The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Monday, June 06, 2005
The Next Generation
One of the key ways that the contemporary Christian church is resisting the cultural status quo is through the education of their covenant children. Deliberately eschewing the government schools for private or home schooling were true education can take place founded and permeated by biblical truths, a new generation is being raised up who have been trained to think like Christians - not like prevailing unbelief we see propagated all around us (sadly, even among far too many Christians).

Two weeks ago we attended the graduation at Veritas School where our oldest daugher is due to graduate next year. I was especially taken by the following speech by Nolan Lynch, one of three graduates who spoke eloquently at the ceremony. It is a remarkable piece of literature, indicating what the "lost tools of learning" can produce at a relatively early age:

The phrase “classical education” calls up an image of a dark, crusty-manuscript-and-cobwebby-halberd-bearing-suit-of-armor-filled stone chamber. Its sole inhabitant is a lonely pupil who reads by candlelight, under the watchful, commanding eye of a bust of Caesar. In short, classical education is usually thought of as dark, dusty and dead. The student thinks he has been locked in by his gray-bearded tutor, who carries a large bundle of keys and, in all likeliness, wears a tie. That student’s mistake, however, was that he refused to light more than the necessary single candle. Lighting the numerous wall-torches would reveal that the room is much bigger than it first appears. The cobwebs do not seem so plentiful. The chamber is actually a great hall, ancient and beautiful, built ages ago by men who are far older and wiser than we will ever be. Along the walls are strong, intricately carved, oak doors. Behind those doors lie greater halls, some containing magnificent feasts, others hiding vast treasures guarded by goblins and giant spiders (dragons being remarkably rare in our sheltered society). A few of the highest chambers hold captive damsels in distress, which are, sadly, even rarer than dragons. A grand adventure, full of learning, songs, and peril, lies behind any of the doors, which, by the foolish student’s own wish are obscured in darkness. Besides the fact that he wants no part in any adventure that does not involve an electronic screen, he has also bought into the modern version of classical education, complete with a bust of a dead, white, upper-class, European male. The only thing making that pitiable student’s education dull is his own lack of imagination. Adventure and glory can be found in the most insignificant corners of the classroom for those willing to look about and put in some effort of his own. For those willing to step into an available suit of chain mail and set off to explore the remote regions of the tower, torch and sword in hand, there are thrilling and exciting deeds to be done. The students who look for excitement will find it.

Veritas is rather like the preliminary adventure in the long journey of life, where travelers learn to use their weapons and their wits. The skills learned in that first journey to the top of the tower will prove vital in the more dangerous, more exciting quest that begins with graduation. We have pushed open that last, particularly heavy trapdoor, while fighting off the various nasty goblins of laziness, stupidity, sickness, and anxiety. It is difficult, but exhilarating. We have all seven of us come out on the topmost course of the great tower victorious, and the stronger for the battle. Before us lies great fields, mountains, forests, and rivers waiting to be explored and conquered as well. The time has come for us to continue on our journey. My classmates and I have reached that highest level of the tower, and as we have no higher to go, it is only natural that we would move on to bigger and better things. However, I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil. But remember that we cannot stay; it is our quest to go out and wage war on the world. This is what we have been trained to do. The training is done; the real adventure begins now. In the words of J. R. R. Tolkien:

The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began
Now far ahead the road has gone
And I must follow if I can

Pursuing it with weary feet
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And whither then I cannot say

(copywrite Nolan Lynch, 2005)