Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches online classes at He is the author of How To Be UnluckySomething They Will Not Forget, and Blasphemers. His wife is generous and his children are funny.

Joshua Gibbs May 12, 2021

Last month, I told my sophomore humanities class, “You have written enough for me this year. Let me write something for you.” And so we hashed out a deal where, on the appointed day, the class would give me four essay prompts, I would choose one, I would have around an hour to think about what I wanted to say, and then I would have one hour to write a one-thousand-word essay in response.

Joshua Gibbs May 6, 2021

How should Christians watch movies? A good answer to this question has relatively little to do with interpreting camera angles, performing worldview analysis, or looking for Christ figures and Gospel hunger. How a Christian watches a movie should depend quite a bit on how a Christian chooses what he watches. Not all movies deserve a generous audience. For some movies, turning off your brain while you watch is foolish. For others, turning off your brain is the only real way to receive all the good things the story has to offer.  

Joshua Gibbs Apr 27, 2021

For the time being, it seems there will always be a dozen classical schools on the cusp of opening in this country. The group of people intent on founding a school have innumerable tasks before them. They must find a place for the school to meet, determine the curriculum, draft a mission statement, design a logo—not to mention all the legal concerns, banking concerns, and so forth. All these issues are vital because they ensure the stability of the school. Nonetheless, whether a school can deliver a classical education to students ultimately depends on its teachers.

Joshua Gibbs Apr 8, 2021

Student: I was wondering if we could meet at lunch sometime and talk about Jane Eyre.

Gibbs: What did you want to talk about?

Student: I just want to clarify a few things about Jane and Rochester’s relationship.

Gibbs: What did you want to clarify about their relationship?

Student: I would like some clarity on why Jane respects him so much.

Gibbs: That's the subject of the paper you're supposed to be writing. 

Student: It is?

Joshua Gibbs Apr 6, 2021

While teachers are apt to chide students about writing papers the night before, many teachers also procrastinate when it comes to grading and returning papers. Most schools have reasonable policies about how long teachers have to return student work (a week or two), but these are difficult rules to enforce, and it is not uncommon for teachers to wait until the night before a hard deadline—like when report cards come due—to begin grading a stack of papers.

Joshua Gibbs Mar 27, 2021

The other night I woke at 2:30 and could not fall back to sleep. A certain vexing matter from work plagued my thoughts, so I decided to distract myself with a different intellectual project: I tried to chronologically reconstruct every important thing that happened to me between 2000 and 2006. For the first half an hour I had very little luck. I could recall a few significant events, but I could not place them in order. Then one very vivid memory unlocked my whole project.

Joshua Gibbs Mar 25, 2021

"In the same way that very few people who have tattoos only have one, very few people trying to buy happiness are trying to buy it for the first time. You try to buy happiness—you buy something— but when it doesn’t make you happy, as opposed to concluding that happiness can’t be bought, you assume it was a swing and a miss and that you just need to keep trying. 

It’s hard to remember, though, that pretty much everything you’ve ever bought—aside from, perhaps, an engagement ring—is something you have or will ultimately become tired of, bored with, or indifferent to."

Joshua Gibbs Mar 22, 2021

“Wellness is not health, but special health. Wellness is a state of being completely free from aches, pains, irritations, stress, anxiety, inflammation, fear, distress, or disquiet. Wellness is not only a condition of bodily perfection, but spiritual perfection, as well, high energy, perfect mental acuity, peace, sexual fulfillment, empowerment, control, contentment. Wellness is a divine state. Wellness is a state of being which can realistically only be achieved beyond death, which is to say: The search for wellness in this life is the search for a deathlike state. Wellness is death.”

Joshua Gibbs Mar 18, 2021

Before meals, The Book of Common Prayer commends the following petition: “Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Encountering fashionable modern terms like diversity, teamwork, leadership, or mindfulness in older works of literature is initially disorienting, though I generally find a second look at the context proves the contemporary understanding of these concepts has little to do with their traditional use.

Joshua Gibbs Mar 13, 2021

Suppose that fifteen years from now, one of your former students has become quite famous—not for anything your school can take pride in, but famous nonetheless. Let us say this former student directs The Lively God, a film which garners The Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film is about faith, which is to say it is about doubt, dogma, and apostasy.