Christian Education in a Negative World

Inklings Conversations – Winter 2024
February 29th, 2:00 – 4:00 EST
A conversation with Dr. Scott Masson
Meeting Invitation: Zoom Link

Dr. Masson is an Associate Professor of English Literature and Head of the Department of English at Tyndale University.  He was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2001 from the University of Durham.  He is a former pastor, public intellectual, and proud Member of the Upper Mohawk band in Canada.  One of his main research areas explores how the humanities have been repealed and replaced by a new constructivist anthropology in which traditional sources of wisdom and truth have been abandoned in favour of a wholly self-constructed humanity that has brought our culture and education to a crisis point at many levels.

Dr. Masson is a passionate educator and has developed a vision for education rooted in a robust Christian worldview that challenges the core assumptions of contemporary theory and practice and has broad applicability from K-12 through to doctoral study.  He will present his vision for transformative Christian education against what Aaron Renn has termed "the negative world, " which is now increasingly hostile to all forms of Christian thought and practice.

For insight into this environment and preparation for Scott's talk later this month, please read Renn's essay in First Things; Renn's essay has been expanded into a book-length study, Life in the Negative World (2024), and is well worth reading.  See also an interview with Renn on this work.

Conversation Abstract

We live now in an anti-Christian culture, what Aaron Renn has termed the “negative world.” In this world, we, the church, cannot act as we have acted in the past. As a result, our approach to education must be strategic and comprehensive. Hence, the idea of local educational ‘ecosystems’ is critical for developing successful Christian educational alternatives at all levels.

The lack of such an ecosystem is one of the main challenges homeschools and local Christian school alternatives face. If they lack a broader context of support and resources and work in isolation or at cross purposes, they will eventually be absorbed by the state-run secular system.

In this context, we must strategize to create an alternative to take advantage of all the available resources and work with new models, such as those developed by Nick Ellis with Christian Halls and the innovative Third Education Revolution.

Living in a negative world, Christians do not have the option that the cultural Marxists had in their “long march through the institutions.” Time is short, and there is no longer a pretense of neutrality under which we can work.

We operate in a negative world, though not quite yet in open persecution.  That is coming if we don’t move very quickly. We must set up a parallel education network (with nodules of Christian ecosystems throughout the country) and devote the resources and talent needed to grow the network.

By its very nature, this network will deliver demonstrably superior outcomes compared to its decaying secular counterparts. This is so because of the integration of knowledge, wisdom, and practice intrinsic to a Christian faith rooted in Scripture.

Join us on February 29th for an informative and formative discussion.