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With God, It's Mission Possible: PCS Students and the Call to Serve and Share

February 06, 2017
By Mitzi Moore

Written by Mitzi Moore, Logic and Rhetoric School Activities Director}

At Providence Christian School, we love questions. And the deeper the question the better. Helping us all understand the connections between missions and our curriculum, Mrs. Moore recently spent some time answering this essential question:

"How does mission work fit into the classical and Christian model of education?"

From Mrs. Moore:

You may have asked yourself a similar question as you gave your student another dollar for snack at break, a Popsicle, a hot dog lunch, a bag of coffee, a BBQ plate, and the list goes on!

We are commanded to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” ( Matthew 28:19-20). Obviously, Christians are called to witness, and we are told that God will be with us when doing so. However, does this responsibility have anything to do with the trivium and how we teach at PCS? I think that it does.

At the grammar level we teach students to share what they own with others and to serve with a pure heart, doing everything for Christ. As we put our faith into action, students make shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and donate toys to the Living Waters Christian Counseling Center. They decorate the Grammar Building for Christmas as a way to share the gospel. Grammar students often adopt families at Christmas to provide gifts and dinner for them. They collect and donate food for the animals at the Humane Society. Through The Persecution Project, our students collect Legos to help students in Africa develop creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. In addition, our budding servant leaders collect coins over the school year to help build a well for clean drinking water in the Sudan.

Another unique, completed project involved our students putting together parachutes that were used to drop solar-powered radios (along with Christian tracts and Bibles). The radios broadcast Christian stations into guerilla-controlled territories of Colombia, reaching those who live in the area, but most importantly bringing Truth to the guerilla soldiers through Voice of the Martyrs. Sharing God’s love is evident when students create Valentine cards for Love in Action to distribute to homeless people who come for a Valentine meal. A project that was especially meaningful to the grammar students involved the compilation of child-friendly band aids for local hospitals to raise awareness of Childhood Cancer. It was so touching to see students sell and release 1,000 gold balloons to raise funds for Childhood Cancer, honoring the memory of their friends Morgan and Libby Claire.

These are just a few of the ways that PCS Grammar School students learn about service and mission at the most basic level.

As Providence students enter the Logic and Rhetoric School stages of their education, many join a team sport. Various teams volunteer to collect food for the local food bank and spend time with the children at the Boys and Girls Club. Some students develop relationships with special needs children and adults through volunteering to be a buddy with the Miracle League teams, or a helper with Special Olympics. Eagle Ambassadors annually assist the elderly at the Peanut Festival on Seniors Day. Students at this stage of the trivium begin to think and understand the world with greater texture and complexity. Hopefully, they see and appreciate the uniqueness of God’s creation while demonstrating deeper empathy towards others. Students clearly see the result of the fall in our world and minister to those who need assistance. At the beginning of each junior year, students, under the leadership of Mr. Waddell, spend time at Living Waters, doing various service projects on the grounds, fellowshipping with each other as a class, and spending time in devotion studying the Word and in prayer. While PCS students, up to this point, have been dependent on adult leadership to serve, we now have an established House System that continues mission work through peer leadership.

Finally, as PCS students reach twelfth grade, we encourage participation in an international mission trip. This is an unusual application opportunity when compared to the local mission work that they have done. While they do have cultural and educational experiences on this trip, the main purpose is to have them share and defend their faith. Each year the administration seeks God’s direction for the location and precise mission for the new seniors. Fund raising is an integral part of this process. Students see first-hand God’s calling and provision. They receive training and practice to equip them for their particular work (occurring just this past weekend!).

In addition to blessing others, students receive blessings. Throughout the nine-year history of this trip, some PCS seniors have accepted Christ as Savior. They find the courage and words to share the gospel and defend their faith one-on-one. Several have heard God’s call to full-time ministry. Alumni comment about the new sense of gratitude they gain from this experience. Partnering with Christians in another country makes the world a much smaller place, helping PCS students acquire a sense of the Great Commission's impact globally. Previous class members still communicate with fellow laborers they met while serving. Many find a capacity to love they didn’t know existed. In working together during a short-term mission, seniors draw closer to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, which profoundly affects their continued relationship as they move on to college. Perhaps Micah 6:8 sums up their thoughts: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

At Providence, Christian service and mission education is an intentional part of the classical and Christian curriculum. Please pray for our students' involvement in it -- that their hearts catch fire for the Lord and His creation.

