how are they to hear without someone to proclaim? (one cost of post-graduate debt)

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! – Romans 10:12-15

IMG_0878Over the next few days I’m working on an interesting article for my friends in the United Methodist Church. In particular, I’ll be focusing on a grant program designed to help minority pastors deal with unreasonable debt from graduate school (masters of divinity).

I’ve already heard some great stories (that’s me, complete with earphones, talking with one of around ten sources) from recipients, but you’ll have to check out the journal I’m writing for to read those. Of more general interest, however, is the big-picture question of education debt in general, and the impact such a burden has both on newly minted graduates and the professions they intend to populate.

The prospect of such crushing debt (I interviewed a young man yesterday who started his first ministry job with a $60,000 balance on his grad school note alone) can put low-paying professions such as ministry out of reach for those without the “got your back” of strong credit, “privilege,” and deep resources.

Fact is, the escalating cost associated with both higher education and even rudimentary healthcare has placed the United States in danger of becoming a nation where the idea of equality comes with an increasingly lengthy disclaimer.

If it really is self-evident truth that all people are created equal, and that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights… and if it really is true that these rights include Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness… then isn’t it incumbent upon us, the governed, to secure these rights via the just powers of Government? (my re-ordering of words from the Declaration of Independence, 1776).

I’m not sure it’s accurate to call ourselves the land of opportunity anymore when access to education is increasingly narrowly focused.


So this is my question in today’s post: Do you see anything essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that is currently unavailable to entire categories of people who live in these United States? If so, then isn’t such restricted access fundamentally un-American?

When it comes to post-graduate education, and the prospect of such a crushing weight of debt, I am reminded of Paul’s words to the believers in Rome (Romans 10:12-15):

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

– Derek


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