Century Marks

Century Marks

Higher ed test

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the preeminent association in evangelical higher education, does advocate work on financial aid issues and coordinates a study abroad program for its members. While CCCU member institutions disagree on many doctrinal matters, they believe homosexuality is sinful. But in July, Virginia’s Eastern Mennonite University and Indiana’s Goshen College announced that they would hire faculty who have married their same-sex partners. Tennessee’s Union University announced it would withdraw from the council in protest. The council now faces a crucial choice: expel schools that affirm homosexuality or watch while some of its members bolt and form a new organization (RNS).

No tears for Cecil

Goodwell Nzou, a doctoral student at Wake Forest University from Zimbabwe, is dismayed by all the sympathy Americans are showing for Cecil, the lion shot in Zim­babwe by an American dentist. Why do Americans care more for African animals than African people? Nzou wonders. Wild animals are a threat to people who live in rural areas and villages. Nzou’s own village was once terrorized by a tiger, which attacked his mother’s uncle and injured his leg. When the tiger was finally killed, no one cared who killed the tiger or whether it was poached or killed legally (New York Times, August 4).


Accumulation of wealth beyond meeting our basic needs doesn’t make us more content, studies show. Dr. Michael Finkelstein says that contentment takes practice. Think back on a time when you felt a sense of contentment, he says—it likely didn’t come from material possessions. “Our task is to simply discover where [contentment] resides” and focus on those times and places. It helps to “practice thinking, believing, and saying that you’re grateful and thankful for what you’ve been given” (excerpt from Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness in Utne, July).

Required reading

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson, is the book chosen most frequently by colleges for this year’s incoming freshmen. A memoir by a law professor at New York University, Just Mercy recounts his attempts to overturn death and prison sentences for criminals he believes have been wrongly convicted. Freshmen reading programs are used to build community and engage new students in discussing one book (Inside Higher Ed, July 22).

No strings

Dustin Moskovitz, cofounder of Facebook, and his wife, Cari Tuna, have given $25 million of their vast wealth to GiveDirectly, a charity that provides unconditional grants of $1,000 to very poor people in Kenya and Uganda. The grants defy the conventional wisdom that says teaching people how to generate their own livelihood is the best way to overcome poverty. Studies have shown that giving cash to poor people with no strings attached increases consumption, encourages investment, and doesn’t lead to profligate spending on things like tobacco and alcohol (Vox, August 4).