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.

John Wesley, English Evangelist

It's Bigger Than "What do I need to do to get an A?"

January 20, 2017
By Lindsey Fain

{written by Lindsey Fain, Rhetoric I Teacher, 11th Grade}

With three small children, our family frequents the local playgrounds and parks where small talk with fellow adults naturally surfaces. One of the first questions posed seems to be, “Well, what do you do?” To which I respond, “I teach Rhetoric at Providence Christian School.” Blank stare and: “Rhetoric? What is that?” What follows is my dream answer, the answer I would always share if there were the time and interest:

Let's start at the beginning. Genesis 1:28 is known as the “creation mandate.” God calls His people to have dominion over His creative work. This call to “form and fill the creation” is affirmation that humankind was created as a rational learner. To say that we are rational learners implies, not only being able to make sense of knowledge, but also to use knowledge in constructive, redeeming ways. In his book, Educating for Life, author Nicholas Wolterstorff observes, “Christian education must educate for the full life of the person. It cannot teach only for development; it must also teach for healing and reconciliation.”

Rhetoric I and II are required during the Junior and Senior years at Providence. They are culminating courses encompassing the Trivium's classical skills of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Both courses afford the students opportunities to select a contentious topic, research it, grapple with it, and formulate a persuasive thesis. The resulting paper is written from a Biblical worldview and must be academic in nature. The students arrange an oral presentation and deliver a defense in front of an audience of peers and a panel of three faculty judges.

Spearheaded by our Educational Philosophy, Core Values, Graduate Profile, and Mission and Vision, PCS aspires to the following in all of our coursework:

To promote principled thinking by helping each student develop a Biblical worldview, consistently applied to every area of life.

To cultivate in each student a life-long love of learning and pursuit of academic and moral excellence for the purpose of bringing glory to God alone.

To train and equip each student to be a servant-leader who has an impact on those God puts within his or her reach by living a God-honoring life.

The ultimate desire of each pioneer man and woman who envisioned a school that would not merely challenge students to academic excellence but, more importantly, enable students to profess a Biblical world-and-life view is evident. There was a yearning to create a community that would expose students to the unsettling injustices, hurts, and needs of this world in order that they may aspire to do something about it. In other words, students would become cultural transformers and not simply treat education and all that it entails as a contractual process. Students' journeys with the thesis is a powerful way we promote the aforementioned.

The beauty of a Rhetoric course within the classical Christian school is that it seeks to equip students with a worldview that effectually shapes writing and speaking. Moreover, students are not exclusively exposed to Christian curriculum. They are encouraged to exercise their worldview and Scriptural imagination, acknowledging true and beautiful insights no matter where the Lord, in his common grace to humanity, has decided to plant them. If Christian education truly seeks to equip and exhibit Christian leadership -- then what more appropriate place than the Christian school to expose students to social injustices, to encourage them to wrestle with issues, to coach them to discoveries about complex topics?

A few of the current topics include “The Christian Approach to Tattoos,” “Politics: The Divided States not the United States,” “Human Beings: Modern Slaves to Technology,” and “The Role of Women in the Church.” The desire in having students engage in learning through research, writing, debate, and defense via cultural topics is that they will acknowledge their redemptive and restorative role in a fallen world. It is "Mission Accomplished!" if their work pierces their hearts in a way that is unsettling, causing them to think for themselves and respond to, “What am I going to do about this?” This is intentional preparation for vocation, aptly defined by pastor Frederick Buechner as the following: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Where is that place? Each student has to prayerfully take this journey of scholarship to know.

Teachers, parents, pastors, and coaches often allege that school is an attempt to “prepare students for the real world.” This statement is perplexing because the truth is students already live in the “real world.” Moreover, the classical subject of Rhetoric is overflowing with opportunities to foster learning in an academic, as well as, social context. The working definition of Rhetoric is the art of a good man speaking well. Rhetoric helps students develop their minds to think critically and to eloquently articulate their beliefs to others through writing and speech.

