Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Leaving the Theological Ghettos

Another thing I've noticed as a teacher in a Christian Classical school is the amazing learning opportunities that come from stepping outside of our theological ghettos. I'm thrilled that in every discussion-oriented class I teach there is at least one Lutheran and one Roman Catholic. Let's face it, classes full of Baptists and Presbyterians get a little mundane. It's nice to spice it up a bit. The only real discussion Baptists and Presbyterians have is Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Throw in some Lutherans, Catholics, an Anglican or two for good measure, and some Pentecostals, and you've got a recipe for educational excitement!

In all seriousness though, it is important to share and discuss in the realm of what C.S. Lewis called "Mere Christianity." Despite denominational commitments, the actual writings Martin Luther often sound a bit too Reformed for the comfort of many Lutherans, and the actual writings of John Calvin often sound a bit too Arminian for good Presbyterians. And that's a good thing. Few things irritate me more than people who, when asked about their religion, respond "I'm Presbyterian," or "I'm Lutheran," or "I'm Methodist." NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!! You are a CHRISTIAN! There is only ONE, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. When we begin to think that our section of Christendom has it all figured out and no longer needs the rest of the Church, we risk slipping into a theological narrowness that deadens our ability to love Christ's Bride.

So, as an exhortation to my brief sermon, read broadly. Humble yourself, and see what you can learn from someone who is either upstream in the theological estuary, i.e. medieval Christians, or someone who is in a different tributary of the great river that is Christ's Church.

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