Beauty in San Francisco
Donum Dei Classical Academy hosted our first Equipping Event at the end of January, 2019. It was designed to inspire participants to consider how educating the whole human person can support Christian families, thought, and influence. Nearly forty Christian educators, parents, and leaders from across the Bay Area met in a local San Francisco school on a Saturday. We created space to encourage growth, connection, and our pursuit for lifelong learning; we hope to offer future Equipping Events, again, before long!
Our special guest was Dr. Grant Horner, a Professor of Renaissance and Reformation Studies at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California, and a nationally recognized advocate for classical education. He is also the founder and director of The Master’s University in Italy Program and an Alcuin Fellow in the Society for Classical Learning.
Dr. Horner opened the Equipping Event with a session on “Classical Christian Education in a Post-Christian City” by asking the question, “What is beauty?” He further engaged the audience to articulate “What is beautiful to you? How do you know when you see something ‘beautiful’?” Audience members described visual images, pictures, and nature and sensory experiences that “felt” beautiful. Within the context of his socratic dialogue, Dr. Horner emphasized the God who created the earth and its beauty. He then challenged the audience to look at his favorite, beautiful artwork and immediately juxtaposed that with a horrific image of human death and tragedy. “How do those make you feel?” Dr. Horner highlighted that the same God who created humans in His image also created San Francisco. He described the charm, romance, cliffs, bay, hills, and bridge. He emphasized, “San Francisco is among one of the most beautiful cities in the world.” In a convicting pause, he further shared: “and man, in his depravity, has wronged San Francisco; man has wronged man in San Francisco in many ways.” It becomes more challenging to see beauty when it’s covered.
Dr. Horner spoke truth. The God who created the people of San Francisco created them in His perfect image: that includes the homeless humans - some who are held captive to mental illness and others who abuse the system; the wealthy humans - some who strengthen the community with their generosity and others who don’t see beyond themselves; the human addicts who shoot up with needles; the human beings who release on the sidewalks; and the humans who thieve from one another. Under the pain, behind the scars, on the sidewalks, there is beauty: made in the image of God, all human beings are beautiful. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit designed human beings with very nature to honor and glorify Him - in His likeness. What does that mean for San Francisco? That means the God who created this city is the God who loves this city. He is the God of this city. He is claiming this city for His glory.
Dr. Horner urged the audience to embrace the ways in which Donum Dei would partner with parents to raise up children in San Francisco who know the Lord and who can defend Him in a culture that defies His nature, but longs for His everlasting kindness.
Where do you see beauty in San Francisco? We’d love to hear about how you and your family experience joy and beauty in the city!
Check back in on Monday for a discussion of C.S. Lewis, the subject of the Equipping Event’s second session, led by Dr. Christine McLean, Head of School for Donum Dei Classical Academy.
Interested in learning more about Donum Dei Classical Academy?
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