“The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children." G K Chesterton

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

John Hodges Pillar I

The Contemplation of Nature complete set is available in the CiRCE store.

For some reason I always underestimate John Hodges. This year I heard him during Pillar 1 Reflections on the Definition of Classical Education and Workshop 11 The Nature of the Arts and their Place in the Curriculum. Both were excellent. Apparently all the workshops held Friday at 1:30 were excellent and I hope that I can buy James Daniels The Incarnation of Christ and Its Implications for Teaching as by all reports it was life changing.

"John Hodges is a conductor, composer, and lecturer, Formerly working as the director of music at 2nd Presbyterian Church in Memphis. His new project is The Center for Western Studies, a college-level 'gap' year program for students and adults."

This man is not a stuffed-shirt but rather a delight-filled lover of what he teaches. My notes don't even come close to communicating his passion for these things.

In his reflections on classical education he makes the point that education is not just To Know something but rather To Love something. Education is the shaping of the sensibilities (Ordo Amoris). Truth, beauty and goodness cannot be separated. That is a pretty cool idea, no?

He made the point that the world used to be called the creation but now we refer to it as nature. This leads to the philosophy of naturalism, or that nature is all. Here he said something else wonderful. Christianity is not an ISM.

May I digress. This made me think about Baptism, which is an ISM and rightly so. Was ever a doctrine so divisive as Baptism? One of my parenting regrets is that some of my children have been baptized twice in order to please men.

Now back to naturalism. We cannot take dominion (or correct nature) by eliminating the super-natural. We cannot answer the question WHY without the super-natural. Thinking itself is a miracle (Lewis). Semantics matter which is why we have the LOGOS.

Therefore naturalism kills education.


  1. I love the way having my background in order makes every task more doable. Kind of like having sharp knives in the kitchen, makes the task of chopping easier and more safe.

    Boiling things down to bare bones as you have been is essential. Also, knowing where you want to go (with children or anything) is equally important, as in expectations.

    Again, you know all this and expound on the topic so well.

    Educate.... derives from the Latin *duco ducare ducatum* the verb to lead and *ex* the preposition out of, away from.

    Thanks for be a good leader.

  2. John Hodges gave a really good lecture on music at the Christian Worldview Student Conference in 2000 or 2001. He used the music from the Les Miserables opera to explain how a composer uses musical themes to tell the story. I don't remember much about the lecture, but based on it I bought the CD set of the original cast's performance, and I love that music.

    So that's the kind of teacher he is -- you come away from his lecture loving what he loves.

  3. And as creation has become nature, so the heavens have become outer space.

  4. "education is not just To Know something but rather To Love something."

    Oh, I LOVE that! I've ordered the CD's and look forward to hearing that one. I always love his talks on music.

    BTW, Cindy, in my planning this week, I've been scheduling test weeks like the one you posted. We'll see how it goes.

    Thanks for your blog. You always make me think about the "whys" of what I'm doing, not just the "whats" and "hows."

    Joy (VA)