John Piper Answers: Do You Regret Partnering with Mark Driscoll?

John Piper draws eight lessons learned from his partnering with Mark Driscoll.

I think Pastor John is being too hard on himself when he expresses regret over not being a better friend to Driscoll. Piper’s efforts were noble, sincere, and enduring, and anyone hearing this audio can tell that Piper’s heart goes out to Mr. Driscoll in a desire to help him today.

But I respectfully disagree with Pastor John’s decision to have Driscoll speak at Desiring God national conferences in 2006 and 2008. It’s not that I think it was wrong for Piper to befriend Driscoll–I was, and am, for that. Private, redemptive engagement is worthwhile. It’s that I believe Driscoll’s readily discernible character flaws should have precluded putting him forward on the platform at a DG national event, however accurate his theology and however helpful his teaching. I agree that eventually a man’s books (his message) can be separated from the man. But not while that man is on a stage giving the message. At that moment they are inseparable. So the cons, including the additional elevation of Driscoll, simply outweighed any pros in my estimation. It may also be that the public affirmation of Driscoll somehow worked to at least partially undermine Piper’s private efforts of correction and admonition.

The No. 1 Reason Teens Keeps the Faith as Young Adults

David Briggs, writing for the Huffington Post:

Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

Just 1 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid-to-late 20s.

In contrast, 82 percent of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults, according to data from the latest wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion.

Read the whole thing.

HT: @BrettKunkle

Alex & Brett Harris (Still) Doing Hard Things

Freelance writer Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra has an excellent article/interview about what Alex and Brett Harris are doing these days. Six years ago these brothers co-authors the best-selling book Do Hard Things (over 450,000 copies have sold). Today, they’re both still doing hard things, but in very different ways. Alex is in his third year of law school and Brett is caring for an ailing wife.

Both comment extensively in the article about how their background and the do-hard-things mentality prepared them for their current challenges.

“Doing hard things in one season prepares you to step into the next with momentum and purpose,” Alex said.

Continue Reading…

How should we vote as Christians whose citizenship is ultimately in heaven?

In an excellent article for election day, John Piper takes five points from 1 Cor. 7:29–31, applying each of them to voting. These are helpful reminders, especially for those of us who get absorbed with politics at this time of year. I’ve greatly summarized his commentary here–be sure to read the whole thing.

1. “Let those who have wives live as though they had none.”

The outcomes of voting “do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t.”

2. “Let those who mourn [do so] as though they were not mourning.”

“We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win.” In either case, “our expectations and frustrations should be modest.”

Continue Reading…

How Do We Fix Our Schools?

Joel Klein is the former chancellor of New York City schools. So he has a unique vantage point from which to assess the state of K-12 education in America. Today he has an article in the WSJ about raising the quality of teachers. Looking at Finland, which 40 years ago ranked near the bottom in Europe but today boasts a high school graduation rate of 93 percent, Klein writes:

The Finnish model suggests that, if we are serious about improving the quality of the people who go into teaching, we must begin by asking more of the education schools that train our teachers. Far too many of these schools function as indiscriminate revenue sources for universities and colleges, accepting underqualified students and their tuition dollars for programs that are academically weak.

Continue Reading…

Blog Hibernation Over?

Dear Whatever Readers Are Left,

I’m sorry for letting this blog go dark for almost three months. I love blogging, but my plate has been exceedingly full this fall. In August I returned to full-time teaching and administrative responsibilities after a year-long writing sabbatical in which, by God’s grace, I published a book and completed a 60,000 word manuscript for another. These recent months I’ve also been fulfilling a few speaking engagements, doing a few online interviews related to my previous books, and working with my editor on the latest manuscript. This new book releases, Lord willing, December 2015. I’ve also been enjoying more time with my family, among other things helping my kids learn to ride their bicycles–the older two no longer require training wheels! Good times.

I hope to bring the blog back, focusing on issues related to education, faith, and the challenges young adults face transitioning out of the home and into the world.

Thanks for any interest,
Alex

How Bad Is the Job Market for the Class of 2014?

epi_college_unemployment
 
I missed this May 2014 article in Slate by Jordan Weissmann.

In the graph to the left “underemployed” is defined as “either jobless and hunting for work; working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job; or want a job, have looked within the past year, but have now given up on searching.”

Weissmann explains that over-qualification represents another kind of underemployment. “In a January report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that roughly 44 percent of recent graduates—meaning those ages 22 to 27 with a B.A. or higher—were in a job that did not technically demand a bachelor’s degree.”

Is that bad? Actually, it’s on par with the early 1990s. The difference is that many of the jobs that don’t technically demand a bachelor’s degree no longer pay well. Their wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living. Today, less than 40 percent of these jobs pay more  than $45,000 per year. Over 20 percent pay less than $25,000 per year.

Read the whole thing.

How Should We Understand Mental Illness Through the Lens of Faith?

Two excerpts from a recent article by Dr. Michael Horton:

According to a 2013 survey by LifeWay Research, one-third of Americans agree that “prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness.” Nearly half (48 percent) of evangelicals agree.

According to a 2008 Baylor study, 36 percent of church attendees with mental illness said that they were told by their leaders that it was the result of sin; 34 percent said they were told it was a demon; 41 percent were told they didn’t have a mental illness; and 28 percent were even told to stop taking medication.

Continue Reading…

Is the unwavering belief in the value of college justified?

In the previous post, I noted that 85% of parents strongly agreed that college was an investment in their child’s future, the highest in the last five years. Some will ask: Is such confidence justified? The answer seems to be yes: the earnings premium of having a college degree continues to rise. In 2013, the earnings premium in constant 2012 dollars was $17,500 versus $15,780 in 1995 and just $7,499 in 1965.

But here’s the troubling reality, and I think it’s driving some of the debate on the value of college. The wages for college grads have barely risen since 1986 (see below), even Continue Reading…

How We Pay For College is Changing

From a national study by Sallie Mae, How America Pays for College 2013. Four highlights:

  • Higher scholarships and grants. ”Free money” now pays for 30% of college costs, up from 25% four years ago.
  • Reduced parent contributions. Parents now fund from income and savings 27% of college expenses, down from 2010’s peak funding of 36%.
  • Unwavering belief in the value of college. 85% of parents strongly agreed that college was an investment in their child’s future, the highest in the last five years.
  • New cost-consciousness. A higher number of families factor college costs into the choice of school

HT: College Parents of America

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