Posted in Education, tradition on June 7, 2009 |
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I was both surprised and delighted recently when Shari told me that she would like to start giving the kids a classical education next year. Shari has a master’s degree in education and has been homeschooling our kids for the last year (yes, in a camper for the last couple months).
I had read about traditional education in some of the books I had read in the not too distant past (“How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” for one). It had interested me, but I had not realized that such a classical education was feasible today or that Shari would even consider such a thing. It turns out that there is a movement attempting to resurrect the classical methods. These methods include the study of Latin, grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric as core subject areas.
What astounds me is that while I started this blog to talk about food traditions, it has expanded to include much more. It seems that this culture has consistently sought to strip the nourishing elements not just from our diet, but from every part of our lives. This tendency comes from a lack of humility and a complete disrespect for the giants upon whose shoulders we stand.
The path that began as a search for a healthy diet has turned into a life’s journey for me. As I began to understand tradition more and more it began to seep into other parts of my life. It moved me to study my Christain faith and depart protestantism for the rich and nourishing tradition of Catholicism and Orthodoxy. It is now moving my family to leave behind the broken system of education we have today in favor the traditions of our past.
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Posted in faith, tradition on February 6, 2008 |
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I’m not Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, or Orthodox. I have never observed Lent in my life and had to look it up to find out what it was. In my quest to understand traditional Christianity better, I have decided to observe Lent this year.
According to Wikipedia:
Converts to Christianity followed a strict catechumenate or period of instruction and discipline. In Jerusalem near the close of the fourth century, classes were held throughout Lent for three hours each day. With the legalization of Christianity (by the Edict of Milan) and its later imposition as the state religion of the Roman Empire, its character was endangered by the great influx of new members. In response, the Lenten fast and practices of self-renunciation were required annually of all Christians. The less zealous of the converts were thus brought more securely into the Christian fold.
This seems to have been a very wise thing to do – especially in an evangelical church in which there is a constant influx of new members. In fact, it seems like a great idea even today. One role of tradition is to bring stability. Another is to pass wisdom from one generation to the next. The practice of Lent if followed as described would serve to do those things.
Traditionally Lent is a period when you give up something. One of the vices I most enjoy is a glass of wine or a beer in the evening. I’m giving this up for Lent. I’ll also try to make a point of doing some study and prayer every day.
I also observed fat Tuesday by eating a couple Paczki. (sheepish grin…)
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Posted in foodosophy, tradition on December 6, 2007 |
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While this is a blog mostly about food, it is also a blog about tradition. While traditional foods and preparation methods are important to me, traditions unrelated to food are also very important to me.
Weston A. Price’s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration first demonstrated to me that many traditional diets (though not necessarily all) promote extreme health. Modern trends in heart disease, obesity, cancer, and other diseases demonstrated to me that the modern American diet has serious flaws. Though not the first sign to me that wanton disregard for tradition can create problems, it was one of the most important.
I recently read “The Lessons of History” by Will Durant (which I highly recommend). Will Durant spent the majority of his life studying history and wrote a multi-volume set of history books that are approachable by armchair historians like myself. “The Lessons of History” is a unique book in that Mr. Durant condenses the lessons he learned from history into a single, concise volume. One of the overarching themes of this book is that civilizations come and go and they follow a predictable cycle from rise through collapse.
For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology, which change with geological leisureliness. Priestly control of arts and letters is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier, and intellectual history takes on the character of a “conflict between science and religion” Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control and become secular, perhaps profane. The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and — after some hesitation — the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike, to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end, a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death.
The problem is that at the hight of a civilization, the “intellectuals” feel wise enough to judge and discard the traditions that formed their very civilization. As Will himself once observed, “What is wisdom? I feel like a droplet of spray which proudly poised for a moment on the crest of a wave, undertakes to analyze the sea.”
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