In the current American scene, references to “culture” have become as ubiquitous as references to freedom, diversity, and acceptance. While many Christians are leery of what the secular world thinks those latter three words mean, we are quite ready to accept contemporary definitions of “culture.” For most people, culture is “books and movies and things,” although if you ask a thoughtful person to elaborate on what he meant by “things,” he might say, “Well, magazines and the internet, and news, and fashion, maybe even the kind of artwork Starbucks puts on their cups at Christmas.
My view of classical education is far more concerned with the real thing than with the word "classical." So drawing from the very long Chrisitan classical tradition, I would include Charlotte Mason in that tradition every bit as much as any body else because she:
1. Was a metaphysical realist (which post Dewey progressives are not, and this is crucial).
Have you ever read “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” William Wordsworth’s famous 1807 poem about the daffodils? It is worth quoting in full, and for a reason that you may not have considered:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
In the last five weeks, I have read Hamlet out loud four times, and watched most of Branagh's version four times, as well. While Hamlet is a great many things, during these readings, the play more and more struck me as a story about a series of very terrible plans. I am willing to credit Fortinbras and the Devil for fitting, cunning plans. Everyone else, however, is quite lost. Here are the dumb plans of Hamlet, ranked.
To all parents and teachers who have ever attempted a lesson in literature and composition: Does the following teaching strategy sound familiar to you?
For those who have given themselves to creating homes of beauty, there sounds a complementary call to hospitality.
Were we to give ourselves solely to the creation of homes, without also giving ourselves and our homes to hospitality, then there might be some weight behind the charge we may hear from those who do not value the home, or even from our own restless hearts—the charge that to pour so much into a home is isolationist, reactionary, selfish, and that it over-values what is earthly and transient.
When I was fifteen, I saw Blade Runner and it overwhelmed me, though I had little sense of what the film was about. When I revisited the film several months ago, I found it was about epistemology, doubt, and personhood. On my first viewing, all these things went over my head. I could appreciate the film, but not fully.
After lately seeing Larry Nassar receive a nearly 200 year jail sentence, I was reminded of the other profoundly long jail sentences modern courts sometimes set for egregious crimes. In 1994, Charles Scott Robinson was sentenced to 30,000 years in jail after he was convicted of raping six children. This is the longest jail sentence ever given in America, though jail terms in the 500 to 1000 year range are not entirely uncommon. In 1989, a court in Thailand convicted Chamoy Thipyaso of corporate fraud and sentenced him to 141,078 years in jail.
When non-liturgical Christians think about spring holidays and festivities, they too often think only of Easter as an isolated Sunday that comes at some unexpected date that changes every year. The great High Holy Feast day of the Church thus pops in and out of the calendar with little preparation and fanfare. As such, it is quite possible to arrive at church one Sunday for Easter without any of the preparation that Lenten observance or Holy Week services could provide.
God will not always help you rise.
In the first canto of the Comedy, Dante is lost in a dark wood. Then, like the prodigal son, he comes to himself. Unsure of how long he has been lost, Dante sees light emanating from behind a mountain before him. We know that the darkness around him is sin, and the light is God, and that Dante is rising to be with God, his Deliverer. However, his path up the mountain is blocked by three vicious beasts, and Dante retreats back down the mountain where he encounters Virgil, who leads him into Hell.