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ERIC Number: EJ911561
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-6173-5102-0
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Struggle for the Soul: John Lawrence Childs
Stallones, Jared
American Educational History Journal, v37 n1 p19-36 2010
John Lawrence Childs was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on January 11, 1889, the second child of John Nelson Childs and Helen Janette (Nettie) Smith. In childhood Childs absorbed the values of industry, democracy, and a traditional, but socially conscious, religion. Childs was a Methodist and an intensely private person not given to talking about himself, so there are a few accounts of his inner religious life as a youth, but the fact that he held membership in traditional Christian organizations well into adulthood indicates at least a tacit acceptance of historical orthodox Protestant beliefs. Childs served as a missionary in China for 11 years, between 1916 and 1927. However, Childs became disillusioned with the cultural imperialism and elitism he perceived in western missions work and effectively turned his back on his religious profession. In its place, he embraced John Dewey's experimentalism. After 11 years on the mission field in China, Childs stepped away from the social gospel to promote education as the path to a just society. He redirected his considerable energy and intellect into social reconstruction efforts through political activism, experimentalist philosophy, and progressive education. Childs' life and career represent those educational progressives who seek to replace their religious affiliations with modernist philosophies and secular good works. However, like many of his colleagues, Childs could not completely lay aside religious influences. Childs remained passionately devoted to the social and economic justice concerns that had blossomed during his youth and were solidified by his missionary service.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China