Aside from secularism, nominalism is the villain most commonly blamed by Christians for all that is wrong with the world. What is nominalism? The lukewarm Christian is nominal. The mediocre Christian is nominal. The nominal Christian is the Christian who doesn’t really get it. The Christian who is in it only for show. But how we do we determine who the nominal Christian is? Have we used a definition of nominalism that is overly convenient? The spiritual boredom and malaise resulting from blaming everyone but yourself for the problems with the Church can be combatted with the sublime joy of others, especially the joy of little children. How can we open ourselves up to this joy? In this lecture, Joshua Gibbs looks at St. Anselm’s dictum that God is “whatever it is better to be than not to be” and discusses ways in which teachers can become divine.
What if you did not have to require students to memorize anything? What if you did not have to test students on memorized material? What if your students memorized massive amounts of information anyway, and they memorized it in such a way that they retained it for life? Step 1: The high school teacher (hard science or soft science, makes no difference) writes a catechism that encapsulates the most important names, dates, definitions, theories, passages, and lists that are covered over the course of the school year. Step 2: The class recites the catechism at the start of every class meeting. Result: The class begins in an orderly, ceremonial fashion every day. The students accidentally learn a massive amount of information. The teacher is freed up to ask more contemplative questions on exams. This practice has revolutionized my classroom. Come hear how a simple, yet thoroughly classical practice can help your students retain a memory of what they study and help you begin class every day in a contemplative fashion.
Joshua Gibbs is the editor of FilmFisher, a frequent contributor at the CiRCE Institute, and a teacher of great books at Veritas School in Richmond, VA. He has been labeled “insane” by two Pulitzer Prize– winning poets and once abandoned a moving vehicle for fear of his life. He married a girl he fell in love with in high school and has two daughters, both of whom have seven names.