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Have You Ever Had a Pastoral Visit?

Great observations from Michael Horton on an old practice less common in our day.  An excerpt:

Pastors today aren’t as busy as Luther.  Yet Luther said that it was the pastor’s duty to teach the catechism to the people, and he did so.  He did it for the young people. And he taught them on personal visits.

This view of the pastor was carried over into Reformed practice also.  Right down to today, pastors and elders make it a point to visit every family in the congregation—at least once a year.

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Should We Become a Cashless Society?

800px-Credit-cards.jpgConfession: I hate carrying and spending cash. Always have. I like the convenience of putting everything on one credit card, being able to have an instant record of my spending, and (of course) earning 1 percent cash back. I’m not prone to impulse purchases, and I’ve always paid my bill in full and on time. But Derek Thomas has a provocative article in The Atlantic on the downsides of our becoming a cashless society.

Thomas writes: “In the 1970s, fewer than 20 percent of the adult population owned a credit card. Today, between 70 and 80 percent of the adult population does.” So what? Thomas goes on to argue:

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Doug Phillips and Vision Forum: What Happened?

Doug Phillips speaks at the 2012 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.In a forthcoming cover story for World magazine, Jamie Dean explores the background of what appeared to many (myself included) to be the sudden resignation of Doug Phillips.

Dean writes that Phillips’ confession “didn’t include at least two significant details: The unmarried woman had been a member of his church, and Phillips had continued in his public ministry at VFM for at least eight months after he confessed to church leadership.”

Phillips’ October confession, Dean writes, “came the day after five men arrived at his San Antonio home to ask him about reports they heard concerning his indiscretions.”

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Half of College Presidents Lack Long-term Confidence in Their Financial Model

The 2014 survey of college and university presidents, sponsored by Inside Higher Ed, has a few results that feed the narrative that while college has never been more expensive, many institutions are on unsustainable financial path (HT: the reference comes from chapter 4 of Jeff Selingo’s groundbreaking book College UnBound.)

Here are a few examples from the survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds of presidents are confident about the sustainability of their institution’s financial mode over the next five years — but that proportion falls to half over 10 years. Asked to rate the financial viability of various sectors of colleges, presidents were most pessimistic about non-wealthy private colleges, for-profit institutions, and non-flagship public universities.
  • Just 5 percent of all campus leaders strongly agree that the economic downturn that started in 2008 is effectively over at their institution.
  • Fewer than one in five presidents agree that assertions that a “significant number” of colleges face “existential financial crisis” are “overblown.”
You can freely download the entire survey (a 21 page PDF) by filling out a brief form.

Amazon is Temporarily Sold Out, But CBD and Others Have It

Amazon is temporarily out of inventory, but CBD has it, as does WTS Books, and others (including me, see the various widgets running down the right sidebar).

This is a good problem to have!  If you’ve not yet done so, consider checking out the book’s home page (which has been shared more times in two months than the Thriving at College page was shared in three years), reading an excerpt, watching the promo video, or reading a guest post I wrote for Desiring God or Bible Gateway.

Graduate-School Debt Is Raising Questions About Degrees’ Worth

Graduate-School Debt Is Raising Questions About Degrees’ Worth 1Great article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about rising debt loads for graduate students. Two highlights:

  • The average amount of education-related debt that doctoral-degree recipients said they accrued in graduate school increased to $14,479 in 2012, a 70-percent increase from a decade earlier, according to National Science Foundation data.
  • Three-quarters of master’s-degree recipients graduate with debt, with an average of $40,000, according to Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. About two-thirds of Ph.D. recipients accumulate debt, with an average of $60,000. The proportion of graduate students carrying undergraduate debt into graduate school, Ms. Stewart said, has doubled, to 40 percent, from the mid-1990s.
Read the whole thing (which may require a subscription to The Chronicle).

Millennials spend 18 hours/day interacting with media

That figure includes media multitasking (taking in more than one form of media at a time):

Read more.

Related: My Desiring God article on the importance of intellectual development early in life.

The Probability of Becoming a Pro Athlete

I believe organized sports have the potential for developing character and maturity in teens. They are by no means the only channel through which that can happen, but they are a legitimate channel. And it’s fine for teen athletes to have dreams of getting to the pros.

But it’d be unwise for them to put all their eggs in that basket. Here’s a great table from the NCAA showing that the probability of a HS athlete getting to the pros is less than 0.1% in every sport except baseball (0.5%).  Continue Reading…

Why Do Young People Abandon the Faith? post at the College Transition Initiative blog, gleaning wisdom from William Wilberforce’s book Real Christianity. Here are their four points (modified and generalized, and with my own commentary):

1. They succumb to temptations they haven’t faced before.

The draw of the party lifestyle is stronger when one is away from home and experiencing more freedom–and more loneliness–than ever before.

2. They never learned how to think. 

Discernment is crucial. They need to learn how to apply the faith in various circumstances. If the Christianity of a young adult is superficial, there’s a good chance its on its Continue Reading…

Student Loan Debt–a Marriage Problem?

Fascinating post by Joe Carter. Excerpt:

According to a study by sociologists at Rice University, college students whose parents are not married to each other face significantly heavier financial burdens for the simple reason that married parents, relative to other parents, contribute significantly more to their children’s college education:

Married parents not only contributed more in absolute terms to their children’s education than divorced parents ($4,700 median amount per year vs. $1,500 per year; p<.001) but also gave a larger proportion of their income to their children’s education (8 percent vs. 6 percent, p<.05). Married parents also outscored remarried parents in absolute ($4,700 per year vs. $2,490; p<.001) and proportional terms (8 percent of income vs. 5 percent; p<.001). Moreover, married parents covered a significantly greater proportion of their children’s financial needs, as defined by the cost of the college in which they are enrolled minus aid….

Read the whole thing.

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