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God’s Harvard: A Teacher Engages, part One

I know that visions of Huckabees are dancing in some of the CRM’s heads, and I’ll have a post or two about electoral mania before long, but right now I’m more interested in starting my engagement with Hanna Rosin’s God’s Harvard. Don’t worry, though; as you’ll read, the students she wrote about are likely on the ground in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio even as I write.

To give a brief overview of the book, Rosin (a religion writer for the Washington Post among other things) spent about three academic semesters (one on campus) researching and reporting on Patrick Henry College, a school whose mission is “to prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding” (PHC website). Rosin, who displays her lack of familiarity with evangelical culture at several turns (more on that as the series progresses), nonetheless is “naturally democratic almost to a fault,” and although she sometimes seems to come from a different planet, nonetheless she is a friendly lander.

Coming to Campus

I’ll admit that the opening chapter seemed to me like a collection of exaggerations. On Patrick Henry‘s freshman orientation weekend, Rosin claims, one could see, along with more “typically oversized homeschooling families” (12), some “families [who] looked like reenactors lost on their way to Colonial Williamsburg: mothers in braids carrying babies in bonnets, girls in their best Laura Ingalls Wilder white-collared dresses” (13), and other strange birds. But soon after it settles into a description not far off from some Christian colleges I’ve visited: dress codes, tidy dorms, and a culture so non-alcoholic that Rosin mentions her shock again and again. (I still find UGA’s saturation in hard-drinking culture disturbing myself, so I think that might genuinely be a matter of living in two different worlds.)

Rosin also seems somewhat baffled that PHC students imagine themselves as on a mission:

Their parents raised them tenderly, not with the intention of sheltering them forever, but of grooming them for their ultimate mission: to “shape the culture and take back the nation.” It’s a phrase repeated in homeschooling circles like a prayer, or a chant, or a company slogan. It shows up in homeschoolers’ textbooks and essays and church youth groups; their parents whisper it in their ears like a secret destiny: There’s a world out there, a lost and fallen world, and you alone can rescue it. (17)

At Milligan College, my own alma mater, none of this would have been strange: most of us Buffaloes came in as freshmen with similar thoughts and left not abandoning a sense of mission but relocating it from Washington-by-necessity to wherever-we-may-land. Christians are the sent people, the ones on the missio dei, our professors told us every semester, and frankly, that’s one of the things that keeps life from getting boring. In the same vein Rosin’s amazement at a common evangelical youth group song amused me a bit. You might recognize the chorus:

Take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it–to yours, to yours

I saw those words and remembered fondly my Christian Church high school youth group. Rosin heard them and heard “a battle hymn” (20).

Towards the close of the first chapter Rosin does make an apt observation about the cultural phenomena that make a place like Patrick Henry possible:

The truth is, in any other generation, Derek [the primary subject of chapter one] would have been a missionary or a pastor. But in this generation, he found a place to easily plug that evangelizing instinct into politics. The older people in his dad’s church still warned the family that this was a wicked endeavor. But the older people are pushing against a tidal wave. The days when politics was a dirty business for evangelicals are long gone. Derek’s family was in New Guinea during the rise of the Christian Coalition, so he missed the whole period when Christians broke through to the mainstream. His parents may tell him that Christians are discriminated against, kept out of the public sphere, but his experience tells him otherwise. According to what he learned at political activism camp, Christians are crucial players on the political scene. They are the base, the army on the ground, and if Derek wants to work on a campaign or intern with a congressman, someone at camp just has to make a phone call and poof, when can you start? (31)

Michael Farris, founder of Patrick Henry College, incorporated his school at the height of Bill Clinton’s most famous scandal and opened its doors as George W. Bush and Al Gore vied to succeed him. And in the experience of Derek Archer, it serves as a training ground for a new kind of missionary.

