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A Mother Shares Why She Chose Agape Christi

Dear Agape Christi,

This fall my chil­dren began their stud­ies under your tute­lage. Thank you for estab­lish­ing Agape Christi in the “old paths,” for pro­vid­ing a place for my chil­dren to be edu­cat­ed clas­si­cal­ly and Chris­tian­ly. I hope to encour­age you with our rea­sons for choos­ing Agape Christi.

My chil­dren are my let­ter. My grand­chil­dren and my great-grand­chil­dren will read them.  They are my gospel-let­ter to the world.  Choos­ing a school for them car­ries the weight of glo­ry.

Agape Christi, those who read my let­ter will also read yours. To you my hus­band and I del­e­gate a great trust. We trust you because you don’t view our chil­dren as infor­ma­tion-recep­tors or naive tar­gets for pro­pa­gan­da. You view our chil­dren as our inher­i­tance, crowned with our King’s reign. You expect them to stand in the city gate, offer­ing to for­ti­fy them on their way.  Would they arrive in the city gate ‘with the charm of words in tune­ful order.’ From their births these chil­dren have cried down ene­mies of the King (Psalm 8).  But now they speak, and words are meant to mag­ni­fy.

Like you, we believe edu­ca­tion is soul for­ma­tion. We want fat souls. Edu­cat­ing our chil­dren should result in lives echo­ing the strains of the moth­er whose soul and womb swelled with glo­ry incar­nate: “My soul will mag­ni­fy the Lord.” Her hymn and let­ter live for­ev­er. So will ours.  Togeth­er, we aim for lives arranged as a hymn, whose melody lingers in the mind of even the unbe­liev­er, that he might search, as for hid­den trea­sure, the Begin­ning of every true song.

My chil­dren are my arrows. Not every school can fash­ion them for fly­ing straight. My fam­i­ly lives in what U.S. News and World Report calls a “best” school dis­trict.  Agape Christi is not even on U.S. News’ radar! But this mat­ters not: “Wis­dom is proved right by all her chil­dren” (Luke 7). I recent­ly read about a prized grad­u­ate of the neigh­bor­hood “best” high school; he is a bud­ding sur­geon and med­ical ethi­cist. Nat­u­ral­ly, he is a sage of the gov­ern­ment school sys­tem: “Med­i­cine, a lot of it,” he claims, “is fact-based, evi­denced with empir­i­cal data.  But ethics is this sort of abstract neb­u­las where there aren’t any wrong or right answers” (empha­sis mine). This man is the off­spring of mod­ern edu­ca­tion. He is this pub­lic school’s let­ter. I’m afraid he is also our nation’s health­care future. “Ethics,” he says he’s learn­ing, “isn’t some­thing you teach.”

But we dis­agree: “The stu­dent is not above the teacher, but every­one who is ful­ly trained will be like their teacher” (Luke 6). We chose Agape Christi because you answer the eth­i­cal van­i­ty of our day with an edu­ca­tion for­ti­fy­ing eth­i­cal back­bone. Our chil­dren are arrows. Their school­ing must refine and beau­ti­fy if our pupils are to hit their mark. In the end, our chil­dren must be able to pen­e­trate the plat­ed mail of sci­en­tism, indi­vid­u­al­ism, sub­jec­tivism, and cyn­i­cism. They must be able to pierce mov­ing tar­gets, in the dark.

To this end, we chose Agape Christi for your well-worn old paths.  Like you we believe truth can be known, life is pur­pose­ful, and beau­ty defin­able. True ethics sow good­ness. And because God is know­able, good­ness is know­able. We nur­ture cul­ture-restor­ing ethics in god­ly com­mu­ni­ty, day by day, as we and our chil­dren grow in the wis­dom and good­ness of Christ. Christ holds all things togeth­er; there is no true knowl­edge apart from Him. We want­ed a time-test­ed clas­si­cal edu­ca­tion, over­flow­ing with Tri­une won­der. This is what you offer.

Christ and his pur­pos­es speak to the fall of Rome and the rise of Dar­win­ism. Christ speaks to the fall of the fam­i­ly and the rise of the state. Math fact fam­i­lies “work” because God is tri­une.  Agape Christi under­stands this. Christ is our fixed mark.  In The Abo­li­tion of Man, C.S. Lewis warns “the prac­ti­cal result of [mod­ern, sub­jec­tive] education…must be the destruc­tion of the soci­ety which accepts it.” We chose Agape Christi because, with Lewis, Agape knows the edu­ca­tion of chil­dren is a bat­tle­field of first impor­tance.

Our chil­dren are arrows. Edu­cat­ing them is the art of train­ing long-range arms. Agape under­takes this with humil­i­ty and joy. I want my chil­dren imi­tat­ing your humil­i­ty and joy. Our chil­dren must grow in wis­dom such that they might con­found the sur­geon who is an avowed eth­i­cal rel­a­tivist. But they must also grow in virtue that they might bring more to the con­ver­sa­tion than sharp mate­r­i­al log­ic. No intel­lec­tu­al – no cul­ture — can be trans­formed with­out gospel adorn­ment. Our chil­dren real­ly are our future.

Final­ly, my chil­dren are olive shoots around my table.  I can’t lis­ten to them slurp spaghet­ti with­out hear­ing a hope and a future. Yet Chris­t­ian dis­ci­ples do not grow strong in soil weed-wrecked and rocky (Luke 7).  Ancient syn­a­gogue schools were often called ‘vine­yards.’ How beau­ti­ful! We chose Agape Christi because lit­tle faith seeds need the rich­est soil we can pro­vide. While our chil­dren shoot down roots we want them to grip our fore­fa­thers and hang on for dear life. We named our sec­ond son after Jonathan Edwards. He knows he wears a big name, and he knows he has a lot of grow­ing to do. Names can tow­er. But as we read a biog­ra­phy of Edwards’ own clas­si­cal edu­ca­tion, my son grows hope­ful:  “Mama! Jonathan began Latin when he was sev­en!  I’m study­ing Latin too!”  In a deriv­a­tive but impor­tant way our chil­dren are ‘sons of the church.’  We chose Agape because we want more than smart chil­dren. We want men and women who safe­guard the church, who car­ry her fur­ther still. One clas­si­cal edu­ca­tor puts it this way: Clas­si­cal edu­ca­tion takes from the past in order to accel­er­ate the present.

Ulti­mate­ly, edu­cat­ing with Agape Christi is step­ping toward ful­fill­ment of the Great Com­mis­sion. Min­neapo­lis is a world city; we are sur­round­ed by the nations! What is Chris­t­ian edu­ca­tion?  Con­cen­trat­ed dis­ci­ple­ship. We want to see Chris­t­ian edu­ca­tion flour­ish. It just makes sense to join oth­ers with the same vision; we can make a big­ger impact for Christ than our fam­i­ly striv­ing alone.  With the eye of faith I see our chil­dren full grown, as “trees plant­ed by the river­side” (Psalm 1).  By God’s grace  — and through the grace of a bib­li­cal edu­ca­tion — they will enjoy the pros­per­i­ty God promis­es. They will grow as lovers of God, liv­ing out God’s love for the world.  And God says that when the right­eous pros­per, the city rejoic­es.

With grat­i­tude for your labors,

Alane Holm

 

Alane is a moth­er of four chil­dren, all of whom are cur­rent­ly enrolled at Agape Christi Acad­e­my. In the fall of 2015, she also joined the staff as the school art teacher.

To read addi­tion­al accounts of why cur­rent fam­i­lies chose Agape Christi, click here.

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