The Circe Conference was just incredible. After four days of learning, meeting wonderful new friends, and engaging in inspiring conversations and community, I am home and thinking about all that I experienced.
I’d like to share a brief glimpse of the ideas I’m still wrestling with most, five things I encountered at the conference this year that were exceptionally meaningful to me and that quite possibly will change my life.
Homer helps me to become more human.
During the pre-conference, John Mark Reynolds and Andrew Kern discussed at length the ideas surrounding Mr. Reynolds book “When Athens Met Jerusalem.” Before I had ever read any classics, I could have never guessed what they held in store for me. In truth, the great classics of Western Civilization have a way about them that echoes the problems, ideas, and tensions each human encounters.
Homer and other books like it have a way of ushering us into a discussion about the truly human things which in turn brings us face-to-face with how we ought to live. By wrestling with and acting on these questions, we learn how to live in this world while not being of this world.
[cow_johnson general_float=”right” general_clear=”none” general_width=”200″ general_bgcolor=”#a883bc” general_color=”#ffffff” general_font=”Verdana” general_fontsize=”18″ general_lineheight=”28″]Homer and other books like it have a way of ushering us into a discussion about the truly human things which in turn brings us face-to-face with how we ought to live. By wrestling with and acting on these questions, we learn how to live in this world while not being of this world. [/cow_johnson]
It is the tension between the real and ideal, the ever present tension that exists when we boldly proclaim that this world is not all that there is. I loved the way John Mark Reynolds said it when he was answering a question about why we teach this way:
Because it is an excuse to teach a lesson about virtue to prepare them to live in the city of men, and to die into the city of God.
It is all about whose honor I seek.
Before the conference I had spent some time thinking about this idea, but I came to deeper levels of understanding this week. During the opening talk at the conference, Andrew Kern introduced the theme of the conference, ‘A Contemplation of Imitation.’
He was telling his story of visiting Gatlinburg, TN and what he had noticed about all the monuments. Some were enormous, and some were small. Then he noticed something even more profound. The size of the monument did not necessarily equal the value of the person or act they were honoring.
Instead, the size of the monument had everything to do with what resources the commissioner of the monument had access to. Sometimes the most immense monuments left one scratching their head as to why it was made. Other times one would see a small monument and think “this hardly does it justice.”
I am afraid this will always be the case on this side of eternity. There is one though with infinite resources and rewards according to truth. He, the Lord, is the one that our souls long for. He is the one we were created for and made to be satisfied by.
This being true for my children as well, I can also say, the only reason my children should obey me is in doing so they are offering themselves to God, who will reward them SO much better than I ever could.
I am still an infant.
During the conference, some time was spent on 1 Corinthians. In Corinthians, Paul was responding to a letter the Corinthian church wrote. In the letter, there must have been numerous conflicts because Paul addresses several things throughout the Corinthians.
He begins by telling the people in Corinth that they are infants in Christ. Paul is able to recognize this because as he says there is “envy, strife, and division” among them. Because of this Paul has to feed them the milk of scripture and goes on to do so. He then goes on to name several truths for the Corinthian church to attend to and live by.
Things like “we can plant a seed, but God causes the growth.”, “we have the mind of Christ”, and “All things are ours.” This left me speechless and with many questions, “mind of Christ?!,” “all things are mine?!” I don’t know how to comprehend that.
I am prone to envy, strife, and division. I am not entirely sure how to grow up, but I know one thing, I will be spending time meditating on these verses and praying for the favor of revelation on these truths. Let us attend.
It is time to embrace jollification.
This is the first time I have heard this word jollification; John Mark Reynolds talked about it. He said more than anything, what our schools and curriculums need is jollification. More than anything our homes need, joy, laughter, people who are present and alive.
This convicted me because I have a tendency to get in auto-pilot and move into checklist mode, but this is entirely counterproductive to the kind of education I am working to give my children. First, maybe that is the issue. I am “working” to give this to my kids. I know that any real thing takes commitment and dedication, but I think my “working” too easily becomes striving and striving produces anxiety and fear of lack.
Maybe instead of more dedication I need to invite celebration and abiding into my home. How do I do this? I think one place to begin is by celebrating and abiding in Christ for myself, every day entering into the presence of God and allowing him to change me. As a result, my entire home will be changed because of it. I am convinced of it.
I really, really, love music.
I am not sure if any of you have heard John Hodges speak, but wow, just wow. I had an encounter with form, beauty, and music that has changed me forever. Mr. Hodges began his talk by discussing various stories, poems, and works of art that take you on what may seem like a detour, but in fact, is precisely what is required in order for our souls to truly encounter the truth the artist is attempting to embody.
We were lead through listening to Brahms’ Requiem. He explained that there are eight notes in an octave, and unless you hear the eighth note as you go up or down an octave, it will feel incomplete. This speaks to the truth that we were created to be satisfied by the harmonious. The entire work of Requiem was done in the first 7 notes, I think I am remembering this correctly, and it was not until the finale that the 8th note was hit.
But when it was it was glorious. I actually felt like I was being lifted to a higher place in my heart. Art, I mean exquisite art; that imitates the good; the true, and the beautiful is truly part of cultivating virtue, and I finally see how.
The Circe conference is a jewel in the sea of education conferences. I cannot say enough about it. Next year the theme is ‘A Contemplation of Harmony’! I am making my plans now; I hope you are too!