The Article Originally Appeared at the Circe Institute
Most humanities teachers have some degree of romanticism. It’s hard to teach without it. But sometimes the stories and people we teach seem like faint echoes that bear little relevance to us.
Before proceeding further, I must confess: I am a proud romantic. St. George is my hero, Beowulf is the grandest epic, Susan Pevensie is still alive (do the math), and King Arthur will return one day.
But I am also a pastor and teacher, living in the twenty-first century with the internet, electric cars, nuclear power, and drones. Every day we hear stories about people dying in the saddest ways possible (opioid addiction, accidental air strikes, etc.). Our students struggle to relate to the sacrifice of Hector, the courage of Faithful in Pilgrim’s Progress, or the valor of the Christians at Lepanto. If we’re honest, we struggle as well. The older we get, the more sin and suffering we see. It’s hard to maintain motivation when it feels pointless.
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Matt Carpenter is the Associate Pastor at Trinity Reformed Church. He taught history for fifteen years and has served in pastoral ministry for eleven years. He is married to Amanda and they have four children: Phoebe, Simeon, Emmaline, and Olivia. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, and fishing.