Thursday, November 15, 2012

U.S. Colleges Recruiting More International Students

Photo Credit: Eastenhuh
From MSN News:
"Want to see how quickly the look and business model of American public universities are changing? Visit a place like Indiana University. Five years ago, there were 87 undergraduates from China on its idyllic, All-American campus in Bloomington. This year: 2,224. 
New figures out Monday show international enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities grew nearly 6 percent last year, driven by a 23-percent increase from China, even as total enrollment was leveling out. But perhaps more revealing is where much of the growth is concentrated: big, public land-grant colleges, notably in the Midwest. 
The numbers offer a snapshot of the transformation of America's famous heartland public universities in an era of diminished state support. Of the 25 campuses with the most international students, a dozen have increased international enrollment more than 40 percent in just five years, according to data collected by the Institute of International Education. All but one are public, and a striking number come from the Big Ten: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and the Universities of Minnesota and Illinois. Indiana's international enrollment now surpasses 6,000, or about 15 percent of the student body, and in Illinois, the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus has nearly 9,000 — second nationally only to the University of Southern California. 
To be sure, such ambitious universities value the global vibe and perspectives international students bring to their Midwestern campuses. But there's no doubt what else is driving the trend: International students typically pay full out-of-state tuition and aren't awarded financial aid. 
Public universities hit hard by state funding cuts "really are starting to realize the tuition from international students makes it possible for them to continue offering scholarships and financial aid to domestic students," said Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor at IIE, the private nonprofit that publishes the annual "Open Doors" study. 
Nationally, there were 765,000 foreign students on U.S. campuses last year, with China (158,000) the top source, followed by India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia (the fastest growing thanks to an ambitious scholarship program by the Saudi government). Altogether, IIE calculates they contribute $22.7 billion to the economy, and many stay after graduation. For the first time in a dozen years, there were more foreign undergraduates than graduate students."
To read the rest of the article please click here.

(h/t to Trae Vacek for the link.)

Friday, November 09, 2012

It's Not 1951 Anymore: What Cru Can Learn From The 2012 Election

Photo Credit: jamesomalley
"Either [Republicans] press the snooze button on the Latino electorate and continue with an exclusive Southern strategy that is no longer applicable in a 21st century reality, or they have a 'come to Jesus' moment ... where they realize America has changed," Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

The re-election of Barack Obama as president of The United States has served as a stunning wake-up call to many evangelical Christians that our country is different than what it used to be. No longer can a candidate focus their attention on the white population and win a presidential election and gone is the day where a candidate can ignore historically marginalized groups and still come out on top.

Here is the breakdown of how various ethnic groups voted in the election:
  • 39% of Whites voted for Obama. 59% voted for Romney.
  • 71% of Hispanics voted for Obama. 27% voted for Romney.
  • 93% of African Americans voted for Obama. 6% voted for Romney.
  • 73% of Asian Americans and other ethnic groups voted for Obama. 26% voted for Romney.
As I sat and watched the election results roll in on Tuesday evening, I heard much discussion of how Latinos (now numbering over 50 million in the U.S.) were affecting the vote. No longer feeling accepted by the Republican Party, over seven out of ten Hispanic voters chose to vote for President Obama. As a result of these shifts in voter preference, I believe we will see the Republican Party change. But why? Because they really care about ethnic minorities...or because they want more votes in order to retain the power they once held?

In reflecting upon these results, I can't help but think of how these current realities affect the ministry I work with, Cru. Being in existence for over 60 years, our reach has been widespread. Our ministries exist on well over 1,000 campuses across the U.S. and we have tens of thousands students involved. Countless lives have been changed and there's no doubt that God has done some great things through the work of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru). But with now nearly 40% of U.S. college students either American ethnic minorities or international students, our U.S. movements are still overwhelmingly comprised of students and staff members of European descent. It's not 1951 anymore.

Similarly to the identity crisis that the Republican Party is going through, our ministry is wrestling with the realities of the changes that we, as a largely white ministry, need to make so that ethnic minorities are effectively reached, equipped and empowered by the gospel truth that enables them to live out their faith as who God made them to be. Change is never easy...but change we must.

I've continued to work with Cru all these years because I believe our leaders and our staff genuinely care about giving EVERY student and faculty member an opportunity to respond to the love and forgiveness offered in Christ. I truly believe that we are committed to seeing students and faculty of color empowered as leaders that will not only impact their campuses but also their communities and the world.

