Why hate the Koch brothers?

The Koch brothers are the devil incarnate to many progressives.

But do you actually know their positions on immigration, prison reform, drug legalization, police violence, war in the Mideast, and urban education?

These two podcasts are from the Freakonomics Radio Show. Live interviews with Charles Koch.

I guarantee they will surprise you….

The Most Influential Man About Whom You Have Never Heard. #AbrahamKuyper

The Social Vision of Abraham Kuyper

Insights from a lecture given by Vincent Bacote of Wheaton College at Acton University 2017.

Abraham Kuyper (b. 1837 in Holland) is one of the most influential practical theologians of all time.

A parish pastor who ran for congress (Tweede Kamer), transformed Dutch society, and ended up prime minister, Kuyper (pronounced, BTW, COW-puhr, not KY-phur) enlisted almost superhuman dynamic energy to create space for Christians and others to thrive alongside one another.

He’s really only well-known in the Netherlands and in circles worldwide made up of enthusiastic Reformed/Gereformeerde/Hervormde theologians.

He was a progressive, “modern” theologian and pastor as a young man, who underwent twin conversions:

  1. Ethical. Became more humble and teachable.
  2. Confessional. Kuyper started attending prayer meetings of church members who were staying away from his “revisionist” sermons and discovered something of true substance there. He ended up aligning himself with the “kleine luyden” (the marginalized, less-socially-important people, many of whom could not vote). He ended up seeing himself as their leader and champion.

He eventually stepped away from vocational church life to run for congress, finding himself in the “Anti-revolutionary Party.” They were fighting against the secularist/laicist aftermath of the French Revolution (100 years prior).

You might say: “Why fight against something that happened 100 years ago?” Well, a Chinese historian was asked recently what he thought of the French Revolution. His answer (in 2015): It’s too early to tell (!).

Kuyper landed a seat in the Tweede Kamer (lower house), and began re-making the country. His writing output was beyond prodigious. He wrote daily and weekly columns for De Standaard and De Heraut. Much like Martin Luther, he used waterfalls of the printed word to bathe his nation in new ways of thinking. It led to several nervous breakdowns.

A parishioner, early on in his career, asked Kuyper: “Why can’t I send my child to a school with the bible?” This “School met de Bijbel” idea never left him; subconsciously, he turned it into brick and mortar, opening the Free University of Amsterdam (Conservative Christian) in 1880, and fighting for radical school choice for all (not just the rich) throughout his life, culminating in the 1917 educational pluralism law in the Netherlands, which has produced thriving primary schools of all ideologies to this day, all on an equal playing field, and at a cost of about half per student of what American taxpayers pay.

SPHERE SOVEREIGNTY

This will be the topic of another post, but AK developed sophisticated thinking around what he called sphere sovereignty. At the risk of over-simplifying, family, government, and church should stay out of each other’s business. The rules vary from sphere to sphere and one sphere doesn’t tell the other sphere what to do–thus it is fundamentally anti-totalitarian. Kuyper’s concepts around this idea had a huge effect on the large “Christian Democrat” political parties in Europe, and in a way, led to the welfare state which developed after WW2.

There are two kinds of Kuyper fans, in the 21st Century, and yes, they sometimes wear Kuyper T-shirts:

  1. Common Grace fans.
  2. Antithesis fans.
COMMON GRACE

A major theme in AK’s thinking, common grace is available to everyone. Dutch: gratie (rhymes with “Yahtzee”). Because God rules over all creation and all humankind, he gives them grace to live in his world and carry out their calling. God shows all men favor by holding their sin in check so that they are able to live together in society and so that His church can live and grow in the world (a quote from Charles Terpstra).

AK had practical reasons for creating the common grace canvas on which to paint his public engagement in politics. It gave him backing for working with all kinds of groups, Christian and secular, since everyone has access to gratie. He needed allies in order to form a coalition government and get some of his ideas passed into law.

Kuyper’s famous quote, “There is not one square centimeter of creation where God does not say: That’s mine!” reflects his understanding of common grace.

