Joshua Gibbs Feb 17, 2019

McLaren: Some students told me that you were not covering Jackson Pollock, de Kooning, Franz Kline, or any of the great 20th century abstract expressionists in your art history class. Why is this?

Gibbs: This is a classical school, and I don’t take that kind of art seriously.

McLaren: The larger art world takes them seriously, though.

Gibbs: I don’t really take the “larger art world” seriously, either.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 12, 2019

Parent: I wanted to tell you that I read this really amazing book by John Piper recently and it blessed me so much that I thought I should tell you about it. I think it would be a great fit in the school’s theology curriculum.

Dean: I am sure the book is quite good, but given that John Piper is still alive, the book does not meet the basic criteria which this school uses for admitting new titles into the curriculum.

Parent: What criteria would that be?

Dean: For starters, curriculum books ought to be old.

Parent: How old?

Joshua Gibbs Feb 7, 2019

Student: Why do we have to wear these uniforms?

Gibbs: Would you like to make an argument against uniforms?

Student: God made every human being to look different. If God is comfortable with us all looking different, then why try to make us all look the same by wearing uniforms?

Gibbs: I am glad to see you begin with a theological-ish argument. What exactly do you mean that God made every human being to look different?

Student: I mean no two human beings look alike.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 3, 2019

Student: I am thinking of switching to public school next year.

Gibbs: I see. Why is that?

Student: I don’t think I am being challenged in my faith at this school. I’m worried that I’m just going along with the crowd, just going through the motions. It’s easy to be a Christian here. Everyone here is just kind of passive about their faith.  

Gibbs: What does it mean to be “challenged in your faith”?

Student: I don’t think my faith in God is growing deeper here. I want it to grow deeper.

Gibbs: Why don’t you get rid of your phone?

Joshua Gibbs Jan 29, 2019

Having attended hundreds of parent-teacher conferences over the years, I feel safe in saying that the parents of the happiest and most productive students generally open the conversation with a question like, “So, what do we need to know? What are we doing wrong?” Parents of troubled students (students who give great concern to their teachers) are far more apt to open conversations with, “You have probably noticed my daughter is very special.”

Joshua Gibbs Jan 24, 2019

Student: What do you think about students dating in high school?

Gibbs: Why date? Why not just get married?

Student: We’re obviously not old enough to get married.

Gibbs: So why date?

Student: I want to marry someone I know really well. Look, I’m dating someone right now. But we’re not dating for fun. We’re dating to get to know each other better.

Gibbs: No. You are not currently in a relationship with a girl to “get to know her better,” and we both know it.    

Student: What makes you say that?

Joshua Gibbs Jan 24, 2019

“Go and sin no more.”

While Mary Magdalene is not universally recognized as the woman caught in the act of adultery, most of the greatest artists of the West believe she was. The typical Magdalene painting shows a woman alone in the dark, deep in thought over one of Christ’s strangest private injunctions. What is a prostitute to make of the command to “sin no more”?

Joshua Gibbs Jan 19, 2019

An eye for an eye. God is dead. Fear and trembling.

Does an author deserve to be understood in context? Perhaps.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 17, 2019

Was Jesus on fire for God? Probably, but Renaissance artists never got the memo. The typical Renaissance Christ looks bored and burned out, not like someone who is ready to start a Bible study, lead worship, or stand up for his faith. At very least, I commonly field such concerns when teaching art history.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 13, 2019

There are two kinds of demons. Nearly everyone is familiar with the first kind. Almost no one is familiar with the second kind.