One of the tragedies of contemporary American Christianity is our neglect of the Old Testament. Most Christians haven’t really read it, and don’t know what to do with it. Many people are down with Jesus, but don’t like the “angry” God of the Old Testament. But if we don’t read the Old Testament, we can’t really understand Jesus. That’s because Jesus saw himself in Old Testament terms. He saw himself as fulfilling the vision and mission laid out by the Old Testament prophets. One of the clearest and most beautiful examples of this is seen in John 10 and Ezekiel 34. Continue reading “Jesus, the True Shepherd”
In the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis, there are many features of our modern life that we take for granted. Toilet paper, meat, hand sanitizer … and hospitals. Although adequate medical care is still tragically absent in many countries throughout the world, a huge percentage of the world’s population can simply go to a hospital when they need medical attention.
This fact is worth pausing over. For much of human history, it was not self-evident that everyone deserved medical care. For much of human history, human lives were ranked on a scale of value. Medical care was for the wealthy or the important. Not every life deserved to be saved.
The prevalence of the modern hospital is rooted in religion. More specifically, hospitals as we know them were an outgrowth of the early Christian movement.
As I ramp up to begin teaching a number of online classes for Kepler Education, I’ll be posting thoughts and musings on the nature of education, especially classical Christian education. These are mostly posts for myself, to remind me of why I’m a teacher. Why do I get up every morning, excited to teach young people, when I could be making a lot more money in many other careers? Teachers aren’t in it for the money. We believe in something bigger, something much more important.
Yesterday, I posted about Tim Keller’s insight that all true love is sacrificial love. For love to truly make a difference in the lives of others, it must be substitutionary love. In other words, it requires us to stand in for others, to take hits for them, to help carry their burdens–to be, in some sense, a substitute for them.
Keller used the example of how we must be drained emotionally if we are to engage with emotionally draining people. We must be willing to pour ourselves out into others, so that they can be filled. Keller also shows how parenting involves this sacrificial love.
On this Easter Monday, I need to remind myself that parenting is the primary way that I’m following in the Way of the Cross in this stage of my life. As a Dad with 5 children, the joy of parenting is often obscured by the sheer amount of work, sweat, and yes–tears–involved. I need to be reminded that loving my children sacrificially is a powerful image of Jesus loving and dying for the sins of his people. Continue reading “Parenting & the Way of the Cross”
Easter, the day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, can be confusing. For some, the meaning of Easter is lost among the chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs. It’s just another cultural holiday, an empty shell of an egg that was once filled with religious meaning. For others, it might still be a religious holiday, but the religious significance might be lost in the shuffle of life. For still others, the idea of the Son of God dying on a cross for sins seems barbaric, maybe even a form of divine child-abuse! What’s going on in the religious meaning of Easter? Continue reading “Easter and Sacrificial Love”
“There is one aspect of modern science and machinery that nobody has noticed. It is quite new, and it is enormously important. It is this; that the very fact of using new methods makes it easier to fall back on old morals, especially if they are very immoral morals.”
These prescient words came from the voluminous pen of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the most prolific writers of the early twentieth century. Through his countless journalistic essays, his Father Brown mystery novels, and his classic defense of faith, Orthodoxy, Chesterton engaged a huge variety of issues and questions, all with an abundance of wit and good humor. Even when he directly argued against people like H.G. Wells or George Bernard Shaw, it was all done with large doses of respect and a general joy in intellectual jousting. Unlike most of our modern pundits, Chesteron knew how to argue without screaming, and without descending into a stream of ad hominem attacks.Continue reading “Chesterton on Modern Science & Morality”
I’m excited to be part of the team at Kepler Education! Kepler is a new consortium of independent teachers offering online classes for students 7-12. Kepler offers a wide variety of courses in the classical Christian tradition, with an emphasis on the liberal arts. You can choose which teachers/classes fit your family’s needs and schedule. Although not a “school,” Kepler does offer credits towards a high school diploma.
In 2020-2021, I’ll be offering classes in Medieval Humanities, Rhetoric and Logic. The Medieval Humanities courses are integrated humanities classes, combining history, literature, philosophy, theology, and the arts. We’ll be using the Old Western Culture curriculum, featuring a long time friend and inspiration of mine–Wes Callihan.
I’m offering Medieval Humanities for 8th graders, and also a more advanced class for 11th graders.
Rhetoric and Introductory Logic will also be fun. For Rhetoric, we’ll be using the Fitting Words curriculum from Roman Roads Media, with veteran teacher Jim Nance. Introductory Logic will also use the book and videos by Jim Nance.
Here’s a short video introducing Kepler Education.
My classes will follow the “Oxford Model,” which is also known as a “Flipped Classroom.” Students will watch lectures from Wes Callihan and Jim Nance early in the week. Then they’ll do their assigned reading and other assignments. On Fridays, we’ll meet online to discuss the lectures and readings, and to pursue wisdom as a community of learners.
I’d love to answer any questions you have about Kepler, Old Western Culture, or Fitting Words!
Write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Luther did not mean to start the Reformation. In 1517, Luther, a teacher of theology in Germany, posted some items for an academic discussion on the church door in Wittenberg (really a community bulletin board back then). At this point in his career, he had no intention to break away from the Roman Catholic church—as a “doctor” of theology Luther had the right, and the obligation, to express concerns about the church. Luther was attacking the practices of some extreme “indulgence preachers” who were basically selling get-out-of-Purgatory-free cards (indulgences). Luther had no idea how far up the chain of authority this corruption went. In fact, Pope Leo X gave his official blessing to this indulgence fund-raiser in order to finance his massive building project at St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in Christendom.Continue reading “Training the Next Generation of Reformers”
When the blood started flowing, God provided a shoe for my son …
We recently had a chance to escape from the oppressive Southern heat and humidity and enjoy the cooler temperatures of the Northwest. Although I love living in Raleigh and appreciate being within a days drive of either the mountains, ocean, and fun cities like Charleston or Philly, I do love the rolling hills of the Palouse and the forests surrounding it.
Here’s a shot of the Palouse (a remarkably fertile region that spans Idaho and Washington):
Our family decided to take on the hike to the falls at Elk River, in northern Idaho. The hike down to the lookout where we could see the falls was pleasant enough. We walked along what used to be a road that was literally carved out the top of the ridge by settlers.Continue reading “A Shoe in the Wilderness”
Recent decades have witnessed a revival of sorts. Schools across the country (even the world) identify themselves as “classical Christian” schools. Although differing among themselves about the meaning of “classical,” these schools all share a common vision of pursuing a form of education starkly different than that offered in the modern educational paradigm. Indeed, they hearken self-consciously to an age before the emergence of the “progressive” and “secular” theories of education that now dominate most schools.
Part of this movement is a revival of the ancient art of Rhetoric. From its roots in the civilization of ancient Greece, through its systematic study and practice as one of the core Liberal Arts throughout European history, generations of students have studied the art of argument and persuasion. It is an ancient art, with an ancient history. But until now, the study of rhetoric in classical Christian schools has largely been conducted along the pathways laid out by the Greeks and Romans. In A Rhetoric of Love, Douglas Jones and co-editors Dr. Michael Collander and Michael Eatmon explore a fascinating idea–what would it look like if we purposefully taught and practiced rhetoric by focusing on the words and life of Jesus, and the rest of Biblical teaching? What would this look like?Continue reading “A Rhetoric of Love – Book Review”