Morning Roundup - May 8, 2012
David Brooks always makes me think. I believe his comments on online education will have major ramifications in seminary training:
How are they going to blend online information with face-to-face discussion, tutoring, debate, coaching, writing and projects? How are they going to build the social capital that leads to vibrant learning communities? Online education could potentially push colleges up the value chain-- away from information transmission and up to higher things.
In a blended online world, a local professor could select not only the reading material, but do so from an array of different lecturers, who would provide different perspectives from around the world. The local professor would do more tutoring and conversing and less lecturing. Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School notes it will be easier to break academic silos, combining calculus and chemistry lectures or literature and history presentations in a single course.
The early Web radically democratized culture, but now in the media and elsewhere you're seeing a flight to quality. The best American colleges should be able to establish a magnetic authoritative presence online.
Jonathan Merritt provides a provocative look at younger Christians engaging culture in a USAToday editorial. I expect that some will disagree with his conclusions, but he is influential and makes a compelling case, particularly in the three shifts he mentions.
Three primary shifts are occurring:
• From partisan to independent. Christians of yesteryear saw the two-party political system as an indispensable mechanism for promoting their values, but young Christians recognize the limitations and pitfalls of partisan politics.
• From a narrow agenda to a broader one. An earmark of the culture wars was a tightly defined agenda, focused almost exclusively on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and, occasionally, religious liberty. There is no longer a strict hierarchy of arrangement in the minds of the emerging faithful, but rather a broad range of issues to which Christians must attend.
• From divisive rhetoric to civil dialogue. Americans in general are weary of the reactionary, angry, polemical language that stymies progress and the common good. Two-thirds of Americans believe we have a major problem with civility. More than seven in 10 agree that social behaviors are ruder than in the past.
Thom Rainer provides a helpful insights for pastors:
It may be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Indeed, it may be an impossible job to do in our own strength... let's look at five tough challenges for pastors.
1. Responding graciously to someone right before you preach.
2. Knowing what do with a staff member who is not making a vital contribution to the church.
3. Loving a person in the church when that person is your critic.
4. Preparing more than one quality sermon a week.
5. Doing the funeral of a person who was not a Christian.