Circe Blog
Joshua Gibbs Feb 8, 2016

In the sixth chapter of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy gives us several powerful and contradictory statements about Ivan’s thoughts on death.

Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair. In the depth of his heart he knew he was dying, but not only was he not accustomed to the thought, he simply did not and could not grasp it.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 5, 2016

Ivan’s salvation is bound up in his things. His things— his home, his reputation, even his friendships— are his great consolation against the awfulness of his life, and when his consolation begins to give way, he feels himself slipping into mediocrity. Most people are generally battling similar idolatries; whatever it is which consoles a man against ultimate loss is that which he worships.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 4, 2016

This morning a colleague and I lead our Theological Aesthetics class through the task of cutting up an onion after the fashion Robert Farrar Capon commends in The Supper of the Lamb. It took an hour. 

Joshua Gibbs Feb 3, 2016

Talking points about the direct citation of Scripture as proof of an argument in a senior thesis.

1. It is my experience that students have generally found Bible verses to apply to their thesis from as opposed to the Bible. They have often hunted through different translations of a certain passage and found the one worded to best support their argument. This is not research and has no place in a research paper. 

Joshua Gibbs Feb 2, 2016

Tolstoy and Hemingway couldn't be further apart, but their characters are obsessed with the same things. In A Farewell To Arms, Frederic Henry refers to that which is "pleasant," "unpleasant," or "fine" a total of 85 times. In The Death of Ivan Ilyich, a much shorter work, "pleasant" or "unpleasant" appear 34 times. For Frederic and Ivan, there is no more important quality for a man's life to attain to than the pleasant, and there is nothing worse than "unpleasantness."   

Joshua Gibbs Feb 2, 2016

This is the first of two essays which follow the recent publication of two articles by Peter Leithart on First Things about the relationship between creation, symbols, and sacraments. I have often borrowed from these articles, but would like to apply both his thoughts and his sources to the world of the high school teacher. 

The symbol is in a crisis.

Danny Breed Feb 1, 2016
As we sat around a table during staff training, listening to a talk, three of my teachers and I heard a familiar refrain that begged to be pondered: “The glory of God must be the aim in our teaching."
This ideal fell on hopeful hearts but confused minds. It is something we educators are reminded of often, but in this moment, on this day, we decided to peer into the mysterious glory cloud even deeper.  We asked, “What does that mean?”
Joshua Gibbs Jan 26, 2016

I. Back when I was single, I would regularly watch three or four hours of television a night. Mostly dating shows with titles like Elimidate or Ship Mates.

I once opened a freezer and found an unopened pint of Godiva ice cream. I ate the whole pint while standing with the freezer door open. With every bite, I was on the verge of putting the carton back. I never put the carton back. Even at the time, the fact that I did not close the freezer door seemed important to me.

Matt Bianco Jan 20, 2016

Classes have begun again, following Christmas break, and it was a difficult beginning. My students all returned, most having seen (typically two or three times) the recent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. Imagine my surprise when math class was distracted by conversations about Rey’s parentage, when science class was distracted by conversations about the Star Killer Base, when Latin class was distracted by conversations ranking the various Star Wars films according to their quality as movies.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 19, 2016

The teacher comes to instruct the student on freedom, the will, sin, temptation, astronomy. The teacher fears for the safety of the student’s body and soul and is at pains to show the student how to live a happy life, how to resist Satan, and how to find joy in God.

The student wants to hear about sex, though.

I speak of the middle act of Paradise Lost.