Mission-Type Stuff

Admiring vs. Speculating

»Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Blog, Childhood Wonder, Mission-Type Stuff, On the Learning, Poetic Knowledge | Comments Off on Admiring vs. Speculating

One thing that today’s educators can take from 8th century monks (who were running schools and preserving Bibles in the darkest of times in the West) is knowing to admire where many would speculate. Too often learning is pursued mainly for curiosity, and no matter what we are studying, the intent is on speculation and forming questions. But if we want students to understand a good thing, then we must help them begin with a love and desire for it. It doesn’t begin with analysis and dissection, but rather, devotion. As a monastic scholar puts it, “admiration” and “speculation” are both words that “describe the act of looking. But the gaze of admiration adds something to the gaze of speculation. It does not necessarily see...

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Farmers, Harvard, and Ye Old Deluder

»Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Blog, Education History, Mission-Type Stuff | Comments Off on Farmers, Harvard, and Ye Old Deluder

Farmers, Harvard, and Ye Old Deluder

Harvard College was started and maintained in good part by a collection of farmers and sailors. They paid their teachers and supported their students with crops after wasting no time establishing the first higher education in America: After God had carried us [Puritans] safe to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to prosperity. (from New England’s First Fruits, 1643) A trademark of these American Puritans was the setting up of schools. One preacher at a huge gathering of churches in Boston prayed, “Lord, for schools everywhere...

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A Religious Problem

»Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Blog, Education History, Mission-Type Stuff | Comments Off on A Religious Problem

A Religious Problem

“. . . we must derive our theory of education from our philosophy of life. The problem turns out to be a religious problem.” T. S. Eliot,...

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Uneducated in the Proper Way

»Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Blog, Education History, Literature, Mission-Type Stuff | Comments Off on Uneducated in the Proper Way

St. Gregory of Nazianzus (also known as St. Gregory the Theologian) has been one of the most influential Christian thinkers since the apostles. This is one of these guys who has given us more than we know, even 1600 years later, in our grasp of the Trinitarian foundation of the Christian faith (which Jesus set forth). What we sometimes take now as common Bible sense are in reality mysteries of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that have not come to us without the battles fought by faithful scholars such as Gregory. And these things matter a great deal in our daily walk and in how we teach our kids. Gregory is well worth listening to, and conveniently for us, but not surprisingly, he found the matter of education an important one. He makes some notable comments in...

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What’s the point of all the schooling?

»Posted by on Dec 23, 2011 in Education History, Mission-Type Stuff | Comments Off on What’s the point of all the schooling?

Why be educated?  Why study?  What is the purpose of academic learning, at home or elsewhere?  In response to these questions, we might say “a good career,” or more vaguely, “a successful life.”  It might even be “to make the world a better place.”  In circles of classical education, we try to get down closer to the root of it, and so the purpose is often “to be a good thinker.”  Dorothy Sayers, in her insightful essay that has helped to generate much of the classical ed revival today, stresses the importance of gaining “the tools of learning” so that one can then tackle any subject.  Indeed, this gets more at the root of it, because if you are a thinker, you can often obtain that “good...

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Education as His Workmanship

»Posted by on Aug 3, 2011 in Blog, Mission-Type Stuff | Comments Off on Education as His Workmanship

One aspect of thinking big about education is thinking of it as the formation of a whole person.  There’s a lot to talk about on this, but at some point along these lines, our vision for it should connect to the big things we know God intends for individual persons and then intends for his people as a whole.  What happens to this people and its persons is the story of the world, and no learning makes sense outside of it.  As one way to consider how education fits within this big picture, we can refer to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, namely, to his discussion of the “equipping” or “perfecting” of the saints, and to our development to “mature manhood.”  This equipping is for the building up of the “household of God” that is being put together right now in history...

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