Category Archives: The Latest

Rev. William “Geoff” Smith Provides Us With Answers

Thomas Aquinas defines pride as an “inordinate desire for preeminence.” What this means is that an individual assesses themselves as beyond the need for improvement or desires to be more honored than appropriate for the good which they possess. Examples of this include a student wishing to be over-complimented for good grades, a teacher wishing to be honored as though he were a king or a despot, or somebody who thinks they have nothing to learn. The opposite of pride is humility, which is an appropriate level of self-esteem based on true knowledge of oneself and the world. Jesus makes clear that such humility is a pre-requisite for entry into his kingdom:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)

What is curious about this passage is that children are known and were known for the propensity to ask lots of questions. For instance, Jesus, as a boy, was known for the quality of questions he asked the Pharisees. So when Jesus says to become like a child, he means, “You must start over as a new person to enter the kingdom of heaven, you must be born again and learn from me!” The disciple asked a question in the passage above, but not the sort asked by a child. Children ask to learn. The disciples asked to be affirmed. How do we know? Earlier in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus explains that whoever practices and teaches his commands will be great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20). So the disciples want Jesus to keep score and prove which one is the best. Jesus re-frames the question entirely to indicate that they all must take a novice’s point of view to make spiritual progress. If we must humble ourselves, how do we do it? I have three tips from the Bible:
  1. First, remember that we are dust (Genesis 2:7). Anything could kill us. Any change in nature could affect us. Our hunger changes our attitude, our sleep changes our emotions, our exercises changes our thoughts, and our memories change our actions. We’re truly of the earth. To remember this helps us to see how much we need God.
  2. Second, we should remember that all our highest aspects come from God (also Genesis 2:7). Our consciousness, aspirations, capacity to choose right or wrong, and change our environment for better or worse come from God. To remember this shows us how much good, by God’s grace, and help the human being is capable of, while still reminding us of how much we need God’s help to not devolve into chaos and evil.
  3. Finally, we have the example of Christ, who humbled himself, taking the form of a man (Phil 2:5-11). Not only does Christ’s death atone for our sins, which we desperately need, but it also functions as the example of humility. Christ did not consider himself above service to others, even if they were sinful or undeserving.

The Seven Deadly Sins Series with Rev. William “Geoff” Smith

The Bible says that a man who controls his temper is better than a man who can overthrow a city. Jesus himself says that anger can start a process in which an individual and the communities of which he is a part can devolve into the fires of hell. Paul says that unchecked anger gives a foothold to Satan. If anger is so dangerous and so difficult to overcome, what can we do about this powerful passion that dwells within us?

The Bible and the Christian tradition through the ages offer several solutions. We’ll start with tradition and end with Scripture. Thomas Aquinas makes the point that

one must distinguish between just and unjust anger.

Just anger is anger which desires to correct sin (whether personal or in others). Unjust anger is anger which wishes to harm others or get even. Knowing these distinctions can be very helpful, as we can ask, if we’re angry, “Do I wish to harm another or to correct sin? If I wish to harm, I should shut my mouth and not act right now. If I wish to correct a sin, I should measure my words to do exactly that and nothing more.” Another strategy, which Jesus recommends, is to take extreme ownership over your community, team, or family and if you are about to worship then remember that if you have wronged another, go reconcile immediately.

In other words, the Christian is a part of a kingdom whose citizens all take 100% ownership of their actions and therefore try to right whatever wrongs they have done.

A final strategy is one offered by Paul the Apostle. In Philippians 4:8-9, he recommends thinking of the best in others so that we might experience the peace of God in the midst of interpersonal conflict.

Coming up this week at SoLaR Chapel…”Pride!”

My Why

Dear Annapolis Friends and Families (and other concerned citizens),

I recently returned from a head of school retreat hosted by the Society for Classical Learning. We were a motley crew of 40 battle-hardened, classical Christian heads of school with plenty of stories to share and scars to show. There was lots of coffee drinking, khaki pants and loafer wearing, and lamenting the general decline of Western Civilization brought on by the ubiquitous presence of hand-held, soul-destroying digital devices. We were a sight to behold; but it was a truly wonderful time of fellowship and renewal of vision as we were challenged to think through the big “why.”   Why do our schools exist?  Why in the world did we ever choose to subject ourselves to careers in Classical Christian school leadership?  Stuff like that.