ANTITHESIS

Regenerated Christians, on the other hand, are recipients of special saving grace. Kuyper: genade. This sets them apart from all the rest of the human race. All facts can only be seen from two perspectives: regenerated and secular. This antithesis means, that although we share common grace, the regenerated Christian acts differently in the world than a secular person.

As Bacote summed it up: Go ahead and get out in the world, but remember who you are (a child of God) when you get there. We Christians will come to different conclusions about everything.

CONCLUSION

Kuyper never wanted a theocracy, because regenerated Christians will always be in the minority. But we are not to separate out into monasteries. Like Jesus and Paul, we are to engage the culture.

Special grace (genade) creates regenerated Christians who engage the culture with a different worldview, and engage others with our common grace to move God’s will forward in the world.

Also, AK was down on slavery, pro-women, had a huge effect on Dutch education, and set Dutch verzuiling (sovereignty n one’s own circle) in motion. He said some very racist things, was a workaholic, never groomed a successor, and wasn’t fully aware of how overbearing he was.

But he also is among the most creative Christian leaders of all time in describing how best to be “in the world but not of the world,” and far from being an ivory tower theologian, he walked his talk and set out to transform his nation.

 

 

Homeschooling Pros & Cons #0559 Jennifer Clark Tinker

We’ve been homeschooling our 10-year-old son since he was in the 2nd grade (he was in public school for Kindergarten and 1st grade). Yesterday a ministry colleague asked me about the pros and cons of homeschooling. I thought it was an excellent question and thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts more widely.

Overall the pros outweigh the cons for me, which is, of course, why I’ve chosen to homeschool. Still, I’ll try to present both sides as best I can.

Pros

  • Individualized Study Plan: We get to tailor everything to our kid and his learning style and unique interests. If he excels in something we can let him soar in that area. If he is “behind” in some areas we can decide how/when/if we want to get him “caught up.”
  • Flexible Time Off: We enjoy the flexibility homeschooling gives our family. Especially since we’re a ministry family and we work on weekends and holidays, we enjoy having a weekday off together as a family and getting to take vacations when we choose.
  • Quantity of Time: Quite simply, we get more time with our kid. Our window of time with him is so short before he will be all grown up and out of the house. Homeschooling gives us lots of opportunities to spend time with him, bond with him and make memories with him.
  • On the Scene: I’m aware from my own experience as a public school kid how very much goes on in a school day that parents never know about and kids don’t think to tell parents about. Some of this is trivial, inconsequential stuff, but sometimes there are incidents at school that can shape a kid for better or worse. As a home educator I am on the scene with my kid and more likely to get to be in loving, parental conversation with him about what’s going on in his life.
  • The Good and the Ugly: When my son was in public school there was a lot of homework—in K & 1st grade! Our battles over his homework were the worst kind of ugly. I figured if I was going to have to spend a couple of hours fighting with him about schoolwork anyway, I might as well bring him home so I can can enjoy the fun parts of the school day too.
  • Groups: We have enjoyed some extraordinary bonding with other homeschool families through homeschool groups we’ve joined. Our son and we have all formed/reinforced lasting friendships through these groups.

Cons

  • Planning: It’s not difficult, but it does take effort to decide on curriculum and approach to homeschooling. There are more options than ever before for home education and it takes time to research the choices and make a decision.
  • Legal Considerations: Homeschooling rules and regulations vary by state. Home educators are responsible for knowing and following their state’s specifications. For example, some states require home educators to submit an educational plan each year, some require annual assessment.
  • Balancing Act: As a homeschooling mom who also works at home, scheduling time for his work and mine gets tricky. I try to take a big picture view on his educational goals so I don’t make myself crazy if I need to take a break from his schooling to meet a deadline of mine.

This list is strictly my opinion. Different homeschool families will have slightly different pros and cons about their experience. Overall, we have been very happy with our decision to do school at home.

How are you choosing to provide for your child’s education? What are the pros and cons of your choice?