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Messages - Mark Brown

Quote from: Dave Benke on June 18, 2024, 09:11:46 PM
Quote from: Mark Brown on June 18, 2024, 08:24:12 PM
Quote from: Jeremy_Loesch on June 18, 2024, 02:13:21 PM...

3. Is it the goal of some within the synod to create a Lutheran Hillsdale? That's not necessarily a bad goal, but nothing is built in a day. If that is a goal, is it to make an existing Concordia the Lutheran Hillsdale? Is it the goal to make Luther Classical College in Wyoming the Lutheran Hillsdale? Cutting loose another Concordia and getting whatever assets from it would go a long way toward funding any Hillsdale-like pursuit.



If someone is actually trying to make one Lutheran Hillsdale from a bunch of non-distinct Concordias, it's late in the game, but the first smart move in a long time. Which means I can't believe it.  Nobody that has enough juice in the synod is smart enough to do something like that. Occam's razor is just that Ferry was a great fundraiser.  The new guy had no chance at meeting that, so they have to change something.

The key concept is not to accept Federal/Government money.  The sale of enough of Ann Arbor plus the current endowment might make that possible for a reduced student body at Wisconsin.  Regardless, Lutheran Classical will not be taking governmental money. 

Something happened recently with the ability of colleges to use social media the way they used to, so there's a lot more email traffic.  And I am on the Hillsdale mailing list.  They're pretty relentlessly Republican/Federalist Society in the mailings.  I see a Lutheran version of that tackling Germans - 19th century German philosophers and 20th century German theologians as ways to address our issue of great importance - wokeism. 

Personally I see the stars aligning on these projects for those who want anti-wokeism to be our denominational North Star.  The accompanying curricula designed for church work prep students ends up being along the same lines as Hillsdale with the addition of theology somewhat in place of civics.

Dave Benke

Maybe we can atone for the sins released by all those Lutheran Pastor's Kids that messed up Philosophy. Which to be honest is just going back and correcting Luther's hate of Aristotle. Only semi-joking.
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
June 18, 2024, 08:24:12 PM
Quote from: Jeremy_Loesch on June 18, 2024, 02:13:21 PM...

3. Is it the goal of some within the synod to create a Lutheran Hillsdale? That's not necessarily a bad goal, but nothing is built in a day. If that is a goal, is it to make an existing Concordia the Lutheran Hillsdale? Is it the goal to make Luther Classical College in Wyoming the Lutheran Hillsdale? Cutting loose another Concordia and getting whatever assets from it would go a long way toward funding any Hillsdale-like pursuit.



If someone is actually trying to make one Lutheran Hillsdale from a bunch of non-distinct Concordias, it's late in the game, but the first smart move in a long time. Which means I can't believe it.  Nobody that has enough juice in the synod is smart enough to do something like that. Occam's razor is just that Ferry was a great fundraiser.  The new guy had no chance at meeting that, so they have to change something.
Your Turn / Re: Lyman Stone’s Latest
May 09, 2024, 01:26:14 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on May 08, 2024, 01:33:58 PM
Quote from: Weedon on May 08, 2024, 01:09:08 PM"Outvote them then, outflank them." This describes pretty well what has happened. But it hasn't resulted in the changes desired.

This is needed only if the dreaded Boomers are the ones in the way.  Is that actually the case in local Lutheran education?  What I saw through the decades was the Boomers being reluctant to stop the bleeding because of their memories of school days/school days/good old golden rule days, even though the school was in a tailspin. 

In other words, agreeing with you, Will, the younger group
a) is diminished in number and desire to tackle church leadership
b) doesn't remember Mrs. Maas putting them behind the piano for three hours in time out when they needed to go to the bathroom (sorry to bring that in.  That was personal)

A way to make the bridge using church money would be to get us Ancient Mariner Boomers to leave a charitable remainder trust sum to the school.  Has anyone been burned by that?  Hello.  Our legacy gift to Concordia Bronxville is somebody else's legacy now.  And my legacy gift to CUW is under a cloud of hesitancy due to their "structural" ten million dollar problem from what we're told.  And my grade school and childhood congregation is now a non-denominational temple in north Milwaukee.  And, and, and.  Oops, oops, oops. 

