Wednesdays with Words: Theology Forms and Undergirds

I had another passage from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH all chosen and ready to go. And then, today, I finished The Liberal Arts Tradition – finally after four weeks of saying I hoped to finish it.  The book is excellent, but not for the feint of heart … I posted my review last night.

I absolutely *loved* the Theology chapter that I read today and wish I could quote the whole chapter, but here’s my favorite paragraph to wet your whistle.  The passage blew Mrs. Frisby out of the water:

Theology forms the curriculum at its foundations.  We saw earlier how piety, gymnastic, and music are foundational to the educational paradigm we inherited from the Greeks.  Now we are in the position to appreciate how the integration of Christian theology as the culmination of the curriculum radically reorients these fundamental aspects of education.  Theology forms our piety: it reveals the God who is to be feared as Lord and loved as Father; it teaches us to honor our father and mother; and it calls upon us humbly to love and to serve our neighbor.  It ought also to drive us into the community of the people of God, and even to preserve in the world whatsoever things are true, honest, just, lovely, and of good report. Theology also undergirds gymnastic: it reveals the dual truth that our bodies have dignity because we bear the image of our Creator, and also that we were not created merely for bodily virtues since human beings are irreducible unions of body and soul.  Bodily training is indeed profitable, but is not sufficient for complete maturity as the image of God. Theology, then, similarly undergirds musical training, not least because the Scriptures engage us musically.  God reveals Himself to us in stories, poems, prayers, and songs, calling for us to taste and see that He is good — this is music in the truest sense.  Theology actually integrates the musical and gymnastic elements because of the dramatic and multisensory nature of historic Christian worship.  Piety, gymnastic, and music are thus fully integrated in the spiritual disciplines we are called to imitate in the Christian life. (pg 129-130, emphasis mine)

and two more quotes:

Theology unifies the curriculum; it provides a framework for the liberal arts and sciences, and the philosophies that unify them. (pg 130) 


Theology orders our knowledge to its proper end in the worship and service of the Lord Jesus Christ. (pg 131)

What are you reading this week?



  1. Hi Dawn, I was going to comment on your previous post about this book but I ran out of time & had to dash off to swimming lessons. You mentioned there that the main failing of the book was the 'how.' I suppose if they get into that side of things it could become another 'do this, do that = a classical education,' if that makes sense. Anyhow, interesting reviews. I've been slowly plodding through The Mind of the Maker by Sayers – dense!! but I enjoy her way of writing. Thanks for the link up.

    1. Yes, and I do agree. That isn't really what they were trying to do, but I struggle so much with the moving the ideas into actions without turning into school at home that I wish someone could do it without defining Classical Ed by how we do what we do, you know?

      I have Mind of the Maker, bought it when Cindy went through it, but I need to clear some currently reading titles before I start it. Or Pieper.

      Thanks for commenting! I love the interaction

  2. Wow! That is something to think about. Thank you for sharing this snippet. I don't think I possess the brainpower for it right now, but maybe some day.

    1. I totally know how that feels! I have books intimidating me from the corner … At some point – when there are no toddlers in the house? – give this one a try, it is very good.

    1. Thanks so much! I took the pic along Skyline Drive on our way to vacation in June. It was a gorgeous drive, the sunset overlooks were amazing … We even saw a real, live bear!

  3. very good, Dawn. we are all theologians, it can't be helped. 🙂
    I just brought Mrs. Frisby up to my reading shelf last week to read again before I give it to my son. It's been a long time since I first read it.

    1. So far, we are very glad to be reading Mrs. Frisby as a family and discussing it. There's an amazing review on Amazon by a homeschool mom that I highly recommend.

      Yes, we are all theologians which is why I wish the theological underpinnings of the disciplines were clearer for a mom like me!

  4. What a beautiful passage! I bought a copy for my kindle back when Cindy recommended it, but never read it (hate reading on my Kindle. So disappointing, because that was the whole point! At least I can use it to go online ) anyway, I think it's time to move it up on my list of must-reads.

    1. This is one I was happy I could annotate. I wrote all over it, on probably every page of the book. It is worth the read!

  5. Finally got mine up — reading your quotes of this book gave me the focus I needed, so I pulled a few tidbits that show how math moves to theology.

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