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Head of School Update: Monday October 29, 2018

Dear JH Classical Academy Parents,

George MacDonald was a Scottish author, a poet, a minister, a pioneer in the field of fantasy literature, and the mentor of fellow writer Lewis Carroll. J.R.R. Tolkien was influenced by MacDonald’s writing, especially his fairy tales that “reflected in a particular way man’s visions of Truth.” C.S. Lewis regarded MacDonald as his “master” and commented after reading MacDonald’s Phantastes one day at a train-station, “I knew I had crossed a great frontier.” G.K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that “made a difference to my whole existence.” I read several excerpts of this book to the students this month, during our reflections on the theological virtue of faith.
After Princess Irene meets her great-great grandmother, she learns that only a few others can see her relative. When her new friend, Curdie, is introduced to her great-great grandmother, he doesn’t believe she is real even when looking at her. Disbelief arises. Curdie is embarrassed and upset about not being able to see Irene’s invisible relative, and so is Irene. “What does it all mean, grandmother?” she sobbed, and burst into fresh tears. “It means, my love, that I did not mean to show myself. Curdie is not yet able to believe some things. Seeing is not believing – it is only seeing.”
Faith is the act of seeing truly with and through the imagination. Imagination leads to belief, a form of faith. Irene, and eventually Curdie, must become able to engage with their imagination in order to express their faith. After all their adventures, Curdie no longer doubts Irene’s stories and believes that her grandmother really does exist. His experience and imagination lead him to trust what his eyes do not see. Faith then is not only a means of measuring spiritual and emotional growth, but in itself grows into true knowledge.
George Macdonald, wrote: “In very truth, a wise imagination, which is the presence of the spirit of God, is the best guide that man or woman can have; for it is not the things we see the most clearly that influence us the most powerfully; undefined, yet vivid visions of something beyond, something which eye has not seen nor ear heard, have far more influence than any logical sequences whereby the same things may be demonstrated to the intellect. It is the nature of the thing, not the clearness of its outline, that determines its operation. We live by faith, and not by sight.” This is the reality of faith. Whether we believe in God, the economic system, or cell phone technology, we can neither see nor control any of these things. We all live by faith, and not by sight. The question is, “What is worth believing in?”
Paul wrote to the Hebrews in Chapter 11, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” This “faith in action” chapter of the Bible then recounts and commends the faith of the ancients: Abraham, Noah, Moses, David and many more.
Those with the gift of faith exhibit an unwavering confidence in God that shows in all they say and do. Their faith becomes an encouragement and inspiration to others, and more importantly pleasing to God. Jesus twice teaches that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed – a nearly microscopic amount of faith – we can do miraculous things like forgive and love through God who strengthens us. We need that confidence in God’s promises, power, and presence in order to take heroic stands for the future of God’s work in our school.
Let’s encourage each other this month, so that our faith is bigger than our fears!
Mrs. Polly J. Friess
Head of School

Mountain Range


Jackson Hole Classical Academy
P.O. Box 7466
Jackson, WY 83002
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(307) 690-8396
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