During the years of apartheid in South Africa, most of the Methodist Church’s involvement in education was halted by the government. Schools were closed, land was confiscated and obstacles to new efforts were set in place.
The principal of the Catholic high school was taken aback by the phone call. It came from an inmate in a nearby prison. He was known to be wealthy, but had been incarcerated for having acquired some of his wealth by fraudulent means. Now the man was offering to make a significant donation to the school.
The changing profile of seminary students has been much remarked upon. Whereas 50 years ago almost all seminarians in North America were white men who had recently graduated from college, today women are a major presence in seminary classrooms, as are (to varying degrees) ethnic and minority groups. Today’s students are also substantially older by the time they get to seminary.
In a battle over the content of public school textbooks that is widely thought to have national implications, religious conservatives on the Texas Board of Education succeeded in adopting curriculum guidelines that reflect their views on U.S. history and economics.
In January, almost a year after its heated debate over the science curriculum, the Texas State Board of Education started meeting to revise the state’s social studies program. The board’s once-a-decade decisions on curriculum are nationally significant. As the nation’s second-largest textbook market, Texas shapes the content of textbooks sold throughout the country.
In 1998, John Wood was a rising executive at Microsoft when a vacation in Nepal changed his life. By 2000 he had quit his job and started the nonprofit Room to Read organization, which has since grown with astonishing speed.
The White House has an oft-overlooked religious ally for solving the country’s social problems through greatly expanded government programs, if a new survey of senior pastors in mainline Protestant churches is a good indication.
Greg Mortenson grew up in Tanganyika, now Tanzania, the son of Lutheran missionaries. He says his parents wore their faith lightly, but from them he learned to appreciate people different from himself, to live simply and to care deeply about people who are impoverished.