Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some initial thoughts on the 2012 CiRCE conference

because I can’t go back to reading Ideas Have Consequences as long as I’m full of this conference – I’m afraid it’ll make my head explode

“The world that God made is best known through harmony.” ~John Hodges

In the first session, “A Contemplation of Creation, Part I,” Andrew Kern talked about creation, metaphor, and analogy. He said that the Law of God, the Torah, should not be thought of as a legal code, but as the wisdom of God. Notice that it begins with the story of his creation, and of his care for his people. Torah teaches us of his creation, his craftsmanship, his artistry. The core principle is harmony, unity in diversity.

All of the creation myths in the world embody the Myth of Violence. Think about the Greek story of Chaos and the Titans and the gods. Think of the modern myth of the Big Bang. Only the Biblical account does not begin in violence – a Triune God, at unity within the Godhead, creating out of his love and peace. The world we live in today is very angry at us because only we have the Myth of Peace. Referencing Elizabeth’s Theokritoff’s book Living in God's Creation he said that we are the bond of unity in creation – we are to unite the disparate aspects of the created order and bring them into unity with God.

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John Hodges gave his lecture, “Music and Metaphor: Towards a Sacramental View of Creation,” right after Andrew Kern, and he swore that they hadn’t been comparing notes. The quote at the top is from his lecture, which was all about harmony.

He said that Christ used metaphors to teach about himself – “I am the vine,” “I am the door” – but the metaphor works the other way too. Since Christ was there first, and since creation reflects the creator, the reason we even have vines in the first place is because they are like God in some way.

Other insights from John Hodges:

Metaphor is taking two disparate things and bringing them into harmony

Art is embodying something that is not able to be perceived except through that medium

Our Triune God is invisible; Trinity cannot be imaged logically

Perception of beauty = the ability to see harmony

Our ability to perceive beauty (and beauty itself) is fallen – we have broken perception; therefore we must help our students hone their ability to see harmony, we must teach them what to listen for in music, what to look for in the arts, show them what it is about a great work that makes it worth loving

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I was impressed (again) with the importance of having a harmonious household – that our relations with each other should be harmonious is the obvious application, but our relationship with our things and the things’ relationship with each other also should be in harmony. Making the home a harmonious environment is foundational to teaching our children what harmony is, and teaching them to love it.

And of course, the reason I keep harping on this is because I need to hear it myself. OFTEN.


  1. Wow- that sounds like a great conference so far! It seems like the sort of thing Alexander and I would go for.

    1. It's going to be in Manassas next year -- y'all come!

      They have free audio files from past conferences online here -- the selection rotates. Be sure to listen to the one at the bottom of the list before it drops off, "Andrew Pudewa – Teaching Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather Be Playing in Forts." It's one of my favorites.

    2. Oh, cool! Thanks! :)

    3. Um, and I just google-mapped Manassas... looks like it's not too far from a certain family... Well. We'll have to see what next year brings!


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