Marie Owens Feb 5, 2018

In an earlier season of life, colleagues who retired or cleaned their offices would frequently offload unwanted books to me. Thus I came to own The World of Cheese, a 1960 promotional publication from the J.L. Kraft Company. Who could resist a title like that? The short volume traces the general history of cheese and provides short descriptions of some of the most popular varieties. As it turns out, the history of cheese has a lot in common with the history of education from the ancients and medievals to public schooling and the modern classical education movement.

Heidi White Feb 2, 2018

Recently, I taught a unit on dragon stories in literature to my elementary students. To launch the series, I read Revelation 12 aloud in class, which is a marvelous tale of a red dragon who pursues the Queen of Heaven into the desert to devour her child, but is thwarted by creation rising up against him. The students gazed wide-eyed at the masterfully woven images, narrative, and language. When I told them that the fantastical tale was from the Bible, they gasped. One young man stammered, “Wow, I didn’t know the Bible told stories like that!”

Adam Andrews Jan 31, 2018

In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis cautions us against idolizing our memories of the past: “they are only the scent of a flower we have not found,” he says.

I am sure he chose that image because of a flower’s beauty, but I wonder if he had in mind how fleeting that beauty was designed to be. I wonder if he was intentionally echoing the prophet Isaiah, who said, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field…the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (40:6-8)

Wesley Walker Jan 29, 2018

To the classical thinker, vice lies at the opposite ends of a corresponding virtue (Aristotle's golden mean). A vice can be the manifestation of a virtue in extreme exaggeration or deprivation. Courage is an example of virtue. Its corresponding vices are impetuousness (the exaggeration), and pusillanimity (the deprivation). In post-Christian Christianity, doubt has unfortunately been elevated into a virtue and any type of certainty has been made a vice, a problem which can be traced back to Descartes.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 25, 2018

No one is truly offended by a man who criticizes others. A man who criticizes others can be easily dismissed. Mencken criticized Americans and Americans gobbled it up. No latter day atheist is more beloved of Christians than Christopher Hitchens, who mocked and belittled Christians in winsome fashion. The cynicism of Ambrose Bierce indicted all who breathed, and yet we read Bierce with a knowing smile. When I read a man criticize others, I get to criticize others with him. What is more, I am skilled at dodging the insults generally directed at others.

Adam Andrews Jan 24, 2018

Woody Allen’s 2011 movie Midnight in Paris has it all: a star-studded cast, fantastic music, beautiful settings and great camerawork. However, its greatest feature is the story itself. The protagonist is aspiring writer Gil Pender, who stumbles into a magic vortex that allows him to travel back to 1920s Paris, a place and time that he considers the high point of Western culture. He befriends all the great artists of the day, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, and others.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 23, 2018

Given that clean entertainment is one of the great sacred cows of American Christianity, I should probably begin with a bona fide or two, so I’ll say that, with a few notable exceptions, I would be perfectly content for America to return to the old Hays Code standard for motion pictures: no graphic sex, no graphic violence, no pointed profanity, and no ridicule of the clergy. The merciless demand for realism which has arisen since the abandonment of the Hays Code in 1968 has polluted American art beyond measure. Gone is subtlety, gone is nuance, gone is dignity.

Lindsey Brigham Knott Jan 22, 2018

It has been said that greatness in art is marked by the impossibility of imagining alteration. The story that could only have come right that way, the sculpture of which every contour begs contemplation, the music whose melody would fall flat were any one of its notes missing or moved—it is a quality that we recognize in such works as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, or Michelangelo’s Pieta, or the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 

Joshua Gibbs Jan 18, 2018

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

-Luke 6:40

Adam Andrews Jan 18, 2018

My high school students cannot tolerate ambiguity. This is why they have a hard time with the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf.

Listen to this famous pronouncement from the poems eponymous hero:

For every one of us, living in this world
Means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
Win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
Win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
That will be his best and only bulwark. (1384-89)