The other thing, Mark, is your ideas seem to headquarter at mid-level judicatory.  How about doing and being the template locally and then putting it out there - we have a dream for a school, and have raised a million and a half here at Garden Villages, so partner with us and we'll help you collaborate with six more congregations wanting to have a school.  Punch above your weight class.  People are drawn to that, albeit with a metaphor not quite so pugnacious.

Dave Benke

What were Boomers usually willing to throw money at?
1. "Taking back our synod". The triennial election for who gets to steer the Titanic.
2. "Our Seminaries".  Each one has built wonderful new libraries to anchor and hoovered out lots of money for the endowments such that only graduating 40 students doesn't really impact the faculty.
3. "My Concordia". The Alma Mater or our training institute for church workers must be saved.

Anything local, of high quality, slightly experimental, or that might go to "not our kids?" You know, the base of any actual mission activity. Not so much. Much too expensive. We can do with less. So excuse me for taking out my violin to the sad tale of what did get money. We eat our young and think a grand gesture every 3 years should be good. "Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them...". But turning from pattern recognition, let me address the complaint.

Do you think I haven't been trying all these years to "do something local?" In bleeping NY - where the government taxes at such a rate the only private schools that can live are Jesuit Prep at $40k/student - we re-started and kept a small school going through Covid.  The fact is that the government in that state is just too onerous. You eventually can't work against it, and you can't be Christian and work with it. Hell, it was a boomer member of my own congregation that ensured the 2nd part of that. She insisted to qualify for U-Pre-K we'd have to take down all the crosses in the place and give a separate entrance so that nobody would have to walk past the sanctuary.

I spent a year in AZ, knowing that the ESAs were coming, attempting to partner with a couple of local churches, find a couple of teachers and get one started. Which ended when a local member pronounced, "why don't you just have a sunday school like we did, we shouldn't be spending our money on other people's kids." The obvious answer was that my kids were the only ones that might teach it, and there was only one child at the time that might enroll.  And where are your kids and grandkids that your system was so adept at teaching? Which is what it is right now, my daughter teaching a couple of kids every other sunday. 

So no, punching above your weight class is not something that people are drawn to. Underdogs usually lose badly. What people actually want is authorized leadership that is willing to take some risks, although they probably won't vote for it, too risky. If the President of the Synod said, "we are going to invest the endowment in the necessary capital partnering with churches in places that have school choice to build an education system 2nd to none." And the DPs got behind that vision and implemented it with skill.  That could be done. In many places we have the skeleton skill now. It is being done. By the classical schools movement. By places like Great Hearts. Here in Arizona WELS is doing it! But that's not how we operate. As a friend of mine told me, "The Holy Spirit doesn't make people smart."
Your Turn / Re: Lyman Stone’s Latest
May 08, 2024, 10:56:11 AM
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 07, 2024, 07:28:59 PM
Quote from: Mark Brown on May 07, 2024, 07:16:09 PMTwo thoughts.  Lyman's survey makes sense simply because of the school data.  What have we been doing for 1-2 generations? Closing schools. "Too much money." "We can be witnesses in the public school." What have we been doing for 1-2 generations? Shrinking. Not catechizing.

If the LCMS wanted to steal a march, be ahead for once instead of behind, in all these red states that have passed ESAs we'd be funding schools.  You'd get three things hit with one stone.  You could address Concordia enrollment with actual job need. You could address congregational decline.  And you could address catechizing. And you could do it all while at least breaking even. It would be the highest return on investment we'd have since Loehe's sendlinge.

Of course the real problem is convincing the boomers who shut down all the schools who still run the congregations to reverse course and allow it.  Synod Inc should form a skunk-works, bring along any current congregation that wants to survive, and build school systems in every major ESA Red State metropolitan area.

As desirable as this remedy is, I'm afraid there is just not enough money anywhere to fund it.

