Happy 2023!

Happy new year to everyone who still visits this site! It has been a long time since I have posted regular updates and my plan/resolution is for that to change in the new year. The reality is that I started this site/blog as a way to process my own thoughts on the integration of Christian faith and mathematics as someone wrapping up seminary who had an undergraduate degree in mathematics. I was wrestling with how my love of God and love of math went hand in hand. I have by know means “figured it out” but I believe I have grown a lot since those early days. At the very least I have had the opportunity to live out what were once just conceptions in my mind:

  • I have been blessed to work at a Christian school for the past decade and to lead the entire K-12 math program for the past few years. The time I haven’t spent writing here has been been spent putting ideas into action at my school – writing curriculum, crafting philosophy and vision statements, training and leading teachers, engaging with students and parents, etc. I hope in 2023 to do a better job of sharing more of the things we do at school here in this space.
  • I have been blessed to take the lead as the president of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences. So again, a lot of the energy I might normally put toward writing here has been directed elsewhere. We are currently in the process of revamping the ACMS website. I hope that it will become a landing spot for those seeking resources on the integration of faith and mathematics much like this site has been in the past (and maybe still is?).
  • Finally, I have actually been asked to write a book on faith and mathematics! This came as quite a (pleasant) surprise. I had always envisioned writing a book, but never thought a publisher would come seeking me out. Needless to say, this is yet another venture that will take my time away from here. However, I hope to process my book writing on here this year. The daunting part of writing a book, at least for me, is its (seeming) finality. The words and sentences need to be perfect – at least in my mind. The reality is that I just need to sit down and start writing and for some reason it feels easier to that here.

I hope to share more of what I have been working on and once again post and update this site regularly.

I’m excited to see what this new year brings!


A Philosophy of Teaching Math from a Christian Perspective

In my last post I shared our school’s math catechism. It struck me that for those interested in the topic of a catechism, you might also find our math department’s philosophy statement useful as well as it could also be used as a catechism.

One thing to note: as a K-12 math department we constantly revisit our departmental philosophy, so aspects of this could change in the future. What is below is where we are at right now.

Regents School of Austin Department of Mathematics

Departmental Philosophy

Mission Statement (WHY?):

The study of mathematics at Regents School of Austin is a Christ-centered discipleship process in which we cultivate the affections of students to pursue that which is True, Good, and Beautiful in the science and art of quantitative and critical reasoning.

Portrait of a Graduate (Students, WHAT?):

We are educating problem-solvers to become winsome servant-leaders who value active engagement in meaningful struggle as the means of growth academically, personally, relationally, and spiritually.

Mathematical Practices at Regents (Characteristics of professional excellence, HOW?):

Sense-making: Meaning. Before a problem can be solved it must be understood within the context of prior knowledge. Critical thinking is by definition the critique of ideas. Critique requires a prior standard against which new knowledge can be measured. All problems must be gauged through a Christian lens that sees God as the foundation of truth, beauty, and goodness.

Perseverance: Confidence paired with humility. Grit. There is no opting out. Engaging in the process of working towards a solution is more formative than achieving the solution itself. Perseverance is forged through shepherded periods of struggle.

Collaboration: Teamwork. Math is not meant to be done in isolation and neither the teacher nor the textbook is the ultimate authority. Students should be able engage well with their classmates, learning to both listen and lead.  

Communication: Students are expected to communicate reasoning in verbal, visual, and written form to both classmates as well as their teacher. Communication necessarily happens in community, with a diversity of thoughts and abilities. To communicate well is to be prepared to engage the thoughts of others and to be willing to have one’s own thoughts refined in return.

Grace: Mistakes will be made. They must be made in order to learn. Students must feel free to make conjectures, ask questions, make mistakes, and express ideas and opinions without fear of criticism. Students are expected to show grace to both their classmates and their teacher. And students can expect to receive grace from both their classmates and their teacher.

Service: A real problem is never truly solved without some sacrifice made on the part of the problem-solver (a giving of talent, time, or treasure). A true problem-solver operates in a constant mindset of serving others. Math education is not ultimately about self-promotion, rather it is about equipping students to love and serve others well.

Affection: An innate wonderment at the realities of mathematics, the applications of mathematics, and the connection between them. Embracing the imbued curiosity of humanness and exploring imaginative, creative, beautiful, and powerful notions introduced through the study of mathematics.

The Regents Podcast: Francis Su on Mathematics for Human Flourishing

The Regents Podcast is aimed to think about and equip how we practice that which is true, good, and beautiful in a 21st century context. The podcast gives Regents School of Austin a format to share with our community and beyond the amazing stories happening on our campus, and help equip parents shepherding their children’s hearts.

I had the pleasure to host a recent episode with Francis Su as my guest. Francis has written a book on Mathematics for Human Flourishing in which he examines the virtues cultivated through the study of mathematics.

You can find out more about the book on Francis’s homepage.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Podcast summary:

Dr. Francis Su, the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and author of the book “Mathematics for Human Flourishing”, joins Dr. Josh Wilkerson to discuss how the study of mathematics, at all levels, is an important human pursuit.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 7.58.55 PM