Real Diversity!

original-22256-1449252815-383 YEARS AGO, G. K. Chesterton, one of the great thinkers, writers, philosophers and wits of the 20th Century (and one of my all time heroes) passed away. Two years ago, I cited his views on diversity and family, but didn’t know the source. Turns out it was his landmark work Heretics.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Modern writers have suggested that the family is a bad institution [because it] is not always very congenial. Of course, the family is a good institution because it is uncongenial. It is wholesome precisely because it contains so many divergencies and varieties. It is like a little kingdom, and, like most other little kingdoms, is generally in a state of something resembling anarchy… The men and women who, for good reasons and bad, revolt against the family, are, for good reasons and bad, simply revolting against mankind. Those who wish, rightly or wrongly, to step out of all this, do definitely wish to step into a narrower world. They are dismayed and terrified by the largeness and variety of the family. I do not say, for a moment, that the flight to this narrower life may not be the right thing for the individual…but I do say that anything is bad and artificial which tends to make these people succumb to the strange delusion that they are stepping into a world which is actually larger and more varied than their own. The best way that a man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.”

Mitch Teemley

Somewhere in the lush undergrowth of G.K. Chesterton’s essays is a delightful little piece about tolerance. In this essay, Chesterton avers that, because we crave diversity chesterton-portrait-small(the ultimate human adventure) some of us move away from our parochial towns or suburbs into the heart of a throbbing metropolis. And there, amid the smorgasbord of languages and cultures, hip deep in the goulash of hobbies, fancies and obsessions, we are able to find a group of people…exactly like ourselves. In their presence we come more and more to believe that we are the norm, and that there is something wrong with those who are not precisely like us.

If you want a real challenge, on the other hand, if you truly desire to learn tolerance, talk to the guy across the hall. Or the woman in the next cubicle. Or the couple in the front pew. Or simply sit down and…

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Real Diversity!

  1. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    May the Lord lead us daily into the lives we are meant to minister to.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really cool, Mitch! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Where is our G. K. Chesterton today? Wit AND wisdom is in short supply. Good to have you around.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eric says:

    I wonder if part of the reason many people like the idea of seeking diversity “out there somewhere” is because it’s just that–an idea, one that’s not really connected to reality. What I mean is that, for example, it’s easy to say that you love “people” in some broad, general sense but near impossible to love the actual person who lives next door to you. Many (me included) like the idea of loving people, but as soon as the rubber meets the road and it’s time to love a specific person, the idea suddenly lacks its appeal. I wonder if the idea of diversity isn’t the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good stuff Mitch. This is one that one should remember. If not the whole piece but the main points. You seem to pick the great ones, to be Heros.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bill Sweeney says:

    Another great post, Mitch. My parents had ten kids and we have much different views on just about everything 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy Ruegg says:

    To “get on as well as possible with the people inside” (of some extended family gatherings), I find myself avoiding certain topics of conversation, or trying to be as tactful as possible if I must speak, or biting my tongue to circumvent argument. Peace is more valuable to me than confrontation. Did G.K. have anything to say about that?!

    Liked by 1 person

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