Last week in this space, we considered how Trinitas is distinctly different in our classical pedagogy. This week, we’ll note together how Trinitas is distinctly different in our classical content and in our Christ-centered instruction. And, most importantly, how all of these things contribute to our distinctly different Christ-centered culture.
The next thing that makes Trinitas different is what we teach.
It is our aim at Trinitas to indoctrinate students in their western heritage by teaching them classical content rooted in the western tradition. For example, we begin with Bible before moving to Greece, then Rome, the modern European age, the industrial revolution, the founding of America, and finally to contemporary American history. We complete this cycle in the grammar stage then over again in the logic and rhetoric stages, going deeper each time into primary sources. We read the positive and the negative, the Christian and the secular; we read both Augustine and Hitler. This study of our western heritage, both the beautiful and the blighted side, prepares students to live in and understand the world.
Because post-modern government education clings to the theory of evolution as fact, they have spurned history in general, and western culture in particular, as a valid means of understanding themselves and the world they live in. Consequently, graduates of government schools sometimes find themselves having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, each time they encounter a crisis in life because they have no grounding in absolute truth and insufficient experience with the history of their culture. Again, most Christian schools simply adopt the government curriculum, replacing the study of evolution with a Bible class. Because we teach the classical content of the west at Trinitas, our graduates will have a firm understanding of their own culture that will allow them to better understand the whole world. Trinitas is different, then, not only in how we teach, but also in what we teach; and the difference, again, is distinct.
Finally, Trinitas is different in the culture of the school.
We say that a Trinitas education is not only classical, but also Christ-centered. What we mean by Christ-centered is that we teach all subjects as an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center. We do this because we aim to help students develop a biblical worldview. We teach that there is no knowledge or understanding or wisdom apart from God. Education founded on humanism or relativism or anything apart from the God of the universe is like a house built on sand—it simply cannot stand. Because we teach all subjects as an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center, we have a standard by which we can measure all things. Because we believe in the absolute truth of Scripture, we can discern between truth, beauty, and goodness on the one hand and the counterfeit offered by the world on the other. Not only does this way of thinking give us the freedom and the filter to read men such as Rousseau and Hitler, but it spills over into our every action and causes us to desire a culture of truth, beauty, and goodness around us. This is exactly the culture we seek to create at Trinitas, a culture based on grace and charity toward one another as we live in community together, breathing each other’s air and bearing each other’s burdens. It plays out every day in these classrooms and in these halls. It spills out onto the playground and the athletic fields. You see it in students encouraging one another to lift their voices in song during morning meeting; in spontaneous Psalm-singing in the halls between classes; in a boy helping his classmate pick up her spilled Latin card box; in a sixth grade girl helping a kindergartener microwave his lunch; and in the captain of the volleyball team telling a player not to worry about a shot she missed. Now you, yourselves, know how these scenes I’ve just mentioned might have been different in a government school, but I dare not draw a direct comparison. So when you consider what happens here as compared to what might happen elsewhere, it becomes obvious that the culture at Trinitas is distinctly different, distinctly Christ-centered. And this difference comes not from any good in us, but by the grace of God as we seek to honor Him in what we are doing here.
So there you have it: Trinitas is distinctly different in our classical pedagogy, in our classical content, and in our Christ-centered instruction; and all of these things contribute to our distinctly different Christ-centered culture. But we don’t set out to be different so that we can maintain peace in this building or order in the classroom; though, those things are valuable. We set out to be different because as Christians God has called us to something different. And we cultivate that very Christian, that very different culture here, not so that we can keep it all locked up in this building, but so that we can release it into the world like salt and light or, as our founder Mr. Trotter liked to say, like flowers that, though they may be hidden, bring a sweet aroma wherever they are placed. Our hope is that this place would turn inside out at the end of every school day, and that this distinctly different, distinctly Christian culture would spill out into the world, making it a sweeter place to be.
What should you look for in a Christian school? Pedagogy, content, and culture that don’t just win the school for Christ, but win the world for Christ.