Peace, JOHN

This is America, there is always money. If there is one thing we always have, it's money. (Look at the millions Michigan came up with in 2 weeks to "save" a Concordia.) The problem is always in Dantean terms insufficient love. Lack of will. Acedia. Leadership that wants the title and the office but not the authority to actually do anything. 
Your Turn / Re: Lyman Stone’s Latest
May 07, 2024, 07:16:09 PM
Two thoughts.  Lyman's survey makes sense simply because of the school data.  What have we been doing for 1-2 generations? Closing schools. "Too much money." "We can be witnesses in the public school." What have we been doing for 1-2 generations? Shrinking. Not catechizing.

If the LCMS wanted to steal a march, be ahead for once instead of behind, in all these red states that have passed ESAs we'd be funding schools.  You'd get three things hit with one stone.  You could address Concordia enrollment with actual job need. You could address congregational decline.  And you could address catechizing. And you could do it all while at least breaking even. It would be the highest return on investment we'd have since Loehe's sendlinge.

Of course the real problem is convincing the boomers who shut down all the schools who still run the congregations to reverse course and allow it.  Synod Inc should form a skunk-works, bring along any current congregation that wants to survive, and build school systems in every major ESA Red State metropolitan area.
Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 01, 2024, 05:52:59 PMInstitutional decline is painful, perhaps unavoidable, but should not be encouraged as part of the needed death before the resurrection. Neuhaus made this point emphatically in Freedom For Ministry. An institution is simply a movement that has gained traction and stabilized.

My first call was to plant mission congregation, and I have never been able to shake the sense that my call is to the congregation as an institution. I know it isn't really true, but it is sort of a gut, default sense of things I have. While I think it is wrong, it is not wholly wrong. The guys who view it as their job strictly to preach and teach and lead worship are in one sense correct, but in another sense a big liability to the overall functioning of the mission. They think they're like teachers who can say, "Give me a classroom and a bunch of kids and I'll teach them," but who are not responsible for coming up the classroom or finding the kids to enroll. Pastors are not and I don't think can be like that. They are responsible for the health of the whole as well as of each individual within it. 

Peter, I don't know if that was directed at my comments. But what you say there has always been my bigger concern. Having as much divergence congregation to congregation as we do right now isn't good for the whole.  It is understandable that people's loyalty might be to St. John Gaspump that has a stained glass window of the original gaspump paid for by great-grand-daddy, but the whole suffers when you could visit 6 LCMS congregations and 5 of them are under 40 people. Likewise my longstanding arguments to the effect that lower seminary enrollment is a good thing as it should force necessary conversations. My arguments have always been that we need to understand ourselves as larger than any individual congregation and move toward being able to make decisions for that larger church.
Quote from: Weedon on April 30, 2024, 06:33:52 PMMark,

I would also note another aspect of the "yes" and "no" that makes an intolerable situation: the fiscal duties of our corporate officers (who by law have to serve mammon) vs. the spiritual duties to which we pledge these same officers. Jesus told us flat out that serving God and mammon is an impossibility, yet once we became a complex group of incorporated (and entangled) businesses, we've been pretending that the impossible is possible with enough finesse. To borrow from your conclusion: we need a whole lot of death and resurrection, and a lot of that death needs to be in the area of attempting to preserve and increase the stockpile of mammon. The corporate version of "saving your life" rather than "losing it."

Yes, exactly. And this conflict with Mammon goes right into the congregations because the vast majority are too small to support the ministerium of that 2nd LCMS reformation. Every pastor of those congregations is faced constantly with choices that he knows will effect the I&E and Balance Sheet that the treasurer will show monthly. The representatives of that 2nd LCMS have been trying to keep all the assets (the Balance Sheet) of it, and they've been doing it at the expense of the ministers. Bi-voc, 6pt parish with each point maintaining autonomy, SMP, CPH pricing strategy, the list is basically endless. Here is how we will keep this "asset" around. It is pure worldliness.

When we stop that foolishness, let it die, and start trying to build the new thing, we'll have our resurrection.
Quote from: Weedon on April 29, 2024, 07:11:46 PMI know that this is a pan Lutheran board and anyone can comment on any thread. Still, this thread is aimed not at getting a non-LCMS look at the LCMS (maybe someone should start that thread), but providing a place for those inside the LCMS to reflect upon her: her strengths, her weaknesses, her challenges, her failures and her triumphs.