Junior and Senior thesis are often the most meaningful learning experiences for our students, helping students make sense of a sinful and fallen world. In the end, teachers, as well as the methods of Rhetoric in the classical Christian school, exist to be transformational in our students’ and families’ lives. It helps build-up students who develop “mental furniture,” which allow them to delight in God’s creation, grapple with injustice, become involved in the healing processes of society, and ultimately—and rationally—act on that knowledge of Truth in hopes that they make their way in this world with passion and purpose (instead of merely making a mark on this world).

Equipping Students. Following Christ. Changing the World.

Universal Longing and Particular Pain: Fences and Classical Christian Education

January 17, 2017
By Jason Smith

{by Jason Smith, Dean of Faculty and Instruction}

I didn’t receive a classical Christian education.

In 2002, when I left my job at Enterprise High School to teach at Providence, I was seeking an opportunity to do something I wasn’t totally prepared for. I remember teaching 9th through 12th grade English. At night, I would sit down at my desk and have four books stacked. One by one, I would read, underline, make notations, and rehearse what I was going to say the next day. By reading the texts, looking up others’ thoughts, and learning from conversations with students, I began to receive an education that changed my life and is still changing my life. (Tenth grade humanities teacher Jamie Smith recently remarked, “It’s like building a bridge while you are crossing it.” Amen!)

Some of the most profound preparation I did included reading classic literature, especially The Iliad and The Odyssey. Homer’s epics had (and continue to have) a powerful impact on me. The characters, the settings, and the stories are so foundational to Western literature, they have seeped into my skin and become a part of the way I see the world.

A recent example occurred over Christmas break.

My daughter and I met former and current students at the cinema to see Fences. August Wilson’s play, the basis for the film, is an American masterpiece. The story captures the particular plight of the African-American experience in 1950s Pittsburgh. Rose, Gabe, Bono, Lyon, and Cory’s lives reflect our country’s painful past with intense and memorable specificity; however, in respect to Wilson’s genius, while he truthfully explores race, this work also transcends situation and setting because of the characters’ timeless humanity. The Maxson’s struggle cannot be understood outside of their experience of their particular world; but once you enter into it, you realize that their aspirations and ideals, their hopes and dreams, are what many Americans universally desire.

An example of this particular and universal appeal is captured in Denzel Washington’sperformance of Troy Maxson. He is ferocious, defiant, tender, glorious, and tragic. He is heroic. And he is hurtful. His larger-than-life stories of athletic exploits and nights spent wrestling the devil hint at his mythological status. Like another wandering hero, Odysseus, he can outfox anyone and navigate the perils of a hostile world—all while traveling towards home (except Troy’s battles, unlike the Greek hero, are with the effects of white supremacy). When reminded that he came along too early to cash in on his athletic prowess because of the color barrier in baseball, Troy says, “There shouldn’t have been no such thing as too early!” And everyone who has ever felt the fateful, harsh, and limiting hand of time and place nods in agreement. In keeping with another classical allusion, part of Troy’s nobility (and tarnish) is the fact that he refuses to accept limits. Given the stacked odds against African-American men in the 1950s, you can’t help but empathize with his unassailable doggedness, even if you know it may be his undoing. He is Icarus flying toward the sun.

Late into the film, when Troy admits his fatal flaw to Rose, your gut wrenches. You want more for him and his family. My eyes welled with tears along with Rose (perfectly portrayed by Viola Davis), learning that part of her payment for 18 years of loyalty is Troy’s infidelity. Fence or no fence surrounding the Maxson home, we learn one of the greatest threats to the family's viability comes from the inside. And this is when it hit me, Troy is like another Troy. Yes, that one—Virgil’s launching point for The Aeneid’s tale. Troy, the man, possesses all the glory of the ancient city. His foundation, a home with Rose, is a glorious assertion of civilization; but his ruin and legacy are similar to the city of Troy’s famed history: that, while battling outsiders, he loses a costly battle on the inside.

Troy’s story is bigger than just one man seeking the American dream. In the tradition of classical myth, depicting the theme of home, Fences places the African-American search for a home, for humanity, and for dignity, among a country that has not been welcoming and squarely in the river of the most memorable and powerful stories ever told. These whispered connections with the great literature of the past suggests that this story, this man's life, and his family should share the same cultural space as our foundational tales. I couldn't agree more. The Maxson's particular pain should be memorialized and given respect. The Maxson's universal longings should be shared. 

So here I am.

