The other day I was deeply moved as I listened to “A Contemplation of Memory” by Andrew Kern (link below) and was carried on a journey that gives a glimpse of the beauty and value of a classical Christian education. The whole message inspired hope based on what God is doing in our world today. There is no way I can adequately express how excited I am about the type of education we are offering at Fortis Academy, but I can say that it is a vehicle of hope for the future of our children, our families and the nation. Not that Fortis Academy is a single bastion of hope in a world engulfed in darkness, but rather, we are part of a great tradition through which all of the nations of the earth are blessed.
I often like to ponder what the world should look like, and it always takes the form of working out the love and rule of Jesus Christ into every area of life and society. The problem with such language is that people can interpret it according to their presuppositions rather than listening to what I mean, and I can assume that I am communicating accurately and pay no attention to how it is interpreted by the listener. This will always be the case without the give and take of a good dialogue, the type of discussion based learning we value at Fortis Academy. I personally like to imagine a world where people walk in the love of Jesus Christ, people who have a deep sense of wonder and delight in the world God has created and have the skills and abilities to cultivate goodness, truth and beauty in the world. I also like to hope for such a world for my children, and that is why I am committed both to the Church of Jesus Christ, and to a classical Christian education.
I am often challenged by people who do not believe that there is hope for the future, and therefore take such language to be dangerous. I argue that I am not talking about what could be, or trying to get people to trust in a fairy tale, but rather something that can be witnessed in history. The power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in culture can be seen throughout history and when we see it, we are filled with hope that things can get better rather than worse. All cultures are an expression of the character and values of the people. Religion is what defines those values and the arts (including rhetorical arts) are what spreads them. Plato understood this concept and proclaimed that music can cause ethical states in those who listen to it. He believed in this so much that he declared that in a perfect state the philosophers will control music (control driven by fear is a natural response to a worldview that does not see the sovereign and loving hand of God at work in the world). He also warned that when the modes of music change, the laws of the state change. The point is not to draw the conclusion that secular music is bad, but to realize that human beings have incredible potential to cultivate culture when they develop the skills (“arts” from a classical liberal arts perspective). The good news is that when we look to history, ever since the fall of man, God has been working to reconcile us to Himself. If God can speak through a donkey, I think He can speak through anything He likes. Instead of fault finding (probably not a very good biblical ethic), we should be helping the world to see Christ through the glimpses people get from anything good or beautiful or true in this world. We should be making disciples of Jesus Christ who express what it means to be truly human. That is the goal of a Fortis education.
Listening to Andrew Kern’s talk on memory was an experience that reminded me of the goodness and beauty of God in the world and the wonder of the image of God in man. It reminded me of why I love classical education and why I love Fortis Academy.