I want to start it off by noting that my primary attitude toward my Synod is one of deep gratitude. She has consistently been an instrument of great blessing in my life. She baptized me, confirmed me, educated me, married me, further educated me, ordained me, further educated me again, and has provided me with countless opportunities to preach and teach, to sing and to celebrate the joyful good news of sin's forgiveness and death's defeat in our Lord Jesus.

I am grateful for her staunch liturgy and hymnody and for the theological education she gave me above all.

One of her weaknesses, in my opinion (I know many will disagree), is her attempt to hold together disparate theological convictions and pretend that we can say "yes" and "no" at the same time. Another of her weaknesses is her tendency to elevate the current status quo to a norm (the CTCR quoting itself!) and thus stifling the ability of the Lutheran Symbols to actually challenge and correct our course. She has had a fatal tendency to mistake theological schemata (by which some of her theologians sought to make sense of the theological data) for the actual dogma of the Church.

Her biggest challenge is that her structure only works the way it was intended when the parishes are populated by Lutheran Christians who take seriously their confirmation vows and intend to preserve the Lutheran heritage as a priceless gift. She doesn't have a back up plan (I am not sure there is one) when LINO becomes a thing, as people refuse to be held to and to insist on upholding the Book of Concord.

Her biggest failure in my book isn't in the area of evangelism, but in the area of piety. She has sought overwhelmingly to impart Lutheranism as a school of thought (hence, you learn it in a class) rather than a way of confident living from the bounty of God's divine giving, what Kleinig calls "receptive spirituality." I am convinced that if the piety piece were addressed and the faith came to be lived again in our homes (daily prayers, table blessing, study of the Word together, singing the hymns of our church), we'd find the outreach problem solved on its own.

Her biggest triumph is also, in my opinion, a great danger. I refer to her turning her back on the way of liberal higher criticism and seeking for a way of studying the Scriptures that honored their divine origin by the Spirit. The devil will never cease trying to falsify and take the Word away from the Christian people, and the mistake is to think having won a battle, we can relax. The war goes on and he is indeed a wily foe.

Okay, my scattered thoughts. I'd be curious from my fellow Missourians about their own thoughts or reactions to any of the above.

Will, I'd largely say exactly what you did with maybe a few tweaks, none really worth mentioning.

But I would amplify or maybe connect two things you note. Our weakness, trying to hold together things that can't be, is directly connected to our lack of piety. You can only hold together yes and no in a mental construct. When you are forced to incarnate it into piety, you know immediately it doesn't work. We should just admit this.

Which is the great challenge. Our congregationalism only works for a growing, practicing, confident, unified people.  Which largely we are not. As we bury the last of that group, we really need the courage to reform ourselves for a new work.  The triumph is simply that I think that work of reformation has been done twice in LCMS history. Walther did it first after Stephan. They collectively did it a second time across the wars as German became English. This third reformation looks to be tougher. We are too worldly in too many ways. But the Spirit doesn't really work by increment, but by death and resurrection.   

Your Turn / Re: Forum Standards
April 03, 2024, 12:32:03 PM
Quote from: Weedon on April 03, 2024, 11:57:48 AMI'll be honest: the most offputting thing I find on the Forum is the constant suspicion and bashing (sometimes subtle, often blatant) of Synod. Like it's a mark of honor to trash our church body, particularly but not exclusively from within. It's like a pedigree of being "real" ALPB is to engage in such. I'm not suggesting Synod is above criticism; everyone knows that's not so. I'm suggesting that the continued desire to fight the old fights from the 70's and to read every present action in that light is excessively wearisome, and also significantly off-base.

Intellectual hospitality in this case requires not just kvetching, but putting forward your actual solution, or at least something that would move things forward. And "if only the fundamentalists hadn't won Seminex" doesn't count. 1) It's not true and 2) you don't have a time machine. Another one is the carping about anonymous lists.  Even if the Synod passed some type of "anonymous lists are evil" statement, it wouldn't stop them. If you want to kvetch about the list controlling everything, put together an open coalition that wins over winnable people and gets them to participate. And just muttering fundamentalist and mission obviously doesn't do that.  The list doesn't die until the truth that it captures is embraced.  Those are a couple of examples of intellectual hostility as around these parts pointing out that both are probably generally positive things would get the bum's rush.

