Education Around The World

Girl-holding-up-psalm-113-final-3

Worldwide, nearly 80 percent of primary school age children attend school.  In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 percent.

The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school.

Of the 67 million primary school age children who do not attend school, 53 percent are girls.

Worldwide, only 49 percent of children of secondary school age actually attend secondary school.

Of the 49 percent of secondary age students who do not attend school, 52 percent are girls.

The world’s functional illiterates include more than 130 million children who do not attend school, 73 million of them girls.

Girl-with-baloons-Prov-19-with-logo

- Jacob

Summer Books

This summer I read six books (assuming you count comic books as books).  To some of you that may not seem like a lot but I really don’t read all that often so it is kind of a big deal for me.  It’s not that I don’t like reading, but I usually take a while to read and I also don’t go to a book store and just randomly pick something out.  I usually read things once enough people talk about it or recommend it (I’m coming for you next, Maze Runner).  Here are my quick reviews of these six books.

photo

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I enjoyed this book.  I will start off by saying, I only watched the movie Divergent.  I did not read the book but the movie was so good I wanted to continue to series and did not feel it was necessary to read the book.  I’m one of those people that are like “Eh, I watched the movie.  That is good enough”.  Allegiant was great.  I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to people if you haven’t read it yet.  I’m gonna be hypocritical and say you should check it out before the movie comes out.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Overall, I was glad that I read this book and finished the series.  I did have some problem with this book though.  It took me a loooong time to get through it because it switches point of view almost every chapter between Tris and Four.  The writing style and personality between the two is almost the exact same so it sometimes makes it hard to remember whose POV you are supposed to be reading from.  I thought the ending was GREAT (some people will be upset by that but I think it makes it more “real”).  Overall, I wouldn’t rate this series higher than The Hunger Games but it was still a great series.

Gray Areas by Mike Glenn

I did not enjoy this book.  This book is a newer spiritual book that deals with “gray areas” in faith that supposedly don’t have a lot of scriptural backings to hold one stance or the other.  Topics range from addiction, depression, truth, divorce, dating and human sexuality.  My problem with this book is that the author doesn’t really look at both sides of the issues and ultimately gives cop out answers to each topic.  I think this book had great potential but the author plays it safe with discussion.

Radical by David Platt

Another spiritual book that I had a few problems with.  I went through this book with a young adult small group and we also watched an accompanying video series with it.  I liked the book but I hated the video which is weird because the videos are the author basically recapping the book.  But the author wasn’t a very good public speaker and he kind of made me mad the way he was speaking.  The ideas in the book were good though and I think it is worth a read.  Just don’t watch the videos.

DC’s Doom Patrol vol. 19-25 and vol. 26-34 by Grant Morrison

I want to preface this by saying these might be only the 2nd and 3rd comic books I’ve read in my life.  I didn’t read comic books as a kid.  After watching X-Men Days of Future Past in theaters I wanted to google something about X-Men.  During my googling I came across articles that said the X-Men are a ripoff of DC’s Doom Patrol which came out around the same time.  This intrigued me and after doing some research on the Doom Patrol I decided I wanted to read their comics.  Everyone online recommended the books done by Grant Morrison which their are 6 of.  I’ve read the first 2 and really liked them so I’ll be ordering the rest of them soon.  I wouldn’t recommend these comics to kids because there is some adult stuff in them but they are pretty fun to read.

Have you read any of these books and if so, do you agree with my reviews?  What books did you read this summer?

- Jacob

Ferguson, MO

Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

- Jacob

Cozumel 2014

I just got back from a 4 day Carnival cruise with my family that went from Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Mexico.  If you’ve never been on a cruise I would highly recommend it.  There is food 24/7 (Guy Fieri has a burger restaurant on the ship that was AMAZING), shows each night, pools, water slides, hot tubs, ice cream, the best french toast I’ve ever had, casinos (I lost) and tons of different activities throughout the day!  It was tons of fun and here are a few pictures from the trip.

1422382_10152637607914201_883267132231011605_n 10613937_10204687360413549_415689852_n 10609181_10204687357493476_1413996213_n 10592541_10204687358173493_869539874_n 10583215_10204687350773308_2120334955_n 10577084_10152642302534201_3036574071856466695_n 10561751_10152637608364201_8265541850402097301_n 10513534_10152642307484201_5126730427747143020_n 1932195_10152642287879201_9005269758233762741_n

And now its back to work.

