Worth Reading - 2/16

1. An Atlantic article discusses the increasing academic rigor and decreasing results of pre-schools as society tries to move basic skills to premature developmental stages:

Until recently, school-readiness skills weren’t high on anyone’s agenda, nor was the idea that the youngest learners might be disqualified from moving on to a subsequent stage. But now that kindergarten serves as a gatekeeper, not a welcome mat, to elementary school, concerns about school preparedness kick in earlier and earlier. A child who’s supposed to read by the end of kindergarten had better be getting ready in preschool. As a result, expectations that may arguably have been reasonable for 5- and 6-year-olds, such as being able to sit at a desk and complete a task using pencil and paper, are now directed at even younger children, who lack the motor skills and attention span to be successful.

Preschool classrooms have become increasingly fraught spaces, with teachers cajoling their charges to finish their “work” before they can go play. And yet, even as preschoolers are learning more pre-academic skills at earlier ages, I’ve heard many teachers say that they seem somehow—is it possible?—less inquisitive and less engaged than the kids of earlier generations. More children today seem to lack the language skills needed to retell a simple story or to use basic connecting words and prepositions. They can’t make a conceptual analogy between, say, the veins on a leaf and the veins in their own hands.

2. The Babylon Bee provides a TL;DR version of the 66 books of the Bible. This is snort worthy in aggregate.

Job – Hebrew country music song.
Psalms – An ancient Hillsong album with sheep metaphors instead of ocean metaphors.
Ecclesiastes – Everything is meaningless, except everything isn’t really meaningless because God gives everything meaning. Whoa.
Song of Solomon – Go ask your parents.

3. Reactions to Jordan Peterson have been mixed, but he seems to have a large audience of young adult males. Anthony Bradley considers why that might be in a recent article:

Boomers and GenXers continued to browbeat, berate, and shame Millennials and GenZ teens for trying to numb their shame with drugs, alcohol, video games, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and so on. The shame that young men carried was re-shamed by ministry leaders who wanted these men to feel low enough for the gospel. What they didn’t understand was that these young men were acquainted with lowliness. A large percentage of men born after 1990 already felt weak, beaten down, and worthless. Young men needed empathetic pastors to build them up to be the men that God created them to be.

Jordan Peterson is the prophet who understands this reality. As an observant Jungian and college professor, Peterson knows that thirty years of raising men in a culture that destroyed the archetypal, aspirational Jesus needs the antidote of empathy, encouragement, and practical day-to-day imagination to help men recover their souls so that they can live a life that means something.

4. Alan Jacobs dissects the First Things article which supported the Roman Catholic abduction of a child from a Jewish family in the mid-20th century:

Which leads me, finally, to the one point I want to make. Imagine that I, an Anglican, were the editor of First Things, and I published an essay by a priest of the Church of England arguing that Elizabeth I was perfectly justified in carrying out her lengthy persecution of English Catholics, since she was ordained by God as His royal servant implementing the True Biblical Faith in England, and the Roman Catholic Church by contrast is the Whore of Babylon as described in the Revelation to John. Imagine further that I responded to criticism by saying that I don’t agree with that argument but find that it challenges me in salutary ways. Would Catholic readers of the magazine be mollified by that explanation? I suspect not — even if my wife were a Catholic and my children were being raised in that communion.

Of course, the real-world First Things would never run such an essay, any more than it would run an essay by a Muslim arguing that the right and proper place of Christians and Jews in the world is dhimmitude under a restored Caliphate, or one by a Jew arguing that Christianity in all its forms is necessarily and intrinsically anti-Semitic and should therefore be repudiated and marginalized by all right-thinking people. As I have noted several times on this blog and elsewhere, the Overton window of acceptable positions for First Things articles has been moving for several years now, but moving in only one direction: towards an increasing acceptance of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church over against other religious communities. Whether it might be defensible for non-Catholics to be in a position of dhimmitude vis-a-vis Catholicism is a question to be asked in the pages of First Things; but the legitimacy of Catholicism is never similarly open to question. For some time now it has been quite clear who at First Things are the first-class citizens and who need to make their way the back of the cabin.

5. This is not recently published, and certainly not new, but Abraham Kuyper's essay in response to the creeping socialism of his day is worth reading again.

Just as surely, in the second place, we Christians are to take sides in the controversy between state and society. If you, like the social democrats, allow the state to be absorbed by society, you deny the political authority that God has established to uphold his supremacy and his justice. Conversely, if you, in line with the state socialists, allow society to be absorbed by the state, you offer incense to the deification of the state. You will be putting the state in the place of God and destroying a divinely ordered, free society for the sake of the apotheosis of the state. Against both positions we Christians must uphold the view that state and society each has its own sphere, or, if you will, each has its own sovereignty, and that the social question cannot be properly resolved unless we respect this duality and thus honor political authority while also clearing the way for initiatives from society.