Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I spent the evening with others who love, enjoy, and respect the works and life of C. S. Lewis. The president of the C.S. Lewis Foundation, Dr. Stanley Mattson, was our guest, and as he spoke, and when he played a video of this coming summer's Oxbridge Summer Institute, I teared up.

I am an educator for many reasons, and one of them is my love of and belief in the power and beauty of words and ideas. Now, the culture we inhabit is one that is dominated by the body--its primal needs and desires, and advertisers capitalize on these themes to possess the minds, tastes, time and money of my students (of us all, really). Part of my classroom mission is to open kids' eyes to ideas beyond their 13 year old persons, and to open their hearts and minds to the great things inside themselves and in the world.

Confession: I've recently admitted to myself that I'm an intellectual. Sounds snooty (mainstream American culture regards intellectuals with suspicion at best and derision at worst), but I looked it up, and yep, I care about ideas and stuff. You can only imagine what that video dangled in front of me: a chance to hang out with other nerds who care about ideas and words and learning and love and truth.

This is from the website--just a teensy bit shortened:

"...[W]e will address the question whether, and to what extent, cultural transformation is desirable or possible. Then, more specifically, in mathematics and the natural sciences, we will explore the implications of contemporary physics and quantum theory for the Christian message of hope and meaning.

In literature, philosophy, history, and theology, we will examine the origins and significance of the crisis of vision in order to engage the mainstream culture from an understanding characterized by genuine sympathy and integrity.

Our leaders from the social and behavioral sciences and cultural studies will consider the roots of chaos and dysfunction in our families, cities, and culture, and will explore paradigms based on Christian themes that hold hope for the transformation of lives and culture.

Our colleagues in theatre, dance, music, visual art, and film will lead us in understanding the dimensions of the crisis of the loss of vision, and they will also help us palpably sense the power of transforming vision.

Finally, in worship throughout the Summer Institute, as well as through active prayer, we will own the crisis in our own lives that leads us to Christ, and celebrate the hope that springs from both acknowledging and appealing to the transcendent source of all goodness and beauty."

Oh, yes, I'm going. I am going to be around literate, thoughtful, dynamic, joyful, creative people from all over the world, from all Christian traditions, and I want to come back transformed and equipped and ready. I can't wait to meet more kindred spirits--I already met one this evening, dear Stanley Mattson.

I didn't know I was so thirsty until tonight.

No comments:

Post a Comment