The effect of the liberal arts in Hong Kong

Progressive education, which tries to reduce everything to a narrow academic specialty, thinks “liberal arts” means “humanities.”  But in reality, the classical liberal arts refers to a whole approach to education– one that is broad rather than narrow, connected rather than fragmented, open to the past rather than favoring whatever is new, etc., etc.

It’s called “liberal” from the Latin word for “freedom.”  It goes back to the distinction in ancient Greece and Rome between the “servile” education given to slaves (nothing more than training for a job) and the “liberal” education given to free citizens of the Greek democracy and the Roman Republic–one that required the cultivation of the intellect and other human powers, as well as knowledge of the cultural heritage that must be transmitted to the new generation.  (I argue that much of “progressive education” is a revival of “servile education.”)  Interestingly, when Melanchthon and other Reformers opened schools to teach the masses how to read the Bible, they instituted a liberal arts curriculum, an education for freedom.

The British have done much with liberal education, and the schools they started throughout the British empire tended to follow this approach.  Today, the still-Communist Chinese are blaming  the liberal arts curriculum in the schools of Hong Kong for the pro-freedom movement currently roiling that city, with the protests generally led by liberal arts students.  The movement is being called “scholarism.”  In the mean time, the Chinese government wants to impose a pro-government purely economic curriculum. Sound familiar? [Read more...]

The future of sports

In Europe and Asia, thousands of spectators are rooting for their favorite well-paid players, listening to color commentary, and filling arenas to watch people playing video games.

The time may come when, instead of watching professionals play in the NFL, we will watch professionals play Madden NFL. [Read more...]

Sologamy

Another family innovation:  Marrying yourself. [Read more...]

Engaging vs. accommodating the culture

My longtime friend, the Rev. Harold Senkbeil, has an article in the latest Concordia Journal entitled “Engaging the Culture Faithfully.”  It is a scathing critique of how the Church as a whole has been accommodating the culture instead of truly engaging it.  At the same time, it offers a genuinely pastoral response.

The article isn’t online, but Pastor Matthew Dent has posted some piercing quotations at Steadfast Lutherans, which you can see after the jump. [Read more...]

Amnesty by decree

President Obama has issued an executive order protecting some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation.

On what authority, you may ask?  He is invoking the principle of “prosecutor discretion,” under which a law enforcement officer may choose, for example, which speeders to chase down.  So here the Executive Branch, charged with carrying out the laws passed by the Legislative Branch, is just choosing not to enforce the law against illegal immigrants unless they have committed other crimes.  (But in forbidding immigration officials from enforcing the law, isn’t he taking away their “prosecutor discretion”?) [Read more...]

The Marriage Pledge?

Some ministers are signing a “marriage pledge” promising not to sign state marriage licenses as a protest against legalized gay marriage.

This strikes me as a terrible, if well-intentioned, idea.  Doesn’t this mean that the marriages performed by these pastors won’t be legally recognized, unless the couple goes through a separate civil service?  Also, at least for Lutherans but also for most Protestants, marriage is not a sacrament; rather, it falls under the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Left, so that it falls under civil jurisdiction.  (The Reformers fought hard to get marriage out from under the restrictions of the church’s Canon Law into the laws of the state.) In a wedding, the church blesses the marriage in God’s name, which is very important, but it doesn’t create a marriage in a sacramental sense.  (It would for Catholics, so I can see how they could sign a marriage pledge, but I can’t see how Protestants could.  That marriage has to do with the temporal authorities does not mean that the state can create new definitions of marriage, but it still has a legitimate legal authority that we are obliged to honor.)

So I don’t see how the marriage pledge can be either legally or theologically correct.  But maybe I’m missing something, so I’m open to correction.  Read the pledge after the jump. [Read more...]


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