Good Soil: Where Can It Be Found?

By Mark Cotterman, Head of School
September 5, 2019

Did you know that there’s strong scientific evidence to suggest that our food supply may be less nutritious than it was a generation ago and much different than 100 years ago?  The minerals we once took for granted were a part of our food are either gone entirely or much diminished. 

What’s the problem? 

It’s our soil.  Studies are finding that our modern methods of farming – largely based on an industrial model of efficiency and scale – have depleted our soil of the minerals which made the apples we snack on and the tomatoes which adorn our leafy green salads less nutritious. 

Our fruit and vegetables look the same, but the “inside” is different.   

I would argue that something very similar has happened to our schools and our educational “system” which, in an attempt to educate/train everyone, is seeing diminished returns. 

Mars Hill Academy is attempting to change this situation, but not by injecting dye into to fruits… but by changing the farming practices and the “soil” so to speak, in which your children grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually. 

We teach many of the same “subjects” that other schools do, but our goal in teaching them is different. We believe that every subject we teach is “grist for the mill” in equipping students to know, understand, meditate on, and worship the God who made them and who calls them into faithful service into His world. 

I’d like to suggest that what makes MHA distinctive (and worthy of your attention) isn’t what the school, the students, the teachers look like, but what’s on the inside. 

It’s the desire for three things – all transcendental “virtues” which lift our minds and hearts to the Divine:  

  • Truth 
  • Goodness  
  • Beauty 

Truth – Laying God and His word at the center of all we do.  We do not apologize for anything in the Bible; quite the opposite… we rejoice in it.  In all things, we’re asking, “What is true?”  This doesn’t mean teaching them only what is true because we believe in a careful and sympathetic treatment of error so that our kids will learn to think.   

Goodness – We’re attempting to train students who not only know what is right, but love it and practice it.  The phrase, “kids will be kids” or “boys will be boys” shouldn’t have any currency at MHA; there’s a different standard in place than one’s peers. It’s Jesus Himself.   

Beauty – We’re unapologetic about our love of beauty.  Beauty isn’t subjective and merely the expression of our personal tastes; we believe in objective beauty rooted in reality. God’s holiness is splendorous and beautiful and resides in all that He’s made and much of what His sub-creation makes.  Plenty of ugliness, too, as men and women hide from God and suppress His truth, but this is nothing more than a clarion call to pursue beauty as vigorously as Truth and Goodness.  

Here’s the connection: 

Our curriculum of instruction lies in the nutrient-dense soil of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. We hope these run throughout our instruction of your children, forming and shaping them into men and women fully alive and equipped to serve the Living God.