Thursday, March 12, 2009

Magic, Humor & Rhetoric

We have discovered and are using Omnibus II from Veritas Press this year and all I can say is, YES!! I'll post more about the actual curriculum later, but for now I am just so jazzed about an entry I have to share. Did I mention that we were also doing a Shakespeare course in co-op? So, Omni II has a study on Macbeth, KB's favorite Shakespeare play to hate, and A Midsummer Night Dream, her fav to love. You gotta rent the back in the day version with Mickey Rooney in black and white. Grab a cuppa, cause the quote is long, but worth it:

"Christians have often been suspicious of magic even when it appears in literature. This understandable attitude has its roots in Israel's law, which forbade any kind of witchcraft....what are we to make of this? As you've learned from reading stories like J.R.R. Tolkien's, Lord of the Rings, and C.S. Lewis's, Chronicles of Narnia, magic (understood a certain way) can be a rich inspiration for Christian literature. It expresses the key doctrine that the world is personal and poetic, not mechanical. After all, it is a world created out of nothing, only by a word. It is a world governed by a faithful covenant and upheld by God's power. It is a world where miracles happen: languages are mysteriously mixed up, oceans are parted, iron floats on water, a virgin gives birth, water is changed into wine and the dead are raised to life. Int this sense the Bible is full of magic."
It goes on and is so rich and deep and good I feel like crying...
"If God is the author, then even things that seem chaotic and harmful still glorify Him. The world can only go upside-down if it is possible to be right-side up to begin with. If everything is crazy, the "crazy" has no meaning. If magic makes no sense, there still must be such a thing as sense. The same assumption also makes comedy and laughter possible. We laugh at things that don't seem to match up-things we think are incongruous. When Groucho Marx said, "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know," two different incongruities, or mismatches, are at work- an ambiguous meaning and a bizarre image. But this only works if there is such a thing as real meaning and ordinary images....a purely irrational and unpredictable world can't be funny - it would be boring randomness, like static on the radio. You could say that humor, just like our ability to perceive something "wrong" or fallen about the world, only holds up if it is supported by Eden on one side and heaven on the other. There has to be a right for us to that something is wrong."
(All quotes by Jared Miller, taken from Omnibus II, published by Veritas Press)

A great apologetic for all of those Christian brethren who don't "believe" in or read fiction-More's the pity and a great loss to them! A great apologetic for those post-modernists who don't believe in Truth or Order or Meaning.

This was one of those school days where we were all on the edge of our seats, filled with wonder at the wording and eager to jump in with our own thoughts. I kept trying to get the kids to stop interrupting but they were so FULL of the truth of what they were hearing they couldn't contain themselves. Finally, KB practically yelled, "This is rhetoric, Mom! Isn't this what we're supposed to be doing?" Yes, and yes. 3 cheers for Omnibus and 3 cheers for students that are bursting with learning and 3 cheers for the gift of homeschooling.

1 comment:

opalina124 said...

I've been wanting to buy Omnibus but was afraid to spend that much. You've inspired me to sell something - perhaps several things - in order to buy it. I read a sample from Omnibus, Vol. I at the Veritas website and was amazed by it - such wonderful writing! Anyway, your post brought tears to my eyes. Three cheers for homeschool moms who blog and share their experiences!!