Growing up sucks, haha.

- Jacob

Throwback Thursday: Music

In the spirit of ‘Throwback Thursday’, I am going to share a few songs that were popular when I was younger.  Some of them may not have been popular in general, but they were popular with me.

Sum 41 – Fat Lip

I never had this CD.  I had Now Thats What I Call Music 8 and I used to repeat this song more than any other on the CD.

The Ataris – So Long, Astoria

I had this CD and I used to play it almost every day my freshman year of high school while I did homework.  This was one of my favorite songs on the album.

N*SYNC – Space Cowboy

I admit it, I was an N*SYNC fan.  I had the No Strings Attached album and loved it.  The song Space Cowboy was a personal favorite of mine.

Yellowcard – Way Away

And of course, the always classic Yellowcard.  Once again, this whole album is amazing and one that I still listen to today but it was such a hit back in the day.

What are some of your favorite songs from when you were in high school?

- Jacob

Prayer part 2

So I said in my last post that I would give my thoughts on prayer.

I do think that prayer is valuable.  I think the main point of prayer is to align your will with God’s will.  First of all, you have to believe and accept that God has a plan and that He has everything under control.  If you don’t believe that it would be pretty hard for you to want to align with His plan.

But when you look at the way Jesus teaches us to pray in the gospels we don’t see examples of asking for certain things.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptations,
but deliver us from evil.

-Matthew 6:9-13

The only part of that prayer that sees us asking for anything is when we ask to “give us this day our daily bread”.  And when you really think about it, you can survive off of less than you think.  It isn’t give us this day our daily all-you-can-eat-buffet.  So the majority of our prayer shouldn’t just be a long to-do list for God.  Jesus says that should be about 1/4th of your prayer.  The rest of the prayer calls us to praise God, ask for forgiveness and to pray for God’s will to be done in order to bring the kingdom of heaven to Earth.

So if we pray for something and it doesn’t happen, then we have to be at peace in the fact that God has things under control.  And that is hard sometimes!  Especially when you pray for someone to get better and they don’t, or for someone to stay safe on a trip and they don’t return.  These are “good” things so it is hard to deal with when it doesn’t happen.

So I think we should pray, but not necessarily for the reason of us asking for things.  We should pray in order to have that conversation/relationship with God so that maybe, just maybe, we can be a little more in tune with Him so that we can be more at peace and in-line with His plan.

- Jacob

Prayer

So my young adult small group is currently reading through the book Gray Areas by Mike Glenn.  We are only two chapters in but last night we had great discussions for almost 2 hours.  Most of the discussion kind of got away from the topic of the chapter, but it was still great.

One question posed by another person was on the topic of prayer.  He wondered if God already has a will and is going to do what He is going to do, does it matter if we pray?  He gave examples of praying for someone to be safe on a trip or for someone to be healed and said if God has already decided that it is “their time” to go, will my praying really make a difference?  And if not, why should I even pray?  Others then listed examples from scripture where people prayed and seemingly “changed God’s mind”.  The most notable example of this is Exodus 32:1-14.

I personally think prayer is valuable and important and have my own reasoning behind it, but I wanted to hear from some other people before I give my input.  Do you think prayer changes things?  Is prayer for us?  Should we just let God’s will happen and go with the flow?

Leave your answer in the comments.

- Jacob

Procrastination

So I’ve been back from camp for a week now and I’ve only posted once.  I meant to only take one week off because of camp but I’ve now taken two weeks off unintentionally.  Part of the reason is because I’ve been so tired.  A few days I’ve slept in later than I planned to do and I’ve also had to work this week as well.  Here are a few things I’m doing that are taking up my time:

- Watching The Leftovers on HBO.  It’s a new show (I’m finally into a show when it is actually airing on TV instead of binge watching to catch up).

- Reading DC’s Doom Patrol comics.  I heard about these a while ago and I bought them online immediately after.  So far they are pretty good.

- Reading Gray Areas, a new book by Mike Glenn.  My young adult bible study is going through this book right now.

- Playing Betrayal At House On The Hill with friends.  Great game, but don’t pay $195 for it.  It’s out of print right now so people are gouging the price online.

I hope to get back into more regular posts now that I’ve had a week to recuperate.  What about you. What do you do to procrastinate?  Also, have you watched, read or played any of the things listed above?

- Jacob