Chesterton writes about people who just don’t get it.
They don’t understand how a person can be multi-faceted.
They don’t understand how a soldier, whose job may well involve killing, can also be a poet. These critics think it’s absurd.
But what does anger him, what does seem to him absurd, is the idea of a soldier civilized; the man who is no more ashamed of the military art than of any other art, but who is interested in other arts – and interested in them all like an artist. That the man in uniform should make a speech, and, worst of all, a good speech, seems comic – like a policeman composing a sonnet.
— G.K. Chesterton, “The Polish Ideal” Illustrated London
News, July 2, 1927
These people (call them critics or call them haters) would very much dislike the decathlon. They want everyone to choose their sport and stay within the boundaries of that choice.
But let me expand the analogy. What they really dislike is the decathlon of life, where we’re all invited to participate in all sides of things. Our lives involve the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual realms.
After all, being a full human person means enjoying and exploring many aspects of life. It means, especially, that we must not neglect our spiritual side. Enter into a relationship with God. Persevere in this part of your game; be disciplined and train. Soon it will be easy — without thinking about it, you’ll have a new perspective. You’ll find yourself on God’s team and soon you’ll be playing.
But as I was saying, the critics want to keep everything in its place. Everything: precise.
The critics want to keep everyone in their place. Everyone: cut down to size. (Ha ha — that’s called Not Rhyming.)
In particular, they want those who are “weak” to stay away from the Games that Big People Play.
If, for example, you are a dreamer or a poet, please Keep Out.
If, for example, you are a woman or a child, please Keep Out.
If, for example, you are one of these Religious Fanatics, please Keep Out.
Chesterton says that the excuse which these critics use is that the “weak ones” won’t succeed in the Real World. The “weak ones” should step aside. Nobody wants, so they say, to see anybody getting crushed or entirely run over.
This is why they love examples of the weak getting crushed or entirely run over; it proves their point and it proves their own prowess.
They shed a tear and they sigh,
They laugh at the failure of those they enjoy classifying and dismissing as “weak.”
They gleefully anticipate the destruction of those they have relegated to the status of losers and outsiders and non-starters in general. If they tune in at all, it’s to enjoy the gory and most ‘inevitable’ fall of the weak.
Some people are really evil.
And here, do not be fooled. Do not think that the only ones with this attitude are the ones who consider themselves ‘strong.’ If you think that, you would be wrong. There are many peevish and small-minded folks, who, while considering themselves weak, and loudly acknowledging themselves as such, nevertheless begrudge the victories of others. They know they are weak, but they want others to be weak as well. Do not assume that Mr Humble over there is cheering for you. No, my dear, the truth is, he’s not. He’s checking you out and looking for flaws. If it’s not clay feet this time, perhaps it will be something else.
Your face is swollen, my dear. You’re just not okay.
Yeah? Go jump in a lake.
And so it is that the critics and the haters become entirely enraged upon finding that the weak ones, the romantic ones, the idealistic and inept ones
They’ve hit the mark.
They’ve done it.
They’ve nailed it.
And they’ve finished in first.
The haters are choked, as Chesterton says:
These critics commonly say that they are irritated with this romantic type because it always fails; so they are naturally even more irritated when it very frequently succeeds. People who are ready to shed tears of sympathy when the windmills overthrow Don Quixote are very angry indeed when Don Quixote really overthrows the windmills.
— G.K. Chesterton, “The Polish Ideal,” Illustrated London News, July 2, 1927
Yet, unfortunately for them, the story-line will repeat, again and again.
Do you know why?
It’s simple: this is God’s favorite plot.
Time after time, he reverses the order. Time after time, God gives the victory to the ‘loser.’ Nobody sees it coming. What is rejected by man is glorified by God.
The Magnificat. Over and over again.
He chooses what has been humbled, neglected, forgotten, or intentionally ignored. It’s his style; it’s called The Surprise.
How the critics underestimate God’s ability to do a surprise! How they shrink the God of the universe! They expect him to color Inside the Lines. They demand this — from the author of the sunrise!
In the same way that the critics want every institution and person to be completely predictable and almost mechanically confined, the critics figure that they’ve got God and his Church entirely worked out. They know all his lines, they know all his moves; they’ve kept up to date and they know all the signs.
Man! They think that God is a puppet on a string!
How stunned, then, will they be, when God changes the rules.
But he can.
He can do anything he wants.
It comes with the package. It comes with the job, the job of being the one God.
Go look it up.
When you’re God, you can do whatever you want. You can reveal a new role for women in the church (no, they won’t ever be priests), which emphasizes the truth that Christ’s mother Mary was more holy than all the apostles put together. You can change the weather (‘global warming’ can be a delight) and you can move the papal headquarters to Edmonton (why not?).
And hey, why stop there?
Christ could return
Just for a visit
Not described or predicted in Revelations or the Gospel according to John.
I can imagine (we dreamers can)
Coming back on a Friday