Sitting in my living room, contemplating one of the great figures of American theater, and making connections between a play written by an African-American playwright in 1987 and an epic poem composed by a Greek author in 500 B.C. And believe it or not, this process helps a 46 year old white guy from the Southeast United States in 2017 make some sense out of the lives of others and his own. I confess that there are pains deep down in the text of Fences I will not understand because of my privilege. But I am so thankful to August Wilson and Denzel Washington for connecting the story of the Maxson family with the world at large. Fences has so much to teach all of us.

Did August Wilson intend such connections?

I am not sure (but I bet he did). However, I do know one of the blessings of a classical Christian education is to hear the different melodies of the human story, and while leaning in to listen to each one more closely, discover that many of us are singing a similar song that stretches across cultures and time periods. Sure, we are definitely different: but in some ways, we are beautifully and mysteriously the same. Being reminded of our shared humanity invites us to bear witness to the particular struggles of each other. What a gift it is to encounter great art. What a greater gift to encounter it as a classically educated person connecting with the Great Conversation.

As Denzel Washington recently stated in an interview, "For the first time, for me as an African-American, it's my voice. Yet the themes are universal — the father-son relation, the husband-wife relations. The themes are universal."

Seeking Wisdom in an Age of Information

December 29, 2016
By Jason Smith

{Jason Smith, Dean of Faculty and Instruction}

"21st century skills . . . are not new, just newly important." Elena Silva

Our Humanities Chair Valentina Adams (studying for her Masters in Humanities with Faulkner University) shared an essay with me by the scholar Russell Kirk entitled, "Humane Learning in the Age of the Computer." You can read it here. Thought-provoking (if not a little polemical), his argument sparked more than a few ideas for me about what we do at Providence.

Written in 1987, Mr. Kirk pointedly (and presciently) analyzes the Knowledge Age, Information Age, and the cultural trends that have steered modern education off course. He demonstrates that while there is importance in using the tools of technology to access information, the tools and the access should not be mistaken for worthwhile educational enterprise. Information alone shouldn't distract us from wisdom.

From the essay:

"For information is not knowledge; and knowledge is not wisdom. This is movingly expressed by Eliot in some lines of his choruses for The Rock:

Where is the Life we have lost in living? 
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? 
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries 
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

Aye, where is the knowledge we have lost in information not to mention the wisdom? What humane learning used to impart was not miscellaneous information, a random accumulation of facts, but instead an integrated and ordered body of knowledge that would develop the philosophical habit of mind -- from which cast of mind one might find the way to wisdom of many sorts."

I couldn't agree more. Having been a classroom teacher for 20 years, I've repeatedly realized the time a teacher spends with a student is limited, and the breadth of information is practically unlimited. In many disciplines, the content is constantly expanding. Feeding students information and having them regurgitate it on tests is a very low-level form of learning (and an ugly metaphor). Mrs. Adams, our faculty, our administration, and our school board share a conviction that classical Christian education -- and its emphases on developing logical thought, practicing powerful personal expression, and prayerfully seeking virtuous and wise interior lives -- is the educational answer for an age adrift in a sea of disparate information. Coursework, careers, and Christian lives demand we develop, primarily, into life-long learners -- not merely receptacles of information.

Through thoughtfully designed lessons and courses of study, we are teaching students how to think and what to love. This is the humane learning Russell Kirk lauds. We value inquiry-based instruction. We value the Socratic seminar. We seek assessment that asks students for application of what they are learning. We esteem and apply a Biblical worldview. We impart and practice a robust aesthetic with norms for the true, beautiful, and good.

Much of this approach (but not all) is consistent with the best practices celebrated by current educational research. From Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning (published by ASCD), Mike Schmoker writes that the best educational voices are arguing we "go back to the future, to embrace -- at long last -- a powerful combination of the following strategies for all students:

Adequate amounts of essential subject-area content, concepts, and topics;

Intellectual/thinking skills (e.g., argument, problem solving, reconciling opposing views, drawing one's own conclusions); and

Authentic literacy -- purposeful reading, writing, and discussion of the primary modes of learning both content and thinking skills" (26).

