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    Plough Quarterly Winter 2015: Childhood

    Plough Quarterly No. 3: Childhood

    Winter 2015


    Featured Articles

    All Articles


    Should Christians Abandon Public Schools? “What about children who are left behind, in increasingly darker places as each Christian light is removed? Should the Christian response be to abandon troubled public schools?” asks McNiel. Join the debate: Public school or homeschool? Why I Homeschool "Homeschooling frees our calendar to better serve, and to be involved in ways we never could if we were tied to a public-school schedule," argues Hillegeist. Join the debate: Public school or homeschool?


    Letter from the Texas-Mexico Border A young person volunteering with Save the Children on the Texas-Mexico border recounts lessons learned from working with the children caught in the crossfire of immigration war. Dispatch from Ferguson Rev. Rivers has worked for decades to curb youth violence and improve opportunities in his inner-city neighborhood. We asked him for his insights on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, prompted by the killing of an unarmed teenager by a police officer.


    What’s the Point of a Christian Education? What can Thomas More and the Christians of Iraq teach us about educating our children to be ready for the costs of Christian discipleship? Kindergartners Are Human Beings Can education based on fixed standards and high-stakes testing help children achieve their full humanity? Why Dads Matter Even in an age when we claim to have evolved beyond narrow gender stereotypes, fathers know their children need them. Good fathers challenge their children to take risks while keeping them safe. Jesus’ Surprising Family Values Jesus loved little children, but his teaching on family often seems harsh, even alarming. He told his disciples they would have to leave their families – even "hate" them – to follow him. What was he getting at? Blood and Ink Why were six Jesuits and two women killed in one night? Like Oscar Romero, they had come to believe it was their duty as Christians speak up for human rights and peace.


    Discovering Reverence Understanding reverence can change our perception of the world and our task in it, writes Arnold in this extract from his book, Their Name is Today. Every Child Is a Thought of God We love little children because Jesus loved them. Arnold writes about the responsibility of parents, church, and educators regarding the education of children. Charity Is No Substitute for Justice The stories Jonathan Kozol tells of New York City’s black and Latino children cannot be read with indifference. These painful, beautiful stories make us ask, “When did the system break? And what can we do about it?”


    Carol of the Seekers Our hands are empty, and we came because we heard a baby crying...


    Reclaiming a Literary Giant It may happen that a nation ceases to distinguish between good and evil, warned Ernst Wiechert, a German novelist and professor, in a 1935 speech to his students, many of whom were National Socialists.

    Editors’ Picks

    Editors’ Picks Issue 3 Plough’s editors share their best reads of recent weeks. This issue (Plough Quarterly No. 3, Winter 2015) they feature books by Brian Zahnd, Rufus Burrow, Aaron D. Cobb, Vladimir Pozner and Scot McKnight.

    Family and Friends

    Family and Friends Issue 3 See what individuals from all over are doing to foster and protect the global family.


    Soldier of the Lamb: What I Learned from Larry A contributing artist and columnist for Plough Quarterly, Landsel reflects on the life of his friend, Larry Mason, a Vietnam vereran, graduate of the streets of New York City, and a brother in the Bruderhof comunity.


    Noah: A Wordless Story A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. Perhaps you know the rest, but this version will surprise you.

    Community Snapshot

    Daring to Sing Music is every child’s birthright. Here’s a simple new song to share this Christmas.


    Readers Respond: Winter 2015 We welcome letters to the editor. Here are some thoughts from our readers.

    Digging Deeper

    Digging Deeper: Issue 3 Bookstores boast an intimidating array of titles on children, education, and parenting. Here are some outstanding titles that will put limited time to good use.


    Sending Messages into the Future Keilhau is a place where broken worlds are healed, a place which sends new messages out into the future every year. Arnold, who teaches at Keilhau, reflects how it is still a haven where children find peace and independence. Setting the Table at Koinonia Farm Koinonia Farm, an interracial Christian community in southwest Georgia, began seventy-two years ago on an eroded and almost treeless piece of land. Local KKK members tried to scare them into leaving. They stayed.


    Insights on Childhood Wisdom on protecting childhood from Friedrich Fröbel, Mary McLeod Bethune, Rachel Carson, and Janusz Korczak.


    Schooling Me, the Surgeon “None of us is perfect. I’ve got my scars, you’ve got yours. But people with disabilities have taught me to recognize my own imperfections and to accept them.” Does ISIS Prove Nonviolence Wrong? In the face of ISIS, preaching nonviolence can seem naïve, even heartless. But does the Just War tradition give its adherents a blank check in such a situation? Ron Sider has a challenge for both sides of this debate.

    The Naturalist

    Seizing Moments of Awe A naturalist based in Australia shares his awe at the beauty of the southern constellations, including the Southern Cross.

    Featured Authors

    Reader Reviews Write a Review

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    Plough Quarterly 3 front cover

    About This Issue

    “A little child shall lead them,” writes the prophet Isaiah, imagining a coming age when “the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together.”

    Amidst the surfeit of books, programs, and online resources on parenting and education, it’s easy to conclude that there’s nothing new to say about childhood. And at least to those who aren’t parents or educators, the whole topic may seem over-hyped.

    But childhood and children matter immensely – especially to followers of the one who taught his hearers that they must “change and become like children” in order to share in the future age that Isaiah foretold (Matt. 18:3).

    The idea of childhood innocence, certain social historians and evolutionary biologists tell us, is a modern invention, a mere sentimental fantasy. But while the experience of ­childhood has undeniably changed over the centuries, Jesus’ words remind us of truths that remain unchanged. The mystery of being a child, and of becoming a child, is central to the gospel, and has been so from the start.

    The Peacable Kingdom by Fritz Eichenberg

    This issue opens with “Discovering Reverence” by Johann Christoph Arnold, whose new book Their Name Is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World raises a host of urgent questions. In response, a surgeon shares what he’s learned from children with disabilities. Dispatches from Ferguson, Missouri, the US–Mexico border, the South Bronx, and America’s kindergartens focus on places where childhood is especially threatened. Other contributors examine public, homeschool, and Christian education; highlight the role that fathers play; and grapple with Jesus’ uncomfortable version of family values.

    The escalating violence in Iraq and Syria is another heartrending reminder that Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable kingdom has yet to be realized. These horrors also pose a tough challenge to those who are committed to Jesus’ way of nonviolent love: Is it still possible to insist on the absolute nonviolence taught by the early Christians and Martin Luther King Jr.? This is one question we ask of Ron Sider, a leading pacifist.

    Do you have reactions, stories, or insights to share? How can we better put the gospel into practice? We look forward to hearing from you. In the words from Hebrews, let’s keep ­“spurring one another on to faith and good deeds.”

    Warm greetings,
    Peter Mommsen, Editor

    Front cover photograph: Darius Clement

    four issues of Plough Quarterly

    About Plough Quarterly

    Plough is an award-winning international magazine of stories, ideas, and culture that appears weekly online and quarterly in print. We also publish a line of books, including literary nonfiction, fiction, and graphic novels. Founded in 1920, Plough asks the big questions: How can we live well together, and what gives life meaning and purpose in a complex world?