Frank Bruni’s new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania looks great, especially for upper and upper-middle class parents currently biting their nails over whether Junior will get into Princeton. For the rest of you, let me explain: Over the next few weeks, tens of thousands of “fat envelopes” (acceptances) and hundreds of thousands of “thin envelopes” (rejections) will be mailed all across the country to high school seniors hoping to get into a couple dozen of the most elite universities. The belief is that if you get into one of these schools, you’re set. After four years of hobnobbing, partying, and anxiety-driven studying, you can count on a cushy job and a clear path to a corner office. While relatively few Americans live out the extreme forms of “college admissions mania,” many more have bought into some form of this pervasive mythology. The truth? How successful a person becomes, financially and otherwise, depends far more on the person than his or her alma mater.
Why are millions of twenty-first century women drawn to a story about a rich man wooing, oppressing and humiliating a young, vulnerable woman? Don’t we live in a day in which sexual assault on college campuses and domestic abuse by professional football players fills us with indignation? Ross Douthat explain this mystery:
Viewed from one angle, the sexual revolution looks obviously egalitarian. It’s about extending to everyone the liberties–the freedom to be promiscuous, to pursue sexual fulfillment without guilt–that were once available only to privileged cisgendered heterosexual males. It’s about ushering in a society where everyone can freely love and take pleasure in anyone and anything they want.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
It’s commonly believed that young Christians are frustrated with the church’s “outdated” views on sex and marriage. But when you survey those who actually attend church weekly (rather than merely identify themselves as “Baptist” or “Presbyterian”), you find:
- Only 11 percent of young, religiously active evangelicals actively expressed support for same-sex marriage. (Compared to a strong majority of their non-believing peer group.)
- Approximately 6 percent of young, religiously active evangelicals expressed support for abortion rights. (Compared to 70 percent in their non-believing peer group.)
- Approximately 5 percent of young, religiously active evangelicals agreed that cohabitation is acceptable. (Compared to 70 percent in their non-believing peer group.)
None of this is to deny that the sexual revolution continues apace. The broader culture is shifting. But younger evangelicals are, by and large, happily swimming upstream.
I’ve not yet seen The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity by Barnabas Piper, which releases today. But having spent a few years as one of 25 or so apprentices at Bethlehem Baptist Church, I’m intrigued by a book which (among other things, I’m sure) gives perspective on what it was like growing up in the Piper household. Today Jonathan Merritt posts an interview with Barnabas. Here’s an excerpt:
RNS: What was the biggest negative you experienced growing up in the Piper household? Greatest positive?
BP: The biggest negative was not connecting with God in a personal way. My dad’s view of, and relationship with, God is so big and so powerful that it looked like the only way to come to God. But it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t until I was out of college and things kind of fell apart for me that I encountered God’s grace and the person of Jesus in a profound way on my own.