The Advance of Movements

Farris’s own mission began in success as he fought for and won legal rights for Christian homeschoolers in the eighties but foundered in 1993 when he attempted a run for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and ran into his earlier fiery words (the tools of an activist but the bane of an electoral candidate) in campaign ads against him. Still head of the Home School Legal Defense Association in the late nineties,

Farris founded Patrick Henry in 2000 after fielding requests from two constituencies: homeschooling parents and conservative congressmen. The parents, who looked up to him for his work with the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, would ask him where they could find a Christian college with a “courtship” atmosphere, meaning one where dating is regulated and subject to parental approval. The congressmen asked him where they could find homeschoolers as interns, “which I took to mean someone who ‘shares my values.’ And I knew they didn’t want a fourteen-year-old kid.” (45)

Patrick Henry is a school founded for the “Joshua Generation,” the children of the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition who had “left Egypt” but whose task was now to “take back the land” (ibid.). Perceiving a prejudice against homeschoolers in the admissions departments of the nation’s elite universities (excepting Milligan, I must add), Farris started courting some of the elites among home schoolers. As of the book’s publication the average SAT score ran from 1230-1410, not Ivy League yet but proximate to University of Virginia and Rice (46). With Farris’s connections and the school’s growing reputation, the school has since its founding placed roughly as many White House interns as has Georgetown (46). The school cancels classes for the week before each Election Day so that its students can engage in political activism (50).

Patrick Henry’s personnel know that their future base does not consist of backwater fundamentalists but the suburbanites who pack into megachurches and pack their iPods with pop music. Unlike some of their strident forebears, “These graduates are the first generation with no baggage of cultural isolation: they move easily in and out of the mainstream” (67). That said, “Farris is not interested in adapters who bend to the will of the mainstream. He wants shape-shifters who can move between two worlds with their essential natures intact” (68).

As the chapter closes, Rosin, good storyteller that she is, drops a hint that some dissent has arisen from within the ranks of his faculty. The parents and the administration are beginning to line up against the professors. All of a sudden this is sounding not a little but a lot like Milligan College. More in the next installment.

To reflect a moment, the conflict whose seeds were in the project’s beginning and which grows as the book progresses is one that I have trouble imagining my school experiencing, not because of any moral superiority but because our school is just older than that. PHC, because it is a young school, is very much tied up with the person of Michael Farris and with his influence in Washington. Milligan, by contrast, lacks the connections of a powerful central figure but has stability because its traditions are bigger than any president who happens to preside.

I note this because I wonder whether traditions tend to become smaller with time. I know that many of the Cruncy Cons I know personally started out as activists for the Religious Right, and likewise I know that at Milligan, the kind of ambition that seems to drive Patrick Henry is rare; most of us graduated wanting to cultivate a garden (morally speaking) rather than clearing grand fields of tares. (See? A Bible reference!) As I progress through my engagement with the book (and as Jonathan does the same) I’m sure this question will arise again, but for now, I’ll leave it as a question to ponder.

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About Nathan Gilmour

Nathan P. Gilmour is a Christian, a husband, a father, and a college English teacher. He tries to do all of that and write something worthwhile on occasion.

Discussion

30 thoughts on “God’s Harvard: A Teacher Engages, part One

  1. >Homeschooling: It’s probably one of the most selfish, community damaging decisions parents can make. They are only thinking of their immediate family, not their community family.This statement is offensive on so many levels. I’ll chalk it up to youthful idealism that blinds to the complex set of issues that go into a family determining the best way to educate their children. To broaden your perspective here, my son is not of school age yet (although I would argue that we are always “homeschooling” from day one), but we will most likely homeschool him when the time comes. As far as being in the community, at 21 months my son is already in the community more than any kid I know in public school. He goes with us each week to take bags of food to homeless elementary students. He goes with us to visit the elderly in a local retirement home. He and my wife are a part of numerous play groups with unbelievers. At his young age, he regularly sees us in the community serving others and we can already see his young heart inclined to serve others himself. My point in all of this is that what you described in the church you grew up in seems like more of a systemic problem in the church, not in homeschooling. It seems to me that homeschooling was merely a tool that is often misused by those with a flawed theology and cultural ideology.