It takes time, talent, and personal devotion to identify what matters most and to share it winsomely, inviting students to do the work of real learning. Our faculty knows what is enduring, is able to identify true understanding in each discipline, and models and shares the tools of learning. Providence's curriculum is centered around the Big Ideas and Essential Questions of life and learning. Big Ideas and Essential Questions animate every subject we teach. We plan for cross-curricular connections; and, ultimately, we seek to reveal to our students the wisdom of Christ found at the heart of every subject.

This is education that impacts the whole student for the whole of his or her life. (See our Graduate Profile: Download PCS Portrait of a Graduate.)

Please pray with us as we continue to mature towards and accomplish this vision. As Russell Kirk cautions:

"What we ought to resist is a schooling that turns out young people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing: people replete with information and unable to digest it. If we restore the dignity of humane learning, we may transcend the Informational Society; we may even achieve a Tolerable Society."

It is timely; it is timeless; and it's worth more than all earthly treasure (Proverbs 2:4). We don't want to miss it.

Teaching (and Living) Truth in a Post-Truth World

November 28, 2016
By Jason Smith

{Written by Jason Smith, Dean of Faculty and Instruction and 12th Grade English Teacher}

We really appreciate your readership and are excited to have this space to share what we believe is the beauty and purpose of classical Christian education. Sometimes it's hard to explore something so rich and life-changing in a three-minute elevator pitch. Therefore, while I debated dividing this post into two parts, I hope you will indulge me, allowing for a few minutes to explore the connections between postmodernism, post-truth, authenticity, and classical Christian education. I think you will find these thoughts encouraging and applicable to our time.

MODERNISM'S COLLAPSE

If you've watched or read the news as of late, one thing is obvious: we are a divided country. Class, race, gender, age, and personal beliefs vary from demographic to demographic, and people are experiencing great difficulty in understanding (and reaching out to) their neighbors.

One of the contributors to the disorientation that people are experiencing is the cultural moment that we are in: postmodernism. For centuries, postmodernism’s antecedent, modernism, promised, with its reliance on scientism and its uber-confident rationalism, that societies had at their disposal the tools to progress the human race toward common beliefs, shared values, and constant prosperity and peace—all with minimal or no acknowledgement of the transcendent.

The rights and dignity of man, the state as protector of civil liberties, the salubrious benefits of technological progress, and communities centered on tolerant civic engagement all seemed within reach. These are good and inviting aspirations. However, as recent history has revealed, the promises of modernism haven’t materialized like some believed they would. Two World Wars, terrorist activity, ethnic cleansing, global poverty, sex trafficking, racism, the rise of dictators, massive immigration, refugee crises, and corrupt governments are a few of the obstacles that deterred humanity's march toward perfection. As a result, people have become more cynical and fearful.

POST-TRUTH

Understandably, many feel disillusioned about where we are, adding to a disbelief in the fact that objective truth can be agreed upon, shared, and used to order societies. Overwhelming majorities do not trust the institutions that serve as the engines of democratic communities seeking to self-govern through agreed upon norms. Media, churches, governments, schools, universities, corporations, businesses, and industries are all wrestling with a credibility gap.

Sounds pretty depressing, right? Makes the whole project of living in a secular, pluralistic society seem perilous and daunting. Some days, if you listen hard enough between the shouting on cable news networks, you can hear the cracks in the foundation of our republic lengthening and widening. Citizens on the left, right, and in the center sense the fragility of the American dream, and we wonder how we can strengthen the things that remain.

But like I shared with my seniors recently: I am hopeful. So very hopeful! Not only may our country and culture be revitalized; most importantly, this is an opportunity for the Lord to be magnified, personally and publicly. And I believe classical Christian education can play a major role in healing our culture and country.

Fittingly for 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year is post-truth, and, in the shadow of this cultural theme, it has become more and more evident that logical discourse doesn’t hold the promise that it once did. In a year of increasing fake news and an unceasing amount of spin, it is hard to have a lot of faith in the possibilities of civic engagement. I believe the church (and Christian ministries like Providence) are poised in this postmodern milieu to provide a living witness that models and extols the virtues of civilized society: humility, empathy, mercy, righteousness, purity, and peace. The values of the Kingdom of God are opposed to so much of what we witness in many spheres of American society but are essential for our flourishing. The Lord’s Prayer is just as radical today as it was when our Savior first shared it. Without the coordinates of Christian influence, we will definitely struggle to find our way. Our founding fathers echoed as much. Alexander Hamilton writes, "The institution of delegated power implies that there is a portion of virtue and honor among mankind which may be a reasonable foundation of confidence" (Federalist No. 76). Freedom, culture, diversity, self-determination, community, debate: these awesome responsibilities are better stewarded by good men and good women.

