Declining by Degrees

On November 13th, our English 131 class watched a documentary called Declining by Degrees. In the portion that we watched, the documentary talked about how College is a transition through growth of experience and also learning how to work with people. It stated that one in four students do not make it to sophomore year and that half of students that are enrolled in college leave before graduating. In today’s age, a college education in absolutely necessary to remain a middle class citizen, according to the documentary. The documentary then went on to discuss about classes and professors. Around forty-four percent of faculty of colleges are part-time. The highest paid position at a given school is the football coach. Large classes are not very good with education, although they are economical. An issue that continues to grow at universities include grade inflation. It was also stated that 20 percent of college students drift through four years of education.

From watching the video, it was interesting to learn some of the facts that were spoken about generally public universities. I was difficult for me to relate to this because of the small overall and class size of Lenoir-Rhyne. At Lenoir-Rhyne there is a better opportunity in connecting with your professor and understanding assignments. There is also a big difference with public and private university with money. It is different to go to a public university and do nothing and flunk out because you are paying much less and would not waste the money that you would at a private university. I wonder if the drop-out rate is lower at a private college or university, than of the public university rate. It is shocking me to actually realize how much professors are underpaid compared to a football coach, which has the highest salary.


Just about a month ago a controversial discussion developed amongst the Randolph County Board of Education over the book “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, after Kimiyutta Parson, a mother of a Randleman High School junior submitted a lengthy request for the removal of the book from the shelves because of strong language and its sexual content. The book, which first was published in 1952, discussed social and intellectual issues that African-Americans faced during half of the 20th century. The board met on the issues and with a vote of 5-2 against the book it was declared banned from the Randolph County Schools. The school board met a week or less after the original vote to reverse their decision on “Invisible Man” because of local and nationwide disagreement with the decision.

I personally have never read “Invisible Man.” With that said, I still believe that the book should have never been banned from the shelves in the Randolph County school libraries. America has had many weak points and I think that this book touches on what really happened that many African Americans that certain people would want to not be addressed in school anymore. Even though the book is a “hard read” it is still a learning tool in how America has evolved from the early 20th century until present with African American social and intellectual issues. Fortunately, there is an overwhelming majority of people that want to see the book remain on the shelves in school libraries and also see that history which now is looked down upon today is used as a learning tool in how the world today is a different place today in the 21st century.

Martin Marty at Lenoir-Rhyne

On September 13th 2013, theologian and writer Martin E. Marty was present as guest of the Lenoir-Rhyne University writer’s series. Marty has been the author for over sixty books. Marty’s talking focus of the night was “The Mainline and All the Other Lines: American Protestantism and the tracks ahead.

His first point he brought up first was that he preferred the term “mainstream” instead of the common term “Mainline” in reference to churches. Another important topic brought up was with change in today’s age where Protestant, Catholicism and Judaism are becoming obsolete.
As he refers to railroad tracks he mentions about the different “de-railings” in different denominations. The three main points were: Demography, Beliefs and Programs and Cultural Shifts. With demography, he described the rust belt and farm belt and how they are both in relative decline. Also with the change in marriage, families and lack of “feeders”. With Beliefs and Programs he discussed the phase in secularism and new theologies of being in the world. He also explained how cultural shifts have a hard time in benefitting the mainline churches. The different shifts included the sexual revolution, media shaped culture and large shape capitalism.

He also discussed the decline in fundamentalism. The Southern Baptist Church is in steady decline and will continue in decline. Protestant Churches are also running out of useful enemies (Catholicism and the winning of America).

Marty closed in discussing the core of Christian tradition.

I enjoyed Marty’s talk and thought that he brought up some good points. I hope that I will be able to read some of his different publishing’s to learn more of his take on different religious issues.

To learn more on Martin Marty his website is