Monday Musings (November 6, 2017): Is Education about the Individual?

Monday Musings“What is needed today is a better understanding of the person not just as an individual but as someone who finds his or her true being in communion with God and with others” ~James Torrance, Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace, 38

james torranceTorrance’s quote is one I reflect upon often. As a strong advocate for the local church and God’s design for Christian community, fellowship, and family for the glory of God and the advancement of the kingdom, I am regularly challenging anyone who will listen to repudiate the oft-spoken heresy that Christianity is just about me and God. One of the important recoveries in the Reformation is that each individual person is accountable to God, but one of the most serious repercussions has been how this belief has morphed into the idea that Christianity is about the individual person. The theological debate, although I enjoy having it, is not the central point of this short reflection. Rather, I want to raise the questions as to whether, unwittingly or not, our educational systems have fostered this individualistic mentality.

I am exploring this year the notion that classical Christian education, if it is to be ultimately successful and/or flourish in coming generations, must cast off what I view as a secular-minded A-F grading system.[1] If, as I and other classical Christian educators have argued, classical Christian education is about the cultivation of wisdom, virtue, and a heart and life directed to the glory of God in addition to a rigorous liberal arts education, then why do we create learning outcomes that are decidedly and, almost exclusively, individualistic. If we are training students to find their true being in communion with God and others, why is their education in some way separated from that endeavor?

This is a topic I hope to explore more, so these are merely some introductory thoughts. I would love your feedback.

[1]Here are links to two pieces I have written on this topic: “Sabermetrics and Grades” and “Repairing the Ruins of Grades.”

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