Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern is the founder and president of The CiRCE Institute and the co-author of the book, Classical Education: the Movement Sweeping America

Andrew Kern Aug 3, 2014

The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

Sir Edward Grey
August 3, 1914


Andrew Kern Aug 2, 2014

The Bible introduces us to at least nine or eleven (depending on how you look at it) temples, all of which are understood in light of the others. They seem to come in groups of three. 

There is the temple of the uncreated heavens, the eternal temple, which, Revelaton suggestions, is God Himself.

Then there is the temple of the created heavens, which Isaiah describes in Isaiah 60 (heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool).

Andrew Kern Jul 30, 2014

Consider these words from Eric Hoffer, written in 1951, and responding to what he saw as a dangerous trend from the perspective of a sociologist: 

A sublime religion inevitably generates a strong feeling of guilt. There is unavoidable contrast between loftiness of profession and imperfection of practice. And, as one would expect, the feeling of guilt promotes hate and brazenness. Thus it seems that the more sublime the faith the more virulent the hatred it breeds. 

Andrew Kern Jul 11, 2014

I've read that people become happier around 50 and I've wondered why. I figure it probably has something to do with time. 

Perhaps people in their later years accept that they cannot escape time, both its raveges and its potentials.

When one is younger, perhaps, he can cling to the delusion that a decision can bring something to an end, that by making some sort of big, dramatic decision, one can attain a stability. 

Andrew Kern Jul 8, 2014

I'm suffering from an embarrasing problem. It boils down to this: I believe that Christ makes sense of the cosmos and of life, and that without Him life doesn't end up making sense. 

Only, I don't believe this in some heartfelt, sentimental way, as in, "I believe there's a reason for everything that happens," or some such vacuous avoidance of reality that is true but not meaningful in most contexts. I'm not talking about a feeling or a shortcut to consolation.

I believe that in actual fact Christ makes sense of everything. 

Andrew Kern Jul 3, 2014

A Few Axioms


We imitate: It would be sensible to ignore the pride that strives to transcend that. 

We are an imitation: It would be good to embrace the Glory that comes with that. 

We are imitated: It would be wise to embrace the responsibility that comes with that. 

It is our wisdom and glory sensibly to humble ourselves by choosing responsibly who and what we imitate and by doing it well, for we become what we behold.

Andrew Kern Jun 29, 2014

Gabriel was an angry and ambitious young man determined to change the world, but he was having a bad day. Only a half an hour earlier, at 10:00 AM, a friend had been arrested for ineffectively tossing a bomb at a car, the main effect of which was apparently to scratch the nape of a lady's neck, pop some tires, blow out a store-front window, bloody the Sunday dress of some people in the crowd, and lightly wound an aide to the dignitary he had targeted. Sure, the lady was a duchess; still, the achievement failed to match the youthful and idealistic ambitions of the bomb-thrower. 

Andrew Kern Jun 18, 2014

I never did well accepting the nasally comments by professors about the flaws in great books. For some reason, and I think that reason is the amount of time my family and church directed by attention to the Bible, I started out liking glib answers but came in pretty rapid order to dislike them. 

Andrew Kern Jun 17, 2014

The classical tradition has been polluted by four streams of thought, each of which is ultimately rooted in conscious or unconscious antipathy to the human soul. 

Naturalism, which took its educational form as Utiliatrianism, is a rejection of anything transcendent. It arose in the 17th and 18th centuries out of the fear that somebody might learn something that everybody else can't easily see for themselves. It leads to the idea that learning is measured by its usefulness and validates itself, for the most part, through measurable assessments. 

Andrew Kern Jun 4, 2014

There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest joy of teaching comes from seeing something you can't control happen: a soul transformed or nourished in a way that leads to visible growth in thoughts and deeds. I can't imagine what would tempt a person to teach if he didn't expect to see this happen. 

That is why the CiRCE apprenticeship is one of my favorite activities. After three years of immersion in classical mentoring, all or at least most of the teachers will testify that it did them good. Some will tell you they were transformed.