However, I'm concerned that our unspoken motivation to see these changes may have more to do with how we feel about ourselves or what others think of us rather than being compelled by the love of God. We fear of becoming "irrelevant" in the eyes of others. We agonize over our "lack of diversity" and what universities may think of us. We become wrapped up in "white guilt" and minister to students of color because "we're supposed to." I'm worried that we will change just enough so that we can breathe a little easier when we evaluate ourselves.

Jesus did not come to live among us because of guilt or fear of what others might say or to do just enough to be satisfied. He was motivated by His furious love for us and His absolute commitment to the glory of His Father. Cru staff members share our faith with students of color for the same reason we share the gospel with white students -- because they matter to God. We trust God to plant movements among all ethnic communities because God receives the glory He deserves when His gospel flourishes among all peoples everywhere. We equip leaders of every culture (in the U.S. and around the world) because their contribution is needed in order for us all to thrive and for God's plans to be fulfilled everywhere.

For Cru to change, we must release our power and empower those that don't currently have it. We must humbly leave behind that which is comfortable for us so that others don't have to leave what is comfortable for them to hear about Jesus. We need to realize that our ways of doing things might not work in contexts we're unfamiliar with and we must be willing to learn from those who come from those contexts. We need to take some God-inspired risks to learn from and influence those that we've historically failed. 

Our country may be changing but God hasn't changed. He has always cared about people whether they represent 1% of the population or 100% of the population. So if we see the lives changed of massive amounts of white students but fail to effectively impact students of color, then we are simply not being who God has called us to be. I don't want us to become like a political party that only changes because it doesn't want to miss out on votes. I want us to change because we miss the heart of God if we don't.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tim Keller on Sin & Idolatry

Photo Credit: johanmede
Pastor Tim Keller offers how he shares about sin with young, urban non-Christians:
"Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry. 
Why is this a good path to take? 
First, this definition of sin includes a group of people that postmodern people are acutely aware of. Postmodern people rightly believe that much harm has been done by self-righteous religious people. If we say “sin is breaking God’s law” without a great deal of further explanation, it appears that the Pharisaical people they have known are ‘in’ and most other people are ‘out.’ Pharisees, of course, are quite fastidious in their keeping of the moral law, and therefore (to the hearer) they seem to be the very essence of what a Christian should be. An emphasis on idolatry avoids this problem. As Luther points out, Pharisees, while not bowing to literal idols, were looking to themselves and their moral goodness for their justification, and therefore they were actually breaking the first commandment. Their morality was self-justifying motivation and therefore spiritually pathological. At the bottom of all their law-keeping they were actually breaking the most fundamental law of all. When we give definitions and descriptions of sin to postmodern people, we must do so in a way that not only challenges prostitutes to change but also Pharisees. 
There is another reason we need a different definition of sin for postmodern people. They are relativists, and the moment you say, “Sin is breaking God’s moral standards,” they will retort, “Well, who is to say whose moral standards are right? Everyone has different ones! What makes Christians think that theirs are the only right set of moral standards?” The usual way to respond to this is to become sidetracked from your presentation of sin and grace into an apologetic discussion about relativism. Of course, postmodern people must be strongly challenged about their mushy view of truth, but I think there is a way to move forward and actually make a credible and convicting gospel presentation before you get into the apologetic issues. I do it this way, I take a page from Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and I define sin as building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than God. Instead of telling them they are sinning because they are sleeping with their girlfriends or boyfriends, I tell them that they are sinning because they are looking to their careers and romances to save them, to give them everything that they should be looking for in God. This idolatry leads to drivenness, addictions, severe anxiety, obsessiveness, envy of others, and resentment. 
I have found that when you describe their lives in terms of idolatry, postmodern people do not offer much resistance. They doubt there is any real alternative, but they admit sheepishly that this is what they are doing. I have also found that this makes sin more personal. Making an idol out of something means giving it the love you should be giving your Creator and Sustainer. To depict sin as not only a violation of law but also of love is more compelling. Of course a complete description of sin and grace includes recognition of our rebellion against God’s authority. But I’ve found that if people become convicted about their sin as idolatry and mis-directed love, it is easier to show them that one of the effects of sin is to put them into denial about their hostility to God. In some ways, idolatry is like addiction writ large. We are ensnared by our spiritual idols just like people are ensnared by drink and drugs. We live in denial of how much we are rebelling against God’s rule just like addicts live in denial of how much they are trampling on their families and loved ones."
To read more of his article please click here.

Friday, November 02, 2012

My All-Time Baseball Team

Baseball has often been referred to as America's pastime and, as such, it carries a rich history. Perhaps unlike any other sport, fans and historians alike remember the great players of yesteryear, along with the legendary statistics of the game. 56, .406, 4,191, and 755 are all numbers that even casual baseball fans recognize.

