Joshua Gibbs Jan 21, 2017

What does it mean to give a student a book?

When the teacher hands the student the Book, this is the sacrament of education. While the school exists to teach virtue, the most fundamental act of the school is putting Books into student’s hands. Books are the icons of virtue. The handing down of Books is the beginning of teaching virtue.

When the teacher of virtue puts the Book into the hand of the student, the teacher necessarily says:

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Joshua Gibbs Jan 19, 2017

I often write “Dig deeper” in the margins of student essays. What does it mean to “dig deeper”?

“Dig deeper” means:

Do not be satisfied with the first thesis which comes to mind. Whatever thesis you first arrive at, assume such a thesis, if well defended, will earn you a C. Take your first thesis and ask yourself, “How can I make this better?” When I write "Dig deeper" in the margins, it means you probably wrote the first thing which came to mind. 

What makes a thesis better? Particularity, certainty, distinction, deceptive simplicity. 

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Joshua Gibbs Jan 17, 2017

The good teacher is similar enough with his students to scare them. The good teacher is dissimilar enough with his students to scare them. The good teacher understands how delicate the balance is between similarity and dissimilarity.

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Angelina Stanford Jan 16, 2017

Last week I contemplated the cycle of Death and Rebirth in Nature and how it reflects that great spiritual reality of the Resurrection.  In particular I focused on how, in the Resurrection, God makes even Death itself beautiful. I’ve continued to meditate on this idea—the relationship between Christ’s defeat of Death and the cultivation of Beauty.

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Lindsey Brigham Jan 13, 2017

If anything defined my childhood summers, it was The Play.

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Joshua Gibbs Jan 11, 2017

Many classical Christian schools have literature programs which progress chronologically, and so as students progress through high school, they are taught evermore lately written books. By the time senior year rolls around, the student is often reading books written within the lifetime of his grandparents.

While I am not opposed to teaching 20th century literature to seniors, I would offer a series of cautions about doing so. If your school has a 20th century lit curriculum for seniors, I commend the following cautions:

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Joshua Gibbs Jan 11, 2017

When we speak of justice, we may be speaking of several things. I offer a very limited discussion of just two kinds of justice:

Let us say that arbitrary justice is justice imposed by an outside agent. A teenage son breaks curfew  by just a few minutes and his father says, “You are grounded for two weeks.” The father might have grounded his son for one week, or three weeks, or merely said, “Do not do it again.” There is nothing about the infraction which logically necessitates two weeks of grounding.

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Joshua Gibbs Jan 11, 2017

I recently sorted through a bunch of old thoughts. Here are a few I would like to pursue further.

September 27, 2015: Stories of time travel became popular around the time credit became easily accessible. Credit allows us to travel into the future for what we want most. Credit is money from the future.

September 25, 2015: If there is none born of woman greater than John the Baptist, and John said, "I must decrease that Christ may increase," then it's not really important to "be yourself."

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Angelina Stanford Jan 10, 2017

Here we are in January. Winter is fully underway. Trees have passed from green to red to bare. Flowers are gone. Birds and animals have retreated. Even children stay inside.

The Winter—in theology, in liturgy, in poetry—has always represented Death. Every year the Creation itself plays out the story of our own lives. Fresh new life sprouts forth in Spring, followed by a vigorous, green, lively Summer. In the Autumn, things slow down and the green fades, finally giving up its life to the barren Winter.

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Jessica Burke Jan 10, 2017

Last night, my three oldest children slept in the living room, tucked away in homemade forts constructed of sheets, blankets, and clothes pins. They were excited as they snuggled down in their imaginary castles for the night with hopes to wake to our first snowfall of this winter. They were not disappointed.  

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