Christian philosopher James Smith has suggested that education, and specifically Christian education, is not first and foremost about what we know, but more importantly about what we love. If he is correct, we are about the formation of hearts and desires, and that education not only “gets into our heads, but also (and more fundamentally) grabs us by the gut – what the New Testament refers to as kardia, ‘the heart’.” If this is true, then education should help shape our hopes and passions – our vision of ‘the good life’ – and not merely about the transference of data. He suggests that this means it is about transforming our imagination rather than the saturation of our intellect.
Christian education would involve shaping us (students, teachers and parents), forming us, moulding us, to be a people whose hearts and passions and desires are aimed at the Kingdom of God.
This is a picture of education that encourages us to see that this picture is closely related to Christian worship, and that all aspects of educational practice are important because everything impacts on the development of our heart direction and passion. Shopping mall owners know this only too well. They pay very careful attention to every aspect of the ‘shopping experience’, from the entry foyer to the background music and the fittings in the shops. Each plays a part in shaping and inviting the visitor into its own vision of ‘the good life’, inviting them to visit again and to share in the common vision.
Christian schools (and churches?) could perhaps learn from these other cultural gathering places, not to mimic, but to understand what they understand well; that every aspect of schooling helps shape the vision and passion of those who enter.
As Covenant College seeks to be a place that helps shape the hearts and desires of those in our community, I hope that we are careful in looking at every aspect of our practice knowing that each one can help or hinder this process.
I would encourage you to continue to pray for our school.
Mrs Sue Cox