What a child with a classical education can do

Last summer I blogged about what I consider to be possibly the best book on classical education, Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child (Memoria Press).  It’s by Cheryl Swope, my fellow board member on the Consortium for Classical & Lutheran Education (whose conference is next week in St. Louis–join us!).  Cheryl tells about how she applied classical education in homeschooling her daughter Michelle, a special needs child who is afflicted with autism and a number of other heart-breaking mental problems.  Whereas progressive education, with its reductionistic view of human beings, would have just tried to program her with some basic survival skills and stop there, the humane, personal, inspiring approach of classical Christian education caused Michelle to blossom.  To bloom.   Not only was she achieving academic levels that her doctors thought were impossible for her, she was awakening to the realm of the true, the good, and the beautiful.  You have got to read Cheryl’s account of her daughter, who emerges, despite her continuing difficulties, as a complex, accomplished, and compelling young woman.

Anyway, Michelle–now 19–has now published a book of her poetry.  It will blow you away.  By any standards, the poems are extraordinarily meaningful and touching, filled with vivid imagery and lovely language.   To know Michelle’s background, though, is to appreciate her all the more and also to appreciate the potential of classical learning for shaping a young mind and a young heart.  But that’s not all.  Her poetry is profoundly Christian.  She writes about the Law & the Gospel, about experiencing the Sacraments and what they mean, about the Cross, about Jesus and what He did for her.  She shows just how deep catechesis in God’s Word can go, even in someone whom we might not expect.  After the jump, I will give you two of her poems, quoted with permission, along with a link so that you can buy the whole collection. [Read more...]

Evangelicals discover George Herbert

Finally, as I have been agitating for throughout my career, modern-day Christians are discovering George Herbert, whom I consider to be the greatest and most spiritually satisfying Christian poet.  Now Wesley Hill writes about him in Christianity Today.

If you want a guide to Herbert’s poetry–what he is doing aesthetically, theologically, and spiritually–you should read my book on the subject, which is newly brought back in print, another sign of the Herbert revival. [Read more...]

An example of imaginative apologetics

Mathew Block asks me to give an example of imaginative apologetics. So I talk about how this is what C. S. Lewis is doing, in addition to his rational apologetics. [Read more...]

How God uses the imagination

More from my interview with Mathew Block, who asks how God uses our human imaginations to reach us. [Read more...]

New literary biography of George Herbert

There is a new literary biography of the 17th century Christian poet George Herbert.  It’s entitled Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert, by John Drury.  The book pays close attention to Herbert’s Christian faith and to close readings of his poetry.  That Herbert’s stock is going up is evident in the enthusiastic reviews the book is getting.  After the jump, a link to one in the Washington Post and excerpts from others.  (I wrote my dissertation and published my first book on Herbert.) [Read more...]

Law and Gospel in a short fairy tale

Will McDavid at Mockingbird quotes “The Ungrateful Son,”  an extremely short fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm.  Here it is:

Once a man and his wife were sitting outside the front door with a roast chicken before them which they were going to eat between them. Then the man saw his old father coming along and quickly took the chicken and hid it, for he begrudged him any of it. The old man came, had a drink, and went away.

Now the son was about to put the roast chicken back on the table, but when he reached for it, it had turned into a big toad that jumped in his face and stayed there and didn’t go away again.

And if anybody tried to take it away, it would give them a poisonous look, as if about to jump in their faces, so that no one dared touch it. And the ungrateful son had to feed the toad every day, otherwise it would eat part of his face. And thus he went ceaselessly hither and yon about the world.

What  can we learn from this rather bizarre folktale?  After the jump, see what McDavid makes of it. [Read more...]


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