School is off to a good start in our house. Maybe for the first time ever, we’ve hit a sweet spot of rigor and fun. Since all great literature aims to “teach and to delight” studying worldview through literature together is my favorite.
A few years ago, I got to help start a co-op with this very emphasis. I wrote the following vision statement for my class. I hope however you school your kids, you’ll make time for rollicking good book discussion. It pairs well with candy and tickle parties.
Why study worldview?
In his book, The Universe Next Door, James W. Sire defines a worldview as: “a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation in which we live and move and have our being.”
The more consciously and consistently we understand our own presuppositions and those of our neighbors, the more precisely we will be able to bring the Scriptures to bear on each other’s hearts and bring good news to the lost.
Why study worldview through literature?
Most often a person’s worldview is not held out to us in the form of tidy propositions. Instead we are often sifting through the stories of life to understand what a person functionally believes about reality. Literature, like life, is expressed in many forms. The trained eye will be able to see content through those forms in order to most accurately apply and communicate biblical reality. A good story allows the student a vicarious experience before experiencing it in real life. In other words, it’s good practice.
This practice also teaches the student of literary analysis, discernment. When well trained to decipher meaning through form, one will not be readily fooled by beautiful sounding rhetoric. The thoughtful critic will be able to articulate the truth value of a story that is written, told, or even lived well.
God has revealed himself to us through literature. The bible makes use of many forms of artistic language and rhetoric. Words are part of his creation for us to use to take dominion, to enjoy, to know our maker and savior, and to give him praise.
*Some information is based on:
Tapestry of Grace. Poetics. Kingsport: Lampstand Press, 2013. Digital