The new new-NIV may be even more gender-inclusive

We blogged about how a Zondervan editor thinks the handling of the TNIV was a mistake, but, as some of you pointed out, he may have been referring more to mistakes of marketing than of mistakes of translation. Other news reports are suggesting that the new TNIV will have even more gender-inclusive language:

The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible is going to begin its first revision in over 25 years, according to the Associated Press. The changes that will be made will be to make the language more modern, meaning the text will reportedly have more gender neutral and inclusive language. It is expected that the revisions will be completed in late 2010 for publishing in 2011.

The most controversial aspect of the revision is the inclusion of gender neutral language. This new version will not have all gender references removed, only those where the translators feel that the original text did not intend to be gender exclusive. One example, according to the AP, would be changing “sons of God” to “children of God.”

See also this. Creating one impression with Christian publications and another with secular publications is not a good sign.

HT: Rev. James Douthwaite

Back to school issue

Today, as the kids go back to their studies and their parents breathe a sigh of relief (unless they are going back to their kids’ studies too), we think about education. . . .

President Obama at school

President Obama is going to address the nation’s school children today. Some parents are objecting. I don’t in principle. It would be a good custom for presidents, a patriotic exercise, an education in citizenship for the young tykes. I remember how in the days of JFK, we were all caught up in the “President’s physical fitness program,” doing pull-ups for our country.

And yet, if the President tries to form a children’s crusade, enlisting them in his causes and asking them to help him get his policies passed, I can understand the objections. Certainly, the President could serve as a good role model for African-American males, many of whom have written off school and vice versa, and his exhortations to value education could be very helpful. But I could see parents whose children nag them to support the president getting very annoyed.

Those of you whose children hard the speech, please report. What did the KIDS think of the speech? Are they now brainwashed zombies chanting O-ba-ma? Or not?

UPDATE: Here is the speech.

Why do kids need to get educated?

The Sunday Comics in the Washington Post has a feature in which kids write in with questions, usually science related, and the cartoonist answers them, usually with some kind of fun experiment. This week the question some kid asked was something like this: “Since we have the internet, why do we need to go to school?” I would suggest that the child who asked that has been very poorly served by whatever school he attends. The answer, though, didn’t make me feel much better. The sage on the page said that you go to school so you can learn critical thinking so that you can know what is true and what is false on the internet. Notice that the answer still privileges the internet as the source of all knowledge!

Then, the very next day, the Kid’s Post section–a page of news and features designed to hook children on the daily newspaper–asked, for its back to school issue, “Why do kids need to go to school?” The answers this time were that if you go to school, you’ll make more money; school teaches you to get along with others; it helps you set goals; it helps you participate in our democracy by making you knowledgeable about political issues.

Neither adult writer said ANYTHING about academics. NOTHING about literacy (even though you have to be able to both read and write to take advantage of the internet, if that’s going to be the criteria). NOTHING about learning what needs to be transmitted to every generation. NOTHING about science or math. NOTHING about any kind of content whatsoever.

This accords with the dogmas of progressive education, of course. Dewey said that students should learn processes, not content. It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they know how to read. Sadly, though, many students are not even learning processes anymore–such as how to read, write, calculate–as the focus shifts to socialization. (I would argue, though, that a society consisting only of other children your same age is hardly a society at all.)

Teaching content

Some of you in that education-related post of a few days ago, expressed concern about homeschooling that many parents do not know enough about certain subjects to teach them to their children, who would do better to learn them from teachers who are the experts. Have you ever seen the college curriculum required for an education major to become an elementary school teacher? They have to take virtually all education courses. The typical elementary school teacher in a math class has likely not had math since she was in grade school or maybe high school herself. They don’t study the subjects they have to teach. It’s better in high school, since teachers at that level do have to have courses in a specific subject area (math, science, history, English, etc.). But it’s hard to teach children on a more advanced level when they do not have a solid foundation.

Please note, I am NOT blaming elementary school teachers, who often do a heroic job. I am blaming the contemporary educational theory that so often thwarts their best efforts. My point here is that homeschooling parents generally have just as much content-area expertise as public school teachers on the elementary level. But they are generally committed to teaching content, which they do by means of the content-rich curriculum that most of them use.

By the way, homeschoolers deal with the more specialized subjects of high school that their parents can’t handle typically by taking advantage of some excellent on-line courses, by forming co-ops around a subject-matter expert, and/or by reading and working through challenging curriculum.

Vocation Day, the holiday formerly known as Labor Day

Happy Vocation Day! Today used to be called Labor Day. (Incredibly, you can still find people who are isolated and out of touch that still call it that.) But thanks to a crusade sponsored by this blog and the activism of its readers, we have successfully taken it over, turning it into a Christian holiday focusing on one of the most important teachings of the Reformation, the doctrine of vocation.

OK, we haven’t quite made that much progress in our quest to co-opt this last hurrah of Summer. It isn’t listed as a feast day on the Christian calendar. But still, we are hearing more about vocation. I’d like to draw your attention to a page on the LCMS website that features a number of articles on
Vocation. Some of them I wrote for a series in The Lutheran Witness a few years ago. But there are other articles too. You should especially read John Pless’s article Vocation: Fruit of the Liturgy.