Archive - June, 2013

Are the Liberal Arts Dead?

With college tuition at an all-time high, many in higher education are explicitly promoting the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  For example, Governor Scott in Florida may reduce tuition in STEM fields at state institutions.  Others argue for the enduring value of a broad-based liberal arts education as a means to enhance critical thinking and communication skills. Steve Yoder wrote a balanced article in The Fiscal Times, helpfully exploring both sides of the issue.  A few excerpts:

  • The number of liberal arts colleges nationwide has dropped from 212 in 1990 to only 130 today, according to a study this summer in the journal Liberal Education.
  • A study released last January by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce found that college graduates age 22−26 with humanities and liberal arts degrees had an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, the third worst of the 15 degree areas sampled. Health and education majors fared best, both at 1.9 percent.
  • Continue Reading…

Randy Alcorn’s new graphic novel Eternity

Randy Alcorn has just released a graphic novel called Eternity. It’d be a great giveaway for a teen or pre-teen boy who enjoys comic books (even if he’s never read the Bible or heard about Jesus). I was invited to offer an endorsement, and here’s what I wrote:

“Randy Alcorn’s Eternity is an engaging, biblically faithful, and beautifully illustrated retelling of Jesus’ story of a rich man and Lazarus, a beggar, both of whom die and have their fortunes immediately reversed (Luke 16:19-31). But it’s more than that. Alcorn used this story to unpack the weighty realities of heaven, hell, and the choice every person–rich or poor, young or old–must make: Will we appear before God on the basis of our sinful record, or on the basis of Christ’s perfect record? I expect Eternity will be a powerful tool for presenting the gospel to young adult readers, some of whom may be totally unfamiliar with the Bible, but after reading this book will know everything they need to know to get right with God and begin a life of increasing conformity to their original, divine design.

Some will be skeptical about a graphic novel. Pick it up and give it a try. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to put it down.”

Continue Reading…

Is college worth it?

Yesterday I watched Dr. William J. Bennett, David Wilezol, Dr. Richard Vedder, and others address the value of a college degree in today’s economy. The discussion was centered on a new book from Bennett and Wilezol entitled Is College Worth It?: A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education.

The video of the brief lectures and panel discussion have been made available, and here is something of a summary post about the event.

I’ve picked up the book and started to read it. Thus far, their thesis seems to be that college is worth it for some people (those who have intellectual ability and personal discipline) at some colleges (those that haven’t watered-down their academics) in some majors (those that have reliable market value, particularly if you’re needing to debt-finance your education).  I imagine I’ll have more to say about this book in the days ahead.

A Letter From Dad

This man’s son had a short life full of meaning:

Steve Jobs Movie – Releases Aug. 16

This film just might be insanely great.  There’s no official trailer yet, and not much of a website, but the casting looks terrific in this one minute clip:


One more thing: The biography on Jobs by Walter Isaacson is terrific.

The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad

Bradford Wilcox, writing for The Atlantic, opens this way:

I understand where Jennifer Aniston is coming from. Like many of her peers in Hollywood, not to mention scholars and writers opining on fatherhood these days, she has come to the conclusion that dads are dispensable: “Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child,” she said at a press conference a few years ago.

Continue Reading…

Does International Child Sponsorship Work?

child-sponsorshipJoe Carter helpfully summarizes a peer-reviewed, independent study on the viability of international child sponsorship led by Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. Key findings:

  • Former Compassion sponsored children stay in school 1 to 1.5 years longer than their non-sponsored peers (In Uganda, the numbers are much higher—2.4 years). An extra year of schooling could have long-lasting impact on a child’s future employment possibilities as an adult.
  • Former Compassion sponsored children were 27-40 percent more likely to finish secondary education than those who were not enrolled in the child sponsorship program. Continue Reading…

How Do Young Atheists Arrive at Unbelief?

Great article last week in The Atlantic by Larry Alex Taunton called Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity.  Tauton discusses a research project in which college students from the “atheist equivalents to Campus Crusade”–the Secular Student Alliances (SSA) and the Freethought Societies (FS)–were asked to tell their story of how they came to embrace atheism.  A few common themes emerged:

1. Most became atheists for emotional reasons while claiming to have become atheists for rationale/scientific reasons.

2. They grew up attending church, but the mission and message of their churches was vague.

3. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.

4. They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously.

5. Ages 14-17 were decisive.

6. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism (not “New Atheist” literature).

Check out the article. It’s quite insightful, particular for parents of teens and church youth workers.

Larry Alex Taunton is the executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation and the author of The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief.

Congratulations, Tim Tebow

Word is out that Tim Tebow has signed with the New England Patriots. His position is quarterback, and he’s expected to report to the Patriots mandatory mini-camp tomorrow. The deal came together quickly in the last 24 hours. Duration of the contract or financial details were not disclosed.

I’m no sports analyst, but I think this is a great move for the Patriots. Tebow is not the distracting side-show some consider him to be. He’s a focused, hard-working player with impeccable character. On the field he’s a leader who knows how to scramble, gain yardage, and win football games. His playoff win with the Denver Broncos was a great feat for a player his age. Best wishes, Mr. Tebow!

3801 Lancaster – More to be Told

An appeal from David Altrogge, writer and director of 3801 Lancaster.

A quick Google search on “The next gosnell” nets numerous stories from all over the country, which speaks to the importance of what Mr. Altrogge is doing.

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