    Posted by Dwight | January 20, 2008, 12:39 am
  2. >Sure, its a touchy subject. The majority of my siblings (including in-laws) are teachers anywhere from the pre-k to college level so I understand the human face of individual teachers. These folks are not “the government” but the system is, no? Federal, state, & local governments included in the label “government,” of course. Who controls the purse-strings of public education? How much control does government have as a result of public funding? If it is not as strong as I understand it to be then perhaps I would be willing to avoid referring to public schools as government schools.I’m sure it varies from place to place, but granting your point here, I’d argue that it’s the teachers, not the students, who get the most hassle from Washington and Atlanta politicians. Moreover, since it’s not the President or the State Senator who’s going to be teaching Micah here in a couple years. And since I plan to get to know his teachers on a human level, I still consider the Pentagon and the National Security Agency to be more of the faceless, menacing GOVERNMENT than I do school teachers.I SUPPORT THE TEACHERS! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 19, 2008, 10:03 pm
  3. >It’s not something I view as loving a “faceless” humanity. My mother semi-jokingly refers to me as a “frightful saint” because of my lack of priority of people. I don’t know why, but I have evolved to a point where one’s relation to me doesn’t give high access to my priorities. In my mind, my mother, my siblings, my friends, and the crack dealer on the end of my street are not prioritised by their relation to me. Probably the reason the monastic life seems so appealing to me ๐Ÿ˜€

    Posted by Amber Lee | January 19, 2008, 7:36 pm
  4. >Amber, I accept that your experiences with homeschool families was exactly as you described. However, I would offer that homeschooling has come a long way in the past several years and is certainly much different than it was over ten years ago. Homeschooling is so diverse that the term really is not a very good descriptor of what any particular homeschool family is about. And I am not just referring to how they are educating their children. I am also referring to how they interact with the community, how they portray “the world” out there to their kids, the demographics of the families, the religious and political orientation of the families. The homeschoolers of the mid-90’s do not necessarily look like the homeschoolers of the mid-00’s. That being said, there is a segment of homeschoolers that have sanctified certain periods of history and attempt to live and dress as if that were the ideal. Many times you can guess that a family is a homeschooling family by looking at them and you’d be correct 9 times out of 10. As far as the lack of engagement with the community that you witnessed, I cannot argue with you there. However, I will not limit this to homeschoolers because I believe that this has been a problem throughout all of evangelicalism for some time now. I think it is a problem that transcends homeschooling. Homeschooling does not necessarily limit one’s engagement with the community it merely removes these children from the public school classroom. Engaging the community can still take place in many other ways. Homeschooling is not for everyone and I do not believe it to be the “Christian” thing to do. Some people portray that way and that is unfortunate. As far as loving all of humanity more than the immediate family, I will have to respectfully disagree. Many people throughout history have loved humanity yet acted despicably toward individual humans. Love for humanity is proven in one’s love for particular humans. I will not put love for a faceless, anonymous humanity above my love for my children. With the (joyful) burden of parenting weighing heavily and felt strongly and anxiously, we have decided that one of the ways we are loving our children best is by homeschooling them (actually they are homeschooled part-time & in private school part-time now). I am not convinced that loving my children in this particular way is harmful to the community. I do not see it as either-or. Again, thanks for your interaction here! Take care.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 19, 2008, 7:27 pm
  5. >”…many of us don’t think of school teachers as ‘the government’…”Sure, its a touchy subject. The majority of my siblings (including in-laws) are teachers anywhere from the pre-k to college level so I understand the human face of individual teachers. These folks are not “the government” but the system is, no? Federal, state, & local governments included in the label “government,” of course. Who controls the purse-strings of public education? How much control does government have as a result of public funding? If it is not as strong as I understand it to be then perhaps I would be willing to avoid referring to public schools as government schools. Oh, and if it still remains unclear, yes, we are homeschooling parents. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Unfair mischaracterizations of homeschoolers and homeschooling are still a sore spot for me which is probably why I jumped on the subject. I am totally great with the fact that many people do not choose homeschooling for their families or even oppose homeschooling. I just want them to reject the reality of the situation as much as possible rather than charicatures.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 19, 2008, 7:02 pm
  6. >The English major/Bible minor was a common combo back in the late nineties as well, for men and women. (I was an English/Humanities double major and a Bible minor.) I could have counted the number of women ministry majors in any given graduating class on one hand. Were there a bunch when you started Milligan?

