Education is Elevation
A few weeks ago, we reflected on the importance of passing down the stories from one generation to another, as seen in Psalm 78. As a culture, we have by and large, stopped doing this, and the results have been disastrous. As we have abandoned our Classical and Christian heritage, we have also abandoned the elevated perspective such an education gives. Classical education provides a mountain top view, helping us to see above the tangle of post modern and post Christian thought.
Anyone who’s stood atop Mt. Madonna, looking out over Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley gains a certain perspective of the area. Looking at a map is one thing, but standing on the edge of Highway 152, looking out towards Watsonville, you gain perspective. You’re able to see Watsonville is not as close to the ocean as it seems, and the Aptos hills start just over to the right, beyond that you can just begin to see Capitola. In the other direction you can see the Pajaro Valley, and the famous “two towers”, as my kids call them, down in Moss Landing. Unless we’re willing to take the serpentine route up 152, we never gain the outlook provided by this view. In a similar way, by cutting ourselves off from our Classical and Christian roots, we loose that mountain top perspective.
An English headmaster in the early 1800s saw the growing desire to pursue more modern educational goals and warned of the lack of vision it would produce. Turn away from our Classical and Christian heritage, and he argued, we would “confine the views of the existing generation to themselves and their immediate predecessors; you will cut off so many centuries of the worlds experience, and place us in the same state as if the human race had come into existence in the year 1500.”
Without our Classical Christian heritage we severely impede our ability to understand the world around us.
C.S. Lewis, that great architect of Narnia, echoed similar thoughts “To study the past does indeed liberate us from the present, from the idols of our own market place. But I think it liberates us from the past too The unhistorical are usually without thinking about it, enslaved to a fairly recent past.” Every culture throughout history has its pet thoughts, some of which they are not even aware. It’s easy to get pushed around or ensnared by these thoughts, and not even know it’s happening. Our goal at St. Abe’s is to teach our students to think in a distinctly Christian way. We want them to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to avoid the tangled jumble that has become modern thought. Our hope is that through the Classical Christian education offered at St. Abe’s, our students will avoid the historical and cultural nearsightedness that is so prevalent in our nation today, and in so doing, will be able to lead others to do the same.