This week I came across a chart published by the Texas Medical Association on probabilities related to COVID-19. The key question was this: If you participated in certain kinds of social interaction, what would be the probability, on a scale of 1-10, of acquiring the virus and spreading it to others? Granted, the measurement is ranked by physicians predominately in metro areas of Texas where COVID-19 is raging.
For example, on the chart you will find that grocery shopping is a 3, while eating a buffet is an 8. Playing golf is a 3 while shooting hoops is a 7. Swimming in a public pool and flying in a commercial plane are 6 and 7, respectively. The two extremes were opening your mail (1) and going to a bar (10). On the whole, Baptists tend to wisely avoid bars unless it is really a restaurant that happens to serve alcoholic beverages (a controlled substance). After all, it is not pretty to get between a Baptist and his barbeque.
Bottom line: If you do these activities, the probability of contracting COVID-19 increases according to what kind of event you attend and how much risk you are willing to take. The physicians’ goal was to help people make wise choices rather than succumb to more mandates.
This summer, many parents and high school grads are exploring university options. The 2020 grads have experienced one of the most difficult seasons in recent history of high school graduations. Consequently, parents really want to help students carefully consider their choices. Of course, not everyone is cut out for the university experience. But for those who are planning to attend, it is important to be wise.
I continue to be amazed at the number of Baptist parents and grads who choose state institutions instead of our Baptist universities. Some choke on the cost, especially because A+ offers “free” entrance to state universities. (Let me announce that surely this conundrum that discriminates against private universities is destined to fail in the courts, and it would be wise for the legislature to fix it. Let the money follow the A+ student to any accredited institution.) Our Missouri Baptist institutions work hard with students and their parents to mitigate the cost.
Note how I placed “free” in quotes. There is a cost some families pay that is unseen beyond the collegiate experience. It is the cost of a secular philosophy indoctrinating students at state universities. Do all faculty and administration members teach from a secular worldview? No, but the odds are super high.
Ask for a syllabus from a collegiate history/literature course or a basic science or economics textbook. Sadly, too many state institutions use these as indoctrination courses to set up students to embrace naturalism and other philosophical positions contrary to Scripture.
And there is a high risk for a student, even a Christian student, grappling with the “big whys” of life to be emotionally, intellectually and philosophically damaged for the remainder of their days. How much is that worth?
The key question for high school grads and their parents contemplating enrollment in a university is not about how prestigiously the institution and its faculty present themselves. The key factor is: How are you going to fulfill God’s purpose for your life based on what you learn about the world and how it works, no matter your professional interests?
That kind of question should permeate the decision-making process. Our Baptist institutions in Missouri are some of the best places for university students to gain an answer and find how they fit in the world God has created. Whether you are talking about a liberal arts education at Hannibal-LaGrange University, Missouri Baptist University, Southwest Baptist University, or a Bible-college experience at Spurgeon College at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, parents and their college-age kids can expect several benefits:
1. Studies are rooted in the Word of God. From the wellspring of God’s Word comes the truth that shapes a person’s destiny and purposefulness. There is a sense of community that has as its foundation the truths of Scripture. This means you learn together to think critically about truth, the world, and how the student fits into God’s scheme of life.
2. Class size and caring faculty permeate the educational environment. While meeting new friends is important, the total number of students must not be overwhelming. It is not uncommon on these campuses to strike up a conversation about life and what students are learning. You get to know the faculty, and often the administration, on a personal and relational level outside the classroom. That matters, especially if you are a struggling student.
3. Because tuition and fees are higher, you can expect scholarships and grants to add up really quickly to offset the cost. Why? Because generous people invest in our universities, knowing students will make a difference in the lives of others in the future.
4. There is a lower risk that students will engage in destructive behavior. Not that students at Baptist universities don’t sometimes mess up, but the risk is lower—mitigated and facilitated by people who care.
So, watch out for the risk of “free” and carefully consider the wisdom of Christian higher education for your high school grad at one of our Baptist institutions.