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Affirming Truth

Introduction

A boy at the age of eight discovers a bundle of money lying on the floor while his mother pays for the food at the counter.  Does he take the money, or does he turn it in to the grocery clerk?

Truth has the ability to fuse thought and action.  Like wisdom, it stands watch inviting our submission and conformity to its defined course.  Assured passage requires our willful decision to submit and affirm truth.

But whoa, whoa, whoa – the modern immediately pulls back and recalls Pilate’s question with no regard to Pilate’s intention.

What is truth?

The modern’s intention is not to question the substance of truth, but to question the existence or even nature of truth.

“What kind of truth and whose truth are you prescribing?” they ask.

As this unwillingness to affirm truth expands the modern retracts by shaping new models of truth fashioned for the individual.  Those willing to preserve an externally prescribed truth that equally applies to all persons understand that they serve truth, truth does not serve them.

TGSM upholds the historical credo rooted in the humanist heritage of the classical era and the religious heritage of the Judeo-Christian faith that seeks to affirm truth.  TGSM also strives to pass along this credo to each of its students.

Heritage

From the beginning mankind has sought to unfold the order of nature as the definitive pattern from which to construct first a society and secondly the human person.  Ancient societies preceding the Greek and Roman civilizations projected mythical stories that disclosed the order of the cosmos.  These stories established the authoritative pattern that a populus strived to copy in the constitution of a true and just society.  The city became a miniature copy of the cosmic order of the universe, and was appropriately venerated as a “cosmic center.”

In these ancient societies the king and the priest protected and preserved the divine order of the universe through the administration of a sound society.  It was the classical cultures of Greece and Rome that dedicated their attention to realizing the cosmic order within the human person.  A true man or woman embodied the cosmic order within his or her self.

The beliefs of ancient civilization reveal that mankind understood the existence of order as an inherent quality of the natural or created universe, and that they were to copy this order as a pattern for a just society and for human beingness.

The Greeks had a term for the single unifying principle that held all things together – they called it the logos.  For the Greeks, the logos represented an idea, a principle.  Roughly five hundred years later a small selected band of Jewish commoners came to behold the logos in human flesh.  When John began his gospel with the words, “In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God…and the logos became flesh and dwelt among us” he made a profound statement bearing the weight of the heavens.  From within the tradition of the Jewish faith Christianity proclaimed the message of “Christ in you.”  This message complemented the Hebrew tradition of the temple and the tabernacle before it, receding all the way back to the pattern of creation unveiled in the opening chapters of Genesis.  The apostle Paul even goes on to rhetorically ask in 1 Corinthians 6 “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?”

The temple portrayed a physical blueprint that mirrored the divine pattern of the created universe.   It stood as a symbol of Jewish identity and marked the parameters of Jewish society so that the shape of the human soul reflected the form of an ordered society interchangeably woven together through the functional and structural design of the temple.  Biblically, the true human person incorporated the order of nature in accordance to the design of the creator.

TGSM

As a Christian classical school TGSM preserves this heritage, this long tradition of commitment to the order of nature, to the nature of truth.

In a world that increasingly forsakes the permanent for the evanescent visage of progress TGSM boldly stands and yet humbly affirms the enduring presence of truth.  The modern notions of progress are elusive because they bear the weightless nature of an illusion.  Only truth fixed and anchored in eternity can turn a girl into a woman, a boy into a man.  And here lies the essence of our educational quest.

What kind of student emerges from TGSM at the end of his or her educational journey?  Four such students stand here this evening.  But in order for you to rightly see who these students are I must first disclose to you what you missed in the classroom.

Students

You missed the occasional rabbit trail that I somehow led our class on from time to time discussing the meaning of history and grammar, to the publication of bible translations, to the comic irony of the musician at my subway stop with anti-Bush stickers all over his guitar case who carelessly tosses his trash onto the subway platform, to the proper relationship that ought to exist between humans and animals among a few other things.

