Justice Begins In The Home

Check out my latest talk in the “Be The Change” series…

“We can change the world, by starting at home. When we honor and elevate women to their true biblical-equal-status in our culture, we will have the credibility to empower women in other cultures and other faiths where the gender-line of inequality remains so thickly drawn that death, devastation and poverty follow her cries.” – Monty

Be the Change – Week 5 from Snoqualmie Valley Alliance on Vimeo.

has our wealth made us blind?


As I have been working through my talk on the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) this week, the following quote has been working its way through every corner of my soul…what do you think?

“If the Book of Revelation were written today, and there was a letter to the church in America, I think it would decry the fact that our materialism and wealth have deafened our ears and blinded our eyes to the cause of the poor.”

~Rich Stearns (President, World Vision)

The Power of Reading


“A House without books is like a room without windows.”
~Horace Mann

I love books, so I suppose it goes without saying that I also love reading. This afternoon I was in my favorite bookstore in Seattle, Elliott Bay Books, wandering the aisles and perusing title after title. I see books as orphans in desperate need of adoption…today I adopted four! I also love the way some books feel…the composition of the cover as well as the words. While I do have a Kindle and an iPad, I  prefer to feel the weight of pages as they turn and reveal the trapped contents held captive.

Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” and I wholeheartedly agree. Yet in the US we take the gift of reading for granted not realizing that much of our planets population is illiterate. According to the most recent statistics there are approximately 800 million adults who cannot read or write globally. Illiteracy fuels poverty. The ability to read and write are economic and social game-changers all throughout the world.

While my heart was full as I considered which book to purchase and read today, it was also heavy as I considered the millions who are unable to purchase or enter into the world of books. Illiteracy needs to be defeated, and it is important that we stay vigilant in the push to improve eduction in the US and to fight against poverty, which breeds illiteracy, throughout the world.

Leaders are readers. Education is empowerment. Understanding and knowledge are keys to the future. If we long to have leaders in the future who are broad in knowledge, adept and ethical, it begins in the home where parents start the journey of empowerment through reading. When your children are young read to them, often. Also, let them see you reading as this will stir their desire to read as well. When they ask for a book buy it! And keep encouraging them to read-read-read! These are the best investment you can make for them.

When I ask most men today what they are currently reading, the answer I receive is, “Well, I’m not really a reader.” This is a sad commentary not only for our present time, but for our future. Modern media does scant little to sharpen our thinking or deepen our understanding as it serves up an offering of soundbites and less than intelligent television shows.

When one reads, new worlds are opened up…ideas formed…adventures dreamed. Here are some thoughts on books from others to inspire your reading.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”   ~William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” ~ Mortimer J. Adler

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”  ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books”  ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”  ~Vera Nazarian

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”  ~Haruki Murakami

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”  ~Maya Angelou

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”  ~C.S. Lewis

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”  ~Chinese Proverb

“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted;
nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts,
others to be read, but not curiously, and some few
to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
~ Francis Bacon ~

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” ~Victor Hugo

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  ~Dr. Seuss

The Power of Education

Poverty is an ever present evil all around the planet. You would think that by now we would have a handle on the great divide between those who have nothing and those who have an abundance, yet the truth remains that the chasm perpetuates.

Poverty is complex. There is not one single issue that needs to be addressed in order to reduce it. Rather there are cultural, global, spiritual, philosophical, economic, and even governmental issues (to name a few) involved in the global poverty crisis.

While it’s not -the- fix, education is perhaps one of the most important ways that we can wage a war on poverty.  When speaking of education I am including not only traditional educational systems, but also education on a moral, economic, spiritual and even technical and agrarian levels. As we invest in education,  there is a natural empowerment that happens. An empowered person knows how to find and utilize resources and create a new reality.

In a 2009 letter to G8 leaders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus noted:

“Education is the key to unlocking inter-generational deprivation, as it offers the knowledge people need to live healthy, happy lives…By investing in education, the G8 can leverage huge returns in women’s and children’s health, nation- and peace-building, and global economic development now and in the future.”

Education is essential if we are going to eliminate poverty, empower individuals and communities, and create sustainable solutions to the challenges we face globally such as HIV/Aids, inequity, violence, and life degradation.

There is currently more than 67 million primary-aged children who are deprived of basic education around the world. On one of my trips into Uganda I noted that the majority of the children who did attend primary education would not reach the secondary level due to family financial needs.

This truly broke my heart as I remember asking the kids, “So, what do you want to do with your life?” and the answer was just like the answers I hear from US kids.  “I want to be the President if Uganda” said one girl. “I want to be a doctor” said a young boy. “I want to be a teacher” said another young student. How heart breaking to think most of those dreams will not find fruition because of the stranglehold poverty has on our worlds children.

Global statistics tell us that over 250 billion primary aged children will not move into secondary or high school education…over 796 million adults and youth are illiterate today. This designation absolutely limits their potential and their life choices which makes them highly vulnerable and destined to remain stuck in a poverty straitjacket.

It’s time to look at how we can take a bigger role in eliminating poverty. I would encourage you to check out my non-profit  Planet Changer by going to http://www.planetchanger.org and invest in the elimination of poverty as well as help us look at how we can address increasing global education through our efforts at Planet Changer!

To help you ruminate further, here are some great quotes about education….

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  ~Mahatma Gandhi

“Educate a boy, and you educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community.
African proverb via Greg Mortensen”   ~ Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
~William Butler Yeats

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”   ~Plato

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”   ~ Nelson Mandela

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”   ~Margaret Mead

“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”  ~ Aristotle

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”   ~ Aristotle

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”   ~ Malcolm X

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”   ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”   ~T.H. White, The Once and Future King

“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“When you know better you do better.”   ~ Maya Angelou

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”   ~ Walter Cronkite

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”   ~Victor Hugo

“Children deprived of words become school dropouts; dropouts deprived of hope behave delinquently. Amateur censors blame delinquency on reading immoral books and magazines, when in fact, the inability to read anything is the basic trouble.”   ~ Peter S. Jennison

“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”   ~ George Washington

“Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”  ~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.”   ~ Confucius

“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.”  ~Native American Saying