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 19, 2008, 6:35 pm
  7. >Education majors are an important part of the Milligan community. I can’t give you a very good guess on the break down of degrees at Milligan any more. I am only aware that I was one of the last female ministry degree students. There has been a decided drop in them. More are getting education majors with bible minors.

    Posted by Amber Lee | January 19, 2008, 6:13 pm
  8. >Jeff,Just to address a bit of terminology that often bugs me, many of us don’t think of school teachers as “the government.” I went to school with an abundance of teachers-in-training (Milligan’s class of ’99 was roughly one-third school teachers, and Mary is one of ’em), and if Micah ended up in any of their classrooms, I would think of his being not a thrall of “THE GOVERNMENT” but being taught by my sister or brother. Amber, you can let me know if the teaching majors are still such a significant part of Milligan’s student body.And I assure you that I don’t get into bed every night with “THE GOVERNMENT.” ;)I often wish (but don’t expect; I am a bit of a grump) that “support the teachers” could be as much of a rallying cry and conversation-stopper as “support the troops” is. Both of them, on paper, work for THE GOVERNMENT, but both groups, I have come to find out, are human beings as well.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 19, 2008, 6:03 pm
  9. >Jeff, I know you are not being combative. You are asking me to back up my statements. That is perfectly appropriate. Let me explain my experience with home schooling. Attended, growing up, a large and affluent Southern Baptist church. This is, after all, Tennessee. Are there any other kind? The children’s department had a little over 1000 children when I graduated high school. I can safely and conservatively guess at least 70% of those children were home schooled. The home schooled children were either taught in the exclusiveness of their family or in the wider, communal schooling of the church. In both instances, the children were kept away from the pagan public school children and their families only interacted with those in our particular ideology. Those families were well off, well educated people who had a lot to offer the community. I did not experience them sharing the love of Christ with others except to give money to the Lottie Moon Ministries or Operation Shoe Box. While giving is commendable and helping those you never see is laudable, I never saw action in our own community. Over 6000 people who could have made a difference 2 miles from their home, and it wasnโ€™t something on the congregations agenda. The home schooled children I met at Milligan tended to come from the same mindset at those I knew growing up. I am not pushing for children to be in government funded schools. What I am most concerned about is making sure all the children of the community are receiving a quality education while their needs are met all while Christ is being shown. Thatโ€™s what would make me angry. I rarely saw the actions of Christ. I just heard about his teachings. If a group of parents are having issues with the public school in their area, then by all means, start up a tutoring program or an after school care program. When you remove your children from the public schools and remove yourself from the community activity of educating the community, you are not helping those public schools. I see it this way:I am Anglican. I do not agree with the decisions the Episcopal Church of the USA are making. I strongly disagree with what the Virginia churches have done. Breaking away from the problem does not fix the problem. I feel this is what happens with home schooling. You say that there are parents who home school that are on boards. I have not met them here. That would be outstanding if we had some in my area. It really comes down to making sure you are not leaving out the many for the good of the few. My own children? I am 22, almost 23. While I am not the legal guardians of my siblings, who are 9, 14, 15, I am the primary caretaker of them. I make the grocery, clothing, curfew, and discipline decisions. Those fun things.