Intellectual hospitality would be proposing ways that the dogmatic/dem could actually work with the dogmatic/gop.  Or ways that the dogmatic/gop and the pragmatic/gop could agree to work together each getting a piece of what they really want.
Quote from: peter_speckhard on April 01, 2024, 11:58:28 AM
Quote from: Charles Austin on April 01, 2024, 11:26:26 AMPeter:
Established by whom?  That would seem relevant as to whether the president of the United States should be issuing a proclamation about it, or whether doing so is above criticism.
How about the relevancy of a candidate for our highest office closing his rallies with references to himself as Jesus and the savior of our country. This during the Christian Holy Week. Then comes quiet music and modeling the closing of his rallies on a good old-fashioned sawdust trail altar call? Come forward to declare your allegiance to the Anointed One.

Personally I don't need government to affirm my religious beliefs.  I've been preparing myself to retreat into the catacombs.  I've been paying attention about who will join me versus force me down there.  What I found troubling about that is when it's my co-religionists cheering on the government approved pogrom.
If The Ex wins, deo nonvolante, we all may find our faith and political views subject to government persecution. Do you really think He - The Ex, the serial liar, the blaspheming Bible-seller - cares about or supports conservative religion?

I think you've messed up your quotes again. I never said anything about catacombs or pogroms, at least that I recall. I've never been to a Trump rally nor have I ever watched more than sound bites. Maybe if you could link to a video of him declaring himself Jesus or having an altar call for people to devote their allegiance to him as the Messiah, it would help me get what you're talking about. Either way, though, I don't think it would be an example of what the quotes that began this thread are talking about. This thread, as noted in the title, was supposed to be "actual, high-level discussion" of the larger issues involved. Just how devout or hypocritical a Catholic Biden is or whether or what kind of weird Protestant Trump might be don't really enter it much.

The only thing your comment has to do with the topic is your prediction that a Trump win would result in government persecution of our/your faith. How? What is that prediction based on? What would it look like in practical reality? Federal agents monitoring the ELCA as a potential threat? The government declaring aspects of your faith hate-speech and therefore illegal? FBI officers showing up at your door just wanting to discuss your problematic social media posts? 

A one-time moderator beg. There are certain norms that everyone follows. A bulletin board system like this has a built-in method to prevent New York Times style made-up quotes. You quote directly what someone else wrote and it has a link directly to it in context.  There is only one person on this bulletin board who refuses to use that system. I understand he might feel it cramps his ability to apply NYT selective quotes. But what it really does is: a) make it harder to follow any chain, b) make it impossible to pick up a conversation later unless you are willing to take the NYT selective quotes as honest.  I know that you probably can't stop this, but a comment about respecting the norms of bulletin boards might be appropriate.
Just want to with everyone a happy transgender day of visibility tomorrow!  There is no such thing as a naked public square. There are always priests filling it with something.

Quote from: Weedon on March 29, 2024, 12:11:49 PMJPII's theology of the body was a bulwark against the collapse of the family; it's sad to see it being vitiated so much in Rome these days. I remember he particularly used the phrase "the truth written in our bodies." The Lutheran version of the same was delivered by John Kleinig in his outstanding book "Wonderfully Made." It's non-polemical. Kleinig doesn't try to show what's wrong with other perspectives; he does try to make a case for the beauty of the Biblical framework and I think he massively succeeds. He actually wrote the book at the behest of the Office of National Mission of the LCMS, but we never moved on it and he ended up having it published elsewhere. It's a great, great read, and has lots of overlap with the insights of JPII, but with the authenticity that would flow from a man who lives in holy marriage and is father and grandfather.

JP2 understood the rot in that family estate. If Humanae Vitae was prophetic in these regards, JP2 was acting on the prophetic word. The current papacy though has dismantled most of that because its vision of the church is largely that co-opted NGO crypto-state. People like to call out the Russian Orthodox as being captured by Putin. In many ways the Roman and much of the Western Church is just as captured by the Global American Empire.

