I begin this post with the non-recommended first-person because I want to write something personal. I want to, I need to, say thank you to the thousands of people who read this blog and visit our website, and to the many people who make it possible by supporting the CiRCE Institute.
When I was getting started in my research on classical education, I wrote a series of four papers on its history. Around 1998 or 99 the good people at ACCS (thanks Patch Blakey and the rest!) asked me to do a couple workshops on this history. I expected three or four people to turn up.
To my shock and delight, dozens of people came because they wanted to learn something I figured was so marginal and obscure that I’d have trouble finding people to share a meal over it and that if I paid for it.
They probably shouldn’t have come. As my older brothers used to say, “You’ll only encourage him.” Indeed, they did. For some 15 years I have continued to think about and express ideas that I am constantly surprised anybody else ever wants to think about. But I’ve come to the conclusion, and what a joyful conclusion it is, that people aren’t just driven by the “almighty” and very deceptive dollar, that they aren’t only and always asking how to solve immediate problems (as important as those are), and that they care deeply about the nourishment their souls and the souls of their children receive.
In other words, people care about truth and how to know it, even to the point where they’ll read the ravings of a fool who obviously lacks judgment and makes only the most hesitant and modest gains.
But here’s what’s exciting for me. Because so many of you have engaged in the quest, I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible.
It’s customary at this time of year for the president of a not-for-profit to thank donors, and with all my heart I do so. You are our right hand, and I think I speak for all of those who have been blessed in any way by the ministry and wanderings of the CiRCE Institute when I say that fervent “Thank You!” You make so much possible and I can never pay my personal debt to each of you. And I believe the Lord will bless your giving too.
What might be less customary is for said president to thank the disputants and interlocutors. But with all my heart, I do. I post things in the blog to explore ideas, to put down things I am thinking about where others can challenge and refine my thoughts, to test them.
With amazing grace, many people challenge me and demand clarification. You don’t always see the direct fruit of your challenge, because, frankly, presiding over a not-for-profit doesn’t allow for anywhere near as much time as I would hope to write and research and respond (though, thanks to you donors, it’s getting a lot closer!). But I always think about your challenges.
I hope you have grown and learned as much as you have helped me grow and learn. I hope your thoughts have been refined and your perceptions of that truth that we only see “through a glass darkly” for now have become more radiant.
I know much less than I thought I knew, but the things I’ve been able to see have become very precious to me. Happily, it doesn’t take a lot of truth to feed a soul for a very long time.
I become a little giddy when I think that my bratty little mind can be used to bless people so much more mature and responsible and serious than I.
To those who have supported CiRCE so that this dialogue can continue, thank you!
To those who have engaged in the dialogue and forced me to learn and to grow, thank you!
May 2013 be the year in which we all come to know “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”