    Posted by Amber Lee | January 19, 2008, 5:49 pm
  10. >Amber, as I remind myself of the limited nature of forums such as this I thought I should probably come back and mention that I’m not trying to be as combative as it may appear from what I said. You laid out some pretty strong statements and I am pushing back on them. I’m sure you can appreciate that. Thanks for taking the time to leave some comments. Take care. Jeff

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 19, 2008, 4:01 am
  11. >Amber, I see that you are very passionate about this. Enough so that you specifically mention in your profile that homeschooling is selfish. Have you considered the selfishness of an idealogue parent who uses their child as a pawn to vicariously accomplish their prosyletizing aims? If a parent wants to shine the light of Christ in the community then they should do so. How great it would be for the children to watch and learn from their example. Hopefully as the children mature they will wish to influence the community just as thier parents do. Take me step by step through the process of selflessly shining the light of Christ in the community by sending young children to public school. Here’s 5-yr old Johnny. I’m getting ready to send him to Kindergarten for the express purpose of bringing the love of Christ toward the community. I’m going to tell him, Johnny, when you go to school today I want you to ….what? What is he going to do that can only be accomplished at school? Examples from how you’ve done this with your own school-age children would be preferable. “their enthusastic participation in PTAs and PTOs can bring about great change.”1. How? 2. Many homeschoolers are involved as school board members.”The friends their children bring home from public schools, children from broken homes, can begin a healing process.”Do you think that homeschooled kids don’t play with other kids in the neighborhood and have them over to the house? Do you think that homeschoolers do not participate in sports leagues, dance, gymnastics, etc.? I do not understand how it is that public school is the only place to meet non-Christians.”I am actually completely okay with say a commune schooling model.”Why? From your perspective it seems that this only slightly expands the circle of exclusivity and abandonment of the community. Also, you should investigate homeschooling co-ops in your area. Perhaps you could benefit from adding some depth to your understanding of what homeschooling is and is not like.”Homeschooling also diminishes the hardwork Christian teachers do in the public school systems.”How so? You’ve made many assertions. How do you support them?Do you have children? Its an incredible and weighty responsiblity, isn’t it? Can you see any reasons why parents have decided to make great sacrifices by educating and training their children directly rather than delegating their God-given responsibility to the government? Any?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 19, 2008, 3:30 am
  12. >”The first priority of the Christian adults of the community is to bring their love of Christ into their actions towards others.”Right. So the adults should be about this task. Is sending children to public school the only way to bring the love of Christ towards others? Certainly not.”Instead of only focusing on the children in their household, their enthusastic participation in PTAs and PTOs can bring about great change.”Again, I don’t understand the all or nothing approach here. How is it that homeschool parents only focus on their own children if they homeschool?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 19, 2008, 2:57 am
  13. >Incidentally, I have my own reservations about homeschooling, but I’d watch the grand generalizations about isolationism and such. There are as many kinds of homeschooling families as there are public schooling families.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 19, 2008, 2:44 am
  14. >Howdy, Amber.I smiled when I read your comments. You’re where I was when I left Milligan nearly ten years ago.I won’t chalk my own change to adulthood or anything facile like that; rather, I spent a number of semesters around academics at a giant SEC university (know any of those?) who had their heads up their butts about Church history and about Christian confession in general.I too found Don Jeanes distasteful ten years ago; now I realize that he’s doing the fundraising that keeps professors like Kenneson and Farmer rolling.Of course, I also plan to submit a vita the instant I hear the faintest whisper that Cook, Knowles, or Pat Magness is retiring, so I do have a horse in this race. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 19, 2008, 2:43 am
  15. >The first priority of the Christian adults of the community is to bring their love of Christ into their actions towards others. Instead of only focusing on the children in their household, their enthusastic participation in PTAs and PTOs can bring about great change. The friends their children bring home from public schools, children from broken homes, can begin a healing process. I am actually completely okay with say a commune schooling model. Let it still be classified as “homeschooling” What I think is deplorable is the isolating away from those not receiving Christ’s light. Homeschooling also diminishes the hardwork Christian teachers do in the public school systems.

