G.K. Chesterton On Smoking

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brass

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G.K. Chesterton was an early 20th century English writer, journalist,theologian, poet, dramatist, literary and art critic, biographer, cultural observer and anthropologist, philosopher, orator, and Christian apologist. He was also a wine drinking, cigar smoking raconteur that would have been in good company with Mark Twain. The following are some of his comments regarding smoking.
"To have a horror of tobacco is not to have an abstract standard of right; but exactly the opposite. It is to have no standard of right whatever; and to make certain local likes and dislikes as a substitute. Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar. It is a vague sentimental notion that certain habits were not suitable to the old log cabin or the old hometown. It has a vague utilitarian notion that certain habits are not directly useful in the new amalgamated stores or the new financial gambling-hell. If his aged mother or his economic master dislikes to see a young man hanging about with a pipe in his mouth, the action becomes a sin; or the nearest that such a moral philosophy can come to the idea of a sin. A man does not chop wood for the log hut by smoking; and a man does not make dividends for the Big Boss by smoking; and therefore smoking has a smell as of something sinful."
"Incidentally, I must say I can bear witness to this queer taboo about tobacco. Of course numberless Americans smoke numberless cigars; a great many others eat cigars, which seems to me a more occult pleasure. But there does exist an extraordinary idea that ethics are involved in some way; and many who smoke really disapprove of smoking.
I remember once receiving two American interviewers on the same afternoon; there was a box of cigars in front of me and I offered one to each in turn. Their reaction (as they would probably call it) was very curious to watch. The first journalist stiffened suddenly and silently and declined in a very cold voice. He could not have conveyed more plainly that I had attempted to corrupt an honorable man with a foul and infamous indulgence; as if I were the Old Man of the Mountain offering him hashish that would turn him into an assassin. The second reaction was even more remarkable. The second journalist first looked doubtful; then looked sly; then seemed to glance about him nervously, as if wondering whether we were alone, and then said with a sort of crestfallen and covert smile: "Well, Mr. Chesterton, I'm afraid I have the habit."
"The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar."
"In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together."
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I'll throw in another quote from St. Arnold, just because I like it.
From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.
Saint Arnold of Metz, The Patron Saint of Brewers

 

conlejm

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Mar 22, 2014
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I just picked up a $1 used book titled "The Man Who Was Thursday" written by Chesterton. I look forward to reading it. I also enjoyed the Father Brown series on PBS, based on Chesterton's work, though I don't know how closely it followed the written word.

 

saltedplug

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Where else but in the pipe world would be found admirers of G.K. Chesterton?

 

buroak

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A buddy of mine has been trying for years to get me to read Chesterton. I may have to move him up the reading list queue.

 

gregprince

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Brass, don't I know it. My paper copies are showing their age but the Kindle copies are always new.

 

brass

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I have both paper an Kindle. Still prefer paper for casual reading but will choose Kindle for study. Especially since I've learned how to remove DRM so that I can copy text for note-taking and papers.

 

sparrowhawk

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Jul 24, 2013
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That you for that posting. I too have been meaning to read the works of that Catholic gentleman, Chesterton, and will make it a point to download some of his works. Any recommendations for starters?

 

brass

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The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Vol. 1: Heretics, Orthodoxy, the Blatchford Controversies (Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton) Paperback – February 1, 1986
Get the paper version for $17.52 or the Kindle for a $1.49.
The paper version's generally have fewer typos but I haven't noticed many, if any, in my Kindle edition.
Reading Chesterton takes some attention, especially to catch all the nuances of his sly, dry humor. But he is not difficult, as say, the Summa Theologica by Aquinas.
The perfect companion for Chesterton is a glass of port or decent sherry, accompanied by a pure English blend. He is sometimes referred to as the "Apostle of Common Sense." Chesterton, a fan of good wine, shares here is advice on drinking.
Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.
In other words, don't drink when you're sad, so as to be happy but drink when you're happy to be more happy and to share that happiness with friends and loved ones. Much melancholy and misery could be avoided if this advice was heeded.

 

buroak

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Would this be a good route for delving into Chesterton? The bit on the copyright/publisher information page about the purpose of the publication seems a bit odd, but this Protestant may be missing something.
http://www.amazon.com/The-G-Chesterton-Collection-Books-ebook/product-reviews/B00ALKPW4S/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0

 

conlejm

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Mar 22, 2014
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Buroak, 50 books for $1.99 looks like a good deal to me! You've got some of his most well-known works of fiction as well as some high theology. I'm tempted to get it myself, even if I only read a book or two from the collection.
Funny how great artists' paintings go up in price over time, but great authors' writings go for pennies years later. So sad.

 

buroak

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Did either of you read that bit on the copyright/publisher page? I do not think the publisher is trying to re-launch the Thirty Years War, but the statement struck me as odd.

 

conlejm

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Mar 22, 2014
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Do you mean:
This work is published for the greater Glory of Jesus Christ through His most Holy Mother Mary and for the sanctification of the militant Church and her members.
?

 

buroak

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That would be it. Is that a statement a Protestant just would not understand?

 

gtclark

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Did either of you read that bit on the copyright/publisher page? I do not think the publisher is trying to re-launch the Thirty Years War, but the statement struck me as odd.
The statement is in reference to the Church Militant, or all living Christians struggling against the forces of wickedness here on earth.
Also, it's great to see some love for Chesterton here. He holds a special place in my heart, and anyone with even a passing interest in Christianity should read Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. The latter was supposedly one of the texts that brought C.S. Lewis to Christianity from atheism, but both texts are wonderfully engaging (and amusing!).

 

buroak

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gtclark, Thank you very much for the clarification. I now feel comfortable buying that compilation.

 
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