Century Marks

Century Marks

Home and away

On the basis of a survey of emerging adults, two Presbyterian ministers concluded that church attendance in college years follows earlier habits. This finding underscores the need for establishing habits of worship participation during youths’ junior and senior years of high school. The authors suggest that high school seniors should be helped to think about how to find a congregation after leaving home. This cohort is spiritually hungry and often finds nourishment at a parachurch ministry. Congregations could also help their youth think about what kind of religious groups to connect with on campus. Staying in touch with them after they leave home is important too (Presbyterian Outlook, November 12).

Top pay

Charity Navigator’s recent study of executive pay in charitable organizations documents the occurrence of a wide variance by region and type of charity. Executives in the Northeast get paid the most, those in the Mountain West the least. Executives in education are compensated most generously, those in religious charities the least. Charity Navigator also explored compensation given to other top executives and board members, not just CEOs. Four members of the Crouch family, which started the religious Trinity Broadcasting Network, are paid well into six figures. Donors should be concerned about excessive executive compensation, but also recognize that many of these organizations are multimillion-dollar operations which demand highly skilled and competent leadership (Charity Navigator 2012 CEO Compensation Study, November).

Beyond politics

The Hebrew Bible is not a textbook on government, but it still can be seen as a guide to modern politics, argues Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. It offers a sustained critique of the uses of power and clearly narrates the moral failures of kings. It tends to prefer the simple relationships of family and community and is critical of the city for its excesses and abuses of power. The texts are concerned with community and society beyond the state—in the welfare of the marginalized, the nature of employer-employee relationships, debt and debt relief, and the environment (review of Michael Walzer’s In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible in Foreign Affairs, November/December).

Militarized

Many Americans know that President Eisenhower, as he left office, warned about the growing power of the military-industrial complex. Few know that Eisenhower was concerned about the spiritual effects of constantly preparing for war. Since Eisenhower’s era, the nation has become even more militarized, argues Aaron B. O’Connell, who teaches history at the U.S. Naval Academy and is a marine reserve officer. The militarization is mostly fueled by civilians, including Congress, not the military. O’Connell points to the plethora of stories in the media that valorize the military, the constant call to citizens to “support our troops” and Congress’s desire to give the Pentagon more money than it requests (New York Times, November 4).

As you love yourself

When considering Jesus’ words, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” we have a tendency to overlook the “as yourself” part, remarks novelist Ron Hansen. We may use “as yourself” as a measuring stick, to see how well we’re loving the neighbor or to assert a quid quo pro. “I think Jesus intended his hearers to realize they are indeed esteemed by God, that Love loves them, and they ought to treat themselves as a favored child or a prized possession,” says Hansen. Concern for others and for ourselves results from a fully integrated devotion to God (guest essay at journeywithjesus.net).