    Posted by Amber Lee | January 19, 2008, 2:21 am
  16. >”Homeschooling: It’s probably one of the most selfish, community damaging decisions parents can make. They are only thinking of their immediate family, not their community family. Horrible. Immidiate family is not nearly as important as Humanity.”How would the presence of these children in public schools help the community family? I know you are not referring to tax dollars since homeschool families continue to pay the same amount of taxes.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 19, 2008, 12:30 am
  17. >How many of you have been paying attention to Milligan recently? The admin is decidely right-winged, much to the chagrin of those of us who are in the religious studies (or just graduated like myself). You know that Academic Dean Mark Matson is a non-trinitary, correct? This past year, as we graduated, many of us in the Ministry dept moved on to study for Methodist and Episcopal priesthoods while we attended the confirmation of friends who became Catholic. A few are currently catachumins with the Orthodox Church. The most conservative group at Milligan would be the Business dept. We stay away from them. It was no big loss to us when students would leave after the first semester due to Milligans “liberalism.”Homeschooling: It’s probably one of the most selfish, community damaging decisions parents can make. They are only thinking of their immediate family, not their community family. Horrible. Immidiate family is not nearly as important as Humanity.

    Posted by Amber Lee | January 18, 2008, 8:22 pm
  18. >Who you callin’ a Baptist? :)I had meant to ask you about your denom. The metaphysics of the folks around these parts who claim kinship with you has very little in common with that which you (or most other orthodox) espouse. I didn’t realize you were actually different groups.

    Posted by robert | January 9, 2008, 8:40 pm
  19. >Well, Robert, most of the old-timers in the four-C’s churches were part of the civil war that resulted in the four-C’s splitting off from the CC/DOC. The old timers to which I refer don’t consider the latter part of “our movement.”And you Baptists thought you had internal conflict… LOL

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 9, 2008, 8:03 pm
  20. >I can only imagine that this place is brutal on staff. Home-schooling parents turning their kids loose for the first time must be “helicopter parents” from hell.

    Posted by robert | January 9, 2008, 5:32 pm
  21. >”many of the old-timers in our tradition still refer to it as the “liberal Christian Churches school.”If they refer to Milligan as the liberal school they must be unfamiliar with the CC/DOC school I work at. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by robert | January 9, 2008, 5:25 pm
  22. >My recollection is that they were having some real financial difficulties. One of the presidents had just left and Dusty Rubeck had just come on-board. Looks like things are going much better now.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 9, 2008, 5:16 pm
  23. >You’re right, I’m sorry, they are DCC (Dallas Christian College).

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 9, 2008, 5:13 pm
  24. >I didn’t know they were calling themselves a university now. That seems to have been the trend these last five years now–apparently only Milligan is content to remain a college. Ah, well.I actually worked for the former president of Dallas Christian College, John Derry, when he was one of Milligan’s VP’s. I think he’s up in California at another of our colleges now.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 9, 2008, 3:17 pm
  25. >———————————–But because it doesn’t peddle exclusively the sectarian Campbellite party line (we read some Augustine and some Calvin and some Aristotle and even some Nietzsche), many of the old-timers in our tradition still refer to it as the “liberal Christian Churches school.”———————————–Denominations find it so easy to label institutions of higher learning as liberal if they step outside the “party lines,” yet it is inevitable.I was in contact with some people in Dallas that worked at Dallas Christian University. They too are Campbellites. Great people!

