Our God is beautiful. In the ultimate sense, He is Beauty: the source, summation, and perfection of all that is beautiful. In a practical sense, however, He is beautiful to us: our senses, our hearts, and our sentiments. The Hebrew word used for “beauty” in Psalm 90:17 is no'am, which means (amongst other things) someone or something that creates delight to the beholder. It is not beauty in the void but rather beauty beheld, gazed upon, contemplated, and desired (Ps. 27:4).
Schools in Accomack County, Virginia have removed Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from classrooms and libraries because of racist language. Superintendent Warren Holland confirmed the decision after a parent filed an official complaint because her son, who is biracial, read Huck Finn for class and claimed that he “couldn’t get past a certain page in the novel in which the N-word appeared multiple times.”
I know how he feels. This young man understands literature, at least for now.
After twenty-plus years of establishing a school that was inspired by David Hicks’ Norms and Nobility, I still find hope in his work. During that time, I've watched some of our graduates crash into the culture and succumb to it, and I've had others return years later with that sparkle in their eye—that true love of learning and of Christ that was caught during their time at a classical Christian school. So, ”Is Classical Education Still Possible?” as Hicks asks in the 5th issue of CiRCE's magazine?
We need models. We need teachers to show us how to live. And some of the best teachers are those which have never breathed, have never taken on flesh, have never had the urgency of a real death. Some of our best teachers are fictional characters. This is what Leland Ryken means when he says great literature “shows human experience instead of telling about it. It is incarnational. It enacts rather than states. Instead of giving us abstract propositions about virtue or vice, for example, literature presents stories of good or evil characters in action” (p.
Like many Americans, I let the experts at Facebook curate much of the news I read (or share without reading). Lately, my newsfeed has been replete with conservative critiques of so-called “safe spaces” and liberal rebuttals in their defense. I confess my sympathies lie with the conservatives. It’s hard not to crack a grin at headlines such as The Daily Beast’s recent “Elite Campuses Offer Students Coloring Books, Puppies to Get Over Trump.”
In class, I’m often asked if we’ll be studying theology or history on that particular day. I know what the student means; a class on “historical theology” is vast—some days we’ll look exclusively at Scripture, other days we’ll focus in on, say, the Crusades.
In his literary masterpiece Gli Asolani, Renaissance writer Pietro Bembo awakens and ennobles the moral imagination with the myth of the Queen of the Fortunate Isles. In this myth—which, in the narrative is told by a wise old man to the impressionable young man, Lavinello—the Queen of “surpassing beauty” tests the affections of men and rewards them in accordance with their love. Bembo’s myth invites us into a beautiful romance and demands that we examine ourselves, reorder our loves, and seek better dreams for our lives.
Most Americans are in a state of shock this week. Our country is full of people--on both ends of the political spectrum--that did not see this coming. Whether we blame the polls or the media or both, many of us woke up Wednesday morning surprised.
It's election day in these United States of America. After much speech-making and hand-wringing and soul-searching the day has come. We'll take to the polls and cast our respective votes for the next leader of the so-called Free World. This is a momentous occasion and a great responsibility. Years from now, centuries even, people will look back at our time and they will judge what happens today and in the coming months. History depends on what happens, one way or the other.
It is about that time. It generally only takes a few weeks at the start of the school year for disillusionment to set in: midterms are distributed, first papers are submitted, detentions are scheduled, parent meetings are called, budget lines are sinking, and the weaknesses of our summer planning are exposed. The flaws of our students, their parents, our colleagues, and our administration are no longer hidden by the banners, the shiny notebooks, the new white-soled shoes, and the smiling faces of back to school. Now the real task begins.