Mission Statement re School

Posted: September 17, 2015 in Mission Statement

Three things have been occupying my interest in the last little while and I thought I might tease them out and give them some air……. And I think of our potential school motto

‘Honour The Mind, Live the Questions and Explore the Adventure of Humanity.’

The first is that I find myself drawn back time and time again to Richard Kearney’s work on what he calls Anatheism. – Honour The Mind. –

The second is the need for a primary school to engage in planting seeds of hope for future generations. -Live The Questions’ –

The third is the topic of social engineering or how we might understand the place of religion, science, and human imagination to engage in the evolutionary process we call life. – Explore the Adventure of Humanity –

All these three topics are too great to address in any one paper but I want to see if I can open them up as discussion topics.

Honour The Mind

John Burkey in his review of Richard Kearney’s book – ‘Anatheism’; Returning to God after God makes some comments about anatheism I found helpful. He says ‘Anatheism’ is a fresh attempt to reconceive the possibility of the sacred for the 21st Century, seeking a way of ‘returning to God after God’. What I liked about his comments was that he saw this work as appealing to many diverse fields of study such as philosophy, religious studies, biblical studies, comparative religion, art, literature, international studies as well as social justice and anti-religionists.

Burkey argues that Kearney describes anatheism as a movement, a paradigm, an invitation, a wager, a drama, a position between, before and beyond the division of theism and atheism or another way of seeking and sounding the things we consider sacred but can never fully fathom or prove. The key points are that it says goodbye to the God of metaphysics and traditional religion whose surname has long been “Almighty” and takes seriously the critical and iconoclastic force of atheism. It is not an attempt at a synthetic synthesis of the theism-atheism opposition, yet it is committed to the necessity of mediation in a concrete, hermeneutical sense.

Live The Questions

John William Bennison writes that in 2012, in a project sponsored by the Adelaide Catholic Cathedral Parish, children and youth were all given the same size sheet of paper, and asked to draw what they imagined Jesus looked like. In viewing dozens of renderings, John could not help but notice how the majority of the younger artistʼs depicted a Jesus that bore a happier face, with sunbeams for haloes; and, in one case, his vulnerable blood-red heart was clearly visible. But as the artists progressed in age, the portrayals of Jesus with the crown of thorns, the tears of sadness and suffering seem more prevalent. The oldest artistʼs rendering of Jesus showed a very talented, but colourless, stark and stylized depiction of a crucified Christ figure. Any hint of those joy-filled stories and life giving ethical teachings are absent.

John writes; some of those earlier happy faces of Jesus were intended to portray what we might imagine to be his resurrected life beyond the grave, for those who still hold on to such a notion. On the other hand, he says; I can better imagine my imaginary friend is one who is more real in terms of what the real world in which I live might become. At the heart of this observation is the idea that Christian orthodoxy has historically constructed and perpetuated the belief system of Jesus as the co-eternal and incarnate presence of a theistic God who is Lord of lords, and King of kings. As such, Jesusʼ death at the hands of those lesser lords and kings is explained as a necessary, but redemptive sacrifice that is ultimately trumped by either a literal understanding or metaphorical interpretation of resurrection and “eternal life” for all who believe any of this. The question we are asked to live here is the one that asks if any of this is what that imaginative Galilean peasant sage and wisdom teacher had in mind? Is this a core narrative of the sacred that is teachable in today’s world and if not what is?

Explore The Adventure Of Humanity

Henry A Giroux, in an article on the Phenomena of Donald Trump and The Ghost of Totalitarianism suggests that neoliberalism, the marriage of politics and business or social policy dependent upon economic idealism is at the root of many ills in our society in its current form. He comments that under this approach space, time and language have been subject to the forces of privatisation and commodification. That public space has been replaced by malls and a host of commercial institutions as the examples of community. That commodified and privatised, public space is now regulated through exchange values rather than public values just as communal values are replaced by atomizing and survival of the fittest market values. Time is less interested in the development of social capital, and goals that benefit the common good and in this environment the public is urged to become consumers, customers, and highly competitive. The particular mode of competition is one where the interests that matter are individual interests and almost always measured by monetary considerations. Under these circumstances, social and communal bonds break down and the credibility of institutions that embrace the values, practices and social relations of democracy is attacked. And perhaps most importantly, critical thinking, and acting collectively in ways that are imaginative and courageous are discouraged. For those of us who believe that education is more than an extension of the business world it is crucial to create a critical culture, democratic public spheres, and a collective collaborative movement that supports the connection between critique and action. In this environment, a thoughtlessness abides that traps the public in an abyss of ignorance, infantilism, consumerism, militarism and environmental stupidity and any faith in justice is overtaken by shared fears of precarity, hatred of the other, and a fear of the demands of justice.

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