ReBlog: The Insatiable Search for Peace and Rest
Human beings were made for God (Psalm 100:3, Acts 17:26–27), but something has gone deeply wrong. Sin has cut us off from our Creator and left us out-of-sync with each other and ourselves. Under the curse of sin, we both desire God and resist Him simultaneously (see Romans 1). The consequence of this spiritual tug-of-war is that we often turn to temporal things to fulfill our desperate longings—yet genuine, lifelong meaning and purpose remain elusive and fleeting.
Three Popular Narratives of Life
As a wayward soul for the first half of his own life, St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest Christian thinkers outside the New Testament, illustrates this problem by reflecting on his misspent youth:
But my sin was this, that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in him but in myself and his other creatures, and the search led me instead to…
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“Beauty is not simply a value-added extra to worship, or to life; on the contrary, human beings are made for beauty, as they are for truth and goodness. Stated differently: human beings are created for fellowship with God, the one in whom the true, the good, and the beautiful are ultimately grounded and find their unity.”1
You can’t miss with Jonathan Edwards. Part I in this blog is pretty good too.
Like Christians today, revivalist preacher Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) faced an intellectual climate that challenged biblical truth-claims. Edwards’ steadfast convictions and ability to integrate reason (the mind) and personal devotion (the heart) helped him remain unwavering in his dedication to the sovereign God revealed in creation and Scripture.
Part 1 of this two-part series summarizes Edwards’ life and theology. Here, in part 2, I conclude with a discussion of his philosophy and ministry.
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Looks like a good read, maybe IVP will send me a copy to review 🙂
If science prevents us from being foolish, then the arts keep us from losing our humanity through over-attention to the mundane. Beauty reminds us that what is in front of our eyes is not the totality of the world.
Fant Jr, Gene C. (2012-05-07). The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition) (p. 82). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I came across this prayer by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) again the other day.
O creator past all telling,you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe. You we call the true fount of wisdom and the noble origin of all things. Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born, The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin. You make eloquent the tongues of children. Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness. Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember; make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak. Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth. You are true God and true man, and live for ever and ever.
(Oxford Book of Prayer, Prayer 282, pg 92.)
I like the contrast between education and schooling in this article. I often talk about it in terms of education and knowledge. When I do, I speak of education as training for a career and knowledge as training for life. They are certainly not identical
The Wisdom Initiative
One of my favorite writers in the field of education, Alfie Kohn, asks a very important question in the title of one of his books, What Does It Mean To Be Well-Educated? George Eliot makes a claim that seems to take up this question by stating, “It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught…to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small, hungry, shivering self” (Middlemarch).
There is inherent in these two ideas this common thread: being well-educated should liberate persons from their small, hungry, shivering selves. Indeed, the intent of education should be about this very thing, so that the answer to Kohn’s question should be: being well-educated is the liberated self, enlarged by generosity, fed by virtue, and warmed by the well-being of one’s fully formed self.
Though this is what education should be (and…
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