In one of the most well-known passages of City of God, Augustine describes the ordo amoris, or order of loves. In his characteristic style of inserting brilliant theological observation within historical description, Augustine exposes the superstructure of his theology. In the midst of classical culture, he identified the central problem of humanity not in externals as the Manichaeans nor ignorance as the Pelagians, but in the fallen human will. More than the intellect alone, Augustine understood that we are pulled—compelled—by love.
A student opens a copy of Euclid’s Elements and a dark spirit emerges from the pages of the book.
Teacher-Genie: I am the teacher-genie. I will grant you one educational wish.
Student: What? Really?
Student: I can have whatever I want?
Teacher-Genie: That’s the deal.
Student: I want an A in Geometry class.
Teacher-Genie: It is done. You have an A in Geometry class.
Student: Whoa. Awesome. This is fantastic news. Now I’m at the top of my class.
I am reading Homer. Each day, I pick up the book and think of a beautiful thing I share with all people who read Homer: time to read Homer.
Several things are needful for a contemplative life, and all of them plague me with guilt. For a quiet place, a quiet mind, and a worthy subject, all three, I am deeply thankful. Of their fragility I am sorely aware.
Plato, Solomon, Blessed Augustine, Boethius, Dante, Edmund Burke… My favorite intellectuals died hundreds or thousands of years before I was even born. Teachers of classic literature do not often grieve the deaths of their heroes. The centuries have already grieved them for us. A man becomes aware of Plato with a little sadness built into his admiration. For stodgy traditionalists, backward-looking conservatives, and lovers of old books, a dry-eyed sadness eternally permeates our hearts. To put it simply, our heroes do not die, at least not on our watch.
What is it about teenagers? The joking and giggling. The chattiness. Their curious tendency to walk right into you.
After fifteen years of teaching, I have finally discovered the perfect metaphor for the teenage spirit. It comes from a passage in Rhetoric where Aristotle remarks of young people, “…nature warms their blood, as though with excess of wine.” In other words, young people exist in a state of perpetual tipsiness.
Gibbs: Could I ask you about something you said in your speech at the sports banquet last night?
Coach: Of course.
Gibbs: While speaking of the girls baseball team, you said, “I have never seen greater Christian maturity, self-sacrifice, love, courage, and determination than I saw from our young ladies on the field this year.”
Gibbs: That is remarkably high praise.
Coach: It is.
Matt strode up to me, wearing one earbud in his right ear while the left bud flopped around against his suit vest. “Do I look like a secret service agent?” he inquired, holding up the speaker on the cord of the earbuds to his mouth for effect. Matt asks this question every Sunday before our church service begins, and I delight in it as a constant comfort, akin to knowing that there will always be green bean casserole with fried onions at Thanksgiving dinner.
The CiRCE Institute is proud to announce the launch of a new podcast collaboration with Noah Tetzner, host of the popular podcast, The History of Vikings (and a former homeschooled student). Victoria's World is a fifteen-episode series that will explore life and death during one of the most important periods in world history. Through interviews with scholars, biographers, and artists, the show will consider everyday life during Queen Victoria's reign, the battles that shaped the kingdom, the artists who gave voice to the people, and much more.
If we look back at dramatized episodes in the lives of the Greek philosophers, we see they bickered frequently. That is how they brought their ideals to the community’s attention—through stories, parables, and argumentation. In Plato’s dialogue Gorgias, a prime example of argumentation, Socrates assaults the ramparts of the practice of rhetoric. Meanwhile, the rhetorician Gorgias and his disciple Polus attempt to keep up a defense of their occupation.
December twenty-eighth is, in the liturgy of the church, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the day of remembrance for the multitude of children—“all that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under”—who were slaughtered by King Herod as he sought to squelch the rumored threat of a newborn King.
The Book of Common Prayer offers a prayer for this day: