For reasons difficult to truly grasp, fallen angels cannot be restored to God. Christians pray for their human enemies, but not for their spiritual enemies. The Church has for many centuries rejected the idea that demons will someday repent and be restored to God, thus, as St. Augustine notes in the City of God, there is no need to pray for the Devil. Likewise, we may pray for animals to recover from illnesses and injuries, but there is no need to pray for their spiritual conversion. Of all sentient beings, humans are unique in this: once spiritually broken, they can be repaired.
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?
Most classical Christian schools in this country are ecumenical projects, which is to say they are open to students from many different church backgrounds. An ecumenical school is not an Anglican school, not a Presbyterian school, and not a Catholic school, but a school for Christians of all these traditions (and more). As with any project, an ecumenical project can be done well or poorly. A certain project is not good simply because it is ecumenical.
As a philosophy teacher, I think coaches have it pretty good. Unlike philosophy teachers, coaches never struggle to convey the importance of their work. Coaches can arrive in the middle of philosophy class and say, “It’s time to leave for the game,” and students immediately go. Philosophy can wait, sports can’t. To quit doing one thing so you can do another thing—that’s just what priority looks like. Because the work of coaches is more important than the work of teachers, coaches are allowed to speak to students passionately, realistically, and without sentimentality.
Last month, I told my sophomore humanities class, “You have written enough for me this year. Let me write something for you.” And so we hashed out a deal where, on the appointed day, the class would give me four essay prompts, I would choose one, I would have around an hour to think about what I wanted to say, and then I would have one hour to write a one-thousand-word essay in response.
From the very beginning, God has ordered our days. In the Creation week, He made the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. He rested on the seventh day, giving us a pattern of work and rest to follow in our own lives. Our calendars have, however, become far more numerous and complicated - work calendars, family calendars, and school calendars now direct how we spend our time. Sadly, the Church calendar is rarely the one setting the rhythm of life, even for Christians.
Let us imagine a group of isolated fifteen year olds with a normally distributed variety of talents and virtues. Let us assume these fifteen year olds are in a community that they inherited, that has a governing structure, habits of mind, and patterns of behavior. It is a normally distributed tradition in its virtues and vices.
How should Christians watch movies? A good answer to this question has relatively little to do with interpreting camera angles, performing worldview analysis, or looking for Christ figures and Gospel hunger. How a Christian watches a movie should depend quite a bit on how a Christian chooses what he watches. Not all movies deserve a generous audience. For some movies, turning off your brain while you watch is foolish. For others, turning off your brain is the only real way to receive all the good things the story has to offer.
Throughout this last year, I have enjoyed reading a variety of beautiful stories on the Daily Gathering; we read and discussed the story of a rabbit who desired to be real, a Mermaid who sought an immortal soul, and a cowboy who lassoed a tornado. These, and many other stories, have brought the participants into a world of fairies and giants, witches and kings, and wonder and joy; they have taught the students how to attend through imagination, narration, discussion, and comparison.