Gorgons and Shining Shields

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"All the men in history who have really done anything with the future," said Chesterton, "have had their eyes fixed upon the past."

An odd image.  And Chesterton knew it: "Man is a misshapen monster, with his feet set forward and his face turned back.  Tomorrow is the Gorgon; a man must only see it mirrored in the shining shield of yesterday.  If he sees it directly he is turned to stone."

Now that I've confused everyone nicely, I'd like to point out what a beautiful truth this actually is, and how applicable to us.  Chesterton compares the Future -- "Tomorrow" -- to the Gorgon, a foul and terrible monster from ancient Greece. As the story went, whoever looked at it would be immediately turned to stone.  And as for killing it?  Impossible.

That's until the hero Perseus came along, who carried a sword and a bright shield.  As he approached the Gorgon, he held this shield over his shoulder, looking straight into it as he moved forward (thus averting his gaze from the monster), and killed it by looking at its reflection in the shield.

Here's Chesterton's point: Tomorrow turns us to stone, just like the Gorgon.  The Future, stared at with fear and worry, disconnected from the Past and its stories of triumph, overcomes us completely.  To build, to accomplish, and to grow, we need eyes ravenous for the truths and wisdom of the Past.  We live in the Present and for the Future -- but our tools of trade are already at hand, and they are old and strong.  Alone, the Future tempts us to fear.  The Past is full of comfort, wise old men, and happily-ever-afters.

Let's go back to the top, to those who "do something with the future."  Augustine Classical Academy is small and strong, but it must grow.  The future is bright for our school, but there are many rows to hoe, many jobs to fill, and much money to be raised.  ACA is uniquely poised for the future, and this necessarily means we are entering an important and sobering time of growth.  Our gifts, like the proverbial talents, must be cared for and multiplied.

Now more than ever, we have an excellent facility, high-quality teachers, a growing staff, and a ripening set of programs and curricula.  Our administrative systems and business structure continue to improve.  We have made Lakewood our home and are well-positioned to put down influential roots in the community.  And most important, we boast an academic program that aims to change hearts and minds for God's glory, and for our culture.

As members in this wonderful opportunity, I'd like to encourage us all to consider how we can tangibly promote the growth of Augustine Classical Academy for the sake of our children, and for future students.

  • Pray for ACA daily.  Pray specifically that God would bless us financially, and that all gifts would be used for his glory.
  • Consider how you can uniquely give to ACA, whether through personal service or other donations.
  • Reflect on who you might share ACA's classical Christian vision with.  We love our friends, and our friends will want to listen to what we love.
  • Pray that God will transform our school culture, the city of Lakewood, and the world at large through robust, Christ-centered education.

Thank you for loving your children, and for loving ACA.  As ever, I am thankful to partner with you as we confidently apply God's faithfulness in the past to our plans for the future.  The Lord is building this house, and we will not labor in vain.

Grace and Peace, Nate Ahern