“ If we lose the ability to imagine how words are like seeds, we risk presuming that language cannot serve any purpose greater than our own. If we cannot imagine how human words can communicate self-giving life, then we lose the ability to imagine how Christian faith is possible.”
The verbal arts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric are often referred to as tools of learning. But this analogy between words and tools too often relies on the common assumption that the verbal arts are merely neutral tools. Even reimagining the verbal arts as purposive tools that serve a good beyond themselves takes us only so far. We need an alternative analogy to stand against the cultural forces of consumption and production that often shape educational purposes in the age of global information technology. Thus, rather than tools, words are like seeds whose purpose is life-giving.
The Lost Seeds of Learning invites readers to consider how our understanding of the learners, the teachers, the content, the forms, and the purposes of the verbal arts becomes transformed in light of Christian faith. Recovering the vision of how grammar, logic, and rhetoric can be like seeds and not merely neutral tools helps us remember why these arts are crucial to Christian formation. These arts have an intrinsic purpose not of human choosing and a particular purpose to communicate new life. Such life communicated is a divine gift and the form of such communication can be self-giving. Such verbal giving and receiving is a living knowledge that relies on the testimony of particular persons over time. By imagining words as seeds, Christian educators can cultivate attention, patience, and responsible action rather than distraction, impatience, and paralysis.
Dimensions: 6in x 9in
Phil Donnelly PhD, Author