When we get the age breakdown of the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly, it’s nothing short of horrendous. 91 percent of the laity are 50 and older. 67 percent of the Clergy are 50 and older. A mere 23 percent of all commissioners are under 50. What can we do about it?
The cost of tuition has has gone up 1,200 percent in 30 years.The odd thing is that when a person takes full advantage of the educational system and earn a Ph.D., then the very same universities that have been trying to convince us that education is worth that much inflation, turns around and tells the Ph.D. that their hard work is worth about . . . 1-3K per class for an adjunct teaching position. So the value of education is being cut by the very same people who are trying to sell us an education.
From this side of history, Jeremiah has great resolve. Yet the shifting political allegiances he interprets are not so different from our own uncertainties. Only in retrospect are Jeremiah's claims clear.
As I prepared to be ordained recently, my mind kept returning to the people in my life who might be perplexed by this decision. I have friends and colleagues who wonder, quite justly, what the church has to offer that one cannot find elsewhere. I thought about how I might describe what pulls me toward ministry and the church in particular.
James Fenimore Cooper Jr. and Margaret Bendroth are rummaging through church attics and basements in the New England states, especially Massachusetts, looking for records of early American life. Some churches are reticent to part with old documents, but the two historians point out how vulnerable the documents are and offer to keep them in a climate-controlled rare book room at the Congregational Library in Boston. Among their findings: a church in Middleboro possessed an application for membership submitted in 1773 by a slave (New York Times, July 29).