So, maybe out of a self-flagellating compulsion to confess, or maybe even out of a repressed desire to simply say “I’m sorry,” for better or worse, I leave to posterity my personal confession, my why:

Continue reading

Me & Julio Down by the School Yard

Dear Annapolis Friends and Families (and everyone else who I may have failed),
I want to introduce you to a very remarkable person.  His name is Julio Cesar Viana. You may have seen Julio around campus dutifully taking out trash, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming rooms, and working faithfully to keep the Annapolis campus clean and safe for our students and staff on a daily basis.  What you may not know is that Julio is on a special mission from God to serve the Annapolis community.

Continue reading

Blessed (Part 2)

I am going to let you all in on a parenting secret.  The night before Christmas or a big birthday is not always all joy and happiness. It can be extremely stressful.  In fact, the weeks leading up to a big celebration are very tense.  For example, trying to get the perfect Christmas gift has meant fighting large crowds and driving all over the place to go to the right store that has the right gift.  Or it has meant spending hours and hours on the internet searching for something that you end up overpaying for shipping and handling to make sure it gets here on time.  When that big day arrives, we as parents are all thinking, it will be worth it to see the smile on our child’s face and as they throw themselves at our feet and wrap their arms around our knees and gush forth in humble gratitude.  However, especially when a child is young, they open the gift and…meh.  We rush down there and show them how it works and all the noises and buttons.  The child begins to play with it and we run around the room giving ourselves high fives.  But when we look over again, they are eating the wrapping paper and playing with the box it came in while the toy is lying by itself on the floor.  

Continue reading

In Genesis, we see that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Part of what this means can be found in the way God creates. He first creates a formless mass of chaos (Genesis 1:2) and then progressively organizes the world after a fashion that makes it amenable to human beings and their experience of God’s presence. This is capitulated in the story of Eden (Genesis 2:7-15), where God creates a space for man to meet with God that is the ideal composition between chaos and order. If we see God’s creative work as a symbol of what it means to be a human being in God’s image, we can see that man is the being that negotiates between chaos and order on the earth. We do this by finding ways to cultivate nature in a way that brings something new out of it that was not there before without eliminating its potential entirely. A good example might be a garden in which there are no insects. Without bugs, the garden will produce no fruit. It is too orderly. But in a field without cultivation there may or may not be food fit for humans depending upon weather and animal activity. In connection with John 1:1-18 and Colossians 1:15-20, we can see that

Continue reading

All in the Family: A Thank You Letter from Patti & Caleb Terry

We at Annapolis cherish the opportunity to impact the lives of our students and their families.  However, it warms our hearts even greater to receive positive feedback about our mission in providing high quality, academically-driven, and God-centered education.  We invite you to read the following testimonial from one of our newer families, Patti and Caleb Terry.

Continue reading

Meet the New ACA Faculty: 2016-2017

Choosing the right school for your child can be a challenging decision for any parent. There are a multitude of important things to consider from environment to test scores to reputation to facilities etc. But by far the most important criteria involves the quality of teachers.  True teaching is a high and noble calling and nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of your child’s teachers.  Each year, Annapolis does extensive searching, interviewing, and vetting of new teachers to find the best and brightest candidates.  This year is no exception and we are very proud to introduce you to the latest members of the Warrior Faculty!

Continue reading

ACA Hires New Chief Development Officer

Annapolis Christian Academy is pleased to announce the selection of Kyle Long as the academy’s next Chief Development Officer. Kyle is no stranger to Annapolis. From 2004 to the present, he has successfully led Annapolis’ varsity boys basketball team as head coach, and from 2008-2011 Kyle served as a member of the Annapolis Board of Trustees and led the board’s capital fundraising efforts during that time. Since 2003, Kyle has served as the Executive Vice President of an Oil and Gas exploration company in Corpus Christi where he played a critical role in sales and development. However, his passion has always been education.

Continue reading

Class of 2016 Salutatorian: An Interview with Samantha Wilmot

Samantha Wilmot is the Salutatorian of the Class of 2016 and will graduate with a GPA of 3.99 and top academic honors.  Here she reflects on her experience as a high school student at Annapolis.  Congratulations Samantha from all of us at Annapolis Christian Academy!  May God richly bless you!

Continue reading