Easter and Sacrificial Love

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”

Chesterton on Modern Science & Morality

“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.”

G_K_Chesterton

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”

Kepler Education

Kepler AdvertisingI’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 HumanitiesRhetoric 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.

Here’s a list of my classes.

I’d love to answer any questions you have about Kepler, Old Western Culture, or Fitting Words!

Write me at: gregory.soderberg@kepler.education

 

Training the Next Generation of Reformers

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”

A Shoe in the Wilderness

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):

Photo from Washington State Spokane County

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”

A Rhetoric of Love – Book Review

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.

rhetoric_of_love_3d_1.pngPart 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”

Why Care About Black History Month?

In the past, I would have asked this question. As a conservative Christian, raised in majority white circles, I only talked to one or two African Americans throughout my childhood and early adulthood. My education left out huge chunks of American history. Even now, after obtaining an MA in Church History, and working on a Ph.D. in Historical Theology, I find that I’m woefully ignorant about the history of my theological “tribe.”

So, I’m embarking on a process of relearning things I never learned before. I have a long list of books I’m working through, and one that every White Evangelical should read (especially now, when we have heated discussions about “social justice,” “race,” etc.) is Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America.Continue reading “Why Care About Black History Month?”

Hope for the New Year – “Behold, I Am Making All Things New”

From a sermon I preached yesterday at Resurrection Life Church:

Text: Revelation 21:1-8

It’s often said that “the baby born in Bethlehem was born to die,” or something like “the road from the manger in Bethlehem leads to a bloody cross.”

All that is true, and we should never forget it.

But the baby Jesus was not just “born to die.” Every other great religious leader was born to die. Buddha died, and is still dead. Muhammed died, and is still dead. Only Jesus died—and then rose again from the dead.

We are saved by the death—and the resurrection—of Jesus Christ.Continue reading “Hope for the New Year – “Behold, I Am Making All Things New””

Dorothy Day & the Courage of Conviction

In My Own WordsIn My Own Words by Dorothy Day

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first exposure to Dorothy Day (besides a few quotes here and there). What a remarkable lady! This is a great little introduction to an intellectual brave enough to follow the Crucified Lord in a life of humble service and voluntary poverty. Her words are challenging–but then again, so were the words of Jesus.

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“We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know him in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone any more. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community” (The Catholic Worker, May 1980).

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“The Nihilistic Eros of the Consumer Society …”

Something to remember on this “Black Friday” …

Studium et Liturgica

Michael Horton’s People and Place:  A Covenant Ecclesiology continues to intrigue and inspire me on almost every page.  I love his description of modern idolatry:

“[Idolatry] requires its gods to make themselves available, fully present, visible, which means capable of being possessed and, if need be, manipulated to produce whatever the individual’s or group’s felt needs are determined to be at any moment.

“The nihilistic eros of the consumer society, which seems to have drawn much of American Christianity into its wake, creates a desire that can never be satisfied.  Ads and show windows offer us a perpetual stream of icons promising to fulfill our ambitions to have the life that they represent:  a fully realized eschatology.  Handing our credit card to the salesperson can be a sacrament of this transaction between sign and signified.  Yet this anonymous space of endless consumption is the parody of the place of promise:…

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