My personal struggle is with those Ezekiel 33 type situations and the application of the law. Christians are so quick to move on divorce and the destruction of the family. We act no better than the world.  And yes, the church is sinners. But the church is also to warn. And the Christian to take those warnings to heart. How often presented with what any prior age would have merely taken as scandal, do we immediately jump to "the gospel". But in so many of the cases I've been familiar with, that gospel is not taken as comfort at forgiveness of brutal sin, but as justification that "yes, I'm doing the right thing leaving my family." When what is probably called for is a direct word, "stop sinning and go back to your family." And I'm not sure we recover family or church as true estates until we have the courage to be that honest.
Quote from: JoshuaMc on March 29, 2024, 10:47:55 AMI'm reticent to wade into this conversation because of the parameters that have been set up around it, but here goes.

Peter, I feel like I've heard you put lots of value on the positive effects that a common religious grounding has given to Americans in terms of respecting human dignity and hemming in the worst impulses of the state.

I can broadly support this feeling, especially when I look at nations with state Churches that I think are doing pretty well, though not perfectly. Lutheranism, at least in it majority expression, works in a state/church scheme. I think Norway is pretty nice.

That said, the historian in me always wants to look for caveats when I encounter an overarching theory like RJN constructed with the naked public square. The big caveats for me are the moments of raw wickedness that the have taken place in the US despite the common Christian grounding of the people. If I needed to pick out concrete examples I guess I'd highlight the documented genocide of American Indians in the 1860 - 80s in California. I'd maybe also point to the federal government's treatment of downwinders at the nuclear production and test sites in the West from the 1940s to the 1960s. Another example might include the use of the Colorado National Guard to violently and lethally break up the United Mine Workers strike in Colorado in 1914. So many examples come to mind.

So here's the rub. Americans have historically had a public ethic that was religiously grounded but we also can see that lives, freedom, and goodness were often not valued in the midst of it. The data requires that the theory become more complicated or nuanced.

I think you're doing this when you say:
QuoteEvery civilization is not an alternative to Utopia, it is an alternative to savagery.

But again, if the best we have is an alternative to savagery, then the bar feels pretty low to me. RJN's high estimation of
QuoteReligion as a mediating structure--a community that generates and transmits moral values
feels like a slide into a theology of glory. To me, he's
Quotelooking upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened (Heidelberg 19)
He saw glory when, in 1931, the Supreme Court called us
Quotea Christian people
.I don't think we can see glory if we are rigorously historical.

So I guess this is my assessment. RJN valourises a Christian public ethic in ways that God never intended such an ethic to even exist. His theory, like so many political theories, only works if the sample of historical details that supports it is carefully curated, like Marxism or classical liberalism. I guess this is the human condition.


The Naked Public Square idea itself rests on something even older: the three estates (Family, Church and State). That itself is an outgrowth of the 4th commandment. The family actually combines the latter two, but the family is a micro institution. I think if we were updating the Naked Public Square thesis, what we'd talk about is how the state has co-opted and usurped all the spaces where the church used to work. And the state has done this not by "nationalizing the means of production" as prior revolutions might have desired in an open state that allowed nothing outside the state. It has done this by what we see in the NGO world and para-church world. Institutions that used to be truly independent and governed by the church estate, through the injection of state power and mostly money, have become crypto-state enterprises.  This process has advanced to the point where the state has turned itself upon the family. Let me give a non-sexuality example. If you have a child applying for college financial aid, you hit the process.  The colleges know that they can extract money from the family.  And the old FAFSA process was Mom and Dad filling out the forms and all the paperwork flowed through the family.  The current FAFSA process all flows through the individual child. The child must request from Mom and Dad - both individually - to allow the tax forms to be used.  But the results only flow to the student.  And mom and dad, if they don't get the approval of the child, would never know the "expected family contribution" or any of the other information.  The fact that the important group in this is the family is obliterated by the state.  The state refuses to interact with the family.  And the managerial state in all its forms seeks to dissolve that family and usurp its authority. Until there is only the individual and the state.  Any remaining institutions are merely coordinating functionaries of the state.

