John Ehrett May 10, 2019

A few weeks ago, I had dinner with an old college friend who now works as an English teacher at a high-performing magnet school. Naturally, I asked him about the books he was assigning his students, wondering if I’d hear the usual high school standbys: The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, and so forth.

Joshua Gibbs May 9, 2019

Parent: I was wondering what adjustments you were planning on making to your classroom in light of that recently published study on olfactory learning?

Gibbs: Recently published study on what now?

Parent: Olfactory learning. Smell-based learning. We’ve known for years how deeply the sense of smell is linked to memory. It turns out that students remember far more when teachers integrate smell into their lessons.

Gibbs: Could you give me an example of ways teachers are integrating smell into lessons?

Joshua Gibbs May 6, 2019

If I were not a Christian, Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books would be my holy scripture. When I meet a sane adult, I assume his sanity comes largely from having heard Frog and Toad stories in his youth. Yesterday, I read my sophomore humanities students four stories from a Frog and Toad anthology. It would be impolite to assume you, noble reader, are not intimately familiar with all the Frog and Toad stories, but, in case too many years have elapsed between today and your last reading, I will briefly describe the four stories I read to my sophomores:

Joshua Butcher May 6, 2019

People have always sought perfection. Kenneth Burke, a twentieth-century humanist, offered the following definition of man: “Man is the symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal, inventor of the negative (or moralized by the negative), separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy (or moved by the sense of order), and rotten with perfection.” Though each aspect of the definition is worth study, for the moment consider only “rotten with perfection.”

Matt Bell May 3, 2019

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”
—Psalm 106:15

Lindsey Brigham Knott May 2, 2019

As a student, I earned spending money by tutoring rather than babysitting. As a teacher, I ventured into high school rather than elementary classrooms. After church on Sundays, I join lively conversations with my congregation’s teenagers, but end tongue-tied after a few minutes’ talk with the toddlers. Though I’ve certainly never sought to avoid the company of young children, circumstance and inclination have generally put me in that of older ones instead. 

May 1, 2019

In episode two of this brand new season of The Mason Jar, Karen Kern is joined by Cyndi McAllister, a friend and a pastor's wife, about nurturing a culture of faith in our homes (both purposefully and unconsciously). They discuss how faith must be evident in ourselves through forgiveness and repentance. Special attention was paid to the wonderful book, For the Children's Sake, particularly passages that encourage us to avoid parenting fearfully.


Joshua Gibbs May 1, 2019

The four senses by which Scripture can be interpreted correspond to Aristotle’s four causes. The literal sense corresponds with the material cause, the moral sense with the efficient cause, the eschatological sense with the final cause, and the allegorical sense with the formal cause. When Modern scientists rejected formal and final causes, they only did so because theologians had rejected the eschatological and allegorical senses of Scripture. Modern science comes from Modern theology.

Monte Knetter Apr 29, 2019

Out of Love, Christ rescued His fallen creation from the depths of sin, death, and the dominion of the Devil. The salvific power of His Love reverberates through the cosmos. It is displayed movingly in our greatest literature and its faintest echoes are even found in our shallowest teenage love songs. When correctly understood and embraced, Love transforms and uplifts us; but when misunderstood, it contributes to our damnation.

Austin Hoffman Apr 26, 2019

Why do Hobbits seem always to travel in pairs? “Because two Halflings make a whole,” responded a student. This answer perfectly encapsulates the closeness between Hobbit companions. Today, intimate friendships are increasingly rare, and our individualistic society reflects this through relativism, intersectionality, and partisanship. Although commonly blamed on Luther or Descartes, radical individualism is symptomatic of a disease Aristotle described two millennia earlier. The fracturing of culture results from a loss of good friendships.