Every December, Christians are given new reasons to not take Christmas seriously. We are told that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday, that Jesus was not born on December 25th, that Christmas traditions have all lost their meaning, and that Christmas has been snowed under by hedonistic commercialism. While the enemies of the Church are all too happy to have Christians believe such nonsense, in The 25th, Joshua Gibbs argues that none of it is true. Rather, Christians have every reason to robustly celebrate Christmas with the confidence they are participating in one of the oldest, deepest, and greatest mysteries of God.
A Better World
In Defense of Santa Claus
When to Start Listening to Christmas Music
In Defense of George Bailey
Meditations on the Creche
What if Christmas Is Exactly What It Purports to Be?
Death at a Party: December 28th, Feast of the Holy Innocents
Once upon a time, Joshua Gibbs was a disinterested slacker who, despite attending a classical Christian school, learned little and cared even less for his studies. He was more interested in pop culture than Great Books and performed only the bare minimum to pass.
By age 27, however, he began work at a different classical institution, teaching the same literature he merely skimmed as a student. Ten years later, Gibbs has become a popular blogger and frequent speaker at education conferences. In this series of frank reflections on an unlikely career, Gibbs contemplates what it means to be a good teacher, how Great Books can change lives (and how one particular book, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, changed his), and why effective education is primarily concerned with the acquisition of virtue.
One part literary guidebook, one part personal memoir, and one part teacher’s manual, How to Be Unlucky presents a one-of-a-kind case for ancient ways of thinking about teaching in our contemporary world.
Every teacher has suffered the demoralizing realization that most students quickly forget the content they are taught. While most teachers are too embarrassed to admit this, their students know it is true, which leads many of them to think school is ultimately pointless. If a missed class period can be made up with five minutes of homework, isn't every hour-long class a fifty-five minute waste of time? This is not only the state of American public schools, but many classical schools as well.
But what if there was another way of conducting class? What if every class was vital, necessary, and worth going to? What if students no longer had to admit they couldn’t remember much of the material they studied in previous years? What if teachers could make the most of every minute of class time, including the first five minutes, when students are chatty and their brains are still stuck in their last subject?
In Something They Will Not Forget, Joshua Gibbs lays out a solution to these problems which is both elegant and effective. His solution caters to classical beliefs and presuppositions but is easily implemented in any classroom— elementary or secondary, public or private, traditional school or homeschool. If you have struggled with classroom management, dull exams (which you dread grading), or a feeling of helplessness when confronted by how quickly students forget, help is here.
01 | CiRCE Institute
Soul-Crushing, Family-Friendly, Inspirational Trash
Modern Christians have an unfortunate tendency to trust things which are labelled “family-friendly,” despite the fact most things marketed to children are ugly, glitzy, and banal. A few simple questions are proposed by which parents can evaluate the spiritual value of their children’s books and toys. Read more.
02 | CiRCE Institute
Is It Too Late For My Child To Become Classical?
Many parents who discover classical education late in the game fear their teenage sons and daughters are simply too set in their ways to change. In this piece for Circe, Gibbs converses with a parent whose teenage son has just enrolled in a classical school and quickly decides he does not like it. Read more
03 | CiRCE Institute
Is Classical Education About Rest And Nurture? Yes and No.
Words like “rest” and “nurture” are frequently used when describing the spiritual context of a classical education. Nonetheless, papers come due, tensions rise, grades fall, and parents are liable to protest their sons and daughters are under a lot of stress. What kind of rest does a classical education offer, then? Read more
04 | CiRCE Institute
Before You Give Moral Advice To Teenage Crowds: 7 Tips
Reflections on spending a decade trying to convince American teenagers to do what is right, not what is fashionable. Read more
05 | CiRCE Institute
Flattered Parents Raise Flattered Kids
Social media has popularized feel-good articles that blithely absolve readers of responsibility for all their mistakes and instead offer platitudes about self-worth, self-care, self-love, and the beauty of brokenness. Parents steeped in such foolishness demand their children be coddled, as well. This essay for Circe offers several exhortations on how (and why) to quit reading clickbait flattery. Read more
06 | CiRCE Institute
Getting Practical: How To Teach Virtue When You Teach History
When most students (and teachers) think of history as a subject, they think of names and dates and chronologies, none of which inspire students to draw close to God. However, history is not simply an objective transfer of knowledge. History must form the soul, as well. In this essay for Circe, Gibbs explains how to teach virtue when covering names and dates. Read more
07 | CiRCE Institute
Classical: A Word In Need Of A Common Sense Definition
A good deal of confusion exists among classical educators about what the word “classical” means. In this conversation, Gibbs explains that when referring to classical education, the word “classical” means exactly what your average person thinks it means. “Classical” means “old and good.” Read more
08 | CiRCE Institute
College Prep: At The End Of The Day, I Need A Job
Some parents want their children to get a classical education because it will look good on transcripts, then discover after enrolling their children that classical educators don’t really care about AP classes and SAT scores. This leads to terse conversations between ambitious students and teachers, like the one Gibbs records in this piece for Circe. Read more
09 | CiRCE Institute
Why We Need Frog And Toad More Than Ever
What has happened to children’s books in the last forty years? Contemporary children’s books have no plot, no drama, but lots of celebration. What can parents learn about child rearing from older children’s books? Read more
10 | CiRCE Institute
Getting Practical: How To Teach Virtue When You Teach History
Everyone is entitled to a political opinion, but not everyone is entitled to have their opinions taken seriously by others. On what grounds do we judge another man’s political opinions worth of serious consideration? Read more
11 | First Things
Our Misguided War on Legalism
In this article for First Things, Gibbs argues that American Christians are flattering themselves if they truly believe legalism is a problem they might possibly have. Read more
12 | Front Porch Republic
Brass Spittoon: Classical Education
A Front Porch Republic interview with Joshua Gibbs and several other educators about the crisis besetting humanities departments across the country. Read more
for Modern Man
On every episode of Proverbial, Joshua Gibbs explores a single proverb, some old bit of wisdom, and tries to discern what it means for modern men.
Find it wherever you listen to podcasts.