Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Intellect or Heart: a post mostly of quotes

"I have stood in the mist of Iguacu Falls in Brazil as gorgeous tropical butterflies, winged bearers of abstract art, landed on my arms to lap up the moisture....I have sat under a baobab tree in Kenya as giraffes loped effortlessly [by]....Above the Arctic circle, I have watched a herd of musk oxen gather in a circle like Conestoga wagons to protect the mothers and their young....I have also sat in hot classrooms and listened to theology professors drone on about the defining qualities of the deity....Can the One who created this glorious world be reduced to such abstractions? Should we not start with the most obvious fact of existence, that whoever is responsible is a fierce and incomparable artist beside whom all human achievement and creativity dwindle as child's play?" -- Philip Yancey, Soul Survivor (chapter on G.K. Chesterton)
"The arts, cultural endeavors, enjoyment of the beauty of both God's creation and of man's creativity--these creative gifts have in our day been relegated to the bottom drawer of Christian consciousness, despised outright as unspiritual or unchristian. This deficiency has been the cause of many unnecessary guilt feelings and much bitter fruit, taking us out of touch with the world God has made, with the culture in which we live, and making us ineffectual in that culture....the arts, creativity, enjoyment of our own creativity, the creativity of those around us--in short, all the beauty that God has put into this life--comes as a direct good and gracious gift from our Heavenly Father above."--Franky Schaeffer, Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts
Chapter 25 of Charlotte Mason's book Parents and Children should be required reading for homeschoolers...especially for anyone who thinks that Christian belief is not integral to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education. Apologies to atheists, agnostics and CM users of any other faith, but this chapter lays it out straight: Charlotte Mason puts everything in charge of the Holy Spirit, including both the moral aspects of child training (with which Christian parents would quickly agree) and the intellectual.

"The Florentine mind of the Middle Ages....believed, not only that the seven Liberal Arts were fully under the direct outpouring of the Holy Ghost, but that every fruitful idea, every original conception, whether in Euclid, or grammar, or music was a *direct* inspiration from the Holy Spirit....It is truly difficult to grasp the amazing boldness of this scheme of the education of the world which Florence accepted in simple faith."--Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children

Each great idea. Sowing seed. Making a fire. Grinding corn. Writing a symphony. Where did the first great ideas come from? Miss Mason quotes from Isaiah chapter 28 where it says "His God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him." And she points out something else: God instructs him (or her), teaches him (or her). Each individual. "Because He is infinite, He is able to give the whole of His infinite attention to each one of his multitudinous pupils."

She points out that our part (as parents and teachers) is to co-operate with the workings of the Spirit, especially by *not* doing things that would hinder his working in a child's life...and we often understand and get that right in the moral sense, but not so often in the intellectual sense. "The new thing to us is, that grammar, for example, may be taught in such a way as to invite and obtain the co-operation of the Divine Teacher, *or* in such a way as to exclude His illuminating presence from the schoolroom....[the right way is to teach it] by its guiding ideas and simple principles, the true, direct and humble teaching of grammar....[and] the contrary is equally true.
"Our conversation was the first of many anatomy lessons I would receive from Dr. Brand. His ability to recall what he had studied in medical school thirty years before impressed me, certainly, but something else stood out: a childlike enthusiasm, an abullient sense of wonder at God's good creation. Listening to him, my own Chestertonian sense of wonder reawakened. I had been focusing on the apparent flaws in creation: this doctor who spent all day working with those flaws had instead an attitude of appreciation, even reverence."--Philip Yancey, Soul Survivor, chapter on Dr. Paul Brand
"Our feet are set in a large room; there is space for free development in all directions, and this free and joyous development, whether of intellect or heart, is recognised as a Godward movement."--Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children

Intellect AND heart.

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