Table of contents for Journal Project
I teach Rhetoric 2 to sophomores at Logos School here in Moscow, Idaho, and every year around this time, I assign the (now famous) Journal Project. The Journal Project consists of 30 days of journal entries on the same topic. The students are given one day off each week, so we complete the Journal Project over the course of five weeks (writing six days each week). Only this year my students asked me to do the Journal Project with them. So here we go… My topic is my family.
Day 5: The Circus
When my wife describes our children in church, she frequently uses the word “circus.” I loved the idea of the circus when I was little so this pleases me a great deal. A circus is not chaos. A circus is not bedlam or mayhem. The circus is a circle of finely crafted busy-ness. There are things going on everywhere. There are dancers, there are jugglers, there are gymnasts, there are clowns, there are acrobats and tight rope walkers and animal trainers. It’s live. It’s lively. And you’re always missing something, but it’s teeming with excitement, teeming with energy. That’s what we’re aiming for at church. I would really be rather worried if my children sat motionless, in tidy little piles, each carefully arranged on their chair, painted into precision, every hair in place, every tie just so. Actually I wouldn’t be worried; I’d be mortified. I may not want my family to be the Walmart family (visualize a bedraggled mom on a cell phone hurling empty threats at the three savages behind her grappling with each other, throwing fits, screaming, all disheveled, grimy – in short, a small soap opera on wheels). But I’m not going for Mormon either. The Mormons can have their shiny, spit-polished row of child-bots. I don’t want any. I want life. And I especially want life at church. It needs to be ordered, it needs to be directed, and I certainly don’t mean that families should put on a show to distract all six rows around them. I only mean that Jesus loves children, and He didn’t mean that they had to pretend they were adults. They need teaching, they need encouragement, and yes, sometimes they certainly do need discipline. But some wiggling is part of being three years old. Some whispering and chattering is part of loving each other and helping one another listen and participate. I’m a big fan of drawing pictures and note taking too. I was rather pleased to hear that my daughter giggled when I explained this past Sunday that the word “honor” in Hebrew is related to the same word for the “fat” that goes on the Lord’s altar. My daughter giggled and then proceeded to draw pictures of fat men. This is what I mean by a circus: a joyful, childish enthusiasm for what’s going on.