To the extent that you have truly functioning independent estates, when headship goes bad, there is a mechanism for correction. Now our Reformation history has the correction flowing from state to church with the magistrate as alternate bishop. Personally that gives me hives, but that is because I live at a time of overwhelming state power.  The state power of the tiny fiefdoms of that age were different.  Even if you go back to Constantine and Nicea, the power to micromanage individuals through state power enhanced by digital technology is overwhelming. The Roman Empire couldn't even dream of such day to day control. I'm more interested in how a more-or-less recognized church allows for the correction of the state.  The last great American example is of course Rev. King who made explicit calls to American families and the American state to end segregation and unequal civil rights based on the color of skin not the content of character. That call was explicitly religious. Almost every reform movement in American history was birthed in church basements.  But with so much of the church having been usurped into the crypto-state, and the complete fracturing of the de facto recognized church along those lines, there is no recognized legitimate moral authority to call out the state.

Now eventually crypto-state institutions die. There is no spirit in them. But until you get an honest renewal of family and church, you have a tyrant state. And the only question in a tyrant state is who is the tyrant and whose blood does he direct the gears of the state toward?
Quote from: peter_speckhard on March 28, 2024, 06:23:58 PMI think the political "civil war fought by other means" is the key to understanding the divide. It is a clash or irreconcilable worldviews. That's why symbolic issues that affect very few people take on outsized importance. When people level criticisms of either Biden or Trump— age, corruption, personal faith or morals, etc.— they generally aren't identifying anything that they could say, "if it weren't for that, I'd vote for him." More likely, if it weren't for that, they'd have another reason not to vote for him. In a civil war, people vote based on that one great divide, not on the personal qualities of the candidate or the hodgepodge of policy particulars except as though policies manifest the cohesive worldview they're really voting on.

For this reason, I think trans issues are likely to be huge in this election, way out of proportion to, say, tax rates or foreign policy.

I tend to think exactly this. The GOP electorate pushed Trump over the top in 2016 because they had intuited the naked public square, saw that the garden variety GOP did nothing, and that whoever the GOP put forward would be compared to Hitler.  Might as well send in the barbarian. "He Fights!"  The 2020 election of the ancient Biden had two promises: 1. Not Trump and 2. Return to normal. Enough people took "return to normal" to be a respecting of the old public square by a church attending Catholic.  They saw someone who might remember the old mediating institutions.  But what they received has been the speeding up of the stripping of that square.  Trans everywhere.  Rainbow flags on the White House. Closing of churches as "non-essential". The FBI designating Latin Mass Catholics as domestic terrorist breeding grounds. And a never ending legal assault the end result of will be Christians unable to work in any profession. The 2024 election between the same two people is masks off.  Biden is no longer able to pretend that his admin is not pursuing that naked public square. There is no "return to normal." And the people who hoped the GOP electorates' intuition was wrong and opted for Biden are confronted with which side of the split are you on.
Quote from: Dave Benke on March 27, 2024, 02:11:45 PM
Quote from: Mark Brown on March 27, 2024, 12:35:19 PM
Quote from: John_Hannah on March 27, 2024, 06:59:41 AM
Quote from: Rob Morris on March 26, 2024, 11:15:08 PM
Quote from: John_Hannah on March 26, 2024, 09:35:28 PM
Quote from: Jeremy_Loesch on March 26, 2024, 07:34:53 PMThe charter schools are open to everyone but the elites don't send their children to charter schools, public schools either for that matter. They send their kids to private schools to get a good education. It happens in every large city. No politician in DC would dare send their child to a DC public school. Private, and only private.

Randi Weingarten, head of the american teachers union, sends her children to private school.


This is absolutely not true of New York City!l

Genuinely asking: it is your impression that the elites of NYC are sending their children to the public schools? I don't live in NYC, so your view will be much closer-ranging than mine.

As Dave notes, there are quite a few public schools for the intellectual elite, open also for the poor, but gifted. There are also private schools with high tuition. I don't know the size of enrollment in these, but it is true that not all financially elite send their children to NYC public schools.