You might be asking, however, why would the Beatitudes appeal to people? Why would individuals, who can't agree on their experience of the world, care about the most basic behaviors of healthy communities? I have a theory. There's another postmodern cultural trend that provides Christians with an path to love and minister to a splintered society.

AUTHENTICITY

Interestingly, our fractured culture is united around a desire for authenticity. Without the foundation of objective truth, people long to believe that what they see is what they get--in others and in organizations. They want to trust. NYU professor and advertising consultant Bob Knorpf discusses the importance of authenticity here: "Being authentic doesn't mean you have to post every day and rack up 100,000 likes. It just requires you to deliver a consistent, compelling identity at every touchpoint that will get consumers talking." What many people are looking for in a post-truth world is a compelling identity that is consistent across every meeting point of their lives. Basically: who you say you are is what you are at every moment. In postmodernism, such authenticity is powerful and persuasive.

Christ-followers have a unique opportunity then to pull a seat up to this diverse American table. An opportunity to listen, to learn, to serve, to model, and (eventually) to speak. In a post-truth, postmodern age, Christians may no longer control the cultural conversation but what an awesome opportunity! Our legitimacy in the next chapter of American life, by necessity, must be rooted in a vital and authentic relationship that only Jesus Christ can confer. In this age, in many respects, Christian apologetics boils down not only to the most believable argument but to the most believable life.

Our Truth shows up in the flesh.

Along these lines, former Parisian Archbishop Emmanuel Suhard writes, “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” (From Priests Among Men.)

CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

Transcending the typical loyalties of this world, Christians are called to be, first, a living mystery. What an undertaking; an undertaking requiring extraordinary commitment from Christian families in a post-truth world! To that end, at Providence, our curriculum and instruction are designed to facilitate an encounter with a Christian tradition of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in all of the disciplines of learning. Whether it’s the truths of Scripture and the hope of the Gospel; the imitation of excellence and virtue as we study the classics; or the call to live lives of self-denial empowered by the Holy Spirit to love and serve others: PCS teachers and students at every stage and age strive to live lives of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual integrity. We recognize, like linguist Ludwig Wittgenstein shared, “The truth can only be spoken by someone who is at home in it.” (From an essay here.)

After students have inhabited the rooms of a classical Christian education—the Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric stages—they are prepared to move out of the house and share the Truth because they’ve lived with the Truth. They’ve spent the days of their youth “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” By God’s grace, they’ve spent some time in the presence of the real thing: evidenced during a time of worship in our Wednesday Exordiums; evidenced when a teacher offers an apology and asks for forgiveness from his students; evidenced when a student walks out of a classroom on a cloud after discovering some aspect of the true, the beautiful, and the good in a sonnet, a song, or an equation; evidenced while traveling to South Korea and partnering in ministry with Christians overseas.

What an incredible time to be alive. This is faith and learning with, by, and through the Logos. And He is essential if we are to know Truth, Beauty, or Goodness at all. A recent article in The Classical Difference underscores this foundational truth: "Non Christian classical schools, like old-line private schools or newer charter schools, have an even bigger problem. They buy wholesale into education as the 'cultivation of virtue.' But, now they've created a taller ladder and they have no wall to place it against--a destination without a path" (22). The gift of a classical Christian education is that it equips students to live lives of obedience and service to Jesus Christ and their neighbors, while constantly and consistently pointing to His birth, life, death, and resurrection as the hope of their lives and the hope of the world.

Sure we live in a cacophonous, divided democracy, but this cracked culture needs more than ever the glue of the Christian testimony. Like leaven or a mustard seed, the witness of the Word made flesh has miraculous power and influence. Once it starts to grow: it is quietly persistent. It permeates and brings to life dead cultural activity: the arts, government, business, families, even churches, and, yes, education. How awesome it is to labor in our love for Jesus by providing children with a classical Christian education. What a privilege it is to minister in a world that is broken, knowing, we too would make no sense at all without the Lord's presence in our lives.

May others see authentic helplessness in us and our legitimate rescue in Christ so that they are attracted to the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of the Lord.

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