It was the usual reaction and it’s staggering sameness that keeps me bringing it up again.  A while back a commentator on the news went out and asked young people on campus about their reaction to the President’s State of the Union Speech.  The answers were devastating.  It was the worst.  He was a homophobe, Islamaphobe, chauvinist, racist etc.  The opinions were strong if not very well spoken.  There was one problem – the State of the Union speech had not yet been spoken.  It was nine hours away.  The same thing happened with the President’s pick for the Supreme court.  College students asked what they thought of the pick were using the same language as they did with the speech.  Same problem – pick had not been made.  This is an interesting thing.  Paul Simon once famously sang that when he “looked back at all the crap he learned in high school, it was a wonder he could think at all”. (Kodachrome – by Paul Simon).  Education is gone and indoctrination is now the order of the day.  Now we have glittering gems of intellect that enter political arenas and say that college education should be free for all.  Well, it is a free for all, and if it were free that is probably what it is worth.  I have used the example of the guy with the Doctorate in medieval women’s studies who is a delivery man for Domino’s pizza but has a problem with making correct change.  I love the idea of free college education if the tenured professors would agree to work and indoctrinate folks for nothing.  Perhaps if colleges would save the money they give to folks like Hilary Clinton to come and speak they could offer some free tuition.  Anyway the idea of the cost of education is being discussed against the backdrop of a booming job market with fewer and fewer people to do the jobs.  What is the point of going to college if it cannot prepare you to do a job that will pay off the money spent to educate yourself?

We think that history started the day we were born.  This education stuff has been going on for years and it was even applied to pre- Seminary and Seminary students.  Back in the day when a Pastor might be the highest educated person in town and the most respected (those days are gone forever), the idea of going to Seminary because your daddy did was considered with a jaundiced eye by what back then were real educators.  The advice was magnificent for some of us – “call your mommy and tell her there is very little chance that you will be a Pastor and your continued presence on the campus is a waste of money for your parents, and a waste of time for the faculty”.  That statement for many, as Samuel Johnson said, “focused the mind wonderfully”.

Here is a review by a man named P.E. Kretzman back in 1934!!  It was written in the Concordia Theological Monthly published by Concordia Publishing House.

Overcrowding the Professions. Writing on a topic which embraced this thought, Dr. E. G. Williamson says among other things: “We are perfectly willing to recognize that some of us are capable of becoming better musicians than others, but we still refuse to recognize that our neighbor’s children may have greater capabilities with regard to intellectual types of work, social skill, and professional attainment. Until we do recognize these inequalities of capacities, vocational guidance is not possible, since guidance essentially means that individuals shall be guided into those types of work which they can perform satisfactorily. . .. Far too many students want to become lawyers simply because of the supposed financial opulence of these professional men. Other students choose medicine because of an emotional fixation on the physician who saved the life of some member of the family. These and others may be laudable motives, but unfortunately more than good intentions are required for one to carve a successful career out of the mediocre material some of us possess. Not even a skilled workman can make a bird’s-eye maple bed from a hedge-tree. In view of decreasing professional opportunities and increasing differentiation of college students on the basis of professional possibilities it becomes necessary for every freshman … to take an inventory of his own capabilities. A reasonable attitude to take toward his full time profession is to recognize the need for a more careful inventory of his capabilities and interests and a more careful matching of these with those demanded by the profession in which he is interested. . .. In addition, students are given more responsibility than in high school for intelligent use of their leisure moments outside the classroom. These additional responsibilities are often-times assumed by students withont the necessary habits of responsibility. This one fact of intelligent use of opportunities for independent work and play explains in many cases why students of superior ability do mediocre or even failing work in college.” – These factors may easily be transferred to the work of our preparatory schools and our seminaries.