Sunday, August 26, 2012

Charles Blow's Inadvertent Indictment of Leftist Politics

Charles Blow is a Democrat-oriented columnist for the New York Times. He has written a column this week entitled "Starving the Future." Blow's intention in the column was to build a case for Democratic entitlement policies (and thereby to attack VP candidate Paul Ryan) by envisaging the dire competitive future that American children face vis-à-vis their Chinese and Indian peers.

Here's Blow's rationale, excerpted in his own words from the article and presented faithfully and true to the flow of his rhetoric:

  1. "Emerging economic powers China and India are heavily investing in educating the world’s future workers while we squabble about punishing teachers and coddling children."
  2. Why is the future so bright for the children of China and India? Because "by 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates — more than the entire U.S. work force," and "by 2017, India will graduate 20 million people from high school — or five times as many as in the United States."
  3. What is it that makes the future so bleak for American children? The facts that "Half of U.S. children get no early childhood education, and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment," "More than a quarter of U.S. children have a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, threatening their capacity to learn," "More than 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2010, up from about 17 percent in 2007," and "More than half of U.S. postsecondary students drop out without receiving a degree."
  4. Also, Blow would like you to know that American "students regularly come to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home," and "The saddest are the children who cry when we get out early for a snow day because they won’t get lunch."

Do you follow the line of reasoning there? China and India are about to dominate the future workforce by producing more workers in the youngest demographic than we have in our total workforce. The solution is to make sure our children can do well in school by using government entitlement programs to combat hunger and poverty among our children and to hire more teachers.

Blow's statistics are impressive and should alarm us all. Blow's reasoning from them is insane.

The nations that he says are about to dominate us (China and India) have HIGHER rates of childhood poverty and hunger than we do. By quite a bit. At least, that's what UNICEF says (not exactly a right-wing group).

Also, these nations that are about to dominate us have HIGHER student-teacher ratios than we do. Ours (sitting at about 14) is less than half as much as India's and is slightly better than China's.

How are China and India about to dominate the world economy and leave the USA in the dust? Not by having more effective government handouts. Not by having more teachers in their schools. China and India are about to surpass us simply by having more children.

American society hates children. It is sacred to us to make sure that we can delay childbearing, prevent childbearing, murder children before they are born, and normalize and promote sexual relationships that have no hope of producing children. With each passing generation we have fewer and fewer children.

Charles Blow and his party are the number-one reason why.

Our future is not hungry for more government welfare. Our future is not hungry for more liberal indoctrination. Our future is starving all right, but it is starving for functional family life and an embrace and promotion of historic traditional parenting as a blessing to our society.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Teaching at Seminary

God has called me to be a pastor, and I intend to be faithful to that calling, in just that context, until God clearly and definitively calls me elsewhere (or until no congregation will suffer me to serve any longer). This has been the primary reason why I have rebuffed opportunities to put my degree to work as a faculty member somewhere.

But there has been another reason, secondary to the first, but powerful.

I have suspected that serving as a seminary professor would be boring to me. Teaching Introduction to Church History would be, the first time I did it as a full-time faculty member, very exciting, I'm sure. I'm sure it would still be exciting the second time through. But how would I feel about it the sixth time I dusted off those notes and started in once again on good old Church History I?

I suspect they'd have to lock me in a rubber room.

And for this reason, I've felt some pity toward those who teach at seminary and are locked in such a repetitive job. One thing you've got to say about serving as the pastor of any local church—every day is different!

Last night that changed for me. Last night I attended Dr. Ryan Stokes's lecture "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origin of Satan." A light bulb went on last night and I saw some things that I think are pretty winsome about serving as a seminary professor.

Seminary profs get unparalleled access to their colleagues' research and to the seminary's resources. They get to attend lectures and colloquia. I don't know that every seminary professor takes advantage of the opportunity, but they regularly get chances to learn a lot from their peers. That would be enjoyable to me. And from the times I've passed by, for example, Dr. James Leo Garrett spending an entire day at work in the library feeding his curiosity, he's never looked bored to me.

Seminary profs have the opportunity for enriching collegiality. Dr. Patterson has built a faculty at SWBTS that includes a lot of strong friendships. Especially with regard to many of the newer faculty members, the fraternal kinship among these professors is hard to miss. I think that seminary professors may have a far better opportunity to build deep friendships with peers than do most pastors in local churches. Of course, down through the years I've also seen a few occasions of deep enmity springing up among faculty members, and in the past those experiences have sometimes led me to think that faculty tend to be a petty and easily-offended lot. But I was wrong about that, and my eyes have been opened to see how deeply these people can come to care about one another.

Of course, I've always known that seminary professors have a great opportunity to achieve widespread impact for the advance of the gospel. The best faculty members (in my opinion) relish in their contribution to souls won, churches strengthened, and believers equipped.

So, my seminary-professor friends, I'm thankful for you. I hope you're having fun doing what you're doing. Dr. Patterson, I'm thankful for your work to build a community of faithful scholars at SWBTS. I'm proud to partner with the lot of you under the lordship of Christ until He comes.