As with any sport, it is difficult to compare players from different eras due to changes in the game and to its athletes. With the recent "steroid era" that Major League Baseball is just now emerging from it makes it even more challenging. But here I have attempted to compile my all-time baseball team.

The roster is comprised of a squad of 25 players, with starters listed first and backups at each position. I've attempted to place personal biases aside (which is why you won't see any '84 Tigers yet so many Yankees on the list) and to examine not only career statistical output, but also how a player compared to his peers during the era in which he played. For this list I've decided to include players from the steroid era if they dominated relative to others that played at the same time.

Any list like this will obviously leave out some worthy candidates. But with only 25 slots, there will be some great players not included. Without any further adieu, here's my roster along with some pertinent statistics & awards: (Note: This list was last updated upon the completion of the 2012 season)

Yogi Berra (.285 BA, 2,150 hits, 358 HR, 1,430 RBI, 15-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 13-time world champion)

Johnny Bench (389 HR, 1,376 RBI, 14-time All-Star, 10 Gold Gloves, 2 MVP's, 2-time world champion)

First Base
Lou Gehrig (.340 BA, 493 HR, 2,721 hits, 1,995 RBI, 7-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 2,130 consecutive games played, 6-time world champion)

Jimmie Foxx (.325 BA, 534 HR, 2,646 hits, 1,922 RBI, 9-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 2 world championships)

Second Base
Rogers Hornsby (.358 BA, 2,930 hits, 301 HR, 2 MVP's, 6 batting titles, 1 world championship)

Joe Morgan (2,517 hits, 268 HR, 689 stolen bases, 10-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 2 world championships)

Third Base
Alex Rodriguez (.300 BA, 647 HR, 1,950 RBI, 2,901 hits, 15-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 2 Gold Gloves, 10 Silver Sluggers, 1 world championship)

Mike Schmidt (548 HR, 1,595 RBI, 2,234 hits, 12-time All-Star, 10 Gold Gloves, 3 MVP's, 6 Silver Sluggers, 1 world championship)

Honus Wagner (.327 BA, 3,415 hits, 1,732 RBI, 8 batting titles, 722 SB, 1 world championship)

Cal Ripken, Jr. (3,184 hits, 431 HR, 1,695 RBI, 19-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 2 Gold Gloves, 8 Silver Sluggers, 1 world championship)

Babe Ruth (.342 BA, 714 HR, 2,873 hits, 2,217 RBI, 2-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 94 wins & 2.28 ERA as a pitcher, 7 world championships)

Hank Aaron (.305 BA, 755 HR, 3,771 hits, 2,297 RBI, 25-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 world championship)

Willie Mays (.302 BA, 660 HR, 3,283 hits, 1,903 RBI, 20-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 12 Gold Gloves, 1 world championship)

Ted Williams (.344 BA, 521 HR, 2,654 hits, 1,839 RBI, 17-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, .482 OBP)

Ty Cobb (.367 BA, 4,191 hits, 1,938 RBI, 892 SB, 1 MVP, 12 batting titles, 54 steals of home)

Stan Musial (.331 BA, 3,630 hits, 475 HR, 1,951 RBI, 24-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 3 world championships)

Barry Bonds (.298 BA, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 2,935 hits, 514 SB, 14-time All-Star, 7 MVP's, 8 Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers)

Mickey Mantle (.298 BA, 536 HR, 1,509 RBI, 2,415 hits, 16-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 1 Gold Glove, 7 world championships)

Walter Johnson (417 wins, 2.17 ERA, 3,508 strikeouts, 110 shutouts, 531 complete games, 2 MVP's, 1 world championship)

Cy Young (511 wins, 2.63 ERA, 2,803 strikeouts, 7,354 innings pitched, 740 complete games, 76 shutouts, 1 world championship)

Roger Clemens (354 wins, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts, 11-time All-Star, 7 Cy Youngs, 1 MVP, 2 world championships)

Warren Spahn (363 wins, 3.09 ERA, 2,583 strikeouts, 14-time All-Star, 1 Cy Young, 1 world championship)

Christy Mathewson (373 wins, 2.13 ERA, 2,502 strikeouts, 79 shutouts, 434 complete games)

Mariano Rivera (608 saves, 2.21 ERA, 1,119 strikeouts, 12-time All-Star, 3x MLB saves leader, 5 world championships)

Dennis Eckersley (197 wins, 390 saves, 3.50 ERA, 2,401 strikeouts, 6-time All-Star, 1 Cy Young, 1 MVP, 1 world championship)

So there's my all-time 25 man baseball team roster. What changes would you make?