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    A Contemplation of CiRCE {Entry I}

    October 5, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know that this is the time of year when I begin listening to and blogging about the CiRCE Conference. Every year, I buy the CD sets. This is my own personal teacher feast. I listen to them {often over and over and over} while I do important things like Making Dinner.

    There is a slight chance this causes me to shush my children.

    Boo. Hiss.

    Ahem.

    Naturally, my first entry concerns the first plenary session, A Contemplation of the Divine Image, give by the man himself.

    I’m not going to summarize this talk, but I must say it is worth listening to. As I do every year, I encourage you to buy some {or all} of the sessions.

    The first idea that stuck out to me in this talk was that of logos. First, Mr. Kern reiterates what he has been saying for years, which is available on the CiRCE website in the definitions section:

    A science is a domain of knowing ordered by a unifying principle (logos).

     Logos here is the Greek term for that ordering, unifying principle.

    John is my favorite Biblical author, so I’ve been fascinated by the idea of the Logos for years. I knew already that the Greeks and Romans sought for the Logos–the single unifying principle for all of creation. They wanted One Thing upon which to hang everything else.

    But they never found it, and they had to settle, Mr. Kern tells us, for little-l logos. So, in biology, for example, the unifying principle is life.

    But John reveals to us that there really is a big-L Logos and He is Christ Jesus.

    If in biology, the unifying principle is life, Kern encourages to make the big-L application to all of education.

    In true Christian education, the unifying principle is Christ Himself.

    This was the connection I’ve been waiting years to make, because my feeble brain wasn’t capable of making the leap. But I see the truth of this oh so clearly now that someone has pointed it out to me.

    Wendell Berry tells us that

    the first principle of the Kingdom of God is that it includes everything.

    This makes perfect sense when we consider John’s words:

    In the beginning was the Word {logos}, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    John 1:1-3

    The obvious question becomes: what does an education look like, in which Christ is the organizing, unifying principle?

    I haven’t listened to all of the conference CDs yet, but I can venture a bit of a guess, and it is not much like any school I’ve ever seen–even Christian schools I’ve seen.

    I think the key here is the “should” questions that Mr. Kern is always encouraging us to ask. I mentioned before that “should” questions work like magic in my home, bringing Scripture back to the center of whatever we are reading. In discussing “should,” we edge our way toward truth. Because we acknowledge Christ as Lord, He automatically has jurisdiction over our “shoulds.”

    I’m not saying there is a Single Right Answer. I’m saying His is the wisdom we need in properly answering these questions. In asking “should,” we see our need. When the only answer a student can muster is a helpless, “I don’t know,” we learn to run to Scripture.

    Even if it’s history.

    Or poetry.

    Or literature.

    And so “religion” isn’t a class we take, but a life we lead, and Scripture has reign over all.

    __________________________
    Join the conversation:
    -Did you happen to buy the CDs or download the audio recordings? If so, whenever I post on a talk, I invite you to link to your own thoughts on a post in the comments.

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    3 Comments

  • Reply amy in peru October 14, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I love the huge idea of logos… it’s been a thought I’ve been developing for, well, years now. and then you said it in a few sentences. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts October 14, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Yay! A CiRCE companion! πŸ™‚

    I think I have listened to this first CD about five times now. I keep pressing play while cooking, which seems to be the way to go. I get interrupted a lot, so it takes me a while to hear all the thoughts, you know? Anyhow, I’m still pondering the idea of harmonizing. That was new thought for me…

  • Reply Mahers Hill Academy October 12, 2011 at 2:45 am

    I’ll join you. πŸ™‚ Just finished listening to the first session – it was wonderful! I must admit to feeling rather embarrassed that I haven’t read or even watched Hamlet, but the excerpts he read whet my appetite for more. I noticed he mentioned “debunking” at one point, too. πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely be listening to it again!

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