Perhaps you’ve seen the famous optical illusion with the rabbit. Or is it a duck? In any case, the image involves double-sight. Most people will see one animal without effort but can also force their mind to see the other image. Which one does the drawing truly represent? both. The image allows us to see two pictures, one atop the other.
What makes a Christian, a Christian?
A Christian—much like a Canadian, an American, or a Russian—is defined by his citizenship. Unlike the national allegiances of this world, however, a Christian is someone whose citizenship is rooted in the person and kingdom of Christ. According to Jesus, such an allegiance requires nothing less than a total denial of self, the taking up of one's cross, and a willingness to follow Him to whatever end. This is, and has always been, the Bible’s only definition of a Christian.
What hath the Athens to do with the rural South?
“Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me.” These words are perhaps so familiar to us that we might miss the offense it bears against the meaning of Easter.
An esteemed coworker of mine, whose teaching career has spanned multiple classical schools, recently remarked that no school she had been a part of was able to successfully implement an upper school dress code. This statement is not shocking when you take into account constantly changing fashion trends that often push the boundaries of a dress code, systemizing the reporting of dress code violations, re-evaluating punishments for different violations, and navigating parent complaints about said punishments.
We do not need an innovation to solve the complex problems of modern society. We simply need to, like the Prodigal Son, turn around and head home. In fact, as I have written previously, we need “a return to permanence, a fixedness on objective reality, and the formation of citizens who seek to conform their souls to that objective reality.” The Fall of Man was an innovation. The Fall was a new way, “to be like God, knowing good and evil.” The Fall was a rejection of the old way, an obedience to the hierarchy of essences in objectivity: man as image bearer reflecting God, not being God.
The Dangerous Weapon of Illiteracy
Reading is risky business. Throughout history, oppressors have wielded the weapon of illiteracy against those they sought to silence. Yet, like rays of sun breaking through dark thunderclouds, rogue freedom-seekers found ways to teach themselves to read, a skill that would change not only a few single lives, but the entire course of history.
In his memoir, African American Frederick Douglass recalls the end of his brief childhood lessons in reading:
In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis writes a stinging critique of the modern mind. The academic elites or, as Lewis calls them, ‘the conditioners,’ produce habits of living and learning derived from seemingly settled philosophical and theological conclusions. Of course, many of the conditioners’ settled conclusions are, in fact, quite unsettled and painfully unsettling upon further scrutiny.
During the six years I taught ninth grade poetry, my students continually reminded me of two specific needs of high schoolers: the hunger to be led and the hunger to be heard. It can be easy to view these two needs as competing goods. After all, shouldn’t students be listening to other, older voices before attempting to “find their own?” Perhaps formal poetry provides an answer. To assign students to write poetry with meter and verse is to give them a glorious little playground. Forms make good fences. Inside these fences, students can be led and heard at the same time.
On January 8, Joshua Gibbs published a piece on this website titled “Can We Talk About What Happened In D.C. The Other Day?” What follows is a response to and critique of Mr. Gibbs’ post. I begin with a summary of his article.