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I think that we may jest on any subject. But I do not think that we may jest on any occasion. It is really irreverent to speak frivolously at those particular moments at which the seriousness of the matter is being specially and fiercely felt. We joke about death-beds, but not at death-beds. We play the fool on the subject of the Church; we do not play the fool in the church. This is because such special times are dedicated by human instinct to the brief but direct consideration of the fact that life is serious. Life is serious all the time; but living cannot be serious all the time. That is the whole human use and meaning of a church: that we enter a small building in order to see for the first time the universe outside.
G. K. Chesterton, A Charge of Irreverence
Full essay:

I think the greatest challenge I had with Chesterton back then (and could be for the average reader) is that he uses misnomers so common in modern culture, juxtaposes them with common sense with his trademark of wit and poetry and you get the opposite meaning; the free thinker is not really free, humane is not really humane, high culture is not so high after all. If the reader is ready to ‘let go’ of such preconceived ideas then Chesterton would be a sheer delight to read, otherwise he’d be as frustrating and cryptic as an alien Rubik’s cube.

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