Monday, February 10, 2014

Psalm 100

Multitasking thwarts the habit of attention. You can read what it does to health, IQ, learning, and productivity here.

There I was. Friday night. Doing a very tedious task. Making a 137 graphs for a video explaining how to curve stitch a heart on a paper sloyd picture frame. To break up the monotony, I popped on the head phones and "listened" to a John Piper sermon on education. I should say half-listened. To be honest, it didn't make much sense because only a sliver of my mind was paying attention.

One sentence drove me to dig deeper when I had more time the next day. "For . . ." A whole philosophy of education hangs on this word. How could an entire philosophy of education hang on one word? I replayed the sermon on my Nook while falling asleep. It still didn't make sense.

The next day, I put my full attention to work. I copied Psalm 100 into my notebook (thanks for the inspiration, Laurie).
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord himself is God; it is he who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his lovingkindness is everlasting and his faithfulness to all generations.
I pondered Charlotte Mason's twenty principles in light of "the old one hundred." I wrote in my notebook. I listened to the sermon, and it made much more sense. A whole philosophy of education rests on for because knowing God is the aim of true education. Both Piper and Mason believe in an education rooted in God. He wrote, "God-centered Exultation is rooted in God-centered Education." She wrote, "The knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and the chief end of education."

When I turned to the chapter to study for the blog carnival, and joy swept over me as I read this line: "We realise ourselves as persons, we have a local habitation, and we live and move and have our being in and under a supreme authority."

It fits so beautifully with these verses from Psalm 100.
Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Piper put it like this, "We need to know three things: 1) The Lord is our God. 2) He made us. 3) We are his people, like sheep in the pastures of a shepherd."

Mason's three ultimate facts –– not open to question are, "God is, Self is, the World is, with all that these existences imply, quite untouched by any thinking of ours, unprovable, and self-proven –– why, we are at once put into a more humble attitude of mind."

God has lovingly placed us in a pasture to feed on great intellectual and spiritual ideas and to be active in our exploration. As my pastor pointed out in his sermon yesterday, the pasture has some boundaries, and, within those boundaries, we can play freely. He has given us the Good Shepherd to guide us, protect us, and lead us to living water and rest. He has given us the Whispering Spirit to offer us knowlege of "witty inventions, of man and nature, of art and literature, of the heavens above and the earth beneath," to help us discover, and to share great ideas.

A more humble attitude of mind avoids a great fallacy. Our natural tendency amplifies Self and World and puts God to a small corner in the pasture. We forget that the source of great ideas whether they be scientific, literary, poetic, or artistic is God, who sends the Whispering Spirit in the name of the Good Shepherd to "teach you all things" (John 14:26).

Humility takes me back to the word upon which a whole philosophy of education rests. The last verse of Psalm 100 explains it well. "For the Lord is good; his lovingkindness is everlasting and his faithfulness to all generations. The Creator of Self and World, our authority, is good, is always loving and kind, and is faithful to us all." Knowing these three attributes of God is the point of education.

When we follow the Good Shepherd to the still waters and pay attention to the Whispering Spirit, then we can know something new about God. New to us, not to the Father, of course. That's when we see the glory of God and He fills us with joy.
"Child, know thyself, and thy relations to God and man and nature." ~ Charlotte Mason

"He desired not to assist in storing the passive mind with the various sorts of knowledge most in request, as if the human soul were a mere repository or banqueting room, but to place it in such relations of circumstance as should gradually excite its vegetating and germinating powers to produce new fruits of thought, new conceptions and imaginations and ideas." ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge on Plato's aim (page 24)

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