A Rhetoric of Love Volume 2 is a great book. This is a Ted talk by the author, Michael A. Collender. This is worth your time to watch.
If you are like my family and am homeschooling your kids this question will come up. Some parents have told me that they believe fiction has many non-christian elements and themes that could lead their little angel astray. Other parents are more practical and just believe it is a waste of time and non-fiction is a better use of the limited educational time available.
Let’s explore the issue of truth and fiction first. We all want our children to know and love God’s truth, the gospel. Is it true to say that the truth is not found in fiction? I don’t believe so. If we look in the Bible we see fiction used to make the truth better understood and more real to the reader. The Bible has characters like the potter, the sower, the shepherd, and the prodigal son, that could all be called fiction. Other fictional elements like the sheep, bread, seeds, and the Word. We see stories and parables throughout scripture.
Why would God use fiction in the Bible?
The truth is easier to know and understand using an existing relationship with characters and elements such as the ones used in the Bible stories and parables. There is another reason to use fiction…emotion and impact. Fiction can move someone when knowledge sometimes falls short. An example of this is the story(fiction) Nathen, the old testament prophet, uses to convict the heart of king David. David had stolen Uriah’s wife and has Uriah killed when God sends Nathen to him. Nathan could have just confronted David with the facts but God lead Nathen to use a story(fiction) to “kindle David’s anger” before revealing David’s sin. Imagine the impact of that fiction over the facts, David is crushed by his sin. Fiction can move us in an emotional way that just facts or knowledge can’t.
Is fiction a waste of time?
Fiction exercises our imagination, our ability to see what could be. I want to be Christlike, it takes imagination to see myself acting Christlike. I see myself using imagination to see myself reacting well to difficult situations and confrontation. You get the idea, we are called to be something we have not yet become and fiction helps me see in a more real way the person Christ wants me to be. I believe fiction doesn’t have to be a waste of time.
We should be discerning in what fiction we read or allow our children to read but I don’t think we should avoid fiction.
I am very proud of my kids. All the credit goes to my wife, Stacey.
This is a photo of 4 of our 5 kids.
Our kids have been educated “Classically”. If you are not familiar with the classical education method here is a very short (not exhaustive) explanation.
There are 3 parts of Classical Education (Again, not-exhaustive)
Grammar – This is when we learn facts and terms etc. Think of this as getting to know the names of things. It is hard to get on the same page and communicate if you don’t know what to call the items we want to communicate about.
Dialectic – This is a fancy word for logic or reasoning. This is when we learn how things work together with one another. How elements we learned in the grammar phase interact and work with each other.
Rhetoric – This is where we learn how to express ourselves. We know the name of things (Grammar), we know how they work together (Dialectic), now it is time to have an opinion and be able to communicate what we know or feel about the subject. This is about being articulate and persuasive.
DONE! whew! Now that we have that out of the way.
What do we really want?
I think we should start with the end in mind. What does that look like?
Christian, gracious, smart, discerning, understanding, successful, fun, happy, hardworking, healthy, and wise. Ok, you get the idea.
I love Classical education but while I can make a great case for classical education it by itself won’t get my kids to the end result I really want.
The missing piece is…..
Yep, the Bible, Jesus, God is the key to what I really want and it works in concert with classical education.
Grammar – Knowledge – relationship with Christ (get to know Him)
Dialectic – Understanding – wrestling with what scripture (interpretation and application)
Rhetoric – Wisdom – Good judgment (sound application of knowledge and understanding.
Yes, this is what I really want not only for my kids but for myself.
My wife and daughters were out shopping and found this Santa that they couldn’t resist getting. I don’t know what they were thinking.
We have been looking at colleges and it is amazing what is available and the amount of money is going to these colleges. We went to Asheville to look around at Montreat College. It is beautifully nestled in the mountains and the facility was incredible. The littles and I enjoyed walking around and taking in all the sites.
Author of my own story, that is.
I look forward and see decisions to make and paths to take or not take. It is so overwhelming sometimes. Then I look back at my life and I see the decisions made and paths taken and realize God is in control of the story, not me. Now that I am older I look at my life and discover that my whole life is about identity. I am at war with God about who I am.
I am not trying to wax philosophic. God says I am His and I believe it but the part about being a priest or saint…well let just say that is a stretch. I get it intellectually but making those assertions is fiction at best for me and my life. I struggle with doing what I know is right or righteous. Just writing that word makes me cringe. Galatians says to walk in the spirit. If I am being honest I don’t ride in the same bus as the Spirit. I know who I am in Christ but my own selfish desire and self-deceit keep me loving my shiny favorite sins.
The worst part is the damage it does to those around me. The best selling lie satan ever sold is “it only effects you”. This is never true. Even if it seems isolated to you alone it isn’t. The sin affects…yep, your identity, who you are and the things you want. This identity shifting affects everyone you contact.
Then here comes the real author. Before the foundation of the earth, God wrote my story (and yours). I understand this and can rest in it but I also am afraid of (or even hostile to) it. After all, I want what I want and maybe I don’t want to go do missions work but rather sleep or watch TV. My identity is so jacked up that I forget the big picture and forget who is the one really in charge.
I am praying for heart change. My heart is bent on my way and my sin is marring my identity. I need an identity crisis. God, please do a work in me.
We Purchased a house. It needs work, lots of work. We are excited to get started and unveil the secrets that lie in wait for us to discover. It was built in 1925 and is a Craftsman Bungalow.
That is Levi picking up sticks in the photo.