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 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.