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 9, 2008, 3:07 pm
  26. >Milligan is a much older college (founded 1866) and retains strong ties with the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ movement. I’d be concerned about its traditional roots (as opposed to more generic post-fundamentalist Evangelical roots) than with its conservatism were I a good Baptist. (I’m not; I’m a Campbellite myself, so that’s actually one of the things I most appreciated about Milligan.) I attended with Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians, but the school’s identity itself is decidedly Campbellite.On the other hand, Craig Farmer, one of the school’s most popular church history professors, is a Luther scholar, and his Luther and Calvin class (he offers it roughly every fifth semester) is a sort of rite of passage for young Buffaloes who want to prove their intellectual mettle. (All of my schoolmates who are now in Ph.D programs, as well as the brainier youth ministers with whom I attended college, were in that course, and the enrollment was only about fifteen as I remember it.)The amusing thing about Milligan is that, even though among colleges at large (and I teach at what most folks consider a relatively conservative state college), Milligan is decidedly right-wing: it has an unapologetic Christian mission, separate men’s and women’s dorms, extensive required coursework (for all majors) in biblical texts and western civilization, and required chapel services. But because it doesn’t peddle exclusively the sectarian Campbellite party line (we read some Augustine and some Calvin and some Aristotle and even some Nietzsche), many of the old-timers in our tradition still refer to it as the “liberal Christian Churches school.”Okay, I’ll cut off my paean. But when you get me talking Milligan College, I tend to get carried away! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 9, 2008, 2:00 pm
  27. >———————————–Now in my own college teacher’s view that’s a good thing, but I think that many Christian colleges try to sell parents something else when courting their dollars.———————————–I agree completely. Regardless of how one thinks academia should pursue students, how they are recruited has a lot to do with how the parents react down the road.I am not familiar with Milligan. How would you rate them as far as the level of their conservativism? How do you find the faculty dealing with the students there? Have they, or do they deal with the same issues PHC is currently dealing with?

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 8, 2008, 10:48 pm
  28. >When dealng with students whose parents have governed their child’s education throughout their lives, there is likely to be a backlash when students are presented with data the parents have kept from them during their formative years. Perhaps kept is too strong but I think you understand what I am saying.I do understand, and I’d say that it’s not limited to home schooled kids. I know that Milligan faces the same, and most of its student body comes from public schools. I think the factor that causes this friction is the idea that a college should preserve rather than change students. The fact is that close encounters with powerful ideas, especially at an intense rate (e.g. during one’s undergraduate years) and especially when paired with a new way of life (e.g. dorms instead of bedroom next to parents’), change people. Reading Aristotle might or might not make one an Aristotelian, but even if it doesn’t, it will make one an anti-Aristotelian rather than one innocent of Aristotle.Now in my own college teacher’s view that’s a good thing, but I think that many Christian colleges try to sell parents something else when courting their dollars.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 8, 2008, 5:22 pm
  29. >———————————–Perceiving a prejudice against homeschoolers in the admissions departments of the nation’s elite universities (excepting Milligan, I must add), Farris started courting some of the elites among home schoolers.———————————–This (courting homeschoolers) is becoming quite a phenomenon in many universities in the US. This is a huge pool of tuition dollars and groups like Noel-Levitz are showing how these students have a MUCH higher likelihood to persist through to graduation.———————————– …some dissent has arisen from within the ranks of his faculty. The parents and the administration are beginning to line up against the professors. ———————————–This was fairly predictable given the non-denominational stance and generic doctrinal statement for the faculty. When dealng with students whose parents have governed their child’s education throughout their lives, there is likely to be a backlash when students are presented with data the parents have kept from them during their formative years. Perhaps kept is too strong but I think you understand what I am saying. My wife and I struggle with these issues as we homeschool our girls. Much of the homeshool curriculum takes an unbalanced approach to some historical matters and tends to present information in a very biased way. We want our children to be able to discern right from wrong and to be able to evaluate data so as to make proper decisions as to its accuracy. However, with many homeschooling families, this is not the case. Thus, when they enter into academia, professors who are simply trying to evaluate all of the data are called out as going against what these families have taught their children. I am assuming this to be the case at Patrick Henry. I do look forward to the coming installment to see where this goes.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 8, 2008, 4:05 pm
  30. >Interesting stuff. Looking forward to the other installments.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 8, 2008, 12:31 pm

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From the Vault

Friend of Grace

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All articles ยฉ 2007-2011 by the respective authors of the Conservative Reformed Mafia. All Rights Reserved.
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