Joshua Gibbs May 22, 2019

After Jocasta

A poem by Joshua Gibbs


Betrayal revealed terminal illness soberly

diagnosed infidelities illuminated

accidentally pious superstitions doubted

for a lifetime then confirmed

suddenly in blood

on the doorstep


such horrors never fail to draw

this lament from our lips:

I should have known


But this is not the judgment

of the soul

for the soul responds:


but you did know

Jon Vowell May 22, 2019

The deepest wisdom of humanity apart from Christ is tragedy, both as a concept as well as realized in art. Oswald Chambers, while contemplating the book of Job, understood this and oft repeated it throughout his theological writings:

Joshua Gibbs May 21, 2019

As a literature teacher, parents often tell me, "I want my son to become a better writer over the course of the year." While it is not inappropriate to tell the literature teacher this, a literature class is not a writing class. It is the responsibility of every teacher of every subject (from rhetoric to English to biology) to discipline students in the art of writing.

Karen Harris May 15, 2019

Standing in the dry heat of a desert, surrounded by dun-colored mountains, desperately wishing that I could communicate with the children we were serving was the moment I first seriously considered learning Spanish. I was on a mission trip to Mexico. Not knowing Spanish as challenging as we served alongside long-term missionaries to an indigenous people group. After the trip, I began studying but quickly gave up.

Joshua Gibbs May 13, 2019

I recently went to the grocery store and parked beside a car which was more full of garbage than any other car I have ever seen. Fast food bags, busted electronic gear, appliances, wadded up clothes, and empty bottles filled the passenger’s seat and the back seat nearly to the roof. Walking behind the car, the bumper was plastered with half a dozen stickers declaring sympathy for a predictably grouped set of political and social causes. For my present purposes, whether or not these political causes veered Right or Left does not much matter.

Brian Phillips May 10, 2019

Rain poured from the densely clouded sky for what seemed like the fortieth straight day. It had already been the rainiest season in recorded history and there appeared to be little break in sight. The clouds darkened everything, making it feel much earlier than it was.

I rose, mumbling my complaints at the weather, and dressed to exercise in hopes it would make me feel a bit better. The kids were just stirring, following my bad example of griping at rain, while my wife tried her best to motivate them to complete chores.

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.”