You missed the stories about guns, cows, cars, and kids.  What happened when I was quick drawing a 22 revolver in front of the bedroom mirror after watching John Wayne’s Rio Grande; or, how I got out of having to lacerate a large infected tumor on the hip of a cow that you could smell twenty yards off; or, why I drove my dad’s car off of a cliff at the age of 12 somewhere in the Mojave Desert north of Tehachapi; or, what happened when I could not get Trinity home fast enough when she had to go potty five blocks from our apartment.

You missed the bible discussions on theophanies from Genesis 3 to Exodus 19, and from the book of Isaiah through Ezekiel to Acts 2 and Revelation 21.  Discussions that disclosed what God looks and sounds like.  Does God speak in a “still small voice?” or stroll in a garden in the “cool of the day?”

You missed the two year long debate I, Christina, Annabelle, and Kate have had with Peter on the nature of Man.  How Annabelle and Kate know exactly how to get Peter all fired up on this issue.  How Ms. Dietrich started a conversation one day on this issue in her office and Christina responded off to side with, “Oh no.”

You missed Pilkey.  That’s right.  You guys seriously did not think that I would forget to mention Pilkey, did you?  How the 8 survivors of the flood repopulated the earth and built the nations – all the nations.  How the four women were the carriers of all the races and not the men.  And with what really took place at Babel and what was the one language spoken there.

You missed the rally to arms when King Henry V shouted,

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

Or close the wall up with our English dead!

… On, on, you noblest English!

Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof;

Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,

Have in these parts from mourn till even fought,

And sheath’d their swords for lack of argument.

Dishonor not your mothers; now attest

That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.

Be copy now to men of grosser blood,

And teach them how to war.

and how we all look up to see Peter practically standing on the table exclaiming, “Yes!”  But let us not speak of Shakespeare.  Though, I do request of you “gently to hear, kindly to judge” understanding that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

You missed the PigFests where these four students addressed issues of theology and politics over two incredibly hosted meals.  And when Peter stated that, “Mr. Holler, your implications would fill novels.”  Honestly, I do not know what he meant by that.

Lastly, you missed how four students, along with a couple of 7th graders, unexpectedly went out and purchased on my birthday a new ESV translation of the bible to replace my copy that disappeared from the classroom.

Conclusion

Each one of these students possesses the qualities of conviction, humility, boldness, and passion necessary to affirm truth, but additionally each of these students uniquely possesses one of theses qualities that properly suits their personal relation to truth.

Peter Murphy acts and thinks from a profoundly strong conviction of truth.  Any conversation of value with Peter makes it evident that his first principle is the solid foundation of a tradition grounded in the Christian faith.  I am continually impressed with the natural ease with which he communicates, and with observing the workings of a mind and soul ordered in accordance to the truth.

Annabelle Popa emulates a reserved, quiet, and servile humility to truth.  Before Annabelle can see in her mind she must first feel, touch, and handle the subjects of our learning.  She keeps us grounded and fixed upon the real.  Annabelle respectfully attends to the concrete forms truth takes and handles them with a skill deeply enriched by the imagination.

Christina Hong fully applies her mind and soul to truth with an uncompromising boldness.  Christina possesses a keen eye for order that she humbly accepts and intensely works to preserve through every act to which she commits.  I have watched with both great joy and a little jealousy the amount of energy and faithfulness that Christina devotes to every task.

Kate Sanchez in a very mature and hospitable way leads with a passion molded by truth.  The reflective person knows that Kate’s reassuring presence portrays a heart that cares about and honors her Lord, other people, and the world around her.  Kate’s respect for authority and confidence in her abilities makes her an effective leader.

Parents, faculty, and friends, now you see the four well formed students who stand before you.  They will leave TGSM entrusted with a tradition equipping them with the tools and character that fully enables them to partake in the good.

Kate, Annabelle, Peter, and Christina, you are now stewards of the education TGSM has given to you.  The responsibility you bear is great, the decisions you’ll make are eternal.

That eight year old boy walked over, picked the money up and handed it to the grocery clerk.  Later that evening he received a call from the man to whom the $500 belonged.  The man was a merchant who traveled selling birds at local flee markets and offered the boy a free bird and cage as a token of his appreciation.  I got two parakeets, a blue male and a yellow female, out of that deal.  I named them Rocky and Sally.

God speed.

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