The Grapes of Learning

Two weeks ago, I (along with a few colleagues) spent some time at a Christian Schools Canada Conference for administrators across Canada. Our keynote speaker was Andy Crouch (coincidentally also the keynote speaker for the InspirED teacher’s convention this week). Andy is the senior editor for Christianity Today and was formerly a Christian contemporary singer songwriter.

His messaging was centered on helping leaders understand power and authority and how vulnerability should be layered in. He definitely engaged us in a deep way and helped us address our own leadership positions and styles of leadership.

From good to glorious

The beautiful thing that I started to realize is that Andy was actually talking about our very theme song, “We Were Made to Thrive.” He never used these actual words (he used fancy words like flourishing and abundance) but he often referenced God’s desire for humanity to experience a certain “thriving.” It was what he called the true meaning of Image Bearing.

Andy brought us all the way back to creation when God said, “Let there be” for the first three days and then filled in His creation the last three days.

What He made was good, and when He made humans—it was very good.

It was God’s design for humans to be the ones to move what God created from good to very good. Andy gave a great example of a grape being good, wine being very good (after the entire process that it takes for wine to make it to the glass), and well-aged wine from a cellar to be close to glorious. 

Grapes are good, but…

A few years ago, Heidi told me I should take up a hobby. I wasn’t quite sure where she was going with this…but I decided to follow through on her wise words. I realized that I enjoy sipping wine. And I enjoy a top quality wine—not just because I enjoy the taste—but mostly because I love everything that the wine in my glass represents.

Grapes are good, but when the grapes are harvested after countless hours of laborious tending, when they are crushed underfoot and then placed in vats to release their sugars and feed the yeast, and when this whole process is superintended by a winemaker of great skill and discernment, you get wine. Wine, with its layers of flavours, its colour and aroma, and initial burst of taste and lingering finish, its hint of the terroir where it was grown, its effervescence and sweetness and tannic tension. Grapes are good, wine is very good. And the best wine? The best wine prepared by the best, aged at a perfect temperature for many years, can be a glorious experience of sight, taste, and smell (some of these words stolen from Andy Crouch).

So I’ve started to collect wine (only by travelling to the winery/vineyard itself) and age it to its best drinking age—so that someday, Heidi and I will enjoy wine in all its fullness—and we will experience grapes that have gone from good to very good to just short of glory. These experiences will help us come a little closer to the realization that Jesus is coming again to restore us to true glory.

The reason why

At school, realizing true flourishing for our students is why we try to implement things like Project-Based Learning and establish a PBL Residency for teachers, and why we pursue the best Learning Support Services Program around, why we take our middle school students to Newcastle Island and the SALTS trip, why we invest in Digital Learning Initiatives, and why we have our students design future buildings centered on the future of education…it’s why we are innovators in education.  

I think Andy Crouch got it right. To understand what it is to be true image bearers, God created us to more than just survive – We Were Made to Thrive.

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1 Comment on "The Grapes of Learning"

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Roy van Eerden

This does make me think again about when we want to praise God as Creator, we focus on mountains and fields of flowers and oceans. Perhaps we should show more of ways in which we have taken the good things that God created and led/allowed us to make very good..
I also think I need to take tasting lessons from you😏

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