24 March 2012

off-topic and likely preaching to the converted

photo source
This is somewhat off-topic, and I'm late in responding to a news story from late Jan / early Feb, but I just feel that I have to type this out! Skip over this rant if you've heard it all before and just find it too depressing or infuriating.

I recently read this in a comment on an American blog: I once heard a woman being interviewed on TV. She had been a teacher in the public schools, but as a second career had become a financial advisor. When the host asked about her career change, she said, “they’ll pay you to take care of their money, but they won’t pay you to take care of their children.”

And then today I came across this from an Alabama state senator: "It's a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher's pay scale, you'll attract people who aren't called to teach. To go in and raise someone's child for eight hours a day, or many people's children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn't want to do it, OK?  And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It's just in them to do. It's the ability that God give 'em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn't matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity. If you don't keep that in balance, you're going to attract people who are not called, who don't need to be teaching our children."

The same man defended a 62% pay raise for legislators, because of the risk of bribery and corruption. He needs to make enough that he can say no, in regards to temptation. I read about his arguments in a blog post about the use of the word BiblicalNotice the damage done to the sacredness of the word “Biblical” to toss it around like that. I myself might have wanted to point out the Biblical stance against those who serve their own interest... and oppress their workers (Isaiah 58:3). 

Guido Reni (1575-1642) Education of the Virgin (source)
No, it's not Biblical to underpay teachers and nor is it Biblical to pay legislators more than teachers. According to Luke, Jesus said, The laborer deserves to be paid (10:7). Most of the other references I came up with in a quick search were somewhat specific to the spiritual realm, but did emphasize that teaching is to be highly valued and rewarded: Let the elders who rule well be considered worth of double compensation [according to the footnote], especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Tim 5:17). Those who receive instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor (Gal 6:6). If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? (1 Cor 9:11)


  1. These quotes make me want to throw up and cry at the same time. The nausea is from the blatant abuse of the scriptures to justify an idiotic argument, and the crying is over a society that values commodities over its children.

  2. truth is that most churches have a paid minister (very often male) and all the work done in children's work (and v often in youth too) is done by unpaid volunteers. Sometimes these volunteers are trained in their work for the church but almost always it's at their own expense. And surprise surprise much of the volunteerism is done by women.

    The church - in the main - do not value non-clergy insofaras they are prepared to pay them and would crumble if women withdreww their support.

    I just read a book called Adam's rib the backbone of the church. Very interesting. As are the statistics that the churchin England lost most professional men from congregations and now highly educated women are also walking. Not because they don't believe but because of the patronising and disempowering way church services are conducted.

    Food for thought :)


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