If you have at least ten minutes to spare today, you need to watch this great video from The Open University on the history of the English language.
Cyprian of Carthage was martyred on September 14, 258. For years he had been one of the most influential Christian leaders in the church. And he stands as a notable example of how important African Christians were to the early church. He’s best known for his writings on the nature of the church, which played an important role in the Donatist schism that troubled the church so much in later generations and in shaping the theology of other North African theologians like Augustine.
Today’s prayer is often attributed to Cyprian, and is a prayer for the well-being of those who have been imprisoned and those entrusted with their care.
Most gracious Father, bless with Thy special care all penitentiaries and homes of refuge. Look with pity upon those who are housed there.
Guide and protect those who have returned to the world. Grant all of them true contrition for past sins, and strengthen them in their good resolutions. Lead them along from grace to grace so that by the help of the Holy Ghost they may persevere in the ways of obedience and humility, and in the struggle against evil thoughts and desires.
Grant the Holy Spirit to those engaged in teaching and training them, that they might have a right judgment with respect to those entrusted to them. May they labor for love of Thee with deep humility and singleness of purpose, purity of heart and life, and true zeal for Thy glory and the salvation of souls. Give them faith and love to sustain them in disappointment, love and patience toward those under them, and in Thine own good time crown their work with an eternal recompense.
This we ask in the name of Thine only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.
- The Myth of the Relevant Sermon: It is not the responsibility of the preacher to make the Bible relevant. Instead, it is the responsibility of the preacher to show his congregation that the Bible IS relevant.
- What’s Wrong with Self-Help Books? Journalists say they want to help people. So why do they sneer at self-help books?
- A More Religious World: God had a good convention: The Almighty’s name was mentioned (albeit at the last minute) in the platform at the Democratic National Convention. And He was invoked no less than 12 times in the Republican platform, in case He is keeping score. But the real news is that God is having a strong millennium, according to some fascinating poll results from the Pew Research Center.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the demise of guys, here’s an infographic on the changing demographics of higher education. As you can see, women now receive well over half of all degrees awarded, with a particularly large share of masters degrees.
This is, of course, one of those good news/bad news situations. The good news is that women are getting more opportunities in higher education and succeeding at higher rates. That’s outstanding. As the father of two daughters, I find it very encouraging to see how well women are doing in higher education. A generation of highly motivated and highly trained young women makes for an exciting vision of the future.
But, as we saw yesterday, some of this appears to be coming as a result of the poor performance of many young men. And that’s not so great. A generation of underperforming and undereducated young men does not speak well for where things are heading.
Now I realize that getting a degree isn’t the only way to pursue excellence. So don’t think I’m saying that any guy who doesn’t get a degree is a lazy loser. But when you see things shift this dramatically, it does raise significant questions about what’s happening with young men in America and why they are not doing well in higher education overall. (And, as Pat pointed out in a comment on yesterday’s post, it also raises questions about what kinds of losers my daughters may end up dating in the future. I’m still a couple years away from dealing with that, but I’m not looking forward to it. So if you’re a loser guy, please stay away and date someone else’s daughters. If you show up at my door, I will be forced to read systematic theology books to you until you go away.)
According to psychologist Philip Zimbardo, young men in America are doomed–at least they are educationally, relationally, and sexually. As he says at the beginning of his recent TED Talks video, “The Demise of Guys,”
Guys are flaming out academically, they’re wiping out relationally with girls, and sexually with women. Other than that, there’s not much of a problem.
You may remember Zimbardo from his famous “Stanford prison experiment,” which divided students into “prisoners” and “guards” to study the effects of power relationships. Now he’s looking at why it is that young men in America seem to be performing poorly in so many areas. Educationally “girls now outperform boys at all levels from elementary school to graduate school.” And relationally guys are rather clueless. (That’s been true for a long time, but apparently it’s getting worse.)
- How Do You Explain the Trinity to Children: Sometimes we seek a quick analogy for children because we want to put our kids out of their mystery. If the Trinity is an easy explanation (it’s like a shamrock; it’s like water, ice, and steam), we can “move on.” We’re afraid if we say that the Trinity is in some ways beyond comprehension that our kids won’t trust us to tell them with confidence about the truth of the gospel.
- The Rise of the Corporate Chaplain: These chaplains are a rising regiment of corporate America’s human-resources army, as employers have found that a pastoral touch is often more appealing to workers than an impersonal hotline of the sort included in many benefits packages.
- The Race-Transcending Gospel: The gospel has power to bring even the most unlikely of people together for his glory. God will also give the most unlikely of people the power to share with those unlike themselves.
- Why Little Kids Need Big Biblical Words: Small kids need big words. Not because they understand everything all at once but because, over time, God uses the inspired words of His Book to convict kids of sin and convince them to repent and believe in Christ.
For the last few weeks, we’ve wrestled with exactly what this challenging and important passage means. And today I’d like to wrap things up.
But this is just the first part of the journey. It’s one thing to understand what it means to be made in the image of God, but it’s something else entirely to wrestle with whether it really matters. That’s where we’re headed next.
But, before we get there, let’s pull everything together.
The Journey So Far
In our journey toward understanding the image of God, I’ve argued that the image is basically about “representation.” In other words, human beings represent God because (for some reason) he’s decided to manifest his glorious presence in creation through us. And, as his representatives, he has given us the responsibility of “ruling” in his place. I have to admit that I still think this was an odd decision given what a mess we’ve made of things, but I’m sure God has his reasons.
Two weeks ago, Bill Nye (yes, the Science Guy) created an internet sensation with a You Tube video arguing that creationism is not appropriate for children. Almost 4.5 million views later (as of this morning), that video has certainly made quite the splash.
His basic premise is that since “evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science,” anyone who teaches their kids that evolution isn’t true is really holding their kids back. As he says,
I say to the grown ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it because we need them.
Now the people from Answers in Genesis have responded. In the video below prominent creationist Ken Ham calls Bill Nye “the Humanist Guy” and critiques him for having an agenda of his own, creating lots of little humanists. And (big surprise) Ham contends that teaching kids evolution is the truly harmful thing to do.
You can watch the video exchange below. Check it out and let me know what you think.
- Philosophy v science: which can answer the big questions of life?: I do wonder whether science hasn’t suffered from a little mission creep of late. Not content with having achieved so much, some scientists want to take over the domain of other disciplines.
- The Neverending Hunt for Utopia: our history can be defined, surprisingly helpfully, as the study of a struggle against fear and want—and where these conditions exist, it seems to me, there is always that most human of responses to them: hope.
- Breaking Out of a Destructive Do-It-Yourself Mentality: The “I-can-do-it-myself” approach typically leads to an enormous amount of unnecessary pressure, stress, and procrastination that could have been avoided by building in the right support structure early on.
- Why Fathers Really Matter: In other words, what a man needs to know is that his life experience leaves biological traces on his children. Even more astonishingly, those children may pass those traces along to their children.