Quote from: Dave Benke on March 27, 2024, 08:57:55 AMIt's a complex picture, Rob.  First of all, under the category "private" are the religious private schools - mostly Catholic and Jewish.  The Yeshivas have come under fire not because of their excellence but in some instances because they're more like Madrassas, just teaching Hebrew scripture with little attention to typical academic subjects like math.  And several of the Catholic schools are top shelf - Regis in Manhattan is one.  Our two NYC high schools vary from $18000 to under $10000, and the finance model is not easy at those numbers.

Some of the best private and charter schools are single gender.  And tuition varies - Regis is under $30000 all in all done, while the Dalton school is over $60000 all in all done.  Avenues the World is $55000.  Ergo even "the elite" are open to suggestion about finding a good charter school, for which the tuition is zero.  Two of my nephews live in NY Metro with small children.  $30000 to $40000 per year for daycare for two kids each.  The alternative, Universal Pre-K, is free for the school day with fee based extended hours. 

This is all money talk; the quality of the public school education in the "good" neighborhoods is high to very high.  We live in a Korean/Chinese neighborhood, which has the best achieving public schools in NYC by district - and it's in Queens.  One of our evaluators in UPK who has been on the upper west side asked our school leaders what we did with all the donations around the holidays.  Our women said that we attempt to give every family something, and know our families to the level that we engage in community outreach so that every child in more dire need and their siblings have enough to eat and some gifts.  The evaluator began to cry.  She was talking about parents who would donate new play areas for each classroom, or high end tech for each student, about incoming gifts. 

Charter schools have decimated parochial schools in our fair city.  If it's free, vs. tuition, free wins.  And the Lutheran and Catholic systems were designed for working class and working poor families for a long, long time.  That's where the charters were chartered to be built or tenanted.  What this means is that charter schools now tenant in schools formerly parochial, formerly Lutheran parochial.  And the tenancy brings substantial funds to the church now without a school of its own. 

To conclude, the "elite" do what the non-elite attempt to do - find the best quality education they can. 

Dave Benke

Hmm, just imagine what could happen if the all the money (over $30k/yr/std) was given directly to the parents/children to purchase an education, instead of being the primary slush fund for teacher's unions and democrat political activity.  But that would be caring about actual education.

Many to most of the charters and private/parochial school teachers are not in a union, for one.  Maybe you're just in a bad mood today.  As to "democrat political activity," how would that impact the local school?  A lot of the charters and private/parochial schools are not supported at all by elected officials in NYC. 

The public school argument about the difference in test scores is very simple.  The private/parochial/charter can remove a child; the public school basically cannot.  So the contention is that the bad actors at all levels are in the public system.  In many ways, that's not a bad argument.  Except - in NYC we have the high achiever specialized schools all the way through, so there is a very high high end in public education. 

Dave Benke
Dave, you are smarter than that response, which is a bunch of non-sequiturs.

NYC Public Schools spend $38K/student/year ( That is a lot of money that if parents actually had that, you'd have all kinds of educational opportunities available. None of them restricted in the ways of the failing current school systems which rolls on into the housing market and affordability as people scramble to get into the few "good" schools.  The charters are a controlled relief valve.  They had to appear to be doing something, but that something never addresses many core concerns - like the role of religion - unless you are Jewish and own a square mile. Then you get your own school. Also, given my experience with NYS schools, a huge amount of that money itself is spent not on classroom education or its equivalent, but upon administration and various adjuncts that often are little more than political officers and in school organizers.
In the 2020 election cycle the NEA and AFT combined gave $66M to political activity ([/url], a total of $157K to GOP/con groups. The 2024 cycle is looking the same ( All of that money raised from union dues taken from teachers. Those teachers also often end up being the foot soldiers of political campaigns. No wonder that many politicians don't even support the relief valve of charters. They are the number 1 client of the democrat party.

And who mentioned anything about test scores? Although since you plugged the NYC high end schools I wouldn't expect them to last much longer. ( DeBlasio almost eliminated their admission req's. There is a little quiet now, but after they chase Adams out, chop-chop.
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