One perfect person? The legitimate aim of education?
Aren’t there many different kinds of person?
And doesn’t each person have something special and unique about them?
Like snowflakes, in spite of their amazing similarity, are all supposed to be different from each other.
Why try to press everyone into the mould of one perfect person?
Isn’t that oppressive?
Can wisdom serve as the aim of education?
I’m back on the wisdom groove again, topic of past two posts.
Yes, wisdom understood in some definite way. Not generic.
What if: we accepted “Christ” as the embodiment of true wisdom…
You see where I’m going before I say it.
If we say that the Christ of the New Testament is wisdom for believers, as he is foolishness to unbelievers (NT, 1 Corinthians 1 & 2) then this wisdom is a person.
We all have people we looked up to.
When you were a child, you wanted to be like Dad or Mom or Teacher or Coach or the Singer, or somebody special.
Imagine this: you had only one wish from the genie, and it could be anything about your character.
Probably somebody is still down there, a living memory within you, who embodies kindness, care, strength, character, wise speech, wise-acre speech, who you might like to be like.
Somebody who has it absolutely down, what it is to be human.
What if there were a person perfect in every character dimension?
The Christian character ideal of course puts Christians into that one-size-fits-all straitjacket.
Except: to be able to love, to care, not to be disloyal, etcetera, is actually an expression of true freedom.
Not a straitjacket. A release of human potentials.
Our inability by ourselves to be those powerful, important things drives us crazy and makes us depressed.
I don’t love consistently. I love myself and care for myself quite a lot, and sometimes I love other people too. But I can hardly imagine a life more for others than for myself.
Mother Teresa boggles my mind. What she gave up. What she was able to give.
Myself, I can’t consistently speak care-fully and lovingly.
Oh, not to lapse into care-lessness, arrogance, pride, sexual sins like lust, greed!
Too much to hope?
Yes, humanly speaking.
If (grant it for me, OK) if Christ is the Christian’s wisdom, then:
You want to be conformed to the image of his Son.
We are created beings, according to the first chapter of the first book of the collection of books (the canon).
Humanity was created in the image of the one true God.
So what is image-ness?
It is *at least* moral perfection.
God saw what he had created, and it was good.
It is lordship, too: God said, Fill the earth and subdue it.
(Probably the only commandment we are well on the way to twistedly fulfill.)
So we image-bearers are vice-gerents — sub-managers – stewards of the earth.
Lordship is controversial, because the ecological movement from Lynn White onward has avowed that it is exactly the arrogant imperative “fill and subdue” that has raped the Earth.
It could have been a garden, and now it is on the way to being a strip mine.
The image of God in humanity is defaced. The defacement leads to misuse of the patrimony. “Resources” is too clinical, too utilitarian, too Francis-Bacon-put-nature-on-the-rack. Patrimony. Deposit. Defaced.
Point: we struggle with life because we live with deformed desires.
The deformed desires are inherited from the first human pair onward.
What is abnormal we take for normal.
What is now abnormal, must be restored.
In this light, Christianity is a humanity restoration project, a project for renewed desires, renewed capacities, renewed freedom.
Christian education, that apparently delimited effort by some within the church to promote the full potential of the body, must reckon with wisdom embodied both individually and socially.
That restoration must be shown to be possible in a society that anticipates the greater restoration still on the horizon of time.
Wisdom is a church development thing.
Must Read: Richard Middleton has a book on creation which goes beyond the standard account and talks about the human vocation of culture formation. Creation’s potentials are buried within creation, waiting to be unfolded. Not sure if he has the antithesis between unfolded for human glory/unfolded for God’s glory nailed down, but I’m waiting to see. Of relevance to direction of educational efforts. Avoiding pessimism. Building a hopefully transformed future. (Middleton is the other half of Walsh and Middleton, authors of a much-used college worldview textbook, The Transforming Vision.)