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February 27, 2013Culture

Morning Roundup 02/27/13: Five Reasons the Universities Matter; Starting Ministries; Do Illegal Immigrants Hurt the Economy; LGBT Population by State

Here is part 2 of the series that Bruce Ashford is posting on the university context.

A Missiology for the Academy (2): Five Reasons the Universities Matter -- Bruce Ashford

1. The Universal Nature of Christ's Lordship -- Academic activity should take place under the absolute Lordship of Christ. Christ is the creator and King over all things, and one day will restore all things. He is not merely the Lord over my quiet times; he is Lord over my work, my leisure, and my civil life. He is not merely sovereign over local church gatherings; he is the Lord over artistic, scientific, political, entrepreneurial, and scholarly endeavors. No piece of our ("secular") life is to be sealed off from Christ's lordship. Every square inch of it belongs to Christ and ought to be made to honor him. Missional Christians not only proclaim the gospel with words, they promote it in their academic and cultural lives.

2. The Powerful Influence of the University -- In the United States and in many other countries, the university serves as the environment in which many or most of the country's leaders are shaped. These future scientists, filmmakers, Supreme Court justices, journalists, and billionaire entrepreneurs often receive their most formative "worldview moments" as they are students on a college campus. In many countries, including our own, these 18-year-olds are taught by faculty members who seek consciously, carefully, and consistently to undermine everything that Christians hold true and dear.

3. The Readily Receptive Mind-Set of University Students -- The third point overlaps with the second. Universities are full of students in their late teens and early twenties who are waiting to be instructed and inspired. Very likely, the path they choose in college is the path they'll remain upon for the rest of their lives. Osama bin Laden embraced jihadism largely because he found himself mesmerized by Professor Abdullah Azzam when bin Laden was a young student at King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia. Friedrich Nietzsche forsook Christ during studies at the University of Bonn. Hundreds of thousands of students continue to reject Christianity, or never encounter the Christian faith, precisely because the professors who capture their imaginations and who shape their worldviews are unbelievers.

4. The Breadth of Christ's Atonement -- Evangelicals sometimes embrace a sort of reverse snobbery directed towards the cultural elite, especially against professors and students in Ivy League schools and top-tier major state institutions. Because we're not included in their "club," we say in effect "to hell with 'em." But Christ died on behalf of the cultural elite, just as he died for the middle and lower classes. In fact, when we take an anti-elitist mentality--and Baptists often have adopted this mentality--we're being quintessentially American, but not quintessentially Christian.

5. The Danger of Split-Level Christianity -- At the university, young impressionable students study under opinionated and brilliant professors. These professors shape their students' worldviews in ways the students don't even notice. Even if these students are believers, or if they later become believers, they may unconsciously hold a non-Christian worldview while at the same time professing Christ as Savior. When talking about "spiritual" matters, they will sound like Christians, but when talking about anything "cultural" they'll likely sound like their professors. This sort of split-level Christianity is exactly what we must avoid. If Christ is Lord, then he is Lord over everything; he is not just Lord over our prayer time and church attendance, but also our university studies and future vocations.

Rick Warren has some helpful advice on starting ministries that are not driven by paid staff.

Never Start a Ministry Without a Minister -- Rick Warren

Saddleback didn't have an organized youth ministry until we had 500 in attendance. We didn't have a singles ministry until we had 1,000 people in attendance.

And I'm glad we didn't.

It's not because those ministries aren't important. They're vital! But God hadn't provided anyone to lead them. Never create a ministry position and then fill it. It's backwards. Your most critical component to a new ministry isn't the idea to start it--it's the leadership of the ministry. Every ministry rises and falls on leadership. Without the right leader, a ministry will just stumble along. It may even do more harm than good. I could tell you some horror stories about poorly-led ministries.

Be patient and trust God's timing. Don't try to outrun or outthink Him. The staff at Saddleback never starts new ministries. We may suggest an idea but we let the idea percolate until God provides the right person to lead it.

Don't push people into ministry either. It's not about you finding the right person to start your dream ministry. It's about God raising up the right person. If you push people into ministry spots, you'll be stuck with a motivation problem for the life of the ministry.

Here is a helpful article on immigration and employment. Thanks to Gabriel Salguero for the tip.

Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy? -- New York Times

As Congress debates the contours of immigration reform, many arguments have been made on economic grounds. Undocumented workers, some suggest, undercut wages and take jobs that would otherwise go to Americans. Worse, the argument goes, many use social programs, like hospitals and schools, that cost taxpayers and add to our $16 trillion national debt. Would deporting Pedro Chan and the other 11 million or so undocumented workers mean more jobs, lower taxes and a stronger economy?

Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. Similarly skilled native-born workers are faced with a choice of either accepting lower pay or not working in the field at all. Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma -- 25 million of them -- by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent.

The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive. Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has written a series of influential papers comparing the labor markets in states with high immigration levels to those with low ones. He concluded that undocumented workers do not compete with skilled laborers -- instead, they complement them. Economies, as Adam Smith argued in "Wealth of Nations," work best when workers become specialized and divide up tasks among themselves. Pedro Chan's ability to take care of routine tasks on a work site allows carpenters and electricians to focus on what they do best. In states with more undocumented immigrants, Peri said, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy's productivity grew. From 1990 to 2007, undocumented workers increased legal workers' pay in complementary jobs by up to 10 percent.

Here is an interesting look at where the LGBT community lives in the United States.

Washington, D.C. Has Highest Percentage of LGBT Population, According to Nationwide Count -- Slate

It isn't even close. Ten percent of adult residents in Washington, D.C. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, according to a groundbreaking new Gallup study that for the first time has estimated LGBT population by state. The next state on the list--Hawaii--is almost five percentage points lower with 5.1 percent of the population identifying as LGBT. Illustrating just how much of an outlier the District of Columbia truly is, all states are within two percentage points of the 3.5 percent national average.

The fact that there are lots of self-identified gay people in D.C. is hardly surprising, but the Gallup study is significant because it's the largest of its kind to analyze the distribution of the LGBT population in the United States and the first time the sample size has been large enough to provide estimates by state. "This is simply new ground--these are not just new statistics, they are the only estimates we have of these people at the state level," UCLA scholar Gary J. Gates, who carried out the study along with Gallup, told the Los Angeles Times. "There is no other data out there to verify these numbers, which constitute a significant advancement in our understanding of the LGBT population."

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