dimension to it: apply what members learn to the community in which they live in order to influence positive change from the bottom up, by the people.
The RRCS will have complete freedom in the choice of readings and the meeting format; however, Blocker has been clear to participants that this group, while being open to all interested in the works and thoughts of G. K. Chesterton, is very Catholic: it will start with prayer and will be an opportunity to show and grow in the faith. The hope is to have non-Catholics see the beauty of the Church through the eyes of the British writer, his works and the discussions that they ensue.
The society will start with a primer, “G.K. Chesterton, The Apostle of Common Sense” by Dale Ahlquist.
Readings for the remainder of the year will include “Heretics,” “Orthodoxy,” “The Everlasting Man,” “What’s Wrong with the World” and “The Outline of Sanity.” Except for the next meeting, which will be Wednesday, March 27, all future meetings will be on the third Thursday of the month at the Goat House Beer Garden in the Montgomery downtown district of Cottage Hill, a location that is very “Chestertonian,” in that it’s a place where people can have “spirited discussions” just as Chesterton himself would have done and liked.
— For more information email Jake.firstname.lastname@example.org or find the society’s page on Facebook.