Daily thoughts on aesthetics and theology, and the entire world in between.

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The aviary of Christ

So do we just give up learning because we'll forget everything anyway?

Certainly not.

But learning might not be what we think it is.

The conventional view is this: by ever learning, we piece together an ever clearer view of who we are. By ever learning, we gradually become masters of facts -- or, as we saw, master collectors of fact-birds we put in the aviary of our minds.

Just go to the next commencement speech near you to see what I mean. The basic variation on the theme will be: "You've learned XYZ; now, armed with this knowledge, go out and change the world ..."

Okay, we'll do.

Paul's model is different. He says the key to learning is a person's location in Christ. From that location, one is "enriched in speech and knowledge of every kind."

In contrast to Plato saying that the facts we know are like birds in the aviary of our minds -- (those fact-birds are in there somewhere; they're just hard to catch when you need one) ...

... in contrast to this facts-in-the-aviary model of knowledge, it is we who are in the aviary of Christ.

The aviary of Christ. I like that.

We are in (the aviary of) Christ. This little phrase "in Christ" occurs over 200 times in the New Testament.

And he is the source of all knowledge and speech.

Learning of any kind, then, simply offer opportunities to appreciate our place in the aviary of Christ in new ways.

It gives a new glory to the aesthetics of learning.

It even makes the aesthetics of forgetting more beautiful.


1 Corinthians 1.4-5 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind ...

Colossians 2.9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Plato, Thaeatetus 197(e)-199(b)


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