|Description||How could the study of the verbal arts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric contribute to the Christian formation of students? This presentation considers how one of these arts (grammar) provides the beginning of an answer to this question. Our information culture tends to imagine that “grammar” is a neutral tool. As a result, students can experience it either as an objective impersonal system or as a series of arbitrary value judgements. I suggest, however, that, if we understand grammar as a verbal art—as living knowledge oriented toward making—we can discern an alternative to both of these typical views of grammar. In light of grammar as a verbal art, the second part of this presentation considers the teaching of Jesus regarding prayer. Because words can have a role in prayer, what Jesus’ teaching provides is, in effect, a grammar of prayer. What this grammar reveals, however, is not simply either a neutral description or an arbitrary stipulation about how words ought to be used. What it offers instead is a revelation that invites participation—an invitation to become a living word.
This lecture is the keynote address for the Texas Alcuin Fellowship Retreat for Classical educators; however, it is open to the public and all interested members of the community are welcome.